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Indigenous Photography, Cliches & Studio Fantasy, Images of Algerian Women in Colonial Postcards
When I started working in the U.S, I was very surprised to find pictures of Algerian dancers on refrigerator magnets in various American dancers’ homes. This fascination with the exotic image that these postcards represent for Westerners seems to be quite common!

Mawheba: A Journey Toward Teaching Dance, Notes from an Interview with Dandesh
In Egypt you often hear people saying that the best dancers originate from Alexandria and Dandash is no exception. Born into a family of performers she was destined for fame. She also had a variety of influences over the years which helped create the unique style of the one and only Dandash!

Event Planning and Hosting Artists, Part 3: Promotion and Money – Finding Success
Event planning is a huge part of the dance community and hosting artists from out of town is essential for expanding the knowledge, skills and diversity within your community.

Harem Girls, Our Very Own Non-Arab Talent Show
He gave Abdulrahman a copy of Nightclub Managing for Dummies, but the poor thing couldn’t read. With a helpful picture book, he finally learned the basic principle: Keep business and personal entertainment separate.

Event Planning and Hosting Artists, Part 2: Community and Network: Every Host’s Lifeline
Event planning is a huge part of the dance community and hosting artists from out of town is essential for expanding the knowledge, skills and diversity within your community.

Longevity In Dance, Overcoming Obstacles and Struggles, by Sabrina Mijares
But apart from drive, they emphasized the importance of relationships and unity within the community.

Event Planning and Hosting Artists, Part 1: Costs and Spaces
Event planning is a huge part of the dance community and hosting artists from out of town is essential for expanding the knowledge, skills and diversity within your community.

Mahragan and the Voice of a Generation, Music and Movement h
The daze brought on by sensory and emotional overload is quickly broken by a rage of autotune blasting from the line of tuk-tuks whizzing past you in traffic. It is there, in that autotune where the heart of the Cairo youth lives.

Cairo to Khartoum, Overland Follow the Nile and You Shall Bellydance!
Africa is my big travel love, and I’m always happy to get some Sahara between my toes, but Sudan was never on my to do list of countries. I knew getting the visa was difficult, which is not surprising for a country with a wanted war criminal for president. Slap the merciless climate on top of that, and Sudan was something of a blank space on my mental map of Africa. Then, a good friend of mine announced he was setting up camp in the Sudanese capital Khartoum for a few months for his new UN gig. It was now or never for me and Sudan.

Memorial to Jamila, Articles and Testimonials Regarding the Icon
An influential and respected teacher whose techniques and formats have been shared all over the world, the iconic Jamila Salimpour was instrumental in helping mold many big names in American belly dance.

Life was a Cabaret, My Memorable New York Club Years: Part 3- Beyond Manhattan
New York City was “club city” back in the early 1980’s, besides the Middle Eastern night clubs you had entertainment from around the world. Flamenco was alive at the Chateau Madrid, and you could see a Hawaiian revue at the Hawaii Kai on West 50th Street. When Ibis closed for the second renovation, all the dancers went scrambling around looking for another steady place to dance in. One club in particular where I got 6 nights a week of work was at Le Palais in Brooklyn.

Life was a Cabaret, My Memorable New York Club Years: Part 2 – The Darvish, Cedars of Lebanon, and Other Clubs
If ever there was a rival for the Ibis for the best in Middle Eastern entertainment, it was the Darvish. If the Ibis was a jewel box, then the Darvish was a diamond with rough edges. Located on 8th Street in the West Village, Champaign!this little hole in the wall was difficult to find.

Accepting Our Role as Artists, Politics in Bellydance
These crucial functions are some of art’s most important contributions, placing artists in essential societal roles as dissectors of beliefs, expressers of feelings, and dissenters of popular opinion. Historically and currently, the term "artist" has a far more significant meaning than simply one who creates art.

Life was a Cabaret, My Memorable New York Club Years: Part 1-The Ibis
I sometimes think how fortunate I was to have been a dancer in the 80s and 90s. We were the last generation to enjoy the club years, in the tradition not unlike that of the 1950s through the 70s. Our music was live with some of the finest musicians and singers around, who played and sang songs that touched your heart and made you jump with joy; and dancers that flavored their shows with their own inimitable style.

Iraqi Dance and Its Unknown Dance Styles, Khashaba Music and Dance,
As is often the case with folkloric and traditional art forms, no one knows for certain when the Khashaba style first began to be heard, or when the cultural life of the city began to take notice. The earliest written sources yet found suggest an origin as recent as the 1930s, but some authorities, such as historian Dr. Mohamed Mahdi el Basier, claim that the roots of the Khashaba rhythms can be traced back to the time of the Thawrat al-Zanj, the Zanj Rebellion of 869–883CE.

Dancer Finds Body Acceptance After Battling Eating Disorder, Healing and Belly Dance
I could not know then the amazing healing the classes would eventually bring to my life.

Cairo Shimmy Quake 2015 a Dancer’s Delight, Something old, something new makes the second annual Cairo Shimmy Quake 2015 an event you can count on!
Although this is only the second annual Cairo Shimmy Quake, it arguably has a history that is decades old, rich in Middle Eastern culture and dance.

Translations of 1930s Gossip Column in a Local Cairo Paper, “New and Second Hand Costumes: Our Elegant and Not So Elegant Dancers” & "Madame Badia Masabni", This article is from the early 1930s and it talks (gossips I should say) about the famous bellydancers of the time and their costume quirks, though not always in a very flattering way. Thank you to KF for the very kind help. [Editor's Note: This article supliments Pricilla's articles in The Belly Dance Reader 2, page 38.

Tribal Fest Under Fire, Tribal Fusion Stars Quit California Belly Dance Festival as Co-organiser Admits Sexist Facebook Post,
Several leading dancers  have withdrawn their services from Tribal Fest after learning of festival co-producer Chuck Lenhard’s involvement in an offensive  Facebook group for DJs.

Dosland Documents "Dangerous" Divas, Dangerous Beauties produces "Aura - An Evening of Dance Theater "
Many members of the group are internationally known, performing and teaching around the world. Some are multi-disciplinary artists whose work includes backgrounds in theater and film, costuming and the visual arts.

A Bellydance Production of Dante’s La Divina Commedia, Interview with Francesca Pedretti,
Over a cold winter weekend in New York City, The Ruby Lady encountered a dancer and her project unlike anything she had seen before. Completely collaborative, experimental, theatrical and soaking in a uniquely Italian emotional authenticity, Milan’s Francesca Pedretti and her traveling production of Dante’s La Divina Commedia has the potential to transform belly dance communities around the world

Helene’s Seminar in Berlin, Traditional Dance Theater Project ANAR DANA 2013/14
Together we studied seven traditional dances in a total of 10 weekends with the worldwide renowned dance ethnologist and choreographer Helene Eriksen and organized two final recitals of our program which included solo dances from Helene. It began with a very tight training schedule but later it actually turned out to be much more – together we embarked on an imagined voyage to the Orient, which finally was a travel to find ourselves. But we understood that only much later.

The Rainstorm in the Desert! Experience Amel's Authentic Maghreb Dance
The early-bird price of $750 was much friendlier to my wallet than international airfare to the Maghreb would have been!

Attending My First Belly Dance Convention (But Not My Last) Austin Belly Dance Convention 2015 by
Austin, in addition to being the “Live Music Capital of the World,” also has quite an impressive number of talented and committed belly dancers. Every week performances, showcases, and meet-ups can be found around town, and accomplished instructors are available nearly every night of the week for classes.

Embrace the Spotlight! Overcoming Stage Fright
The only way the audience knows there was a deviation from the plan is if I hesitate or break character. They are none the wiser if I continue dancing purposefully.

Encore, My Return to Dance
Encore: Verb – To add to or repeat a performance, an extra or repeated performance. I was privileged to have the opportunity of an encore, a reprise that provided a look back at how very much I loved to dance – I still do! - and to teach and share my knowledge after nearly 15 years away from the art I spent most of my adult life practicing.

Facts and Misconceptions about Kawliya, Interview with Assala Ibrahim on the topic of Iraqi dance especially Kawliya
My first encounter with her was in her Kawliya and Iraqi Zar workshops at Amani’s Oriental Festival in July 2014. I was excited by this rare opportunity to learn the dance from a native Iraqi dancer because dance for me is not a fantasy but a way to understand the culture behind it and to make a spiritual connection with the people of the dance.

Leading the Dance, On Stage and Off, Professional Development Through the Lens of Belly Dancing,
Hindsight may or may not always be 20-20, but time to reflect always brings a broader perspective and deeper understanding. I know this both as a professional belly dancer and as a museum consultant. Recently my dance and museum worlds intertwined when I took time to reflect on my personal and professional evolution in dance and in business

Shining a Spotlight on Egyptian Dance, NYCairo Raks Festival in NYC Brings Together International Artists
For its first year, the NYCairo Raks Festival produced by Bellydance America and Mohamed Shahin created a notable event with star-studded performances, authoritative workshop instructors and opportunities to meet dancers from around the world. I was fortunate to have the chance to perform in the open stage, watch all the gala shows and partake in several of the workshops.

I Believe in Gypsies! (But Not as a Style of Belly Dance)
I have read many times that “Gypsy” is a bad word because they prefer to be called “Rom.” Therefore, it is disrespectful to use the word in any form. I beg to differ.

Color, Graphic Design for Dancers, Part 2
Now we'll delve into applying colors in marketing materials, returning to the ever-present concepts of hierarchy and legibility introduced previously.

Alive - Inside and Out! Tai Chi Can Enhance Your Dance
Exploring and blending these disciplines has long been my “secret sauce.” Centering and breathing, conscious transitions, body and soul awareness–from footfall to fingertip and beyond–nourish and replenish my dance.

Retirement, Is There Life After Dance?
Perhaps this was my mistake; I had a plan for my dance career, and I was not shy to tell it to everyone who would listen.

An Evening of Egyptian Music and Dance, a Report from El Leil
Amina and the Aswan Dancers did it again! The sold out show at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts was another stellar example of the kinds of show their fans have grown to expect and they have not yet been disappointed.

The Best of the British! The South of England Belly Dance Scene.
Like every area, the UK has seen an ebb and flow in the popularity of belly dance, the economic impact and the rise in popularity of fusions styles has changed the dance from when I first started twenty years ago. Yet I see a strong, healthy and supporting scene posed to expand when disposable income in the general population increases.

Don't Come Whining to Me! An Open Letter to Aspiring Young Belly Dancer
If you audition for a Greek restaurant – do NOT come to an audition with anything other than Greek music.

A Journey to the West Bank, A Lone Dancer Visits Palestine
The refugee children were dressed in sweatpants and T-shirts, like school kids anywhere in the world. The coach was in a tracksuit, and his stern voice echoed over the young crowd. It could easily have been a basketball game, or perhaps a rehearsal for a play, that was about to begin in this gymnastics hall. But this was a dance rehearsal

Patient is a Bellydancer, Part 2:The New Normal & the Boring Reason I'll Never Stop Dancing
What was once an exercise in insanity is now how I hip drop and down walk.

Crossing the Chasm, Cultural Sensitivity and Bellydancing
So how do we start to change the consciousness of people who see our profession as base, both inside and outside of the Middle East? I think it must start with a good understanding of the culture behind the dance, by condemning the culture or completely disregarding it in our art form, we have lost touch with our artistic role in society and thus have lost the ability to alter it.

A Refuge for Innovation, Tribal Fest 2014
Although Tribal Fest is a live on stage, face-to-face event, it is the danced realization of a world in which the technological flows of transportation and communication bring images and bodies into correspondence with each other, and through the form create new images that move a global popular culture dialogue forward.

Colorful Maghreb in Los Angeles, A Celebration of Music and Dance,
“Dancing In The Sunset ~ A Celebration of Maghreb Music and Dance” held February 1, 2014 at the Live Arts LA Theater in Los Angeles, California

Colorful Moments in Spain, 2014 International Oriental Dance Festival of Gijon,
The International Oriental Dance Festival of Gijón, held every year in March, is organized by Fusión Oriental Group and Vanesa Moreno. Gijón is a small town on the north coast of Spain. Since its inception, the number of students was increasing and  improved their attitudes about Oriental dance. That is the main reason why Fusión Oriental group decided to do something special to provide an outlet for all of these emotions and ideas. Many ideas emerged, but finally we decided that a festival was the best of them. 

Zar: Trance Dancing with Yasmin, 2014 Workshop at Amina’s in San Francisco
Here in the Bay Area, so many excellent instructors make appearances that I always feel I need to choose carefully to make the most of my workshop budget. But when I heard that Yasmin Henkesh was coming to give a daylong workshop on zar, I knew right off that this was one I wouldn’t want to miss – how often do most of us get a chance for an in-depth look at this fascinating ritual?

Typography, Graphic Design for Dancers, Part 1
As artists of an often misunderstood dance, we dancers understand that everything we present publicly reflects back upon us as individuals, upon bellydance as an art form, and by extension, the Middle Eastern culture. When presenting these facets in the most favorable light to other dancers or the general public, good design becomes paramount because it is the most unmistakable way to demonstrate our worth.

Beata Zadou in 1988, Winter Visit to Berlin's Snow Princess
It is rare that reality matches one’s fantasy, but in this case, in 1988, my expectations were surpassed by the reality of wish-fulfillment.

Music Copyright Law for Belly Dancers (or for any Performing Artist) (commenting now available on this article)
You are not going to like what you are about to read. But if you are performing publicly to music you do not own, for your own protection, please keep reading. Every professional dancer should know at least the basics of music publishing law, particularly if she wants to appear in an audio-visual production destined for commercial distribution.

Patient is a Bellydancer, Part 1, Irritable Bowel vs. the Dancer
Weeks later my doctor told me she had never seen it that high in anyone before. Something was very wrong.

by Samira Shuruk
Every day we go to places where we are surrounded by strangers!

Samrah's Legacy, Revisiting MECDA's First Fundraiser in Los Angeles, May 1978
However, THIS event was different due to the overwhelming support and participation from our dance community. The community I mention was primarily working nightclub dancers and musicians, and a few vendors. In fact, I had not seen so many musicians’ come together for a common cause before and certainly ever since.

Harnessing the Light Within, Outdoor Photography
Outdoors, the dancer can more easily release uncertainty by conjuring the feeling of limitlessness, pulling energy from the sky, swirling visualization, curiosity. She can come up and out of herself and become part of her surroundings, harnessing sunlight, a delicious breeze

O Aitos Berkeley in the '70s
Truthfully, I had never laid eyes on an authentic belly dancer, live or on film at that point, so I hardly knew what to expect.

Red Flags Before the Green Light, My Experience as a Club Bellydance Sponsor
For some reason I assumed my problem was an oddity. It was not.



All the World’s A Stage! Reviews of Three Theatrical Shows and Technique DVDs, “Fantasy Bellydance-Desire”, “Outi Wa Bas”, “Bellyqueen: Ultimate Fusion”
It is obvious that much has changed in belly dance over the decades, and now fusion is everywhere.

Grace and Sass!, "The Veil with Hilary Thacker","Arabic Jazz Fusion with Galit Mersand", and "Ballet for Bellydancers with Brianna"
This grouping of DVDs was enjoyable to review, as it dealt with many things that I personally enjoy and find graceful and useful, such as veil work, and Western dance technique, such as Ballet and Jazz.

From Evolution to Revolution, A Review of "Dark Side of the Crown"
Jillina’s character is mean and abusive which makes us think that she may be the killer!

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Other Departments


Cult or Bellydance Class? Cartoon
"Pity those who do not study on our path, for they know not what they do not know!"

Strained Relations
Hi! Remember me? I'm your long lost cousin!

Gilded Serpent Awards or CERTIFICATE for Self Promotion!
Get your own Gilded Serpent award in any field you choose!

Intruder, BEWARE!
"How dare they pollute our pond!"

Romancing the Stonewall
"Hi, dear, can you send me a payment?"

Fill-'Er Up!
"I'm so glad you came to help me Theify!", Alexandria's Belly Dance Comicstm

A Whole Latte' Shaking Going On,
"Ok, I think we can stop now!"

Saving Grace,
"Could I sit here for a few moments?"

Class War-fair?
"I sprang from the forehead of Isis!"

You've Got Mail!
Female Clones from Zayda III are being killed and robbed of their family jewelry!

-Yasmina's First Club Gig
"You're so beautiful! Wouldn't you like to audition to dance for us?"

Belly Dancer Paper Doll
Print this paper doll. Then color, cut her out and PLAY!

Fabulous Fritz's Adventures in Show Biz. Adventure #1
"I'm just a photographer, I don't know these women!"

Fabulous Fritz's Adventures in Show Biz #2
"I have just enough time to drive back..."


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