Samiya

The Gilded Serpent presents...

Samiya

For the friends I haven't met yet....and for those who know me or of me and only know a tiny part of me.

I grew up in a very multicultural area of Melbourne. My friends were Greek, Italian, Turkish, Lebanese and Arabic. I eventually left 'home' for Queensland and it was 7 years later that I discovered bellydancing. Bellydancing has always fascinated me but I always thought "I can't do that" because the dancers I had seen were all beautiful and slim and I was quite larger. I would sit in awe as I watched my friends families dance and enjoy themselves (so different to Aussie families) and would only join in when invited to, which was every time as these lovely people liked nothing better than to have everyone having fun. They never said "this is bellydancing" so it wasn't until many years later that I found the connection between their earthy dances and 'bellydance'. They were my friends and extended families. I was lucky to grow up surrounded by multiculturalism......where else can you be introduced to something as delicious as a Souvlaki, Ravani cake dripping with syrup, Hommous or Halvah?

In 2002 I joined a bellydance class along with my mum after we saw an advertisement and thought it would be a fun thing to do as mother and daughter quality time. Instant addiction and the first thing I found out that it IS for everyone and I didn't have to be a certain size to benefit...I have dropped 5 dress sizes since I began because I practiced 4 hours a day from my first day of class with my former teacher and still do it.

By mid 2003 we had parted ways with our original teacher and in August 2003, due to the lack of another teacher in our area and wanting to continue to learn on top of what I had been learning outside of my 'regular class environment', I took a huge step and one which was to change my life forever in many ways. I had contacted Hossam Ramzy with compliments to him as I had discovered the joy in his music. A few emails passed back and forth and I asked him when he was coming to Australia again.....the ending result of ten scores of emails back and forth ended with me offering to host him and Serena here in Maryborough. Maryborough of all places! My first attempt at hosting anyone and I go and get one of the most famous tabla players in the bellydance community and the beautiful Serena, master teacher of bellydance and elegance.

I also decided to use this opportunity to begin my teaching career in bellydance and along with my mother Evelyne founded the Flaming Sands Academy of Middle Eastern Dance with a small class of 6 in Howard Qld.. Within 12 months we had 46 students in classes in Howard, Maryborough and Hervey Bay. By the time we hosted Leonie and Alpen in 2005 we had grown to 62. Out of those students we were dealing with 36 who were performers. On our website is a photo which has all 36 on stage and at the foot of the stage for the beginning of the finale of the night. It was amazing to see them all there in one place and a few dancers from other schools told us afterwards that they had no idea how big we had gotten in such a short time....neither did we really as it was rare to have them all together performing.

In 2006, we now have 7 dance classes and I teach Middle Eastern percussion as well as lead Drums of Egypt (our percussion group named after the concert featuring Hossam and Serena for a magical 45 minutes!), and are the largest bellydance school in our area, with 28 regular performers, including one delightful man. We perform cabaret, gypsy style, American Tribal Style with our troupe TribalEyes, bellydance fusion and Tribal Fusion.

As teachers, our own learning is neverending and we have many national and several international master teachers to thank for their guidance, support and above all friendship given to us since the creation of Flaming Sands and Drums of Egypt.

Samiya's Flaming Sands Academy of Middle Eastern Dance
Queensland, Australia

Web site: flamingsands.com

Articles on Gilded Serpent by or about Samiya