2011

Ask Yasmina #17: Practice and Rehearsal
The key point to solo study and practice is to remember that if you are enjoying yourself, you are most likely not growing or progressing!


But what is “culture,” and how (if at all) have we appropriated it? Who is the implied speaker here, and what makes us believe that there is disapproval being voiced?

Inspiration and a Push from the Stars, A Dancer's Destiny part 1
Around this time, my mother was singing at Mahrajan’s when they held Arabic functions and there was a dancer by the name of Kanza Omar, who was my idol

Photos from Cifuentes’ Sommer Festival in Berlin
The idea of presenting a dance festival together with a contest is to promote talent, encourage excellence, and motivate dance artists from all over the world to come to Berlin and participate and results in this special and amazing event of learning and performance.


However, no. Instead, Prince X sent a drink to everyone at my table, except me, just to underscore his apparent disapproval of my offensive behavior…


"She is a professional singer and dancer, being taught by her mother from her earliest youth, and with the menfolk beating the taboor (drum) and twanging the kamanga (zither) she gives turns at the Beduin encampments for which the "hat" is passed round afterwards.

Egypt's Golden Age, Timeline and Synopsis
From around 1850 to 2000, Egypt saw the birth, rise, and transformation of its cultural expression through dance. With each period, a new energy in the dance was introduced and, with it, new dancers with new dance movements and new costumes.

An ATS Family Reunion, FCBD’s Annual Production of Devotion
FatChanceBellyDance’s 2011 production of its Devotion was presented on Friday, June 17 at the Julia Morgan Theater in Berkeley, California. This year’s theme, “The Home”, was explored by six troupes and soloists and accompanied by FCBD’s home musicians, Helm.

Undercutting the Competition, A Problem of Ethics or Practicality?
The Internet presence has created a whole new style of “elitism” in the dance world.

Interview with Nawarra of the UK and Morocco
We met Nawarra in Marrakech, at Simona's Mediterranean Delight Festival held there in June 2011. Nawarra grew up in Casablanca graduating from the university there. She now lives in Leed, near Manchester in Northern England. She has a troupe there, teaches and also takes several tour groups per year back to Morocco. She explains to us the term "sha'abi" and how it is used in the Moroccan dialect of the Arabic language.

A Month in Cairo, Egypt, Report #4: Classes, Performing with Safaa Farid Band, Closing Gala, Classes at AWS
She finished off the teaching part of the class with a cane dance filled with a variety of cane movements that were playful and fun. At the end, she had a real treat for us: She performed a short Oriental number in her unique style for us to watch and enjoy.

Gigbag Check #32 - Tito Seif
In October, 2011, we found Tito Seif backstage at Hala's Show in Redwood City, California. Tito is currently the most famous male dancer in the world. He shows us several of his costumes all of which he designed. Also included is a clip of one of his dances at Hala's wonderful show. Thank you to Hala and Tito for your time and sharing.

From Syria with Love! Queen of Denial, Chapter 6: My Arrival
You may think that the life of a traveling Belly dancer is filled with intrigue and love affairs, but this couldn’t be further from the truth!

Know Your Bellydance Audience
A part of us may feel like we’ve earned an audience because we’ve worked so hard and perform a quality show. But the truth is that you have to win an audience every single time.

A Gilded Serpent Time Capsule Presentation, Rakkasah 1984 and 1986 (25 years ago) Photos by Lynette Harris
While taking a nostalgic look through my photo albums recently, I realized that if I was ever going to share these photos, I had better go ahead and scan them into the computer now before they deteriorate even more than they already have. Yes, they are discolored and blurred, but I think they will be of some value to those who pay attentions to costume styles or those who were there and simply enjoy re-visiting the memories

2011 Eliat Festival with T and A!
Eilat is a bustling attraction for many tourists, boasting world class beaches, diving, and great weather, which was one reason that we picked this destination in January!

Simona Minisini of Italy Video Interview
In June, 2011, Gilded Serpent was present at the Mediterranean Delight Festival in Marrakech, Morocco (produced by Simona Guzman). There we were able to get some time with Simona Minisini of Palmanova, Italy. She told us about her school, the coming World Dance Tropy Competition and her own history in Oriental dance. She and her husband Igor have a studio called Club Sunshine with mutiple dance rooms, 2 pools and a "Bed and Breakfast". This video also included a sample of her performance at the festival in Morocco.

A Month in Cairo, Egypt, Report No. 3: Fresh Eggs and the Festival Begins, Ahlan Wa Sahlan, Part 1
One of the aspects of AWS that I enjoy most is the contact it offers with dancers not only from Egypt, both Egyptian and foreign-born, but from all over the world. It’s a rare opportunity to find out that our dance idols are real people who are warm, friendly, and eager to share their knowledge.

Jillina Drum Solo Video from International Bellydance Conference of Canada
Jillina dances for drummer, Suleiman Warwar. This performance was held at the Acrobat Lounge in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

SFBA MECDA Gala Show & Festival 2010
Produced by the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Middle Eastern Culture and Dance Association, held on November 15, 2010, in the Hillview Community Center in Los Altos, CA

Radio Bastet, Where the Hafla Never Stops! An Interview with Its Creator, Marisa Young
Here’s one thing that is very frustrating: finding out that you have two or three copies of the exact same record, released on different labels, with different artists names, different track names and arrangements, and different covers!

Ballet-ification of Belly Dance
When did Ballet become a requisite for Belly dance, and why is it stated that it should be an essential part of a Belly dancer’s daily regimen?

Sirat Al-Ghawazi, Ghawazi Research, Part 10: 1977, Nawary Gypsy Background of the Mazin Ghawazi
"They came to the aforesaid Shah and asked him for dwellings in his country … the greater portion he placed in Mazandaran as a check to the pride of the Uzbak, Turkmans, Umid, and the nomad Tatars, who are always starting raids, and acting as highwaymen."

Europe- Helm Musical Adventures, Part 3
Last winter my husband, Mark Bell, and I were hosted in Paris and Slovenia to teach Middle Eastern rhythms and present Tribal Belly Dance with live music. The following are photos from our adventures.

Why I Went to Camp This Summer, A Report of Bahaia's 2010 Camparet
Before much time had elapsed, I found myself dancing while bound mid thigh with a hot pink velvet stretchy band and a drinking straw inserted between my teeth. Crazy? Yeah, like a small red fox.

An Opposing View, South Africa's Dance Community Thrives
Nonetheless, we are still a closely-knit group–with, perhaps, a handful of people who have decided to set themselves aside from the mainstream of our community. Unfortunately, we find that those are the same dancers who are giving their opinions and critiquing the rest of the community and its dancers.

Belly Dance Costuming Evolves, Photos and Commentary from a Rising Star of Costume Design
Video interview with author. "Because our colorful dance form is still living, changing, and evolving day-by-day, the costume designers will inspire us endlessly. This movement is a never-ending energy flow full of elegance and ferocity, sensuality and femininity. I hope that I will be a part of this wonderful Oriental dance life for a long time."

A Month in Cairo, Egypt, Report No. 2: Housekeeping, Internet, Costume Shopping, Reconnecting with More Friends
When I think of my first trip here in 1977, I can see what amazing changes have occurred since then – most of them for the better.

Sunday Photos from Rakkasah East- October 2010
Barakat, Basema, Dena Shazadi, Fatima, Fire Blossoms, Ghada Girls, Habiba, Laura, Leila, Rega, Saiedah, Shadia, Tempest, Willow, Yuliya, Zenaiede


Amity, Anka Kusu, Belly Mystic, Bliss, Calixta, Desert Moon, Dorothea, Eddie Kochak, Scott Wilson, Serpent Secrets, Fantasha Dancers, Isis, Jamileh, Kelebek, Latifa, Lily...

Friday Night Photos from Rakkasah East- October 2010
Desert Embers, Dharma, Fahtiem, Leila Haddad, Mystic Wiles, Nadia Layla, Najma, NightShade, Phoenis, Raks Shiva, Troupe Shahibat

Bellydancers "Gotta have a Gimmick!", Excessive Use of Props
I get the impression from watching such performances that a prop wasn’t incorporated in the show because it helped the dancer express an emotion in the song, but the property was intended to be the focus of the performance.

Dreaming in Massachusetts, Photos from MassRaqs 2011
The celebration of those traditions, along with the fervor of Boston’s intellectual culture, the talent of our local community of dancers and musicians, and a desire to connect that beautiful history to the global present and future of our dance drives the work we do in our event.

MaShuqa interviews Ali Hamidzadeh of Turquoise International,
Ali tells us about how he came to produce his first cymbals. He is interviewed by MaShuqa. He also talks about Dahlena, Bobby Farah, his education, inferior copies of his zils, how to know that you have genuine Turquoise cymbals. Testimonials from Jillina, Princess Farhana, and Marta Schill.

Assiut / Assuit, Fascinating FAQs
However, mosquito netting was invented by the Egyptians and dates back thousands of years.

Aubre Hill, New Fussion Energy in Taiwan
As time has passed, the local community has found itself on a changing path. The heavily choreographed (written notation) dance trend remains the staple of the main stream while increasingly, local dancers (and instructors as well) have begun to realize that there is something else in addition to set notations of dance movements to learn.

Competition Strategies, A Judge's Suggestions
Choosing a costume that fits and flatters your choreography is equally important. If you want to highlight your amazing hip work, be sure to choose a costume with lots of fringe and tassels on the hips so the judges cannot fail to see that hip work.

Ba Olek Eh (Tell You What)
A new feature and an experiment! Amina' has such an interesting life. Let her tell you about it.

Video Sample of Band Rehearsal for Tarabiya Concert at Amina's House
Jalal Takesh, Faisal Zedan, Husain Dixon Resan, Hana Ali, Sandy Hollister, Amina Goodyear

Ahava and her Workshops, A Fan's Viewpoint
“Usually, the up accent is on the downbeat,” said Ahava, “but if you are doing a hip drop in the modern style, the drop would be on the down.”

A Month in Cairo, Egypt, Report No. 1: Settling In, Post-revolution Egypt, Reconnecting to Life in Cairo
No one has ever seen the square being used in any of these ways over the last 30-some years. Everyone has remarked about this and is happy about it.

3 South African Dance Pioneers, Reaching Out to the "New Woman" of Their Country
One should dance with the fullness of knowing her role in life, honoring that knowledge in its purity, and following the ideal of Middle Eastern feminine essence rather than dancing from a competitive space.


In an almost archetypal will to power, Diane encouraged us to utilize our costuming – and our dance – as a way to search out and expand our own unique spirit, fantasy and physique, something I try to continue with my students today: become the object of your own fantasy.

An Innovative and New Series in New York City, Photos from "Atelier Orientale"
Artists are encouraged to present new works, whether traditional, contemporary or experiemental, and can present solos or bring a troupe.

Dancer's After-Life, Have You Prepared?
It would have been a true tragedy to lose these items that are rich in dance history and were priceless to Marliza.

Gig Bag Check #31 with Alina, Mher's Daughter
Maria and Mher of Hollywood Music show us whats in Alina's gig bag or diaper bag. Gig bag checks are a regular feature on GildedSerpent.com

Video Interview with Hakima of Morocco
GS met Hakima at Simona's Mediterranean Delight Festival held in Marrakech in June 2011. Hakima is a native Moroccan dancer. She was teaching workshops an performing. She had a friend help us with translating. Hakima now lives near Barcelona in Spain. She can also be found and contact on Facebook Check out her hair braiding during the drum solo!

Roma Tribal Forum, More of Helm's Musical Adventures
The growing interest for both styles of Tribal Dance inspired them to hold a Tribal Meeting in this ancient city.


These songs are still the ones played and requested today. Arabic classics are here to stay!


An intro and premise of a video of Karim's lecture as presented to The Arab American National Museum "Diwan" Conference in Deerborn Michigan in March 2009.

Debunking the "Golden Era" of Bellydance, Part 2, Finding Your Gigs
Nevertheless, you don’t have to wait for someone else to hire you; you can hire yourself!


If you want to call what you do Tribal or Tribal Fusion, or anything Tribal, you should study ATS (American Tribal Style Belly Dance) and know what true Tribal is before you fuse it with something else.

Debunking the "Golden Era" of Bellydance, Part 1
Just like today, dancers had to create the place, the time, and the excuse to show or “sell” our newly-found artistry or resign ourselves to dance in parks and on street-corners or in syncopated troupe dances forever. So much for creativity and self-expression…

"Objects of Desire, Photos from Venus Uprisings April Performance
The 7th fantasy bellydance concert produced by the New York City artistic salon Venus Uprising took place at the Merce Cunningham Studio on April 15th and 16th, 2011. Invited dancers were asked to create new works based upon the theme "Objects of Desire". The performers responded with an interesting array of interpretations, ranging from the literal to the highly abstract.

Video- Finding the Lammam Ensemble at the Cotati Accordion Festival
A collage of clips of various music styles included in this world music festival in Northern California.

Arabian Nights at 12 Adler Place, North Beach Memories, Part 1:1961
Leona had introduced me to her friend Josephine, whom she described as a lovely Sicilian American woman who had recently taken the stage name of Jamila.

Dallas Observer’s Recent Belly Dance Ruckus
The silver lining in all this is witnessing the wrath of Belly dancers scorned.

“Ghannili Shwayya, Shwayya”, (Sing for me a little, a little), Musings: Music Choices at BDUC 2011
Thirty-one contestants and thirty mergencies later, I had my answer.

Your Stage Name, Choosing the Right One
Beware of letting others name you! Years ago, dancers were often surprised before going on stage to dance as they were announced by musicians or club owners by a name unknown to them that they hadn’t selected.

Gigbag Check #30 - Suhaila Salimpour
Suhaila take us on a tour through her gig bag and what is important for her to have with her for performance. This video was shot in May 2011 in the dressing room at Tribal Fest in Sebastopol, California.

From Town to Goat Track, A Tour of the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan
One lithe young girl twisted her way through this crack and into the tiny cave, and brought back some mineral crystals, said to have healing powers.

Becoming the Object of Your Own Fantasy, "Perfumes of Araby" in the 1970s, Part 2
We are packed tightly shoulder to shoulder, impulsing to the dramatic beat with great solidarity: traditional hand gestures, chest drops, all very serious and trance like. This mood was broken however by a guy at the back of the 200 plus audience, who stood on his chair, raised his beer glass and shouted "The one in the yellooooow…." then actually fell completely backwards like a tree that had just been cut! I hope he was OK!

Carnival of Stars, Page 4: O-Z Photos
The Carnival of Stars Festival is produced by Pepper Alexandria and Latifa at the Richmond Auditorium each year at the beginning of August. The stage at this facility is hard to beat. The wonderful lighting and the large stage make every dancer feel like a diva! Once again, Carl has done an amazing job catching the character of each dancer.

Intervew with Ahmet Ogren, Bringing Gypsy Dance to the People
Ahmet is a sexy and masculine dancer who combines a sense of playful humor and has the dedication and drive of a consummate professional. He pushed us hard, laughed, and encouraged us.

Carnival of Stars, Page 3: I-O Photos
The Carnival of Stars Festival is produced by Pepper Alexandria and Latifa at the Richmond Auditorium each year at the beginning of August. The stage at this facility is hard to beat. The wonderful lighting and the large stage make every dancer feel like a diva! Once again, Carl has done an amazing job catching the character of each dancer.

Incredible Helena Vlahos! Magic, Mojo and Inspiration
There was this beautiful, magical Belly dance woman who was bold, confident, and paving a wave of inspiration and independence.

Dancer Cancer, Part Two: Who? Me?
Still, the human heart is woven with threads of hope, and mine did not doubt that if I could make it through the onslaught of doctors, surgeries, pain, and gymnastic therapy, I would, someday dance again.

Carnival of Stars, Page 2: D-H Photos
The Carnival of Stars Festival is produced by Pepper Alexandria and Latifa at the Richmond Auditorium each year at the beginning of August. The stage at this facility is hard to beat. The wonderful lighting and the large stage make every dancer feel like a diva! Once again, Carl has done an amazing job catching the character of each dancer.

Dance Festival Warms Oslo Winter, Oslo Oriental Dance Festival 2011
This competition is not open to professional dancers, and judges are required to give constructive feedback to encourage growth.

Bellydance 'n All that Jazz, Trends in Tribal Fusion
For some dancers, it can be easier to relate to music from one’s own culture than it is to music from halfway around the world.

New Video added to Serpent Tour 2011- Shopping with Asmahan and Anna in Marrakech

Turkish “Roman Gypsy Dans”, Melting Any Heart!
This dance of the Gypsies is about becoming a life-like character. It contains a wide range of moods and feelings for the dancer to express: The gray quality of everyday tasks turns into colorful dance that does not distinguish between the relative value of one color over another.


The dates were nearly sold out already; the dangers had been grossly exaggerated.


We were delighted when Colleena Shakti invited us to teach classes concerning Musicality for Dancers at the Colleena Shakti School of Dance in Pushkar, Rajastan. Last January, we made the trek over water and mountains to reach this fascinating land. Pushkar holds the only temple dedicated to Brahma, the creator, as well as many other temples.

Carnival of Stars, Page 1: A-C Photos
The Carnival of Stars Festival is produced by Pepper Alexandria and Latifa at the Richmond Auditorium each year at the beginning of August. The stage at this facility is hard to beat. The wonderful lighting and the large stage make every dancer feel like a diva! Once again, Carl has done an amazing job catching the character of each dancer.


I think it was around this time when I had gotten to know my co-workers and escorts well enough to allow them to try explaining their way of life and thinking processes to me, that I realized I was in a “no win” situation.

Ask Yasmina #16, New Baby Dance, Taqsim Shimmies, and Cane Music
However, there are many who had to resort to Cesarean after a long and arduous labor as well. It might be negligent to throw around such claims.

Egyptian Percussion Instruments by Dr George Dimitri Sawa
From the medieval era to our own time, Arabic music has been predominantly rhythmic. For this reason, much effort has been spent to write a theory of Arabic rhythms.

Permits, IDs, Licensing, Foreign Dancers in Cairo,
It dawned on me that some dodgy nightclub manager, whom I didn’t know personally, had complete control over my passport and my freedom to leave! So, I had no alternative other than to end my contract in order to get my passport back which also meant halting the lengthy paper process.

Dancing with Tigers, In China with Fleurs d’Egypte
We had no idea what to expect of the actual location. However, with ticket and costumes in hand, we rode the wave. Arriving late at night, we were ushered to our rooms and straight to bed to sleep off our jet lag. We had no concept of the overwhelming size of the park and over-the-top eye-candy awaiting us the next morning!

Becoming the Object of Your Own Fantasy, "Perfumes of Araby" in the 1970s, Part 1
The Belly dance scene in 1970s Los Angeles: It is difficult to spotlight succinctly even one portion of a vibrant, vast and quickly growing community of Middle Eastern dancers, their enthusiasts, and the ethnic communities, musicians, festivals and supper clubs that supported the dance arts. The abundance of inspiration in that era was almost beyond understanding; yet once upon a time before the Internet, music, imagery and information was less readily available.

Inaugural "Art of the Belly" Festival Rings in Spring in Style, Bellydance comes to Ocean City, Maryland
Inside the hotel, waves of positive energy radiated all around. People were not just glad to be at this festival, they were honored. If you were from Maryland, this was your belly dance festival. Dancers were representing both themselves and the elements of various fusions. They wanted this to be done right.


Maria, Nadika, Naiya-Hayal, Onyx Moon, Oreet, Raks Al Khalil, Raks Terayz, Raks the Casbah, Reda Darwish, Ruby, Sabiba, Sassafras, Shimmy Amour, Tatseena's Troupe, Terry, Titanya, Troupe Aneena, Yolanda, Zahara

Dancer Cancer, Part One: Hopping on One Foot
Still, I was confident that there would be no further problem and that I was letting my vanity get the best of me. By wanting to look good, I had caused all my own discomfort, I reassured myself. He said I would have the biopsy report in a few days and to call my referral doctor to hear what the UC San Francisco laboratory report said.

Dancing on the Roof of the World, Community Festival in Tajikistan .
After all my many travels to Tajikistan, filled with the frantic bustle of dance lessons, rehearsals, teaching, doing trip logistics, hunting for traditional bits and bobs for costuming, and getting fitted for stage costumes, I finally decided to try being a more-or-less normal tourist in one of my favorite places on Earth, the Pamir mountains of Badakhshan, eastern Tajikistan.

Serpent Tour 2011 Journal- London, Madrid and Marrakech! NEW VIDEO UPDATE-7-8-11
An experimental travel blog. Let see how it goes! The plan is to update this page frequently.

Photos from Rakkasah West 2011, Sunday A- L
Adira, Anisa, Ashley Lopez, Orchids, Damascus, Danielle, Desert Dream, Diana, Dondi, Dancers of the Desert, El Asaab, Evangaline, Fahtiem, Fatima, Ghawazee, Alexandria, Jamilla, Joweh, Karavansary, Lisa

The Transformation of Beauty, Inverting the Gaza, Part 3
As women and performers, why cannot we see beyond physical representation, when we, too, are trying our hardest to achieve such beauty in our own lives? Such hypocrisy ensures that we can never escape the limitations that society and, thus, we place these same limitations upon our own bodies.

Belly Dancer of the Year 2011 Contestants! Who Will Win This Coming Weekend?
Sneak preview of who you will see this weekend at this year's contest

Iraqi Ra’qisa’s Life in America, North Beach Memories and More!
“When I was watching you dance, I thought I was watching an Egyptian movie!”

Walk Like an Egyptian
Before I learned to "walk like an Egyptian", I wanted to drum like an African! Since my early teens, I had been collecting African drum LPs (as well as conga and bongo drums) and was either dancing like a possessed child or trying to make rhythms happen on drum skins.

A Moulid in an Egyptian Village
After the feast, the traditional Sai’eet (story teller), who could be a man or a woman, started telling stories accompanied by a full traditional orchestra. The entire village enjoyed stories about life, love, religion, and wisdom. Throughout history, the Sai’eet has been the educator, entertainer, and critic of life.

Back from Bahrain, Tiny Kingdom’s Riots are Puzzling
Approximately at the same time as the invasions of the French, British, etc. upon the Ottoman Empire the art of Belly dancing was introduced in cabarets of Egypt and Lebanon, as well as Turkey (Istanbul).

Get Over It! Soundbyte Bellydance Part Two
Imagine yourself dancing inside of a huge plastic jug full of gel or detergent. Pull and push your movements through the viscosity with conviction!

Moroccan Dreams: My New Festival in Marrakech
There is a mixture of faces in one region. There are so many different cultures that live in harmony –in the same place– that it is difficult to remain indifferent.

Ana Ra'asa Showcase: Egyptian Bellydance Past & Present
My purpose for doing this show was to bring Bellydance to the stage. We have such amazing talent in the Bay Area, and I feel that those dancers deserved a stage to showcase such amazing talent.

Raqs Royalty Lights Up Atlanta! Black Orchid Danse, 2010
She turned this modern Maghreb raqs raissa into a belly dance fusion fanatic.

Rakkasah West Festival 2011, Saturday, Page 2" J-Z
This group of photos is from Saturday, March 12, 2011. Bands in the background include: Vince Delgado and Coralee, The Mediterranean Raqs Band, Pangia, and Al'Azifoon

Paula, 2011 Champion of Champions, Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition
I do not know exactly what will happen, but I know it’s a beautiful start to present a Dominican dancer to the dance world. One very important thing also is that this award means to me that dreams do come true. I always wanted to be a dancer, and I could never really make it work because my country does not considered it a true profession.

You Say Zills, I say Sagat, So What’s the Difference?
Nevertheless, many dancers outside the Middle East still think the only difference between zills and sagat is semantics – “two words for the same instrument.” If you’ve played both – correctly – I doubt you would agree.

Sahra gives us a reports on her friends in Cairo since the Jan 25 revolution.
Sahra Kent with the help of Roxanne Shelby reports on what she has heard from her friends in Cairo since the protests began less than a month before this interview on February 20, 2011. It was conducted at the Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition in Long Beach, California

Hip Hip Hooray for Bellydance Day
Bellydance Day was created by Shabnam to inspire, educate and celebrate the beauty of this often misunderstood dance form. The dances presented on August 21, 2010 included Saiidi, Modern Oriental, Egyptian to Fusion.

Fashion Trend Report 2011 What's New This Year at Rakkasah?
What I noticed, first and foremost, was not the costuming, but rather, a change in the sellers themselves. The seller demographic has radically altered, creating a new vendor landscape. Without a doubt, this is a response to the on-going sluggish economy and the need for companies to reduce expenses. The reduction in costumes and products coming out of Egypt also affected the merchandise. Many small factories had a gap in production, and shipping has become even more problematic.

Rakkasah West Fest 2011, Saturday, Page 1: A-J
Afrita, Ahava, Ava Fleming, Bala Anat, Al Azifoon, Alea, Alnisa, Aruba, Banat El Hoggar, Black Diamond, Black Opal, Dancer of the Crescent Moon, Dancers of the Pharoah, Desert Heat Dancers, Elnora and Rhonda, Fringe Benefits, Hamsa, Hanna Lissa, Jasmine Jennifer, Jewels of the North


Gothic Bellydance has taken years to develop fully and define itself more exactly, but it has developed. Steampunk has different origins, but there are very specific things that are unique to it as well.

The Controversy, Learning to Love Eternal Debate
The path of artistic innovation is not a forward pointing line; it is a pendulum. Art doesn't move foreword cleanly; it bashes against ideas and is repelled by them! Movements emerge from conflict, not despite it.

As the Music Fades, Egypt's January 25 Revolution's Impact on the Muscians and Dancers
We can't attain what they had in the past because we are not free. Our minds are full of work and what we should and shouldn't do. There's no time for good art. Politics mixed with religion does not make for an atmosphere where the arts can flourish.

Sound-Byte Bellydance, Part One: Evolution of Bellydance
Through her clear description of what she wanted to learn, I was able to look inside our recent dance evolution and see what we dance teachers in the west have done to change Bellydance here in the U.S., how we have changed and modified it into something it never was in the lands of its origins.

Our Changing Dance World, a Response to Leila's "Dance for Dancers"
Of course, we learn musicality and so forth, but where dance classes in some places are an hour long, teaching long choreography is not sustainable to an instructor.

Video Interview with Shadi of Diamond Pyramid on the Community Kaleidoscope
Gilded Serpent interviews Shadi of Diamond Pyramid regarding the business scene since the Egyptian Revolution less than a month before this interview. This interview was conducted at the Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition in Long Beach, California on February 20, 2011

Rakkasah West Fest 2011, Friday Evening, Main Stage Only,
Aisha, Arabian Jewels, Azura, Dancers of Denile, Ariellah and Deshreet, Tatseena and Dreams of Cleopatra, Elnora, Ghanima, Goddess Force, Halima, Diana, Inami, Khalilah, Latifa, Kiyoko, Leila Haddad, Shaida, Shadya, Tanya, Zia!

On the Road, Queen of Denial, Chapter 4
That night, I would find out that my arrival and subsequent feelings of having "made it to the top" couldn't have been farther from the truth!

Joweh's "Call to Dance" in Guatemala, Part 2 of Dream Trip to Guatemala
Waiting in the wings of the nearly completely darkened stage, holding fire-colored fan-veils aloft, listening to the first strains of Egyptian orchestral music, I couldn't help thinking that this experience was both familiar and foreign, in the literal and figurative sense.

The Magic of "The Grapleaf", 1976-1997
Back in the early '80s when I was performing at the Bagdad Cabaret on Broadway, a customer strolled into the Northbeach nightclub and told me about a little known restaurant

Is "Cabaret" a Dirty Word? Using the Terms Cabaret vs. Night Club
So, is "cabaret" a dirty word? It depends on whose definition you want to use! In Arabic, the name "cabaret" is interpreted differently from what it is in English, leading to the confusion about nightclubs and cabarets. Here in the U.S., we think of a cabaret as a synonym for nightclub.

A Transformational Week, A Fan's View of Jillina's Weeklong Intensive Report
I think that's another benefit of having scholarships in the world of Bellydance because it gives dancers another goal to work towards: "What do I have to do to rise to the occasion, to receive this other kind of award?"

Empowering Women in India through Belly Dance
Read more: Gilded Serpent, Belly Dance News & Events , Empowering Women in India through Belly Dance
Copyright 1998-to current date by Gilded Serpent, LLC
The company works with less fortunate and troubled families and women, and pays the women a decent sum for their crafts as a way of helping them out.

MaShuqa interviews Dahlal and Tim Kent on the Cairo Revolution for the Gilded Serpent
In February 2011 while at the Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition, we catch Dahlal/Debbie Sinclair and Tim for an interview.
Discussed are the affects of the curfews, blocked streets, and lack of cell phone coverage on the production of costume orders. They also talk about the difference between Cairo and US designed costumes.

Shamadan or Candelabra: Dances Along the Nile Part 4
The style is very earthy and includes great "tricks" like the splits, stomach work while on the floor, rolling over full length on the floor and posturing -- complete with quivering buttocks, and various other individual talents.

Cultural Traditions vs Sexual Stereotypes Part 2 of The Female Gaze or "Medusa Dualities in Female Bellydance Performance and How the Gaze Continues to be Relevant Today"
There is a fine line between respecting cultural traditions and histories and reinforcing behaviours which are inherently damaging to the perception of the female body and its rights.

Gigbag Check #29 with Samantha of the Bellydance Superstars
Samantha is from Brighton, England. Sam starts to tell of her start with the troupe when Rachel joins the conversation briefly to help out and testifiy to Sam's talent and commitment. Sam was discovered in Rachel's workshop in Birmingham. Sam also shows us her gig bag and her favorite skirt made by Madi Love. Sam suggestions bringing a sewing kit and tells of problems getting her belt ornaments tangled in her bracelets. This footage was filmed February 15, 2009 backstage at the Marin Civic Center in San Rafael, California

Pangia Does Texas: A Warm Howdy!
Carmine Guida (New York) Pat Olson (Californina) and I, are all members of the band, Pangia. In August of 2010, we had the pleasure of teaching workshops and performing at Yaa Halla, Y'all! in Grapevine, of the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas. It was a distinct delight to have enthusiastic, involved, and engrossed participants in attending our workshops.

Video Report of Barbara's recent trip Cairo,
We caught Barbara at the Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition in Long Beach in February 2011. She tells us of her trip to Cairo trying to attend the Nile Festival. Included are descriptions of getting to her hotels, rode blocks, checkpoints, neighborhood militias, attending classes, cell phone video, curfew, teachers including Aida Nour, How caring Mohamed was of his group. Barbara is a vendor of belly dance costumes.

The Cairo by Night Festival, November 4-7, 2010, Stockholm Sweden
From the first moment that I arrived in Stockholm until I left, I felt warmly welcomed, relaxed, and it felt so fantastic to be with Zeina and Mohamed Abu Shibeka, that I spend my most memorable time there!

Not So Steam punk Belly Dance
Since Tribal Fusion is also easily accessible, there have been dancers who begin performing and calling themselves professional when really they are just hobbyists. A professional belly dancer would never label her dance genre based on an aesthetic.

Shaking Up Shibuya" The Belly Dance Scene in Japan
While belly dance in Japan originally came from American roots, it quickly grew to include Egyptian, Turkish Oriental, Turkish Roma, and various Tribal styles.

Gigbag Check #28 - Stevie of the Bellydance Superstars
Stevie is a cabaret dancers as well as a Stilt Dancer. She is from Kansas and now lives in Los Angeles. She tells us of her dancer history including her western and eastern dance teachers.

Magana Baptiste, San Francisco Dance Pioneer by
This was in the 1920s and 1930s and at that time there was no TV and barely radio. For entertainment, Magana's family asked her to don her tap shoes and perform for the family and for company.

Gigbag Check #27- Kami of the Bellydance Superstars
Kami is a tribal style belly dancer. She shows us how she organizes her costumes in net bags. She is also very fond of the robe that Miles had made for each of the dancers. She tells of almost walking onstage with the robe still on.

Other Categories: Kids, Troupes, etc. Photos from the Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition
Melanie, Kat, Punkin, Shanti, Wiiz, Ahgaar Karyma, ALyeeza and Julian, Babylon Mood,...

Mama Raqia: Approachable Dance Deity Visits Mexico
Raqia Hassan gave away 3 prizes in the event. One in recognition to Niral for her outstanding effort on organizing the event and welcoming her to Mexico. Raqia took about 20 minutes on the stage saying that she was so sad and angry that other teachers didn't come to greet her at the event.

Gigbag Check #26- Jayna of Bellydance Superstars
Jayna is the daughter of Marta Schill a well known dancer in the community, especially in the Los Angeles area.
Jayna takes a moment back stage at the Marin Civic Auditorium in San Rafael, California to show us what she carries with her to get ready for performance. Kami Liddle, who is a tribal style bellydancer had her station next to Jayna. This was filmed in February 2009.

Getting Home, Report from Cairo
As a new Egyptian national, I am proud that people are demanding their basic human rights, and at the same time, sorry for the economic hard times that have already begun here.

"But others do it too!" Pirating Recorded Music
I figured we were investing in our future. "One day", I thought, "we can retire from dance and collect the fruits of our efforts as music producers." For a while we were able to retrieve our investment and go into profit. Unfortunately, this has changed now.

Attention Dancers: Have You Seen this Man?
I promised that I would let the world of Belly dance know about this singular character! Watch (out) for him at you next event, for he could be anywhere!

Fun Times at the Third Annual North Bay Belly Dance Bazaar, A Northern California Community Event
Deborah Bennett and TerriAnne Gutierrez co-produced the third North Bay Bellydance Bazaar (NBBB) which was held on September 18 & 19, 2010 at the Sebastopol Community Center in Sonoma County, California.

The Unpleasant Truths, Part 3 of Being a Professional
If you really want to be a professional, first and foremost you must understand you are not so much a professional dancer as you are an entertainer.

Joweh's "Call to Dance" In Guatemala, Part 1: Arrival
Even our exhaustion couldn't dampen our excitement and eagerness to explore our fascinating new surroundings.

The Fusion Category, Photos from the 20th Annual Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition
Amani Jabril, Apsara, Dilek, Eliza, Gina, Jane, Kellie, Khuzama, Lucia, Maria, Mireya, Rachel, Tiaja, Tracy, Valentine, Zondra

Smooth Growth of Community Event, Las Vegas Intensive
It was interesting to note that everyone I talk to said they came to the convention so they can say that they had danced in Las Vegas.

Queens in Arizona? USA Belly Dance Queen: Arizona Arab BD Contest
To be honest, my favorite part was that the show presented an interesting challenge to many American dancers. They were required to identify the regional and cultural style of music they would be dancing to and represent that root in their technique, costume, and dance styling.

Delilah, Women, Nature and the Body
This belief in the force of the earth is central to Delilah's approach to teaching belly dance.

Europe's Newest Dance Destinataion, Split Tribal Festival in Croatia
It's like an Italy that one can actually afford, due to the fact that it is not yet an European Union country, and therefore not subject to the massive cost of living spikes of EU member nations.

Sword Disasters: A Lighter Outlook on Belly Dance, Part 2 of The Dumb and the Restless
I laughed at him, but that very night during my grand finale Sword Act… you know – that dramatic spin where you stop and the sword continues to spin on your head like a helicopter blade?

The Universal and Egyptian Category Finalists, Photos from the 20th Annual BDUC 2010
Kendra, Maria, Rachel, Samara, Dilek, Grinnelly, Katya, Masha

Lost in Translation, Fusion Confusion
Moria says, "Masking sloppy technique with cheap costuming and putting it all to break-beat music does not make you a fusion dancer. Fusion is like a good marriage; both components have to be very strong before the two work as a combination. "

Farida Fahmy Set the Record Straight, Innovation and Costuming of the Reda Troupe
The current troupe is an abomination of a wonderful enterprise.

Foreign Dancers in Cairo Timeline
Amera Eid, Asmahan, Astryd, Feiruz, Jalilah, Keti Sharif, Leila, Leyla Amir, Nesma, Nour, Outi, Sahra, Shareen el Safy, Yasmina of Cairo, Yasmina Ramzy, Yasmin Henkesh, Zeina, and many more

The Drum Solo Cartegory, Photos from the 2010 Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition
Aspira, Celestia, Erica, Evangaline, Gina, Innah, Jane, Jessica, Katya, Kenya, Lapis, Maiara, Maria, Masha, Nandi, Ninyshka, Rachel, Safira, Viridiana, Zondra

Gaining Respect for Bellydance Artists, Ask Yasmina #15
The following is a kind of "manifesto" or set of guidelines that Bellydancers could follow that might help contribute to our community of artists in gaining respect

I am Become Pure, Destroyer of Dreams, the Belly Dance Police
The fact of the matter is, nothing in the universe is constant: except change. "Inauthenticity" becomes "authenticity" over space/time – and vice versa.


2010

Sahra Goes to Egypt, Follow Your Dreams
Getting to know Sahra through the years I came to realize that all her richness and wealth was in her commitment to the dance and to the culture adjoining it. Like many artists, in many fields, she sacrificed for her art and she was always trying to find ways to share her art, her knowledge and her love of Egypt, dance and music.

20th Annual BDUC 2010 Photos: Category Winners!
Here are the champions of each category from the various contests held throughout the weekend. Gina, Dilek, Rachel, Katya, Jane, Melanie, Mireya, Roxanne, Viridiana, Wiiz

Dance for Dancers
Art created for other artists will evolve differently from art created for the masses.

Tribal Fusion: An Evolving Dance Form
The biggest contrast between ATS and Tribal Fusion was that improvisation was the basis for ATS while Tribal Fusion, at least in its earliest phase, had a strong emphasis in choreography. This allowed Jill Parker to play around with musicality and to explore musical genres that were appealing to her.

Cecilia of the Bellydance Superstars,
Cecilia of Argentina shows us her makeup kits and talks about how dancing with BDSS is fulfilling her dream. Brief glimpses of Cecilia dancing with the company. Filmed February 2009 at Marin Civic Auditoriu

Photos from the 20th Annual BDUC 2010 Saturday Night's Judges Celebrity Show,
This is the 20th year and was held in the Long Beach Convention Center. Saturday night's show featured all the workshop teachers and the judges for the many competions. More of Carl's lovely photos from the competitions are yet to come!

Moria of BDSS and her Silver Jewelry,
Moria the dancing nomad, shows us her precious silver bracelets that she handpicked in India herself. She tells of almost losing them at the airport because they counted them as weapons! Zoe and Samantha also visible in this collage. Also included are parts of Moria's drum solo with Hassam. Filmed February 2009 at Marin Civic Auditorium

Colleen of BDSS- Backstage at Marin Civic Auitorium, Feb 2009
Colleen talks about her 5-6 years of of touring with BDSS 7 months out of the year, including her slipped disks from riding the bus.
Colleen is from Marin County, CA. She wraps up her borrowed curling iron that has plastic burned onto it. We see her Polynesian skirt. A short clip of the BDSS Polynesian fusion dance is included.

Magana Baptiste, Dancing for a Queen
I became a "Princess" from Siam. None of my classmates knew anything about Siam except that it was exotic; so I was accepted because I was "exotic".

Long Distance Bellydance Relationship
I am very grateful technology allowed us to have this very special kind of troupe, one whose members live thousand of miles away.

Practice Makes Perfect, or Does it?
It is because mediocre or non-existent practice makes for a mediocre performer and perfectly consistent practice makes for a perfect performer.

More is More, Mohamed El Hosseny
Some might find El Hosseny's creations busy. The popular approach is to slow down to interpret the music whereas El Hosseny's approach is just the opposite.

A Dancer's Dancer in 1980s Hollywood, Interview with Yasmin
L.A. was heaven for fabrics though. You could find anything you wanted, and if they didn't have it, you could have it made, like the beautiful gold lame' sunburst skirt and veil I had pressed for a costume.

Struggle for Legitimacy, History of Belly Dance in Quebec, an Overview
They were not always accepted by the general public because of the revealing costumes but also because sometimes dancers performed between two strippers. This created a taboo around bellydancing. No one wanted to be caught learning it or performing on stage.

Part 5: The Dinner Shows, More Photos from the New York Theatrical Belly Dance Conference 2010,
We held the dinner shows at two of the most supportive environments in New York for bellydance: Je'bon Noodle House on St. Marks Place in the East Village and the Lafayette Grill in Tribeca. We made it our goal to give every conference participant the chance to perform, either to recorded or live music from one of our great local bands.

Part 4: More Photos from the New York Theatrical Belly Dance Conference 2010, Workshops, Garmet District Shopping Tour
Offstage, we browsed the fabric-and-accessory mecca that is Manhattan's garment district; embodied animals, clowns, and archetypes; learned to enhance our stage presence; shared experiences in panel discussions; and much more.

Personal Impressions, Fantasy Belly Dance in New York City
Looking back on it all, I can now only assume that, from the very beginning, I was already damaged goods. A "purest" I would never be!

We Will Rak You! My Dance Experience with Queen
I'll admit I wasn't too familiar with the music of the British rock group Queen. The year was 1977, the month of December, in Los Angeles. I was invited to perform at a dinner party where Queen, in Los Angeles for several concerts, was the guest of honor. The job came to me through Dianne Webber.

She's Got the Look! Establishing Yourself as a Professional, Part 2
Right or wrong, the average person hiring dancers has certain expectations.

"That's a little risque for you to be doing as a momie!" Belly Dancing and Resistance to Cultural Discourse
Thus, while the pregnant woman symbolizes maternal potential, she also becomes aesthetically problematic. She is both an admired subject and a physically unappealing object, according to contemporary standards of beauty. As such, the postpartum torso is to be modestly clothed and/or masked according to culturally appropriate standards.

Our Desert Roses, Photos from the Floralia Festival 2010,
Held April 29-May 2, 2010 in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, Produced by gleaming ray of light Selena Kareena, the Floralia Festival is held annually in TorC, (Truth or Consequences) New Mexico, and features a wide spectrum of dance and dancers from throughout the southwest, South America, and beyond.

The Dumb and the Restless: Fire! A Lighter Outlook on Belly Dance
Yes, the audience was eating out of my hand when someone from the back of the room yelled "Hey lady! Your hair is on fire!"

The Physiological Effects of Oriental Dance, Excerpt from Health and The Oriental Dance, Chapter 1,
There was no information subject available like "the technique of Belly dancing". I had to construct it myself. It took a lot of research in regards to both its theoretical and its practical sides.

Ergun Tamer on Saz,
Ergun is one of the organizers of the Middle Eastern Music and Dance Camp held in Mendocino, California, each year in August. Ergun plays many instruments. In this video he tells us about the Turkish saz. The saz has many names depending on the country, such as bazouk or bazouki. This instrument also comes in many sizes.

An Intro to Tribal Fusion
Since Tribal Fusion Belly Dance is a relatively new dance form, it is especially important to treat the genre with a level of professionalism, or else one runs the risk of discrediting the work of dancers who have dedicated their lives to creating and elevating Tribal Fusion Belly Dance.

Gigbag Check #22 with Cory Zamora!
Cory talks with us after her performance at the Carnival of Stars Festival in Richmond, California, in August 2010. She shows us what she carries for her performance.Including an old style 2 piece cabaret belt, Egyptian style bra with no fringe and more. The performance clip includes beautiful floorwork done as only Cory Zamora can do!

Queen of Denial, Chapter 3: Hooray for Hollywood!
As for Khayam's, it was the extremely popular nightclub and restaurant that was known for having the best live music show in town, with good dancers, good food; a constant supply of good drugs, and in particular the more and more fashionable cocaine.

Karim Nagi, Interview with an Egyptian Dance Master
I think that Egyptian and Arabic culture as a whole entity should never be extracted from this dance. I do not believe in de-ethnicizing it, and I do not believe the culture is optional! Nobody ever allowed Latino culture to become an optional part of Salsa or Samba. Additionally, Indian culture is inextricable from Bharatnatyam and Bhangra. I believe that Raqs Sharqi, a.k.a. "Belly dance" is available to anyone from any culture. I am not xenophobic, nor an exclusivist. I am thrilled to see people all over the world enjoy and promote this art form. However, I will argue for the importance of the Arab connection until the day I die.

Murat Tekbilek Demos the Darbuka,
Murat Tekbilek is the son of Omar Faruk and Susie who are from Turkey. He shows us the different sounds this drum can make and his obvious talent. Also included is footage of Murat performing on stage with his father and Dror Sinai, Hasan Isakkut and others. More fun clips from camp are included of drum sessions and classes and the kitchen staff's dance.

Part 3 of 2, More Performance Photos
Our stage shows took place Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at Dance New Amsterdam, a beautiful studio and performance space just north of City Hall. Performers included featured soloists and troupes selected by a panel of teachers, as well as all of the conference teachers themselves. A diversity of styles and approaches were represented onstage, from traditional to fusion to fantasy.

Part 2 of 2: The Performances, The New York Theatrical Belly Dance Conference 2010, A Five Day Exploration of Dance Styles, Intention, and Content.
Some of these "theatrical" works focused more on staging and aesthetics; some used narrative; others focused overtly on intention and meaning; and, a minority stayed true to traditional cabaret or folkloric modes.

Overcoming Public Assumptions, The Birth of Bellydance in Jakarta
One thing I often encounter is the public's assumption that 'bellydance' will tone your stomach and muscles and that it is for weight loss. Another is that bellydance is a vulgar, erotic dance used for seducing men. I am still trying to get the message to the public that both are untrue.

Reptile Illness, What is Wrong with My Snake?
Reptiles are good at hiding their illness because in the wild they would be easy prey. This makes it challenging for those of us who have them in our homes.

From the Street to the Virtual Cafe, The History of Shaabi
There were several movements throughout the world that seemed to simultaneously create music in the genre called "cassette culture". Most notably this type of music was evident in England and the U.S. with punk music, in Jamaica with Reggae, in Algeria with Rai and in Egypt with Shaabi music.

Ask Yasmina #14: Pro Dancer vs Religion, Importance of Training, Khaleegy Music
Then, I would speak to them about being authentic. If Bellydance was chosen with conviction, love and integrity, then their relationship with God would remain real and honest and maybe one day they might win back the respect of her family. It was still a huge risk, but at least, they could have comfort in living an authentic life.

A Dancer's Perspecitive: 2010 Yaa Halla Y'all Belly Dance Competition
Yaa Halla Y'all is an action-packed, four-day event for all styles of Belly dance: Tribal, Alternative, and Cabaret.

To Berlin and Back, Bridging Cultures Through Belly Dance
In this way, he demonstrated that belly dance isn't something that is defined by culture. Rather, it is an art form that can be perfected by anyone who puts their mind to it, and it's an art form that can be used to bridge cultures rather than divide them.

Sausan's Birthday Party
On August 22, 2010, Sausan held a show featureing "fellow vintage dancers" including herself. She cooked a huge buffet. Enjoy the clips of these dancers: Asia, Alana, Una, Stasha, Amina Goodyear, Nisima, Neyehma and Zelina. We missed the others, Sorry!

Visit Beirut! Peace Brings Prosperity and New Dancers
However, it was now finally peaceful in Beirut this year. The Lebanese resiliency and ability to rebound from crises is what encourages many of its citizens to live life to the fullest extent, and this passion is what lures tourists and expatriates every year.

Our London Scene: A Guide, Clubs, Events, and Resources
Hi to all our state-side friends over "The Pond" and elsewhere! For those intending to visit London, I thought you would like a "What's on in London?" guide to spice up any intended visit–whether now or future.

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

Saturday Gala Performance at the IBCC 2010, Photos and Video Collage,
The Saturday Night Gala Performance of the International Bellydance Conference of Canada was held April 24, 2010 at the Ryerson Theatre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Video report consists of a collage of random clips caught of performances. Including: including:Arabesque Dance Company including Yasmina Ramzy, Delilah, Amel Tafsout, Zikrayat, Sera Solstice, Hadia, Ranya Renee & Co, Jillina, Sema Yildiz, Habeeba Hobeika Egyptian Dance Ensemble, and the Righteous Rogues.

Expanding Traditional and Innovative Approaches, Report from the Theatrical Belly Dance Conference, Part 1: The Panel Discussions,
As with any new label applied to the genre, a question of definition consistently arises from fans and skeptics of the burgeoning theatrical belly dance category. Wisely, the organizers have incorporated panel discussions in the Conference's roster of events since its formation.

SF Mecca Immersion 2009 Video report part 2: Glimpsesof Dances
On August 1, 2009 The SF Mecca Immersion held their Saturday Night Review at Broadway Studios in North Beach, San Francisco, CA. Performers include: Carolena Nericcio and FCBD, Jill Parker, Deb Rubin, Zoe Jakes, Kami Liddle, Fredrique, Cera Buyer, Kristina, Sister Kate.

Identity Through Bellydance:An Arab Descendant's Viewpoint
While some Arab women turn instead to ballet and western contemporary dance, others, like me, have embraced belly dance genres as a way to connect with our cultural heritage–only to disappear behind another veil, because Arab women dance artists in Canada are obscured within a huge belly dance community.

Musical Instrument Tour Video with Tina Chancey
Director of Hesperus.org, Tina takes a moment from the camp's busy schedule to tell us the difference characteristics of this style violin from one we normally see. She touches on the different posture used to play and also why she, a professional player of "Early music" is interested in how Arab music and style relates to what she normally plays. Footage captured in August 2008, at the Mendocino Woodlands, Middle Eastern Music and Dance Camp.

Letting Go of the Towline, Surviving Dance Conflict!
Still, even though our dance puts us into contact with beloved friends and creative people who bring us continual joy and renewal, Belly dance is also a powerful magnet for some people with serious mental and emotional problems beyond the scope of dance

The Festival That Never Sleeps, The Costumers at the 2010 Ahlan Wa Sahlan Festival
There was one thing they all had in common: the most creative, cutting edge, couture related costumes! Egyptians have been making costumes for (possibly) thousands of years, and since Belly dance goes back 5,000 years; why not? They know how it should fit the body, move with the lines and motion, and creative geographic designs are, of course, a Middle Eastern staple. Here in Egypt, all costumes are handmade, one of a kind. The majority of these businesses are family owned, and it's nice to know costume purchases are helping people in Egypt maintain both this craft and artistic skill and their families.

Nesma, Dancer of Passion
To manage the orchestra is quite complicated. They are all men and the dancer must always keep her distance from them. You have to use the service of a manager who is the intermediary between you and the other persons involved in the business. It is very important to have a good manager, a good professional and good person as well. And it is not so easy to find, I can tell you.

Personal Truths in Truth or Consequences New Mexico's Floralia Festival 2010
Many times a turn of events will bring us to another place to make a new beginning–a deep and sudden loss inspired my original journey to California, and two recent losses inspired my return back to the desert, opening wounds I nearly forgot existed. It was fortunate to have Floralia to attend; it served as a focus on something I enjoy with all my heart–dance.

A Weekend in the City of Riches, Las Vegas Bellydance Intensive 2009 Photos
The 7th Annual Las Vegas Bellydance Intensive & Festival took place on September 10-13, 2009 at the Palace Station Hotel & Casino. The event featured workshops & performances from Amaya, Jim Boz, Sharon Kihara, Suzanna Del Vecchio, Aubre, and Frederique. The event is produced by Samira Tu'Ala and her team.

Inverting the Gaze, Medusa Dualities in Female Bellydance Performance and How the Gaze Continues to be Relevant Today
This is not so hard to understand when we consider that the representation of female sexuality has been so over-developed as to become almost a parody of itself.

Abdominal Freakish Delights: Aboard The Queen Mary! Photo Report from MECDA's Cairo Caravan 2010, June 4-6, 2010 PAGE 1 AND PAGE 2
Staying onboard the ship Queen Mary makes the event special and a unique and amazing experience As you walk the long curved and richly carpeted halls, you realize that you really are aboard a stately ship–named after a queen–a ship that once sailed the Atlantic Ocean.

Tribal Fusion Faire 2009 Photos
Alvilda, Anaar, Ayse, Belly Sema Dance Co, Blue Moon Haven, Daniella, Dark Raven, Epona, Evil Eye, Fat Chance and Sooz, Firefly, Gypsy Moon, Hiplash, Irina Xara, Jessica Martinez, Kalima Satori, Karma, Kashmir Isis, Kim and Andrea, Leyla Atwill, Madrid, Masha, Mikayla Taylor, Mirage...

The French Connection
Remember that the cabaret style of Belly Dance itself was considered a western cultural event and the night clubs of those days were only there to entertain invaders and their families, not the local people.

Morocco's Four-Day Folk Fest Schikhatt, Tunisian, Zar and Guedra,
Schikhatt (a Moroccan word meaning "wise woman") is a dance performed before weddings at bridal parties as a way to "educate" the bride in the movements she would be expected to mimic on the wedding night.

Friday Night Performances at IBCC 2010,
International Bellydance Conference of Canada April 23, 2010 at the Hungarian Canadian Cultural Centre in Toronto,Ontario, Canada. Performers include: Raks Sahara, Ashira, Maryfar, Laura Bellydance, Daluah, Tribe Maya Fire, Sa'Diyya, Monique Ryan, Sabaya, A La Nar, Sarah Skinner, Akimi, Earth Shakers, Roshana Nofret, Sofia & Chanty, Ebony Qualls, Danza Della Luna.

Belly Dance in Patriarchy, Escaping the Switzerland of the Soul
However, I do believe that belly dance is able to attain such vitality and complexity in the modern world precisely because it's embroiled in serious cultural and personal contestations. It is precisely clashes of aesthetic values, conflicting paradigms of sexuality and gender, and economic as well as political inequities that strike the dance's most beautiful notes.

Sema Yildiz, A Star of Turkish Dance
She was fortunate, she says, to grow up in a Roma (Gypsy) community rich in dance and music – the Fatih district, which houses the Sulukule, famous for its entertainment and considered the oldest Roma settlement in the world.

Queen of Denial, Chapter 2: Dancing in the "City of Lights"
I'm breathing very hard, and can tell I'm very, very shiny and red, even under the stage lights, but I think he likes me. And he is completely dumbfounded that an "American" girl is auditioning for a job as a "Danseuse Oriental!" I know I'm way too fat, but thank God I'm a belly dancer, and apparently a novelty, because I couldn't get away with this in any other dance form! Fortunately, I'm only 19 years old and my excess flesh is young, tan and firm!"

Fusion: How much is too much?
In America, and evidently elsewhere, we dancers seem to have a voracious appetite for new steps and movements, so like hungry chipmunks, we have grabbed all we could stuff into our cheeks of Turkish and Arabic steps and gestures, resorting to incorporating and mixing of Saidi, Kaleedgi, Blue Guedra, Ghawazi, etc. We've chewed all of them up together and spit them out and found that they have not sufficiently nourished us.

Mohamed El Hosseny: His Dancing Journey from Suez to Cairo, Helsinki, and Beyond
My advice which I tell all of my students is to study ballet at a beginner level for a few months. It will help your lines very much, so you have a nice bodyline without worrying about it and you can focus on learning the choreography and Oriental movements of the teacher in front of you.

Carnival of Stars, Performers L - Z Photos
Latifa, Leyla Lanty, Lulu, Mahsati, Maila, MaShuqa, Monica, Monifa, Naiya Halal, Nera Brent, Pepper, Raks Al Khalil, Raska a Diva, Raks Hakohaveen, Robyn Lovejoy, Safiyah, Sarah Horbeein, Shadha, Shaunte, Sister Sirens, Sukara, Surreyya, Tanja, Tatseena, Tera Lynda, Trish ...

Megacity Megafest, 1001 Brazilian Flavors at Mercado Persa 2009 and Beyond
So, it was with these butterflies in my belly that I bounced home last December after almost two years teaching and performing on the road. Sao Paulo, population 20,000,000+, is the iconic "megalopolis" of the futurists when they predicted the "rise of the third world". And Brazil is making huge strides – in government, economy, and broadening international appeal. My adopted country – I was going back to set up housekeeping after gypsying around the globe for an eternity, and I was more than ready for a dose of my sprawling, energetic, chaotic, mesmerizing home.

Ask Yasmina #13, FInd a Good Teacher, First Workshop, Non-Arab Dancers
First and foremost, take a class or two from many teachers in your area so you can make a better informed decision. Please note that slick advertising and a good website indicate good organization and good marketing skills, not necessarily good Belly dance skills, knowledge, or even teaching skills.

Argentine-Arab Dance and Music Charm Taiwan, Gina Chen promotes Live Music for Local Dancers
I have to say it is quite different from any other American or Egyptian style choreography I learned before; you almost always keep your feet into ballet position and body weight is relatively higher. The physical dynamic is much exaggerated. I guess this is the Argentine style bellydance and I could see why local dancers are fond of it, owing to the quality of fluidness and lightness, very outward gestures and wonderful live music.

Carnival of Stars, Performers A - J Photos
Adriana, Ahava, April, Alexandria's Ghawazee, Aruba, Asia, Asura Noor, Becca, Birute, Cathy Guthrie, Cheryl, John Stanley, Crystal, Dahlena, Dancers of the Crescent Moon, Danse Maghreb, Daughters of the Pharoah, Dunia, Elizabther, Ena, Esperanza, Evil Eye, Ghanima, Hala, Heather, Jamara, Jawahare, Jewels

Hallah Moustapha, My Costume and Dance Mentor in Cairo
I wish I had called her sooner, because what came out of my finally overcoming my shyness was a unique friendship, and a type of mentoring I had been wanting for quite some time.

Leila Delivers Live Music Under the Stars, Camp Negum 2010
Camp Negum did indeed happen May 4-8, 2010. It was everything Leila promised and more – 5 days and nights of music and dance classes, almost all to live music.

IBCC 2010: Thursday Main Stage Performance Photos and Video,
The Thursday Night Main Stage Performance of the International Bellydance Conference of Canada was held April 22, 2010 at the Hungarian Canadian Cultural Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Video report consists of a collage of clips caught of performances. IBCC is produced by Yasmina Ramzy and company.

Miles Jay demonstrates the String Bass.
Another video filmed at the Mendocino Music and Dance Camp in 2008. Miles show us bowing and plucking the bass as well as the maqam bayati and how the bass is tuned.

Teacher or Coach: What’s the Difference? Why All Performing Dancers Need a Dance Coach
Most performers have a great deal of untapped potential; additionally, many consider it cheating to engage a professional coach and yet, that is exactly what they would look for if this were the Olympics and they were competing for the gold!

Debke, A Brief History
How does one combine Debke with Bellydance? What does that mean? In order to combine two beautiful dances, we have to first separate them and understand the different types of Arabic music

Interview with Yamil Annun, An Argentinian Belly Dancer
Yamil Annum has created his own dance style and has evolved his specific style of Oriental dance by using the well established foundations of classical Ballet, Ukrainian dance, Ballroom dancing, Celtic dances, Jewish folk-dance, Bhangra, Armenian and Argentinian Tango. His elegance on the stage has revolutionized stages all over Argentina and Latin America.

There's More to Being a Professional?
Many are the times we have heard belly dancers bemoaning the fact that there are so few venues, especially paying ones, for our art form. They long to be professional dancers, and are understandably frustrated at the lack of opportunities afforded us for acceptable venues for performances.
But, does the lack of venues keep dancers from being professional, or does being unprofessional create the lack of venues?

IBCC 2010- Wednesday Stage, Opening Night Gala Performance Photos
The Opening Night Gala Performance was held April 21, 2010 at the Hungarian Canadian Cultural Centre. Video report reposted here as an introduction to the photos.

Choosing Finger Cymbals
Learning finger cymbals can be intimidating for many dancers. It is not just another prop, it is a musical instrument that should be used to enhance the dance and help accent the music. One the major barriers to learning finger cymbals is simply finding a good pair of cymbals that you like.

Building A Dance Community
A community does not operate in a vacuum and there is no room for cattiness or drama if the community is to be effective and truly benefit the area as a whole

Dancing with Legends: Interview of Freddie Elias, Part 5: Today's Music
If they are good musicians, they will abide by the rules and respect the dancer. We have to work for her, not against her. The young lady depends on you. She depends on the musicians.

Loyalty, A Virtue Out of Fashion?
Some do not stop to think that it is a matter of basic manners to express your gratitude to an individual who has made an effort to provide well-being and knowledge. They just go and move on to their aerobics classes, horseback riding sessions, judo drills, or other, while the teacher is left behind wondering if any aspect of their lesson caused the pupil to go.

Sula, An Artisic Life
Sula continued to study with Bert through the early 1970s, though by 1972 she called him "my ex-teacher and now equal partner". Bert was extremely proud of Sula, as she was among the first students he trained who began teaching seriously.

A Bust to Be Proud of...
When she introduces me to her dance friends, it's the first story out of her mouth – eighteen years after the fact. We still laugh about it.

IBCC 2010, Wednesday April 21, Opening Gala Report From The International Bellydance Conference of Canada
Because Gilded Serpent didn't quite make it to the hall until the show was over, we are very grateful that Brigid Kelly consented to give us her report from the Wednesday evening performancec. The dance photos overlayed on this video are by Samira Hafezi.

Queen of Denial, A Tale about Life and Belly Dancing, Part 1: The Safety of the Stage
For many years, the most secure and safe place for me was on stage–dancing and acting. Performing gave me the security and love for which I yearned (both with and without drugs).

Bellydance in Utero
When pregnant, I practiced Belly dance moves each day in preparation for giving birth, mainly focusing on the circular, soothing and stretching movements but avoiding shimmies and moves that were contra-indicated by midwives and sports professionals.

A Very British Kind of Bellydance
This incongruity is something that characterizes the English bellydance scene. Many of our festivals are held in historic sites, such as castles or ancient towns, and we are used to the surprising sound of Arabic music floating across an English lawn.

IBCC 2010, Thursday Activities Report From The International Bellydance Conference of Canada
We begin our video reports with the Thursday Activities: dance workshops by Amel Tafsout, Sema Yildiz, Delilah, and Aurora Ongaro lectures on The Anatomy of Bellydance, Dr Sawa on Rhythmic Notation for Bellydancers, Shira on Mass Media, Mass Stereotypes and a Panel on Feminism & BD led by Andrea Deagon.

Nights Out in Cairo, Part 2: Sunday Through Tues day
I realized that I'm more at home on a felucca sounded by Egyptians with Shabii music blasting than in a hip hop club, with girls in short skirts rubbing up against guys. In my life in San Francisco, my friends and I were living a combination of both, but we had to have Arabic music at the end of the day, because that was what moved us.

San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the Middle Eastern Culture & Dance Association (SFBA MECDA) 2009 Fall Gala Showcase Photos
We were fortunate to have a new photographer at our last gala show on November 14, 2009. It was Oscar's first belly dance event, and though I invited him purely to get photos of my own costuming work, he spent the entire day snapping shots from our show and has fallen in love with our art form. Here are some of my favorite shots from that day.

Belly Dance and Feminism: Different Issues, Different Perspectives
Feminism embraces more than one point of view, and feminist perspectives lead to many different decisions and courses of action. Feminism is a tool for thinking – for understanding and putting a name to issues you may be wrestling with in your own dance life, and for seeing belly dance in the light of broader economic, social and political realities.

Mass Media, Mass Sterotypes: Beginnings
From the very beginning of moving pictures technology, moviemakers have used "Middle Eastern dance" as a means of adding sexual innuendo and sexy eye candy to their productions.

Nights Out in Cairo, Part 1: Wednesday Through Saturday
The beauty of Cairo is often in the every day things, the small things that we wouldn't consider so worthwhile, but in fact, make up the real substance of what it's like to live here. I don't go to museums or monuments or see famous Belly dancers every day, but I am here in Cairo every day and that is special in and of itself.

Carl's Photos from Rakkasah East Festival 2009, Page 4: R-Z
Raks Helm, Raks Sheva, Ranya, Raqs Caravan, Rasa, Sahara Shimmer, Salit, Samra, Scheheresade, Sera & Solstice, Shaula, Shayda, Shushanna & Sean, Soverign Reign, Surayyah, Suzanna, Tanya, Tapestry Tribe, Tasha, Tempest, The Nixies, Troupe Little Egypt, Troupe Solice, Troupe Zoryanna, Valerie Rushmere, Wild Gypsy Fired, Yame, Yasmine, Za-Beth

The Pirate, the Psychic and the Mummies in the Basement, Malia's Story Part 1
So, at age 4, my world was good. I had a rich imagination sparked by images of Egyptians in the crawlspace and iron ore waiting to be turned into gold. I had a family that consisted of pirates, genies, fortune tellers, wanderers and minstrels. Most of all I had been captivated by the bejeweled beauty in the dancing tattoo. It was 1957 and I knew, like my Uncle Omar and great Aunt Katie, I would one day grow up to be someone who would follow a special calling. I decided, at age 4, that it was my destiny to become a Belly dancer!

Carl's Photos from Rakkasah East Festival 2009, Page 3: K-Q
Kaoru, Kinnari, Kismet, Latifa, Lili, Lisa, Luja Mahalat, Marabesh. Maisah, MaShuqa, Melanie, Mia Naja, Naheda, Naimah, Nubian Moon, Pyramidiva, Queens

Can a Non-Arab Dancer Really Belly Dance?
Belly dance is seen as an Arab art form, and has gained considerable popularity outside of that circle. But can a non-Arab belly dancer really belly dance? Should a non-Arab represent a cultural art form when she is not a part of that culture? This article is an attempt to arm a non-Arab belly dancer against the inevitable questions leveled about whether her ethnicity or cultural background should prohibit her from dancing.

Be Your Own Design Diva, Costume Bra Alteration: How-To Change Halter to Conventional Straps
However, the halter styling of the bra had straps that were far too short to fit around her neck limiting her ability to lift her arms over her head.

Carl's Photos from Rakkasah East Festival 2009, Page 2: D-J
Page 2: Dalia, Daniel, Dorothea, Denise, Egyptian Sun, Elisheva, Fahtiem, Fatima, Femme Fatale, Gabi, Groove Merchant, Habiba Dance Ensemble, Hannah Nour, Helena Zahra, Hipnotiq, Jamilah Bellydance, Jenivina and the Mystical Hips Tribe, June and Chandani Oriental Dance...

Carl's Photos from Rakkasah East Festival 2009, Page 1: A-C
Page 1: Alana, Alchemy, Alex King, Alia, Alrana, Amalia, Amy, Anasma, Aneena, Angelique, Anku Kusu, Artemis Mourat, Athalia, Attiya, Avivah, Ayshe and the Cult or Isis, Blanca, Bliss, Blooming Rose, Chellcy and Fringe Benefit

Not Last Year's Saiidi
Recently, a belly dance community newsletter here in New Zealand ran an editorial in which the author remarked that the current generation of dancers still perform "traditional styles – Ghwazee, Khaleegy, Saiidi" but innovate with poi, fan veils and Isis wings in a sort of dance evolution that retains respect for the value of the old.

Serena Wilson (1933-2007) A Student of Ruth St Denis, Part 3: Serena's Books
Serena's approach saw women as joyful, soft, and feminine. They were responsible for and in control of their sensuality and by extension their sexuality. The dancers were not encouraged to challenge men by their physical presence, but neither was their physical presence and personal desire controlled by men.

Creating Camp Negum
The idea came to us as we laid on the beach at Ras Sidr, a resort town near Suez on the west coast of the Sinai Peninsula. It was one of those rare times when my husband, Safaa Farid, and I could slip away from work for two days. We were watching the wind surfers and listening to Om Kalthoum on the clubhouse speakers when the question just popped out.

Ask Yasmina #12: The Importance of Oum Kalthoum, Undercutting, and Kid Bellydancers
When a client hiring a performer or a student looking for a teacher is at a point where they want quality, they know they have to pay a fair price.

A Sense of Humor: It can Help! Quest for Beauty, Part 3
What follows here are several humorous anecdotes. Some of them are about being a male in a female dominated field while some are merely about being a Bellydancer in the first place. My first rule concerning being weird ("weird" as evidenced by some reactions to my previous articles) is to have a good sense of humor!

Latest Craze- Egyptian Oriental Dance, The Fitness Benefits of Our Dance
This is a fabulous idea, except for the very important and primary fact that the majority of efforts in this direction have attempted to fit this archetype of feminine activity into the current prevailing masculine model of linear strengthening and tightening, complete with fitness speak, crunches, squats and sweat!

Life as a Bellydancer: A Dancer's Dilema
Next came my surprising reality check. It stung me pitifully when I was introduced at my family reunion as "Evelyn's daughter, the Kootch dancer"! I still thought of myself as a graduate student, learning fascinating things about ethnic studies and folklore.

Shimmying on the Shores of Paradise, The Dancers of the Dominican Republic
White sands and turquoise waters come to mind when most picture the Dominican Republic, but the Caribbean paradise offers visitors far more than its natural beauty. It may come as a surprise that the small tropical country most known for its pristine beaches and Caribbean hospitality also has a vibrant and thriving belly dancing scene.

Digital Dancer! Belly Dancing in Second Life
In Second Life, the dancing is done digitally by applying a computer program that causes one's avatar, the digital representation of the self online, to move in a prescribed manner. Instead of learning movements and needing time to practice them, they are loaded onto the avatar just like Nero learns Kung Fu in the "Matrix" films.

Hot Bellydance Event in Tijuana
Leila Farid from Cairo Egypt is a sweetheart! She is what many Mexican dancers aspire to look and dance like. Wow! She is gorgeous and mesmerizing - as well as extremely nice, polite and down to earth! My star struck students were amazed to catch her snacking on Mexican Rancheritos (chips) and eating breakfast like a Mexican, with tortillas! She’s so fit that we couldn’t imagine she snacked on chips tortillas like the rest of us. Her master class was magnificent.

Paul demonstrates the Oud
Paul shows us his instrument, including the tuning he uses, why there are not frets, who his mentors are and the makers of his instrument.

Carl's Camera Captures Dancers from Z to A, Tatseena's Fantasy Festival 2009,
This festival was a festive day of good vibrations with dancers sharing their talents on the raised stage, and on the beautiful wood dance floor. The day was replendent with beautiful dancing, beautiful costumes, and wonderful music - with the bands: Al Azifoon and Light Rain. This is a favorite festival for dancers in the East Bay area.

Bellydancer in 21 Days: My Internship with Aunt Delilah
I am incredibly fortunate to be a junior at a very nice independent school in Toledo, Ohio. One of the programs they offer is called "Winterim". No one goes to their normal classes for a month; instead, all the students embark on some kind of intensive independent study program.

Serena Wilson (1933-2007) A Student of Ruth St Denis, Part 2: Salome and Her Impact
When suited to the context, she also had no hesitation in using the term belly dance as she considered the dance as evolving as an Americanized version based on primarily Middle Eastern as opposed to North African influences.

Daoud demonstrates a Cura, Saz or Baglama
The Saz family has many sizes.Cura is the name of the smallest size saz or baglama. This is an octave higher in pitch than an full size regular saz.

Shoo Shoo Amin, A Forgotten Treasure of the 80s
Twenty years ago when I told people I had worked with Shoo Shoo Amin in Cairo, the response was "Wow!" Now, people go "Who?" Today no one seems to know who she is. For belly dance purists, this is a tragedy. Every so often, someone my age or older will wax lyrical about her on-line, but for the most part, she's an enigma – even to young Egyptians.

Behind the IBCC, a Talk with the Founder, Yasmina Ramzy
I wanted it to be more scholarly, no competitions and not a festival. I felt it was important that all viewpoints were shared.

A Fan Speaks with Nagwa Fu'ad
Nagwa seems to have excelled in innovation and creativity with the new compositions. She dances with the old favorites, but shines with the new orchestras playing current pieces.

Is Belly Dancing Provocative?
This stereotype of Belly dancing has caused me a lot of displeasure; it has made me angry to see how imprisoned in negative models Belly dancing still is,and how much it had lost since it was formerly an ancient art that honors the female body.

Serena Wilson (1933-2007) A Student of Ruth St. Denis, Part 1: Childhood
Serene Blake was born in the Bronx on Aug. 8, 1933 into a Vaudeville family of performers called Blake & Blake. Her mother sang and her father played the banjo. Her childhood and adolescent years intersected with the Vaudeville stage, on which she often appeared with her parents in the 1930s.

Sweet Memories of Vietnam, Not THAT Vietnam
Soon I was to find out that I had nothing to worry. Hanoi is a vibrant cultural city and Belly Dance is the new rage. It is respected as the true art form that it is, and dance students are hungry to learn more and more.

Carl's Camera Captures Jillina's Bellydance Evolution,
Jillina Carlano's Bellydance Evolution marked the beginning of an era in which bellydance moves beyond dance Oriental imported from Egypt and performed in clubs.

Sticky Situations: Ask Yasmina #11- Inappropriate Audience Members, Competitive Teachers, Fickle Students
Trying to please and appease those who already disrespect you leads to a miserable dead end. My advice is to say "NO" and give the inappropriately behaved person a good wack across the face.

The Original Mish Mish, The Golden Age of Tinseltown,
I was working one evening at Khyams and still doing my old style of dance. I came out for my entrance covered with a veil and right at the beginning of my show, she came up on stage and started peeling my veil off me and threw it on the floor. She shook her finger at me and said in broken English "Lah, this isn't Egyptian!" I was so embarrassed and humiliated I could barely finish. Talk about being intimidated!

2009

Are Reviews Relevant Anymore? Facing Our Wealth of Bellydance DVDs
I sometimes wonder how dancers are supposed to choose in the face of this overwhelming amount of information.

Welcome to the 2nd Miami Bellydance Convention, A Selection of Photos
Intercontinental Hotel in Miami, Florida, on September 4- 6, 2009, Winners,Teachers, Performers

Ozgen in LA, Turkish Dance Star in Los Angeles
He charmed everybody with his cute non-traditional names for intricate footwork patterns as well as his verbal expressions - at one point he referred to the flirtatious shoulder movements of Turkish Oryantal as “cuddly”!

The Wine Glass or The Wine? Dance Conversation with My Mentor
Sometimes, the mere beauty of glassware can be so impressive that it can far surpass the content.

Here Comes the Aroosa! Cairo Weddings
Frankly, the Egyptian girls can get away with being a bit raunchier, and I do try to be more modest with my movements so as not to look like a saucy little American number straight off the plane.

Division Champs of the Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition 2009,
This contest is one of the first in the Belly Dance community and includes many categories covering different age groups, various styles and specialties.

Rowan Storm Tteaches about the Daf, Tar, and other frame drums used in the Middle East and North Africa
Filmed in August 2008, at the Mendocino Woodlands, Middle Eastern Music and Dance Camp. Rowan Storm talks about the different names each frame drum has in each country and the confusion that can happen. She also tells us about women only drum groups in central Asia. Another topic- plastic vs natural materials

My Dream: Dancing in Cairo!
To be asked to teach at Ahlan Wa Sahlan is an amazing honor, but to be performing, in the biggest show of the year? It was unbelievable! This was the most significant phone call I have ever received in my entire career.

Keeping Your Love for the Dance Alive
A dancer’s body is in tune and locked into this higher power by sheer force of nature and no one, not even the dancer herself, can break that bond

New Archive Page- Gigbag Checks!
Video interviews with artists backstage before or after the show. Twenty videos listed so far, more to come!

Welcome to the Eleventh Giza Awards, Honoring the Dancers and Videographers of Middle Eastern Dance
Ever since the dark ages of 1997, the Giza Academy of Music and Legends of Dance has honored dancers and videographers who have explored the art of Middle Eastern dance through film and video. Documenting and sharing our dance provides opportunities for preservation, teaching and furthering our art. The following report was created from the notes for that night.

Naked Belly Dance in Ancient Egypt, Part 2: Are They Really Naked?
What does nudity mean in a dance scene like this? And does this nudity reflect an actual practice of naked dancing as banquet entertainment?

Ahlan Wa Sahlan Festival, Page 3: Winners and Closing Gala,
for the AWS 2009 competition included Mo Geddawi, Mona El Said, Nabil Mabrouk, and Katia.

Ahlan Wa Sahlan Festival, Page 2: Teachers from Around the World
On Teachers’ Night, held on the night after the Opening Gala, teachers have the opportunity to show festival attendees what their special talents are. The next day after this, many go to the registration desk and register for additional classes with teachers they saw in this show.

Ask Yasmina #10: Bellydance Business, Finding Musicians, Certification
This experience has made me very wary ever since of people with certificates.

Ahlan Wa Sahlan Festival, Page 1: Opening Gala
It’s June 27, 2009, in Cairo, Egypt, which can mean only one thing – the Opening Gala of Raqia Hassan’s Ahlan Wa Sahlan Festival! 

Gilded Serpent reports- Gig Bag check with Amira and Mom, Sadiya
What does a dancer need to carry in her gig bag? Amira and her mom, Sandra or Sadiya show off her fancy gig bag and all the costumes in it that Mom made for Amira. Footage was filmed at Carnival of Stars in November 2008.

Interview with Jacqueline Lombard, Queen of the Dancers in the Golden Era of Tinseltown
They refused to play dance music or anything you asked for…got to admit, that really taught how to pull off a show & think quick on my feet. You never knew where they were going with the music, & they tried to make you look bad.

Chelum, a Transcendent State
They call it chelum, another Turkish term in the Eastern Macedonian dialect. It refers to a transcendent state of dance and music enjoyment fueled by tapanje, zurli, darabouki, tamburi, and of course the ubiquitous Rakija.

Naked Belly Dance in Ancient Egypt, Part 1: Are They Really Belly Dancing?
The real first question is, “What is belly dance?” Many elements of the modern practice of belly dance emerged in the 20th century. Our emphasis on the female soloist, the structure of the typical show in both the East and the West, the style of music we dance to, our costuming, our specific styles of relationship with the audience, and so on, are modern developments.

The Bellybutton Revolution, Feminism & Bellydance
When I grew up and became a bellydancer, needless to say, my Mom was perplexed and wondered where she had gone wrong.

Ramadan in Cairo
This idea of renewed religious commitment and the character of Ramadan to involve self-deprivation makes many of us westerners think that this is a somber time, but in fact there is another side to the month of Ramadan that is quite lively and exciting.

Researching Dance Origins with the Mazin Family, Photo from Pepper's Archives Part 2,
Yusuf, Khairiyya and Raja looked a Pepper’s hopeful face with the tears standing in her eyes and caved in. A private performance was arranged to take place on the flat roof of the Mazin’s home in full costume with live musicians.

Gig Bag Check with Surreyya and Sultana,
What does a dancer need to carry in her gig bag? Surreyya has a very special friend she carries in hers! Sultana, a leopard spotted boa constrictor enjoys being displayed for us and having a dance with her partner. Footage was filmed at Carnival of Stars in November 2008.

Tajikistan Part II: Land of Dance
After a performance of daf soz (songs with frame drum accompaniment), the musicians played maddoh, followed by raqs-i aspak (“horse dance”), in which a man dances wearing a costume which makes it look like he is riding a horse.

Give Credit where Credit is Due!
However, some dancers are using the same music, costumes and choreography in their performances that they first see elsewhere. This begs the question: at what point does copying someone’s original concept or choreography cross over from homage to stealing?

Wiggles of the West: One Dancer’s Foray into Competition
In the world of belly dancing lately, dance competitions seem to be the big thing. Love them or hate them, they are popping up all over the country, leaving one to wonder what benefit they add to our art form. In an art form as varied as Middle Eastern Dance, incorporating cultures crossing multiple borders and continents, to what standards do these competitions adhere?

Photos of Caravan of Secrets, Co-produced Theatre Production by Zahra Zuhair and Carolyn Krueger,
held August 15th and 16th, 2009, at the Electric Lodge Theatre, Venice, California. Caravan of Secrets navigates imaginary landscapes inspired by the cultures and contradictions found among the ancient Silk Roads, Sea Routes and Gypsy Trails of the Middle East and Central Asia.

Sex, Belly Dance and the Afterlife
To these people, sex was not dirty, shameful, frightening or forbidden. It was a natural part of daily life and the essential prerequisite for birth - on earth or in the Afterlife.

Photos from Spirit of the Tribes 9 A Multicultural Journey Fort Lauderdale, Florida, May 2009
Zizi’s photos are from the Spirit of the Tribes festival which is in its ninth year. It is produced by Maja a long established teacher in Florida. The festival includes 4 days of workshops, vending, competition and performances by troupes and soloists from around the world.

Are You Breaking the Law? Dance Workshops with Foreign Nationals
It is the sponsor’s obligation to deduct this; if it is not deducted and the full fee paid to the foreign teacher and discovered several years later in an audit or investigation, the sponsor will be forced to pay the taxes then and may even be fined.

A Quest for Beauty, Part II: Damn the Torpedoes and Full Speed Ahead!
I recognized that "femininity/masculinity" was an entirely artificial construct, and femininity/masculinity was based on reality, i.e. biology.

Bellydance from Cairo to Los Angeles: Personal Commentary on the Bellydance Superstars
I remember the saying "Cairo is the Hollywood of Bellydance" is for a reason, and I think the ancient Egyptian theme takes us back to where the roots are deepest.

Ask Yasmina #9: Teaching Differences, New Troupes, Men in Bellydance
As an ensemble becomes larger and more professional, it will find that it is more efficient and effective if it models itself like a professional company with defined roles.

Maud Allen: La Femme Fatale
For, as the trial progressed, in effect, it became a trial of female sexuality. No respectable woman, it was claimed, could possibly take on the sadistic role of Salome unless she was a sadist in real life, and sadism was regarded at the time as a practice verging on the criminal.

Carl's Photos from The 2009 Gala Showcase at the SF/BA MECDA Event
Event Presented by SF/BA MECDA (the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the Middle Eastern Culture and Dance Association) Held on January 17 at the Cubberley Community Quditorium in Palo Alto, California.

You Can Take the Dance With You!
It has been a year since we have made our big move—Sirens In Sanity has changed from being a one-beautiful-studio-in-Benicia, California, to a multi-location studio.

Improvisation: Method Behind the Madness
One of the biggest mistakes we western Bellydancers have made is presuming that the dancing to which Arabs refer as the “Eastern Dance” is a theatrical dance that ought to be choreographed as if it were a ballet, or that its steps and movements are traditional like those of the Greek Hasapiko, an Arabic Depke, or a Hawaiian Hula.

Dancing for Dowries, Part 2: The Nailiyat
It respected the intelligence, style and wisdom gained by women who – a world many men of the Ouled Nail never saw.

Challenging Hypocracry: A Response to Miles Copeland's Article
The ethical way has been to promote one’s own competition but not to degrade someone else’s.

Michael's Photos of the Belly Dancer of the Year2009 Award Winners,
Some photos are linked to larger images. Additional troupe member names wanted!

SharQui and Injury
I suffered a severe injury to my spine and sacroiliac joint that left me in constant agonizing pain, and worse, fully disabled. I was 23.

Words of Wisdom: Interview with Hadia
Unfortunately, this hyper-saturation, along with the current international economic crisis, has led to a self-initiated devaluation of both dancers and teachers, as they compete for contracts and students in an extremely competitive market.

The Ghawazi: Back From the Brink of Extinction (For now)
The really fabulous news is that Khairiyya’s sister Raja has come out of retirement and is dancing again.

At Home with Fifi Abdou
In America, one of the things that especially pleased me was the inclusiveness of the dance scene there – in my classes I saw women of many different ages – and body types – enjoying dancing, and that made me happy.

Carl Capture Character: Rakkasah Festival East, Sunday Dancers M-Z,
Mariyah, Metal Goddas, Nesheli, Nubian Daughters, Oasis Dream Dancers, Oreet, ... Suzanna Del Vecchio, Willow

Dancing for Dowries: Earning Power, Ethnology, and Happily Ever After
When a mythic history is told and retold in a context like the belly dance community, you have to assume that there are strong underlying reasons for its popularity. 

Little Istanbul in Japan
For several years, belly dance has been rated as one of the top three favorite hobbies for women who are in their 20s and 30s in Tokyo.

Does Modern Media Kill the Organic Process?
If they see "the same thing", instead of feeling a responsibility within themselves to try to see it in a new light/from a new perspective with a richer understanding with fresh eyes, they chalk it up to the performer failing them for not bringing them something "new and cutting edge".

Ask Yasmina #8: Socializing with Your Audience, Relaxing the Upper Body, Tattoos
It may take a while but you and the owner need to train the audience to arrive on time if they want to see a performance. In the end, everyone will benefit.

Certifications & Contests: Are They Meaningful?
Its as if the contest win were a diploma, her ticket to teach!

Ling Shien demonstrates the Accordion
She came to the Gilded Serpent studio to tell us how she has modified a standard western made accordion to be able to play the quarter tones required in many of the Arabic modes.

Carl Captures Character: Rakkasah Festival East Photos A-L
Alhena, Alia, Avivah, Basema, Calixta, Dena, Desert Moon...

My Performance Career
I worked a variety of jobs, singing in nightclubs and bartending, before developing my next marketable act. Since I was a formally trained ballet dancer, I combined Pointe with Exotic dance. Mind you: this was not stripping—but a beautiful and suggestive dance set to piano music.

Gig Bag Check with Pepper Alexandria

Faruk Sarsa ; The Life of an Artist of Mohamed Ali Street
The best drums and riqs, however, were inlaid with mother of pearl and had fish skin heads. The best store selling these instruments was Music Center. It was owned by Mohamed Sarsa who had the fish skin monopoly and the best instruments of this kind.

Dyslexia and Dance: Its More Common than you think!
If you are a dance student or teacher, chances are that around 20% of the class could be dyslexic. As a dance teacher, it is quite important to be able to identify dyslexic tendencies in students, and understand how you can help them learn.

The Dance Teacher: By Divine Design or Default?
...nearly everywhere, dancers in this particular form seem to have found it necessary to “do it all” in order to earn a living by dance career alone.

Dance Alchemy
Dance can be the corporeal miming, shaping, and manifestation of the soul’s intent.

Susie's Photos from The Belly Dancer of the Year Pageant 2009
As a fish to a shiny object, so am I drawn to a well produced event of glamorous, bedazzled and talented performers of belly dance.

Arabic Lessons, My Introduction to Shaabi, Part 1
She taught us that besides learning the words and their meanings, Egyptians do not stand still when singing. They dance around a bit and use their hands, body and eyes to gesture according to the songs.

Carl Capture Character: Rakkasah Festival East, Saturday Dancers L-Z,
Latifa, Banat Al Beled, Leena, Lotus Niraja, Mahira Tribe, Mahrabesh, Majestic Hip, Malweh, MaShuqa, Mayumi, Nabila, Naheda, Natica, Nixies...

The Real Ideal Show; Why we Dance!
As the time approached for our show, two of our dancers were stuck in traffic trying to reach us from San Francisco, so we arranged our show to accommodate them if they made it and so it would work if they didn’t .

Ask Yasmina #7: Milaya, Tipping, Gossip
Ask yourself "why?’ over and over again, digging deeper for the truth, until you arrive at that moment when the beauty of Bellydance had you completely inspired and elated, that moment when you wanted the whole world to experience the same joy.

Michael's Spring 2009 Photo Spread,
Aazura, Adriana, Ahava, Alimah, Andrea, Claudia, Eve, Kashmir Isis, Katherina, Khalila, Maria, Meissoun, Michelle Joyce, Mychelle, Nadira, Nanna, Nicole, Sandra, Shoshanna, Summer, Surreyya, Crystal, Tabitha, Zaheea

Carl Capture Character: Rakkasah Festival East, Saturday Dancers E-K,
East Pennsylvais Middle Eastern Dance Club, Egyptian Sunrise, Egyptian Sun, Enzina, Eye of Horus, Fahtiem, Fatima Al Wahid, Femme Fatales, Gypsies & Genies, Jenivia, Jewels of the Nile, Johara & Snake Dance Theatre, Kaeshi, Kaoru, Kimberly

Carl Capture Character: Rakkasah Festival East, Saturday Dancers A-D,
Abzahrah, Amala, Aladina, Alchemy, Alexa, Amira, Aneena, Angelique, Anka Kusu, Desert Jewels, Dondi...

Carl Capture Character: Rakkasah Festival East, Friday Evening Dancers,
help October 17, 2008 in Somerset, New Jersey. Bianca, Willow, Tempest, Leila Haddad...

Through the Eye of the Camera
This photo exhibit captures moments and scenery of Delilah’s most recent Visionary Belly Dance Retreat, which took place in Hawaii, January, 2009.

Bellydancing Fashionably
Always remember that you’re representing a country’s culture!  Sometimes, less is more; sometimes, more is less.”

Ahmed Adaweya My Introduction to Shaabi
Where once he was known as a master plumber, he had now become a master of Saltana.

Know Your Venue, Style & the Savvy Performance Artist
Personally, I believe that to pull off something dangerously edgy and thoughtfully shocking (while still providing entertainment) you might need to offer them something as well. Something like, oh, say…skill!

Ask Yasmina #6 : Abhinaya, Personal Journey, What’s Missing?
 Tapping into the source will change the quality of your movement, your interpretation of the music and your emotional connection to the movement and the music.

One Hip in Each Camp, My Experience of Working in Both the Arabesque Dance Company and the Arabesque Orchestra
My dancing is fuelled by my understanding of the music and now, my playing is influenced by the emotions I experience when I dance. It is a cyclical experience which has been boosted by this incredible opportunity to work with some of the most talented Arabic musicians on the scene.

The Quintessential Performer: Attitudes for the Stage
What can you rightfully expect of an audience of persons who are not, themselves, involved in performing (or related to you)?

Dancing with Legends: Interview of Freddie Elias, Part 4: Teamwork Among Musicians
You’ve got people in the audience who are paying you. If you’re dying, don’t come to work. But if you come to work, do your job. It does not matter what else is going on in your life.

Photos from the 2008 Tour of the Bellydance Superstars
Marin Civic Center, San Rafael, March 1 2008

Oasis Dance Camp South A New Twist on an Established Retreat
Every student received a personalized notebook and music CD, which included class notes and news articles about dance and culture.

Dance of the Nile part 3: Meleya
The erk sous seller spies a pretty young thing in a melaya (and pink bloomers). He coaxes her to have a cup; they flirt. He chases her, she runs away.

Magnouna in Cairo, aka My Cairo Adventures in April 2008
The tally of dance shows for this trip was 3 Nile dinner cruises (Lorna Gow, Basima and Leila), the Tannoura show, Dina (at the Semiramis) and the Opening Gala at the Nile Group Festival (Dalia, Liza Laziza, Leila, Hayem, and Asmahan).

Recognizing Accomplishment: Atlantis!
I get so excited over the events they are producing, that I have no thoughts about them as dancers. All I think about is the person who is performing or teaching and the merchandise that the venders are selling. I only think of the sponsors as being effective with the business side of Bellydancing.

A Quest for Beauty, Part 1: Beauty is Discovered
My wife of 17 years asked, "You’re going to do…. what?"when I told her of my desire to take Bellydance lessons.

Where is the Goddess in a Vertical Drop and a Shimmy? How Can the Practice of Bellydance Lead the Dancer to a State of Grace or Enlightenment?
The most important practice of almost all mystical paths is meditation. It is universal and does not need a frame of reference from any particular theology.

Mina's 1001 Arabian Nights,
1001 Arabian Nights started with asking several of the community troupe directors and teachers I’ve known over the year if they would like to create a show with me. They all seemed very excited about the prospect of doing something "different" in the dance community.

The Bellydance Museum: An Accident of Fate?
Soon, I found out my collection of Arabic instruments, ancient jewelry, and our shared bank account were all gone along with my ex-wife. The only thing I could find was a small part of my picture collection, which I now had to sell in order to stay alive.

Producing "Tales of Desire"; a Tribal Fusion Bellydance Experience
We felt that the buzz in the community was that people were getting tired of seeing the same performers on every performance DVD that came out, so we really tried to mix it up and offer a more varied line up.

Teaching American Bellydance: Ich Bin Ein Berliner!
Amazing! The members of the workshop wanted more and more—and even Horacio began trying out my veil moves.

Tania Luiz A Romany Fusion Artist in Osaka
At this time I think I was longing for a well-documented dance, old and structured. I was a little sad because I saw how people who were not properly trained but who just had a costume would teach Oriental dance. Plus the deep connections of Indian dance to the Divine were very interesting to me. At the end of it all, I realized that my body, my soul and my blood are meant to do Oriental.

Indonesia's Introduction to Belly Dance: The Mainstream Media's Influence
Extensive mainstream media attention has been a mixed bag of blessings and, well, “somewhat less than blessings,” as most Indonesians would diplomatically say.

Sahba Motallebi demonstrates the Tar and Setar,
Also included is footage of Sahba on stage performing with on the Persian Santur and on the frame drum.

Tribute to Bert: Photos from the GS files
Bert's memorial page, please add your comments, thank you.

Dancing with Legends: Interview of Freddie Elias Part 3: A Serious Accident
I put it (the cigarette) out and I looked at my watch, it was quarter past four. I woke up three days later.

Making (and Re-making) Choreography: Moving Forward, Moving Backward, Moving!
As soon as you set the first movement, one of those options has been limited. Then, when you make a second choice, a third, and a forth, the possibilities get smaller and smaller. The process is, essentially, painting yourself into a corner, and by the time you set the last count, the song is done; the choices are over, and they have become inevitable, solid. They stand on their own—without you, potential-less. Pens down! Flip the paper over. Choices have been made.

Munique Neith's Studio: What You are Missing if You aren't in Barcelona!
What inspired me to write this article was not only the unbelievable setup that is presented in Barcelona, but the fact that I have never truly felt the warmth and compassion from any situation in the dance world that I have from Munique, her husband Albert and their studio. They were warm, receptive, and incredibly  gracious.

Its All in the Flavor! Bellydance in Mexico
Those were tough times for us teachers. Students were very shy in the classroom but eager to learn; some of them even thought that Shakira had created Bellydance! They didn’t have much information about Oriental Dance, its origins, or different styles. Some aspiring dancers even sat through several classes just to check out what Bellydance was or if we teachers danced it as well as Shakira

Authenticity in Dance Photography
There are three things that make a dance photograph great: authenticity, detail and connection.

Bellydance:My Lifesaver & Soul Mate
So, here with both of my arms having injection needles inserted and an oxygen mask on my face, I began to visualize that I was standing at FatChance BellyDance’s studio with other dancers.

Ask Yasmina #4
Dancers, who are willing to pay to be on stage, are perhaps not always ready to be there.

Recieving Filthy Lucre: Justifying Payment for Your Art
Belly dance can be a respectable art and teaching it should be a respected employment. Often it isn’t, and that is why you have to set your career goals—and don’t forget to consider the money!

Quality vs. Quantity, Buying CDs vs. Downloading Music
...especially for those that are performers and need the sound file to be the highest quality format when it comes to amplification

Badia Masabny, Star Maker of Cairo
Due to the performance of a Hitler parody, however, Masabny was placed on Hitler's list of people to be executed once he took over Egypt. Fortunately, the Germans never made it to Cairo!

Dancing with Legends: Interview of Freddie Elias Part 2: Clubs and Musicians
...and here was an Italian, playing all these Greek melodies. I was mesmerized. I discovered that Greek music is fantastic.

Excerpts From Aesthetic Explorations of the Egyptian Oriental Dance Among Egyptian Canadians
One respondent attempted a description of Egyptianness in the dance. "Egyptians are plumper, more attractive. What makes the Egyptian style is the costume, soft movements, gentleness (no jumping or jerking), subtlety, dala, the drum, soft music." Charm and liveliness of face contributed to perceived quality of "Egyptianness."

BDSS Update: New Choreographers contribute to 2009 Show
I will admit that I have never been a big fan of the more ‘folkloric’ approach to Bellydance, but then again I have to be open to try something new with each show.

The Las Vegas Bellydance Intensive 2008: Vegas and Belly Dance Celebrities
Just as its host city brings together Paris’ Eiffel Tower , the fountains of Bellagio, and the pyramid of Luxor , the Bellydance intensive brings together this local talent with international stars, combining traditional cabaret with the latest tribal styles, to create a big event that feels comfortably intimate

Fire in your Belly: My Dance Story
I’ve always wanted to be a dancer. I vividly remember when I was four years old and had just started ballet, the driveway became my stage and the African sun my spotlight as I did plies, twirled, and pitter-pattered on tiptoe to a growing audience of passers-by. I remember curtsying to a young schoolboy who stopped to stare. Today, I realise it wasn’t my extraordinary dancing that stopped them in their tracks.

Sunday at Carnival of Stars, Page 5:T-Z
November 9, 2008, Event Sponsors- Pepper Alexandria and Latifa

Bahram Osqueezadeh on Persian Santur video
Footage captured in August 2008, at the Mendocino Woodlands, Middle Eastern Music and Dance Camp.Bahram play for us and talks about his intrument.

Sunday at Carnival of Stars, Page 4: R-T
November 9, 2008, Event Sponsors- Pepper Alexandria and Latifa

Say Thank You! Gracefully Accepting Compliments
Responding with a simple “Thank you!” should be rewarding to both parties. By receiving praise from another, you acknowledge that you did your job well. It should be a merry moment that enhances your spirit. You have an accomplishment that you should be proud to share, and the audience member offering you the compliment is acknowledging that your dance has touched something in the life of another.

Sunday at Carnival of Stars, Page 3: M-R
November 9, 2008, Event Sponsors- Pepper Alexandria and Latifa

Sunday at Carnival of Stars, Page 2: D-K
November 9, 2008, Event Sponsors- Pepper Alexandria and Latifa

Improvisation, Taqsim, and Teaching, Things I Love
Because improvisation is so instantaneous, the performer doesn’t know what he is going to do until he does it. Likewise, the dancer may not remember what was done when the dance is finished. This is why creating improvisational dance is rarely boring.

Sunday at Carnival of Stars, Page 1: A-C
November 9, 2008, Event Sponsors- Pepper Alexandria and Latifa.

Dancing with Legends: Interview of Freddie Elias Part 1: When Boston's Golden Era Rocked to Music Orientale
They do not study the craft in a deep and meaningful way, and everybody’s in a hurry. They don’t get into it right. They don’t think! If you do not work hard, you cannot protect your craft.

Thorn of the Rose: Making Friends with Criticism
Thorns make the rose ever more precious; though one’s ego rarely treasures moments of having felt the sharp thorn of stinging criticism. If the dancer is open to criticism—valid or invalid—it can open the door to the process of re-evaluation that otherwise might never happen.

Ask Yasmina #2, Handling Media, Choreography, Name Our Dance
In creating a work of art that will enlighten or move an audience emotionally, the artist's intention is to communicate a message or an emotion.

Connections: Yoga and Belly Dance
I started my Yoga practice not long after beginning to Belly Dance. I was drawn to it and stayed with it as I enjoyed the benefits of its complementary practices. The promises of relaxation, strength, flexibility, and spirituality intrigued me and fit right into my Belly dancing lifestyle.

Apprenticing at ADC
At first rehearsals were terrifying. The girls were learning new choreographies and positioning and I would follow along in the back, feeling like a bit of a dolt and getting in everyone’s way.

2008 Drum, Dance, & Music Festival Raqs Taiwan with Karim Nagi!
She wishes to find the bridge between dancers and musicians, performers and audiences while still keeping its cultural roots alive. DDM is the platform for dancers and musicians working together and exchanging their professional experiences.

Now What? Improvement Ideas for the Growing Dancer
This article is for those of us that would like to delve into areas of the art form that may be beyond the usual class topics.

2008

8th Annual Blood Moon Regale: Disease 101
With interpretations ranging from comic to poignant, dancers portrayed a gamut of disorders from Scarlet Fever to Head Lice, Elephantiasis to Anorexia. Many of the performances were touchingly powerful, while others such as Origin’s depiction of Crabs had the capacity audience at the grand old Colonial Theatre laughing out loud (and scratching themselves subconsciously).

Whose Dance is This, Anyway? Where Do Men Fit into the Belly Dance World?
As soon as he was born, dancers of all stripes immediately started in with "Oh, a new little drummer for the troupe!". Excuse me? Why is there an instant assumption from birth that all little boys will be drummers and all little girls will be dancers just like mommy.
---Added Feature! See our Gallery of Men in Middle Eastern Dance

What’s in a Name? Orientalizing Oriental
He had already managed to use my definition of my dance form against me, to paint me as marginal, politically incorrect, and strangely enough, to “orientalize” me within the context of that symposium in the ways that Said describes in Orientalism. I was now, officially, “Other”.

What is a Set List?
Finding what makes everyone happy is a little like having a dinner party with a person on a diet, a vegan, and meat & potato type guy. It takes planning, discussion and knowledge to put together a good show.

Parveneh: Promoting Diversity Through Public Access TV, An Interview
I had always wanted to do something with Public Access. So, the Belly dance and public access came together and “Hafla” was born! Although I have found some attitudes to be exclusive, I decided I wanted to be inclusive; so my show has featured diversity. I have presented larger, smaller, older and younger dancers (and, especially, women of color) who are often excluded here in our local area.

Leila Haddad & the Gypsy Musicians of Upper Egypt " In the Trail of the Ghawazee" March 2008 US Tour,
Sponsored by the World Music Institute. "These musicians come from a long tradition that could be as old as the pyramids"

Is Bellydance Good Exercise?
While it is important to love and accept one’s body as it is today—and bellydance is a great way to get actively motivated as well as realize one can feel sexy and beautiful at any size—it is important to continue to move forward from that acceptance on the path of improved health and well-being.

My Dinner with Nadia Hamdi
We asked if they had any videos, photos, or costumes from Nadia's life as a dancer, but they had none. When Nadia took the hijab and gave up dancing, she destroyed all photos and videos of herself since that life was over.

Ask Yasmina: Evolution, Oum Kalthoum, & Cover ups
A first column in a once-a-month series: GS is proud to present this passionate and knowledgeable expert in the field of Middle Eastern Dance; she is an artist, pioneer, and creator of the International Bellydance Conference of Canada.

Bellydancer of the Universe Competition 2008,
held in Long Beach, California, on February 18 & 19, 2008, produced by Tonya and Atlantis

Winning Bellydancer of the Universe
Puerto Rico is kind of a small island, not that we’re cut off from the world or anything, but we don’t have huge hafflas or competitions here. In fact, after about two years of classes and training we have to travel outside our country to keep up with the whirlwind of innovation that is bellydance.

So You Want to Dance in Cairo?
Foreign dancers who negotiate their own auditions with hotel managers usually find themselves seated at his private table in the nightclub month after month while he promises that next week he will make her an orchestra and give her an audition.

Bellydance Fashion, American Style: The 2nd Annual Decotach Fashion Show Report
For this year’s fashion event, Ms. Lambru chose to display her costumes in the context of a Berber wedding.

Omar Faruk Tekbilek demonstrates the Ney
Also incuded are short performance clips of Omar with the instruments and band members as well as his wife, Susie, performing a few Turkish style dance gestures

Gift of the Muse: Finding and Using “Dance Energy”
The concept of “Dance Energy” carries with it a power that appears to compel the dancer to move without conscious thought or excessive effort.

The Skinny on Abdominal Strengthening
You’ve probably heard the terms neutral spine and core balance being bandied about, and seen numerous class offerings for Pilates, body ball, and core workouts. You may be wondering, is this the sort of thing you should be checking out?

Aussie ATS Charm in Taipei: Devi Mamak
Since both of us are not based in San Francisco, we share many common factors in terms of learning ATS and developing our own visions for it back in our own home venues.

One Dancer, A Journey of Self- Acceptance
However, it wasn’t long before I started to realize that the other girls were different than me. More importantly, I realized that I was different from them.

Tajikistan: The Land of Dance, Part One
Video features: #1-Introduction by author, #2- A Map Tour on an ancient and modern map.
" Communication with the outside world is difficult and expensive, and nearly impossible during the winter."

Solstice Festival in Catalunia, Spain
For the third year in a row, Maria Cresswell produced a dance and music festival honoring the Summer Soltice. This year's three day event took place high up in the Catalunian Pyrenees, in a rustic hostel fed by fresh springs and bordered by a rushing river.

Inside Peek at Making Music Videos: Hakim, Khalid Selim, Walid Toufic, Ali el Hagar, Elam, & Samira Said
I was either crying or yelling at Hakim for most of the shoot and went home each day with a headache from it.

Dance - Deeper than the Moves
A dancer who feels “safe” in the rhythm, footwork, technical movement feels grounded and secure as she dances. A grounded dancer will be less "in her head” and allow the authenticity of feeling to come through her body as a flowing, emotive movement that expresses the music and how she “feels” the music.

"Just feel the music when you're on stage!” Interview with Ozgen, Male Turkish Belly Dancer,
Well, I think my heart still beats for big shows and productions, as much as I know how stressful and difficult that show-life can be. I seem to not be able to live without it.

Self-Esteem and the Bellydancer
…but then, I wondered, why are so many belly dancers jealous, unhappy, competitive and insecure? Does belly dance really build self-esteem?

North Beach Memories- Casbah Cabaret, Part I Circa 1973
We performed what I have dubbed “conveyer belt dancing”, that is three dancers doing three shows each, starting promptly at 8:30 p.m. without stopping until 2:00 a.m., whether we had an audience or not.

Bible-Belt Belly Dancing in the 1970's: An interview with Azur Aja
Azur Aja (Sharon Wright), a belly dancer from the Nashville Tennessee area, is endearingly known as ‘The Lady With The Veils’. Her career has spanned over thirty-five years, and her style has been influenced by some of the most recognizable names in American belly dance history.

Missing Elections… What Happened to MECDA’s Democracy?
In most organizations comprised of paying members, only a vote of the membership can enact any change in its charter.

Belly Dance in Japan Reaches New Heights of Popularity
Japanese audiences are extremely receptive, supportive and interested in this form of entertainment.” Conservative elder Japanese may still disapprove of the sensual aspect of belly dance, but among the younger generation it is seen as cool and trendy.

My First Experience in Egypt
I have always felt a pull to visit Egypt to experience the history and culture of this dance I love so much. The chance came about just recently and it was so worth the wait.

Folk Tours 6th Annual Middle Eastern Music and Dance Camp
held at Camp Greenlane in Pennsylvania, May 2008. The authenticity of the camp is amazing. I love Rakkasah and Tribal weekends as much as anyone else, but watching and listening to Arab musicians play Arab music and Turkish musicians play Turkish music, well, that adds a little something! After the nightly shows, the musicians keep playing to the wee hours and the camp dances in the big dining hall until we drop.

Spirit of the Tribes 2008
April, 24-27 2008, War Memorial Auditorium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida Produced by Maja

Festival Fantasia: A New Direction
I had a vision of the whole dance scene becoming one and being aware of one another.

Bert & Me: Vignettes From Our Partnership
Though Bert might like to think of himself as a simple man, in fact, he is a very complex and private person whose lifetime is filled with famous and colorful characters and experiences.

Carl's Raqs LA Photos, Best from the Stage on the Lower Level,
held May 17-18, 2008 Glendale Civic Auditorium, California, produced by Miles Copeland and organized by Marta Schill

The Broken Vessel
We, too, must believe in our movements, believe in their purpose and message, and we must deploy them with the array of human faculties that begin to evolve when the Art of the Dance is taken up.

The Hippie Connection: Robert Altman’s 1969 In Utero Belly Dance Portrait of ME
There it was, the second of a series of black and white hippy portraits --people raving, a woman blissfully breastfeeding, couples hugging, dogs leaping – THE SEMINAL PHOTO OF MY LIFE – only, I was cut out!

The Mendocino Middle Eastern Music & Dance Camp 2008, Part 1
This morning the classes begin. Dinner and breakfast was quite good! The students on scholarship working the kitchen were cheerful and surprisingly bright eyed after being up so late last night!

Randa Kamal
"Then the film roles that I've been offered have unfortunately been frivolous, or portrayed the dancer in the stereotypical way they always do. The cinema has done enough to spoil the reputation of dancers, without me adding to it by taking such a role."

Dina: April 2008
It was a late night as usual as we didn't even go out until midnight to have dinner and watch Dina at around 3am . . . but who was watching the time . . . It is CAIRO!

My Winning Experience at Leyla Jouvana and Roland's 1st Bellydancer of the World
Author is winner of the 1st place in the Solo Raks Sharki and 3rd Place in the Solo - Fusion Fantasy Categories

Fantasy Bellydance, A New & Ancient Reality
This trend has been growing steadily since I can remember, but caught fire recently, due to the instantaneous broadcasting of ideas and styles on the worldwide web and the proliferation and availability of video for this generation of dancers.

Ahlan Wa Sahlan 2008, Not So Welcoming this Year
Prices have gone up everywhere, and Egypt is no exception. The reality hit me as soon as I walked into the Mena House. Bottled water was $4.00, where out in the street the same bottle was $.50. A bottle of beer was $10.00. Internet connection was $30.00 / hour. At those prices, life's little pleasures didn't seem important anymore.

Saturday at Raqs LA, One Dancer’s Journey Back Home
There was a nice variety of vendors, mostly leaning towards the cabaret style of costuming and props, although there were vendors catering to tribal dancers as well. Dancing on two open stages provided constant entertainment with a variety of performance types.

7-28-08 Suhaila in the Phoenix,
June 28, 2008, Brava Theatre in San Francisco, CA Produced by Bellydance Odyssey

Professional Presence, Stories and Advice from 30 Years Under the Hip Belt and Counting...
The audiences’ first glimpse of you is as you arrive and how they see you affects their opinion of your show. First impressions count!

Making Recorded Music Memorable
Through the years we have come up with ways to make pre-recorded performance music sound better, work better and avoid mishaps.

Saturday Gala Peformance Part 2 of the International Bellydance Conference of Canada
Performers in Act 2 : Aisha Ali of Southern California, Bozenka of Florida, Amy Sigil & Kari Vanderzwaag of Unmata from Sacramento, California, Tito Seif of Egypt, Aida Nour of Egypt

IBDC Part 3: The Community Response- Dream Big
What did those who attended that Las Vegas event last August – the one that strove to become the biggest belly dance convention ever -- think about their experience? Their answers may surprise you.

Egyptian Wedding Stories
All the guests were staring at us. The father of the bride demanded to know who ordered the bellydancer and it seemed a fight was going to break out between representatives of the brides’ family and the hotel organizer.

Jodette: Undeniably Authentic
“Why do students go against their own teacher,” Jodette continued , “and spread ugly rumors?” I looked at her a shook my head. It's a lament that I, too, have experienced from time to time as teacher of this dance.

Journey into Womanhood
Our mission, as women, is to encourage others to joyfully anticipate all the decades of their lives. Those who have gone before us have always and will always help us on our paths.

When Two Doors Close Two Doors Open, New Venues in New York City,
Scott was thrilled with the new place and said it reminds him of the late night clubs in Istanbul, Turkey. At the end of the night I walked out into the hot summer air feeling invigorated and inspired.

Belly Dancing in Estonia
As in the rest of the world, the Egyptian style of belly dance is the most popular one in Estonia. Most of the instructors and dancers are specialized in that style. The American Tribal Style Belly Dance is also becoming more known each day. The general impression of belly dance in Estonia is glamorous, feminine, luxurious, modern and elegant. It's a time where Estonian dancers can truly say that they can be proud to be a Middle Eastern dance artist in Estonia.

Tribal Fest 2008, Saturday May,17 2008, Sebastopol, CA
Event Produced by BlackSheep BellyDance and held in the Sebastolpol Community Center, photos and performance clips of Hahbi’Ru, Unmata, Sexy Scallywags, Romka, Tempest, Clandestine, Titanya, RockRose, Natium, Sabrina

The Complete Performance Bag
The performance bag is that ONE practical and necessary accessory that aids in the creation of that ideal performance environment.

American Belly Dancing 1966: B.C. (Before Choreography) Schehera of Ohio Interviewed
The censors didn’t want me to show my stomach because you couldn’t reveal the navel on television back then. Keeping the veil on was kind of hard to do, dancing with a snake.

Tito Seif: The Moment of Eternal Shimmy
Tito is now an international phenomenon. And how wonderful that a man from Egypt has taken to the West’s belly dance stages establishing himself as one of the greatest belly dancers and showmen today. Such development flies in the face of those American belly dance instructors, students, and performers who have long considered this art defunct in Egypt and dependent upon their kind support and cultivation.

Arab Defamation in the Media: Do Unwary Dancers Add Harm to the Mix?
My frustration rose when the television news commentators expressed their puzzlement over the significance of the “shoe slapping antics” as they attempted to interpret them for western viewers. If they had had any inkling of the enormity of the hatred the insult indicated, they would not have made the silly comments that they made that day!

Bellydance Grows in West Virginia
It has allowed us to build upon the ties we already have and extend them to other dancers, making a community of sharing and support.

A Moment with Amy Sigil,
If life doesn't get any better than this, then, it's okay with me! I feel so fortunate. I know so many dancers that are more talented than I; yet, here I am! When my time is over, I will bow out gracefully. I am thankful from the bottom of my heart.

Not for Cinderella: The Glass Dance
Use new glasses whenever possible, and never put them in the dishwasher!

The Egyptian Dance Code: Technique to the Perfect Dance
Twenty-eight years after my first class in Belly dance, I looked at all the dancers once again and realized what they were doing to look Egyptian. I had discovered the Egyptian Dance Code. That was back in 2000.

Betty Th’ Builder: a Little Something Extra to Shake
This year's "Grand Dancer" tells of her transformation from body builder to Bellydancer

Saturday Gala Peformance Part 1 of the International Bellydance Conference of Canada
Performers include: Lopa Sarkar, Sacred Dance Company of Victoria, Nath Keo, Roshana Nofret & Maria Zapetis of Bozenka's BD Academy, Ensemble El Saharat of Germany-
Mayyadah & Amir of Germany, Ferda Bayazit of Turkey, Arabesque Dance Company & Orchestra of Toronto

Visiting Cairo: You live a whole lifetime in one week!
Laughter builds bridges, and in today’s world, bridges – between individuals and between cultures, are becoming more and more of an imperative.

The Ancient Art of Keeping Your Mouth Shut
Even one’s casual presence in the forums infested with negative-spirited discussions can instantly strip a successful artist of her magical charisma.

Carl Sermon's Photos from the Hoover Hafla
Event produced by The San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of MECDA on February 10, 2008, at Hoover Theatre in San Jose, CA

The Dance Zones of Egypt: Sahra Kent's Journey Through Egypt Basic 1 Workshop
Although not strictly speaking a “dance” workshop, for each zone we got up to learn some characteristic steps and posture, and gestures associated with each dance zone/style, a good way to blend the theoretical with the experiential.

Dances along the Nile, Part 2: Raks Al Balas
Ah, the poor balas (water jug). This is one of the most underestimated and ignored of the dances along the Nile.

Improving Breathing for Better Dance Performance
We also hold our breath when we concentrate or get nervous. This brings tension into our bodies. The more tension we have, the more shallow we breathe. It can become a vicious circle!

Live a DanceDivas’ Life! Interview with Jane Yee Shan Chung
Then I saw the Suhaila technique workshop announced on her website and I just signed up without knowing exactly what her format is. I am the only person who did not learn Suhaila format before at that workshop. I was so naïve, I simply wanted to give it a try.

From Toronto, Ontario,Canada The International Bellydance Conference of Canada
Video reports by Gilded Serpent Staff Reports are presented in video format inbedded all on the same page.
4-23-08 Day 1 Wednesday Evening Show-remix from last year's stars
-Sofia, Serena, Rhythm Of The Nile, Anita of Dance Poi, pregnant Mayada, Shades Of Araby- Valizan and Sofia, Rayna, Rahma, troupe in shinny black straight skirts? Masouma Rose getting Mayyadah and Amir's reaction to the show. Clip intro reporting by Shira.
4-25-08 Day 2 Introduced by Ferda Bayazit and
4-26-08 Day 2 Thursday Evening Show
-Roula Said's Roulettes M2, Jaida of New York, Ozgen of Turkey and the UK, Ivanka of Panama, The amazing Asha of Atlanta and the troupe, Goddess Bellydance of Korea.
4-29-08 Day 3 Friday Daytime Activities
-Reporting today are Roula Said, Mark Balahadia, and Ranya Renee. Video glimpses included: Tito, Bozenka, Ferda, Lynette Harper, Ranya Renee, Mark Balahadia, Roula Said, Stavros, The "Man Panel," plus more
4-29-08 Day 3 Friday Evening Show
This video clip is a collage from the Main Stage show on Friday night. Performers included: Banat el Sharq, Ishra (we missed her- sorry!), Suha, Mark Balahadia, Nouvel Expose', Mariyah, Dominique, edVenture Arts, Dr Sawa, Danielle, Maqamaikaze, Jim Boz, Leah & Lynette Harper, Sefirah, and Arabian Allspice
4-30-08 Day 4 Saturday Daytime Activities
-Reporting today are Andrea Deagon and Rahma Haddad Glimpses include: Bozenka's class, Aida Nour's class, Amy Sigil's Class, Panel on Teaching Standards, and Aisha Ali's lecture

Strained Relations Comic by Pepper Alexandria
Hi! Remember me? I'm your long lost cousin!

Dancing with the Legends - honoring the musicians who shaped our dance world... Eddie Kochak, the Sheik, the Man
Eddie found that the melodies from Aleppo still spoke to him as an adult. He continues, “I thought I could take some of these melodies, put my feelings to them, and create what we now call the Amer-Aba sound. We created simple routines for the teacher to teach and the student to learn.

Taheyia Karioka, Queen of Oriental Cabaret Dance
In the 1980’s, the spread of Islam and its fundamental militancy proved to be a big blow for Egypt’s belly dance industry. As a result, several dancers publicly renounced their pasts and donned the Islamic veil.

I Loved the Old Days at the Bagdad!
I think I was making about fifteen or twenty dollars a night plus tips. It was all about the tips! The girls from New York made twenty-five, if I remember right. Bert sometimes got me shows for about thirty or seventy-five dollars for what he called “The Furry Animal Clubs”, like the Lions, the Elk and the Kiwanis.

Divorcing Belly Dance From Burlesque
As it is traditionally understood, I do not find Burlesque, (meaning nudity-no matter how hard one pretends it does not) amusing or creative in the slightest when it comes to including Belly dance, an art that has suffered too long with such unfortunate associations. I find it completely irresponsible and detrimental.

When the Hip Hits the Fan
Though fan dancing is not considered traditional in raqs sharqi, due to the increasing popularity of fusion, many Oriental dancers are exploring fusing the many styles of fan dancing and Belly dance with stunning results. When used onstage, fans are FAN-ciful, conveying various emotions to an audience, as well as being a spectacular visual treat. They can be dramatic and stately, or coy and flirtatious and are always a crowd pleaser!

Dances along the Nile, Part 1: Raks Al Asaya
There is strength in the cane twirl but not aggression, extreme rapid twirling should be held as an additional sensational feat, less is more. Have your body of twirling be moderate so that you can vary from slow to climatic; always reflecting the music, it's mood and tempo. Get down without getting crazy.

A New Venue for Rakkasah Festival West
In retail, there is a saying that having an item sell out was a happy problem to have. You want to keep your customers yearning for more, making sure they won't hesitate to buy the next time they see something they want.

To Buy or Not to Buy – A Guide to Mass Market Belly Dance Instructional DVDs
Most producers ask or hire others to write glowing reviews. You will often see the same people reviewing a producer’s entire line of product. Those are suspect. Look for the one-off comments. They will give a better overview, along with anything less than 5 stars.

A Career Path Less Traveled: Dancing in Movies and TV in the'60s, An Interview with Tanya Lemani
In "Get Smart" I enjoyed working with Karen Steele and Don Adams. They took some of my lines out and Don saw that I was upset. Don insisted that they give some of them back to me.

Hafla at the Hoover featuring Morocco
Debbie Smith on scene reporter, event produced by The San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of MECDA

From Cabaret to DJ Bellydance in New York: An Overview, 1988 - 2007
But the primary forums for dancers, the major New York nightclubs, have closed their doors. Cabaret is gone; it is the era of the DJ. And the new dancer has to have another job.

Photos from Carnival of Stars 2007- A-Z Page 3 Casual photos
Novemenber 10 & 11, 2007, produced by Alexandria and Latifa Centennial Hall in Hayward, California

Love Stories…The Choreographies of Raqia Hassan,
A new feeling emerged about how the music truly is the dance, it creates the dance… the feelings behind Egyptian music, the soul of the music, are that which we experience as artists and dance to; for performers, so that it can be visually displayed.

Enduring Open Criticism: A Student’s Question about Feeling Humiliated
What is wrong with our form of dance today is a direct result of the current trend for treating dance students as if they were in therapy or grade school (or both).

Just the Facts, In Response to: "MECDA Breaks its Silence by Rachel Lazarus"
We have never accused anyone of stealing money. We have brought to the MECDA Board’s attention the waste and bad management of funds.

Learning Matrix: A Long Journey, The Belly Dance Scene in Taiwan,
Sometimes, one might have to admit that learning only choreographies might lead students and dancers away from learning the essential elements of traditional Belly dance.

The North Valley Belly Dance Competition- 2007,
Held on November 10, 2007, in Oroville, California, event produced by Carolee and David Tamori. It was an exciting contest, covering five categories: Novices, Intermediates, Troupe dancers, Solos and Live Solos. Live music was provided by Doug Adam's amazing Light Rain.

How the Recession Affects Your Classes And What You Can Do About It
The major issues with attracting students are ever-present. They’re just more pronounced during hard times. Here’s what you’ll likely start hearing from your current and prospective students.

One Night at the El Morocco in Las Vegas
Oh God, now we have to stay or be rude. I had a brainstorm, and retorted, "Well, I only like Armenian music. If you can play any of that, we will stay".

A Conversation with Dr. Mohamed Geddawi, Ahlan Cairo Nights, August 4, 2007, Dallas, Texas
Dr. Mo is attentive to the workshop participants, giving a breakdown on each combination, and provides individual attention when someone has a difficulty. His no-nonsense style of teaching is informative, making you think about why you dance, how to dance, how to be a better dancer, and making you laugh.

A Night at Wahib's Roxxanne Shelaby's "Pure Sharqi"
On January 19, Gilded Serpent was in Los Angeles for Pure Sharqi, a special evening of live music and dance, hosted by Roxxanne Shelaby (Hypzotica Productions), at Wahib’s in Alhambra. The evening featured the house band, led by Mouhamad Salem, along with invited dancers Aubre, Alexandra, the Lumina Dance Company, Debbie Smith, Sahra Saida, and Roxxanne herself, in addition to the regular house dance company the Sahlala Dancers.

An Invitation to Haiku the Bellydance
Haiku often does not take itself or its subjects too seriously and is simply word images and sensory feelings conveyed by means of three lines only.

Photos from Carnival of Stars 2007- A-Z Page 2- L through Z photos
Novemenber 10 & 11, 2007, produced by Alexandria and Latifa Centennial Hall in Hayward, California

Photos from Carnival of Stars 2007- A-Z Page 1- A through K photos
Novemenber 10 & 11, 2007, produced by Alexandria and Latifa Centennial Hall in Hayward, California

Amina's North Beach Memories, Chapter 7: Yousef – Black Lights and Veils
It was kind of hard to compete with this kind of action when we kept our clothes on.

The Secret of Saiidi Song and Dance-Straight from the Horse’s Mouth
"Saiidi". Say this word anywhere in Egypt (including El Saiid) and colloquially it implies someone who is funny, backward - a loveable, gullible character with salt-of-the-earth village simplicity. To call someone “Saiidi” is a local term or endearment for a likeable buffoon!

My First Mid East Gig
Once we landed in Amman, we were greeted on the tarmac by solid lines of soldiers on both sides leading to the doorway of the airport, machine guns pointed towards the passengers. I don't recall ever seeing even one Canadian soldier in the flesh and blood, let alone a gun, let alone so many big guns and pointed at me. I don't think I blinked during that endless walk. We were clearly not in Hawaii.

MECDA Breaks Its Silence
Thomas agreed that this was a good idea, and Schill volunteered to do the paperwork, presumably on the behalf of MECDA.

A Vendor's View
Promoters need to respect their vendors, not just for fees that they have given them, but because without the vendors lining the room, where is the color (other than on the stage), and where is the “bazaar” atmosphere of the event?

The Devil's Details, Show Ethics for Professionals Part 5 - Beauty
For new dancers, mastering the art of glamour can be daunting. But take heart, while internal sensuality requires character work, external beauty is easier to fix

Dancing In The Streets; A History of Collective Joy” Authored by Barbara Ehrenreich,
In her book, Barbara Ehrenreich takes one back to the original motivations of dance along a historic journey of how human impetus to dance, has been repressed by societal hierarchy, and religious zealots.

Backstage with the Reda Troupe
Seeing the company in performance six times was truly a wonderful experience, because each time I saw some new detail or subtlety in the movements, the costuming, the structure of the dances, and in individual performer’s presences on stage.

Cairo’s Streets Come Alive: Baladina Egyptian Dance Theater and Sharia Mohamed Ali
October 13, 2007, Chicago, Illinois. A modern temptress steals a man away from a traditional woman, who then finds a new man of her own. Perhaps a necessity for a dance company composed of mostly women, men seemed a hot commodity in the performance.

Photos from " Hate the Game Not the Player" in Oakland, California
A day of dance by Bay Area's Award Winning Bellydancers Presented by Shabnam and Mo on Saturday December 9th 2006

John Bilezikjian Where Old World Charm Meets Musical Genius
First in the series- DANCING WITH LEGENDS … honoring the musicians who shaped our dance world

Remembering Lynn Zalot and the Creation of the Habibi Magazine
While everyone knew of Bob Zalot, who came to so many performances sporting his happy smile and booming laugh, many had no idea that his wife, Lynn was the true guts, heart, and workings of Habibi.

IBDC Part 2:- A Gilded Serpent tale, Alex in Wonderland,
Unfortunately, the event did not draw the amount of vendors he had expected and, I believe, because he himself had not yet made a reputation for himself as a credible festival producer, he did not get the numbers of the dancers he wished for. Belly dancers are special people and Alex personally did not understand their basic nature.

2007

Behind the Scenes of " Bellydance Workout"
The television crew said that in the control room it was dead silent during filming as they strained to listen to what I was saying so they’d know where to aim the shots.

Surreal Experience with Mahmoud Reda: A Little Aloha goes a Long Way
By the end of the evening Ric, Walid and Mr. Reda were huddled together like little boys, telling naughty jokes. Ric, of course, telling jokes beginning with "There are three friends, an Egyptian, a Lebanese, and a Filipino..." These jokes, surprisingly, initiated my Mr. Reda himself, who from the workshops I had taken to be a distinguished and refined gentleman. They laughed like old friends.

Bella: Profile of a Costume Designer
When I asked her if she would soon retire, she just frowned and said that there are too many mothers who need her to stay in business for the good of their families.

Bully Belly
For example: a promoter is thinking about planning an event and is talking to a friend and says, “I can’t help it if some other teacher has planned a show on the same day or night; they are different styles anyway.”

A Report on the First International Bellydance Conference of Canada Part 2 - Sunday Club Party
Live orchestra, Randa, Amir, a packed house and very festive mood. How could it be any better?

IBDC- Part 1 A Brand New Idea for Belly Dance: The Festival Idea in its Formative Years
I’m speaking of a festival and its promoters that promised more than they were able to deliver.

The Devil's Details, Show Ethics for Professionals Part 4 - What NOT To Do
Show up drunk or stoned. No more needs to be said.

The International Belly Dance Congress
September 28-30, 2007, in Bogner Regis, England Gala photos provided by Josephine Wise, others by author.
Not being able to prepare my planned choreography properly for the Oum Kalthoum song, which is not easy to interpret to begin with, I quickly turned to emotions in order to fill up the space.

Antique Textiles Part 3: Creating Your Unique Statement
It is possible that you may never have performed professionally while wearing a lampshade on your head… but I have!

Nonprofits for Middle Eastern Belly Dancers, Is a 501c3 Right for You?
By understanding the nature of non-profits, how they are organized and run, you can see their potential for developing successful arts organization, performance space, dance company or troupe.

It’s Not Me; it’s You: Toxic People and What to do About Them
The problem is, sometimes it’s hard for a reasonable person to tell if she or he is under attack by a toxic person who intends harm.

Three Web Apps for Busy Dancers
Since part of my day job is to keep up with technical information, I thought I would write about three free useful online services for busy dancers, and see if these can give you a hand—without killing your Bella Budget!

Where Have All The Cover-ups Gone?
What happened to professionalism? Mystery? Decorum and good taste?

Performing: Taking It to the Next Level
Some people think that performing is a way for egotistical show-offs to get attention. Nothing could be farther from the truth. A true performer entertains her audience, doing her best to make sure everyone is having a good time. What could be more generous than that?

North Bay Bellydance Bazaar
There were workshops all day (taught by Theresea, Susu Pampanin, Magidah and Hannah Romanza), a large bazaar, all-day dancing performances and an evening gala show. Everything a dancer could want.

Khamsa Holidays, A Dance and Culture Camp in Tunisia
How do you judge a dance trip? Would you go back next year? …in a heartbeat. Damn the cost and mercury retrograde and the heat. It was that good!

A Report on the First International Bellydance Conference of Canada Part 2 - Saturday Gala Performance .
Held at the Ryerson Theatre in Toronto Canada on April 21, 2007. Featuring international stars including Amir Thaleb and Randa Kamal

Alexandria's Archives, Part 1- A Sampling of Costume Creations, Authentic Ethnic, Fantasy and Everything in Between
Pepper Alexandria says of herself: "I want people to know that I am not trying to bring down Belly dance, I helped create every aspect of it and everything that you've heard about me is true!"

The Devil's Details, Show Ethics for Professionals, Part 3- Separating the Girls from the Women
If a performer conducts herself as a professional she is much more likely to obtain repeat engagements and referrals. No one wants to be seen knowingly hiring an amateur. It is bad for business and a customer’s image.

The Jamila Experience
All of these feelings fled as soon as Jamila walked through the door.  A big impressive woman clad entirely in black...

Revisiting BellyPalooza: the Daughters of Rhea Belly Dance Festival
August 4, 2007, Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland. The weekend of dance workshops and performances took place once again in Baltimore on the Johns Hopkins Homewood campus, one of the most elegant venues imaginable for such an event.

Learning the Language of Belly Dance
A dancer’s path should be the same, moving from technique to refinement to pure inspiration.

9-26-07 Lifting the Veil
I excused myself first and then asked her “why on earth would someone obviously not of Middle Eastern heritage actually choose to wear the veil?” She smiled knowingly and gave me an answer that still keeps me thinking today.

My Teacher, Fahtiem
As performers, we tend to often dance improvisation with moves that are ‘safe’ and comfortable. It is often difficult to step out of the box.

The Passage of Time
Her performance brought tears to my eyes; not only was she technically outstanding, but she had a whole persona, stage presence and her aura… no younger dancer could be compared to her. Many times I went to see the show to watch her again and again!

Changes: Egyptian Dance - Has it crossed the line? .
Both festivals, held in Giza were isolated and insulated from the people and the Cairo that I know and love

How to Avoid the Executioner: A Journey into Creative Listening
Standardization can ruin an art form as it would the fashion industry—or any other endeavor based upon creative thinking.

A Report on the First International Bellydance Conference of Canada Part 2 - Page 2 - Friday Main Stage
April 20, 2007 Toronto California. Hungarian Canadian Cultural Center. Photos of Les Tri'belles, Leyla Zaharr, Amani Jabril, Ariana Vega, 12 yo Sofia...

A Report on the First International Bellydance Conference of Canada Part 2 - Page 1 - Thursday Main Stage
April 19, 2007 Toronto California. Hungarian Canadian Cultural Center. Photos of Bellyqueen, Hunnan Sultan, Ranya, Rachel, Hiba, Elise Olmi, Nath Keo, and more...

The Birth of a Dance Scene, The History of Oriental Dance in Switzerland
Please allow me to introduce some of these groundbreakers so that you will appreciate what it was like to be an Oriental dancer in Switzerland in the early 1980s.

The Devil's Details, Show Ethics for Professionals, Part 2- The Cross Cultural Factor
Warning. There is a great deal of passive aggressive face-saving behavior in this profession. It is not always woman friendly either. Respect is not a given...

The Dunes, Report on North African Fusion Band
Tim Abdullah sings so soulfully, that even though the words are in a foreign language, you think you know what he is saying, and the other band members bring everything together for a joyful music experience.

Roots Raqs – An International Belly Dancer Goes Home to Macedonia
The musical folklore of this region deserves full debut in the World Music scene, and those of us in the MED community worldwide are ripe for the breath of fresh air that Chochek and Gypsy Brass Music can bring us. It is an original, organic and time-honored fusion, brought about by history, geography, and most importantly, tolerance and mutual cultural celebration.

Amina's North Beach Memories Chapter 6: Bert,
On my first Monday at the Casa Madrid, Bert came to support the place and me. Well, what he saw was equivalent to a San Francisco earthquake.

Dance in a Rhode Island Summer, June 22, 2007, Performance in Tiverton
The picturesque small harbor view was the perfect venue for this family event! The performers comprised an eclectic group that presented varied types of dance. With only one of each of the different styles, the show moved along swiftly.

40 Days and 1001 Nights
I envisioned it as a book in which I would travel to five Islamic countries and live for 40 days in each, writing about my experiences. When I was traveling in Indonesia, one of my friends wrote back "You need to be filming this!" I did, and a musical documentary film was born

Dance of Power
The sensual is from the realm of the magical, the psyche, rather than the physical.

The Summer School of Khaleegy Dance, Dance Style from the Saudi Arabian Penninsula,
The “moral police” and hotel security watched every move I made. All my phone calls were monitored. I was not allowed to talk to or get into an elevator with an Arab man.

Part Two of Antique Textiles: Costuming Before the Reign of Egyptian Costumers
I view today’s dance values as interlopers—meant to mitigate Belly dance’s checkered past by exchanging its innate free emotional expression for speed and difficulty of execution and an over-the-top outpouring of energy that is neither sensual or exotic.

Belly Dancer of the Year Pageant 2007 Sunday Photos,
Event produced by Leea. The competition for the Finalists.

Tribute to Reema
Hali said, “The day of the contest, backstage we could all just feel her. We were like, ‘This is for Reema! She’s here!”

Belly Dance, Through the Eye of the Camera
Males dominate photography and film industries in both the west and the east. As well as ideas concerning the status of the dancer and gender, films involving belly dancers can give us information on the class dynamic and stratification that exists.

Music Copyright Law for Belly Dancers (or for any Performing Artist)
From Hollywood blockbuster movies down to clips on YouTube the law is the same and it applies to anyone who uses someone else’s music for their own purposes.

Easter in Cairo
She is so strong and powerful and beautiful and intense. Even the not-so-stylish costumes she used to wear didn't take anything away from her.

Belly Dance:Time for Personal Assessment or How old are your Shoes?
What do you personally want from the dance? In order to answer this honestly, you must make a personal assessment of your goals and include your achievements.

"Veiled Visions" How Belly Dance Music was First Brought to the United States
One time he told me about a blind accordion player who sat and made lots of jokes while they rehearsed, that musician turned out to be Ammar el Sharie.

Chapter 5: Listen to the Music
Yousef wanted us to look exotic, like we were from the Middle East, so he made us stay downstairs, look available and wear sexy, skimpy pantaloon outfits or diaphanous caftans when we were not dancing.

The San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, Weekend Two,
Afro-Cuban, Chinese, Peru, Korean, Appalachian, Bolivian, Mexico, Tajikistan, Cambodian, South Indian, Tahitian

My DVD Shoot Adventure, A Bellyqueen & Peko Collaboration
I thought I had left my bad luck mantra at the airport, but I soon found that it followed me right through the studio door.

Seeking Sol Bloom
Unbeknownst to Bloom, the troupe had a hired Algerian guide, “a giant Kablye,” who had lived in London and was able to chide Bloom sternly in an accent “normally heard in an English drawing room."

The San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, Weekend One,
Chinese Dragon, Kathak, Flamenco, Philipines, Bali, Afro-Peru, Mexico, Tahitian, and Shabnam does "Belly Dance Fusion"

Belly Dancer of the Year Pageant 2007 Saturday Photos,
Saturday's contest includes Troupes, Duo/Trios, Grand Dancer, and Preliminaries for Solo's, Finals will be on the Sunday Photo spread

MECDA’s First 30 Years , The Middle Eastern Culture and Dance Association's Changing Role in our Community
Diversity, however, often leads to dissention, and controversy flew regarding the perception of the rather strict parameters of the Egyptian style.

More of Carl Sermon's Photos : Rakkasah West '07
Prep and layout by Michelle Joyce

Chapter 4; Smokin'
Now that I was legitimately part of the Bagdad family and on the payroll, Yousef told me that all the dancers had to split their tips 50/50 with the band. This meant that I was making less money than when I wasn’t getting paid at all.

Dance is in their blood
Arabic dancing served as a way for women to share emotional experiences with each other. It is a part of everyday life for ordinary folks, and so worthy of attention by me, even, the pretend-to-be working class snob.

Photos of Gala Show for Raqia,
On Saturday night there was a show at the Veteran's Hall. The Show was: Big on technique; sometimes a little too studied. The soloists were selected mostly for being Raqia's students.

A Report on the First International Bellydance Conference of Canada Part One- Lectures, Workshops, Panel Discussions
April 18-22, 2007 Toronto, Ontario. Hosted by Yasmina Ramzy of Arabesque Academy in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, this International Bellydance Conference of Canada, the first ever on the Canadian dance scene, proved to be one of the top dance experiences in this reviewer’s 30-year career.

Interview with Kay Taylor
As Kay seemed a bit older and wiser to the ways of Cairo, many people assumed she was my manager. They would address their questions about my fee or my experience to Kay. 

The Bou-Saada Bus
Every single one of us could play an instrument, sing, dance, run a sound board, set a stage with backdrop, lights, monitors and microphones, plug them in, and put them away. We made our own costumes and our own drums and used duct tape in a thousand creative ways. While we never made a living from it, it was our way of life. Our experiences will bond us forever.

How to Charge What You Are Worth
The first step to becoming an effective negotiator is to emotionally detach yourself from the outcome. If you can’t walk away from the deal, you have already lost.

The Devil's Details, Show Ethics for Professionals, Part 1- Booking a Party
When a dancer looks good, she, or another, will get called back to perform again. When she looks bad, customers might be turned off to our lovely art form forever. Therefore, a bad dancer not only ruins things for herself, but for all of us

How We Got our Video Groove On
Ultimately however, it seemed that getting a video is like getting a gig: sometimes, you have to create your own opportunities.

7 Antique Textiles: Renewed Life for Dance
In fact, we often danced for many little luncheon gigs in offices and other places as a surprise birthday gift—to the music of our own solo sagat. Now, that is a skill that I have never seen anyone repeat since the early seventies!

Chapter 3: A Marriage Made in North Beach
The stage was alight with the flames of the candelabrum’s candles and the eerie glow of her costume. Fatma’s costumes were always comprised of material that glowed in the dark as her show began with no light—except for “black light”.

Finger Cymbals
Above all this cross-cultural cacophony soared my mom’s perfectly paced zills, right left right, right left right, right left right left right left right. If you put me in a room blindfolded, I could distinguish her playing from any other dancer on earth.

Randa Kamal in Cairo The Photos of Susie Poulelis
I was fortunate to travel to Cairo on business in April '06, and managed to take some time to see a few sights and, at least, one dance performance: Randa Kamal at the Marriot Zamelek's Empress Nightclub

Bellydance in '70s Berkeley: Cedar Sposato's Photo Archive
Linda was a member of Masha Archer's Troupe...

The Photos of Susie Poulelis,
Isabelle shines at 9!

Circle Dance
The circle is a perfect, democratic & unending shape, the shape of an energized community, the shape of this lovely round planet.

In Tribute: Rhonda/Baseema of Troupe Ooh La La
There were times she could barely walk due to a flare up of Lupus, but she always came to rehearsal and gave a 110%--despite the pain or trouble, she was going through that day. Rhonda soon became the troupe mascot because of her courage and commitment. "If Rhonda can do it, you can do it!" became our motto. She was a great source of inspiration and motivation for all members of Ooh La La.

Morgana's Animal Magnetism, Interview with Morgana of Madrid
After seeing Morgana’s Serpent Dance, where she embodies the personality of the serpent, I was hooked. Any snake lovers or snake dancers will have a special appreciation for this piece.

Islamic Architecture
Oil wealth, along with social and political change, has threatened Islamic culture and traditions. Therefore, many Muslim planners and architects are reacting to this invasion of Western culture by reasserting their Islamic heritage.

Belly Dance Workshops: Realistic Expectations
The difference between a Christmas gift and a workshop though, is that in the worse case scenario, you can always return your gift and change it for something else, but… What do you do with a workshop that didn’t suit you? It can become a waste of time and money for both ends.

Nakish- An inteview with "The Lady with the Eyes"
I worked hardest for the dancers in San Francisco to wipe out the discrimination factor and to make sure that all cultures were included in the performance of this dance.

My Dance Career’s Dark Side: As seen through a fog of murky emotion
Will recounting my dark stories help me to purge them? Should one forget those special moments of insult and bad human behavior that all performers face?

Sunday Photos PAGE 2-Carnival of Stars
Event Sponsors Alexandria and Latifa November 11 & 12, 2006 Centennial Hall, Hayward, California

Its Not Your Grandmamma's Zar
Luckily at some point we hear the distinct rhythm for a Zar and follow the drumming right to the front door of an apartment house.

An Inconvenient Body Truth
Therefore, here I am now, having worked very hard to learn as much as possible to master my body, invest in the costumes, and—Bam!—suddenly, menopause has hit me!

DVDs can be a Lifesaver to the Disabled!
Nonetheless, I continue to Belly dance. I will not give up dance until I can no longer succeed in dancing at least four of its basic steps.

Sunday Morning Panel Discussion at Carnival of Stars, November 11, 2007
Panel members discussed Fusion in Belly Dance. Members included: Jihan Jamal, Shareen El Safy, Dahlena, Debbie Lammam, Amina Goodyear, and Edwina Nearing

Sunday Photos PAGE 1-Carnival of Stars
Event Sponsors Alexandria and Latifa November 11 & 12, 2006 Centennial Hall, Hayward, California (panel discussion and Sunday photos PAGE 2 yet to come...)

Tips on Getting Tips
Some audiences don’t know that they are expected to tip. Don’t take it personally.

Mining for Gold in the Gilded Serpent Archives - List #1 Surreyya's Favorite Articles
I've compiled a list of articles that have inspired, influenced and enabled me to cross many intersections when arriving at a challenge.

One Banat: An Exploration of Some Belly Dance Costuming Origins
Since the establishment of Israel, the definition of the term “Middle East” seems to have changed and now has come to refer to a conglomeration of a number of unrelated countries in the Asian and African parts of the hemisphere.

Who Really Gave Us This Dance?
And, in their quest for self-expression, they, too, would fall prey to the sweet expressive motions of a timeless dance only to find a cure for their soul in the performance of this expression in front of an appreciative audience.

Western Dancer's Guilt, a Response to Naajidah,
People have occasionally suggested Arabs would be “horrified” by the inclusion of the Tribal style in our show but I can tell you that this style is extremely popular with Middle Easterners who come to our show.

The Costume Contest Carnival of Stars Bellydance & Comic Book Convention & Costume Contest
Event Sponsors Alexandria and Latifa November 11 & 12, 2006 Centennial Hall, Hayward, California

The Magnificent Fundraiser Part IV: The Berkeley Fire Department and Act 3, Bert and Najia's Duet
Near the end of our Second Act, the curtain began to smolder badly filling the air with an acrid stench and blue smoke...

Saturday Photos -Carnival of Stars Bellydance & Comic Book Convention & Costume Contest
Event Sponsors Alexandria and Latifa November 11 & 12, 2006 Centennial Hall, Hayward, California (Costume contest, panal discussion and Sunday photos yet to come...)

2006

I Dance; You Follow
As Westerners interested in an Eastern dance form, we might want to ask ourselves if we are missing certain critical aspects of Raqs Sharki because we are not open to Eastern teaching methods.

Teaching at the 2006 Ahlan Wa Sahlan Cairo Festival
Performing on teachers' night is a good way for new teachers to attract more students to their classes.

My Moment with Nagwa
While dancing I kept eye contact with the judges and guests of honor. I still remember their mannerisms and what I perceived to be their glares. Randa and Dr. Mo were conversing and smiling contently, Faten and Zahra were clapping. Also, there sat Nagwa Fouad, “Queen of Cairo!”

Queen of the Bay Bellydance show and Competition
Event Sponsored by Shabnam and Maurice in Oakland, California.

Happy Holiday Download!
Click on image for larger file- dowload, print, and color!

It Wasn’t About the Trophy: The North Valley Belly Dance Competition in Oroville, Ca. 2006
I have done many things in my life and by forcing myself to have other performers judge my performance, I have motivated myself to step up to the plate and accomplish what I had set in my mind to do.

The Ethics of Fusion
If the culture that you’re borrowing your moves from objects to your fusion, does it matter? Are you being respectful or exploitative if you borrow steps from a culture that doesn’t want their music and dance used that way?

Back to Basics
Belly Dance is most meaningful when we define it as a communication of mutually held emotional response and truths between people

Interview with Safaa Farid
These days there are times I feel I've seen everything an Egyptian dancer can do in the first five minutes of her show. She doesn't change. But foreigners study the dance very hard and they put much time into their show so that is it interesting for a whole hour.

How I started a Bellydance Club in High School
I expected hardly anyone to show up at the first meeting. I was shocked when over 40 girls showed up and were very excited about the whole idea. So I was able to prove interest.

The Ethnic Dance Festival 2006 Photos by Susie Poulelis Weekend One - "Time" June 10, 2006
Palace of Fine Arts, San Fransico, CA

The Constant Grind
Today, the bitter truth is that the curvaceous and fleshy female figure is constantly disrespected by the media and pop culture.

Opening a Bellydance Studio, Tips for Success
She has recently retired fully from bellydancing but offers great advice on business plans for dancers wishing to expand their hobby into a career.

Adventures in Turkey 2006
I am not exaggerating when I say that Sandra actually threw herself into Bella's arms and wept when she first laid eyes on her.

The Bellydancers of Cairo” An interview with filmmaker Natasha Senkovich
As a maid you can find yourself in compromising positions—not good situations for a woman to be in—but in Egypt, it is considered so much better than being a dancer.

Judging in Germany, The Summer Festival and the International Raks Sharqi Contest 2006
photos by Klaus Rabien, Berlin, Germany. "It is also an easy out for judges who need to find a reason to drop a dancer’s score…especially if the competition is tough."

The Soltice Festival, Belly Dance in Spain- Part 2,
held June 23-26, 2006. Part Two- The Evening Show, Event organized by Maria Cresswell of Tribal Girona at Sanctuari Els Arcs, Girona, Spain. A medieval hostelry with a chapel, set in the beautiful volcanic natural park of La Garrotxa near the picturesque village of Santa Pau.

The Soltice Festival, Belly Dance in Spain- Part 1,
held June 23-26, 2006. Part One- Workshops and Setting, Event organized by Maria Cresswell of Tribal Girona at Sanctuari Els Arcs, Girona, Spain. A medieval hostelry with a chapel, set in the beautiful volcanic natural park of La Garrotxa near the picturesque village of Santa Pau.

What is Gypsy Bellydance?
...it is a sore point for representatives of the Roma community whose advocacy groups are very clear on their preference for the term Roma or Romani and consider the term "Gypsy" to be suspect when used outside their own community.

From the Land Down-under, Part 3: More of Our West Coast Dance Adventure
"Hi, I'm Suhaila's mum; I hear you Underbelly girls are good zillers!"

Rhea: Greek Flavor and Flair
Rhea & Laikis Orientale and Greek Folk Dance Workshop sponsored by Ma*Shuqa, held Saturday, August 19, 2006, at the Empire Buffet restaurant, in San Jose, California

The Body Beautiful- A Review of Aziza's workshop
Moving across the country and learning to adjust to a new environment is never an easy thing, but add in the difficulty of adjusting to a completely new bellydancing community, and you have a recipe for "Awkward Stew".

Teacher Student Rivalry, Rhythm and Reason Series, Article 16
"After all I did for her, why did she turn on me that way?" "I'll show her that I can do just a well without her help?"

Kohl: Drawing the Line
Along with henna, kohl has been part of the beauty regimens of women since the dawn of history, and an unbroken line connects the eyes of today with those of the ancients.

The Taxim from a Dancer's Perspective:Tarab or Tyranny?
Sometimes, these improvisations can be quite elaborate. The effect is somewhat like modern jazz and stays within the framework of the traditional maqam or maqamat.

Territorialism Undermines Event Sponsor's Efforts, Interview with Dee Dee Asad
Open discussions of such issues will help dancers, musicians and those people who surround and support them, to recognize similar patterns in their own local environments.

From the Land Down-under, Part 2: Northeast and Canada
What is happening in Australia, is also happening in America.

"The Spirit of Egyptian Dance" Shareen El Safy- with the George Lammam Ensemble Workshop & Show,

Amani's Oriental Festival 2006: June 20-25, 2006
Delving into Oriental Culture, Dance and Surviving Israeli Military Attack.

Eilat Oriental Dance Festival, January 2006 -
As my friends' car was making its way through the desert, the sense of anticipation, mixed with excitement, was growing inside me.

Tatseena's Bellydance Fantasy Festival 2006
July 28 & 29, 2006 Marina Community Center, San Leandro, California. "This festival was created for family, friends, and fun!" says Tatseena.

Independent Contractor or Employee?
The important thing is that the relationship between worker and payer be classified correctly for tax purposes so that you are aware of what taxes and filings you are liable for.

Bellydancing, Mythology and Astrology: Exploring the creative character of dance expression
Is dance a ritual, a means of celebration, a form of entertainment, or something more? Could it be a mode of human expression that harnesses the secrets of the universe?

What Middle Eastern Audiences Expect from a Belly Dancer
Audiences in the Middle East, especially Egyptians, see bellydancing as something to be participated in, critiqued, and loved (or hated) with gusto.

Bellydance Journalism Rhythm and Reason Series, Article 14
One powerful tool used to mislead is bellydance journalism.

God Belly Danced: Belly Dancers in the First Century Banqueting Tradition, Part 5,
So, like in the Old Testament Book, belly dancing can at times be connected specifically with wine and viticulture

A Meeting with Hallah Moustafa, Haute Couture Costume Designer in Cairo
I’d heard there was an American costume-maker living in Cairo, but her clients prefer to keep her name a secret.

Spirit of the Tribes 2006 Photos
A Belly dance festival specializing in "Tribal Fusion" including dance from culturals other than from the Middle East or North Africa.

Field Report from the Dance Gig Front
After a pause, and a little embarrassment, I threw my hands up at him in disgust and walked away. The audience laughed loudly.

Rhea’s Travel to Syria, Part 5 –Sex and the Single Girl
The Trials and Travails of a Lone Female Traveler

From the Land Down-under, Part I: The Festival
In the wings, before we hit the festival stage, Andrea whispered to Mel and I, “Well, this is our first international performance!”

Freedom From Choreography: A Lucy Report
Lucy certainly did “Free me”! ...

About Cymbals & a Workshop Checklist, Rhythm and Reason Series, Article 13
Believe it or not, playing cymbals can be a real pleasure. Playing them well can greatly enhance your dance performance. Playing apologetic or offbeat cymbals can ruin your dance performance.

Sheikka Rimitti, Queen of the Rai
Unlike most of the music that we are familiar with from the Middle East that are usually unrequited love songs or patriotic love of country songs, the rai songs are about drinking, suicide, suffering, colonialism, poverty, exile, homesickness, corruption and the passion and pain of actual love making.

Gypsy” Dance in America,
Roma dance usually brings to mind tambourines and skirt-swirling, but these images are mainly a fantasy.

Om Kalthoum, The Voice of Egypt
She was without contest the most well-known singer of the Arab world. She was also the most influential woman of her time in the Middle East.

The Spirit of the Dance: A Response to the Criticism of my Tribal Fest 2006 “Pierced Wings” Performance
I was originally hesitant to write this article regarding my Tribal Fest 2006 “Pierced Wings” performance as I personally believe that a performance should not have to be explained by the artist, rather it should rely on what it evokes in others.

Photographic Review of the 33rd Annual Bellydancer of the Year Pageant
This show has some wonderful traditions.

Unionizing Belly Dance:MECDA's Beginnings, Part 3:Tying Up Loose Ends,
The problem was that after the first strike, where the issues were so clear cut – no one had been paid since the owner gambled away our money, tip-sharing had just been instituted -- people were unwilling to continue with strikes for getting contracts all over town.

"It IS About the Food!"
The matriarchs were teaching me about a cultural art from my Lebanese heritage.

The Magnificent Fundraiser Part Three: Acts I and II
...today’s dancers and producers sometimes write that they believe that large stage shows with good sound and lighting, a Master of Ceremonies, and live music are only now starting production ...

Belly Dancer of the Year 2006 Photos
Danville, Ca, Sunday May 28, 2006 BD of the Year - Finals, more photos coming!

Weird Rituals and Beyond: Exploring Current Controversies in Middle Eastern Dance
If you are like me, (I know that many are not) you first responded viscerally and negatively to both situations. Then, as the shock wore off, perhaps you tried to make sense of it all.

The Bellydance Scene in Taiwan Toss Hair Dance
The women were much more skillful than I expected: just 3 years ago, nobody in Taiwan really knew anything about Bellydance.

Rhythm and Reason Series, Article 12 Moved by the Music
I did all this because those sudden shifts in rhythm and tempo and the abrupt breaks in the music that were unfamiliar to me could have made me look like a fool...

Tribal Fest 2006, May 19 in Sebastopol
Performances from Saturday late afternoon including: BlackSheep, Sashi, InFusion...

I Love Lucy: Confessions of a Dancer
Lucy does not believe that one can properly perform Oriental dance with a set choreography.

Fresh Old Sounds
Seeking fresh sounds in belly dance music? Consider a trip back to the 1950s up to the groovy ‘70s when a new style of music was bringing the East to the West.

Traveling to Tizi Ouzou
When I was in high school, I was fascinated by some of the names I read about when studying world geography.

P.U.R.E. Dance
A collective of dancers and drummers plan to take music and dance out into the streets this summer on July 15 in cities across the nation and globe.

Bellydance in Iceland
Recently, I was able to witness first hand how truly global the world of bellydance has become. Dances of the Middle East and North Africa are no longer a mystery and unknown “exotic” style of dance.

Sashi - Kabob
The punctures appear to go under the skin into the subcutaneous fat layer and not through muscle tissue.

The Photos of Saroya Ahlaam,
...she was a replacement at Rakkasah for a no-show and did a great job! I was so impressed with the crystals on her costume. You could see them sparkle from the back of the auditorium.

The Photos of Susie Poulelis,
Shoppers were treated to an improvised drum solo by Shoshanna in the foyer

An interview with Leila
"Turning tricks," or sleeping with nightclub or hotel owners, is not required to make it as a dancer in Egypt, but it is a complicated and questionable industry and there are many pressures.

Making New Musical Inroads in Luxembourg 2005
Helm takes Rhythm Diatribes Workshops to Europe. It was extremely educational for us to watch the learning process in three very diverse regions.

Got Strength? Buffing up for Bellydance
Muscles are like smart-aleck teenagers. If you ask them to do something, they do just enough to get the job done—and no more.

Rhythmical Truths Rhythm and Reason Series, Article 11,
In my books and in person, I make the point that there are two basic kinds of rhythmical variations – embellishments and fill-ins.

God Belly Danced, Part IV: The Rise of the Pagan Anti-Belly Dance League
Dancing girls, wherever they came from, at this time apparently were luxury import items and thus were subject to a 25 percent duty tax, equal to that of precious gems.

Rocking with Raqia
Each explanation brought the class closer to understanding the essence of Egyptian style.

Rhea’s Travel to Syria …PART 4 – Damascus
If you try to show what basically decent people Americans are, you will be run over like a wild coyote. Leave your manners at home and tak e on theirs.

Photos from Bellydance Superstars Audition
Tough lighting conditions! Though, we did managed to get a few.

2005 Folktours Middle Eastern Music & Dance Camp Pennsylvania,
Look around and delight in the glory of the dancers and musicians. Dance.

Cairo '05, How to Eat, Drink, Sleep, and Breathe Raqs Sharqi, Part 4of 4
We were hooted and hollered at countless times, passed an angry bunch of men arguing about Allah-knows-what, women with large bundles balanced on their heads, people in the stores and on the street trying to sell us stuff, but we were safe! 

Interview with Magda Ibrahim
That is very enjoyable, to see someone who didn’t know how to do something before and now they do, and I’m the one who helped them do it, regardless of whether they are Egyptian or foreign.

Much, Much More
Please do not call me a belly dancer. Because for me, it is not just a flip of the hip, the wink of an eye.
It is not just the sparkle of jewels, the want of applause.

Photos of Saturday Workshop & Evening show from Aida Nour & Magdy El-Leisy Workshop 2006

Rhythm and Reason Series, Article 10-How to Avoid Being Eaten by Sharks
Not so fortunate are those people who feel threatened most of the time, limping from one extreme response to another.

How to Prepare for a Superstars Audition
Also, remember that a professional troupe is a business. So if mixing business and pleasure turn you cold, this may not be the right artistic outlet for you.

Adventure Amid the Tempest: The Biloxi Fest's Near Brush with Hurricane Katrina,
Consequently, we did not allow Hurricane Katrina stop us from driving 450 miles to immerse ourselves in and perform with Mark and Ling Shien Bell of Helm! MORE PHOTOS ADDED!

The Magnificent Fundraiser, Part Two- Police Barriers Surround Event
Over coffee, we decided that our fundraiser would have to be an extraordinary dance show rather than “just another student night” or worse yet, a studio recital.

Interview with Magdy el-Leisy
Ballet gave me freedom to create my own style. I didn't go to folklore school as a child so I have more freedom to express my own style.

The Bellydance Superstars Show In Perspective
There are many factors to balance, and ANY show can be improved. The point is to also know the limitations that one faces in doing all the things one would like to do.

Cairo '05, How to Eat, Drink, Sleep, and Breathe Raqs Sharqi, Part 3 of 4-Current Cairo Happenings
, You could say that Aleya and I are burning the candle at both ends and enjoying every moment! Our priorities are three: take lessons, buy costumes, and watch shows.

Photos of Friday Evening show from Aida Nour & Magdy El-Leisy Workshop 2006 & staff sponsored by Little Egypt held on Feb 24, 2006 in Los Angeles, California,

Giza Awards 2005, A Cultural Odyssey,
Can it be that the West has been so involved in learning technique and choreography that the very soul of the dance has been left to those in the Middle East who are desperately struggling to keep their art alive?

Fahteim in Vegas
The Las Vegas 2006 belly dance season is off to a phenomenon beginning!

Hosting Australia’s Leonie and Alpen Sukan
What was going to be another dance choreography workshop weekend turned into a weekend of dancing and drumming. It is now over year later, and people are still talking about that weekend.

"Just Dance," Says Aida, A conversation with Aida Nour
She likes improvisation, and says that if a dancer has very good technique and a good ear for the music she should “just dance.”

Streets of Cairo- Egyptian Rhythm, Language and Dance
Cairo's streets are much like its dance – streams of freestyle movement guided by intuition rather than rules. There are no 'principles' as such in both circumstances – it’s the organic-ness of Egyptian life that creates order in chaos.

Cairo 2005 How to Eat, Drink, Sleep, and Breathe Raqs Sharqi, Part Two of Four
In Egypt, if a woman is only going to wear one item of make-up, it will be black eyeliner.

How MECDA Began Part II, To Whom It May Concern
I was very curious to hear what Fairuz had to say about how M.E.C.D.A. began, as I was one of the original dancers to organize it.

Loay Dahbour: Kuwaiti Drum Pro
In addition to teaching us about drum solos, Loay also took some time to share with us his valuable insights as a musician after working for the past thirteen years with hundreds of San Francisco Bay Area Bellydancers.

The Danish Caricatures Controversy: a Muslim-American Political Cartoonist Weighs-In,
Try as I may, while reviewing the infamous Islam-o-phobic Danish caricatures, I fail to discern in them any clear political statement other than the questionable assertion that Islam equals terrorism.

Cairo 2005 How to Eat, Drink, Sleep, and Breathe Raqs Sharqi, Part One of Four,
Today is an historical day in Egypt! The first “real” election with actual opposition candidates is taking place. I’m trying to stay abreast of this important event from TV news, but the American and British news sources barely talk about it.

What Kind of Snakes are Good for Dancing?
“So many snakes, so little time.” What is a girl to do? I am often asked what is a good snake to dance with. Well, that depends on two things.

Rhythm and Reason Series, Article 9, Can't We All Get Along? Dancers and Musicians
First, you don’t have to be afraid of working with live music.

This is Not a Review: Bellydance Superstars
Herein lies one major flaw concerning the concept of superstardom in Bellydance: choreography. While choreography is a form of quality assurance, it is also assurance that the quality attained will be less than stellar in Bellydance!

The Peace Belt comes to Tucson
But it matters more, I think, that this dance can be used to stimulate thinking and discussion, and even to help feed and clothe other human beings.

Bellydance Community Floods Costume Consignment Store with Love
New Years’ Eve San Anselmo, CA . A new year brings new opportunities. My New Year came early and wearing the guise (or should I say costume?) of a disaster.

The Magnificent Fundraiser
That included the Belly dance, which he confided in me (later) that he had hated, because it had been introduced to Greece during the time that Greece was under the suppression and control of the Turks.

Zaharr's Memoir, Part 12-Learning to Perform
I knew I wasn't dancing like one of the pretty dancers I had seen in 1966, but now it was 1968, and it was time to focus on my own goal of learning more.

Amani “Around the World” DVD Report
She has put her dancing on stage and has created numerous theatre productions in the past 10 years and this show is the first one on DVD.

Bellydance Superstars, Our Plans for 2006 by Miles Copeland, 2005 Photos by Monica Berini
There is nothing like consistency and constant pressure to deliver at your best each night to weld a group or troupe together.

Rhythm and Reason Series, Article 8, Leadership Risks
When you lead people, you take certain risks. One such risk is that of self-revelation.

Return to India – This Time it’s Personal!
We thought that the misfortunes associated with our previous performance tours of India were simply anomalies in the blissful and glamorous world of dancing overseas.

The Dina Show!
Event sponsored by Little Egypt on May 28-30, 2005 at the Crowne Plaze in Miami, Florida

Sirat Al-Ghawazi, Part 9
Begun in the mid-1970's , the early sections of "Sirat Al-Ghawazi" were first published under the title "The Mystery of the Ghawazi." We are happy to be able to respond to the continued demand for these articles by making them available to our readers worldwide.

What You Can't Get From Instructional Videos
Being able to withstand honest opinions is crucial. If one never communicates directly with one's peers AS PEERS, that is, not as sycophantic students, one can develop an insular and self-referential mindset without ever realizing it.

2005

The Key: an Allegory* in Which a Courtesan Dancer Greets the New Year
Court dancer, Raven, was lost in thought as she shifted her gaze toward a novice barefoot dancer whose name she could not remember.

My Retirement
Thirty-six years of feeling special, of dressing up night after night and of being “The Sultan’s Favourite Kadin” ended with such a quiet whisper that even I was surprised.

Spokane's First Belly Dance Festival,
Spokane’s First Annual Belly Dance Festival offered instruction for belly dancers of all levels and a variety of styles.

Comic Book Artists Portray Dancers
In addition to the dancing and vending, comic book artists were on hand to demonstrate their ability to convert photos into works of art as well as to promote their work.

Dancing with Snakes
Snakes may not need to be walked and played with as do dogs and cats, but they do like to be handled – in fact – it is essential that they become accustomed to being handled by you particularly, in order for the snake to find dancing with you acceptable.

The Zar
We do know that today thousands of women in Africa and the Middle East use this music to cure all kinds of illnesses. They literally dance until they drop.

Articulating the Collective Dream: The Giza Awards, and why the legacy-making process is important to you.
by Amina Goodyear and Gregory Burke. "We embrace change however roughly it appears. With video we feel secure in the knowledge that the legacy of the past will never abandon us."

Noshing around the Bay
On Neran's first visit back to Bay Area a year after relocating to Knoxville, Tennesee she announced to Nisima, "there are no and I mean no Middle Eastern restaurants in Knoxville; let's go to as many as we can while I'm here."

The Universal Categories of The Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition,
held February 19-20, 2005 in Long Beach, California, photos by GS staff

Sirat Al-Ghawazi, Part 8
Begun in the mid-1970's , the early sections of "Sirat Al-Ghawazi" were first published under the title "The Mystery of the Ghawazi." We are happy to be able to respond to the continued demand for these articles by making them available to our readers worldwide.

A Photographer's View, The North Valley Contest 2005,
It was an exciting contest, covering five categories: Novices, Intermediates, Troupe dancers, Solos and Live Solos. Live music was provided by the amazing Light Rain.

Paradise Found at Habibi Hawaii 2005
Azure skies and sun-kissed palms provided the perfect backdrop for Habibi Hawaii, Honolulu's Premier Bellydance Festival and Celebration.

Belly Dancer USA Competition, Canyonville, Oregon, June 11-12, 2005,
Mezdulene and her supporting staff need to be commended for their hard work and effort. It was a smooth running event that was well organized and a joy to attend. I’ll be back next year!

My Incredible US Tour
This trip was almost two months of intensive adventure and provided an exchange of experiences with many dancers.

Rhythm and Reason Series, Article 7, Negatudes
I have just enjoyed putting on a show for a warm and responsive audience. What a joy! This has prompted me to take time to look at the role that an audience plays in the outcome of a performance.

Traveling with the Touareg
This was my 5th trip to Algeria since 2000 and I have been amazed at the rapid economic development. The government is working very hard to make Algeria a very popular tourist destination once again.

The Queen of Raks Sharqi Competition Ahlan Cairo Nights
A review and report from and observer's point of view!

Dancing For Masters
A report from a contestant's point of view!

Belly Dance Secrets for Fitness and Rejuvenation
The most important factor in sustaining an exercise program is the 'fun factor'; Belly dancing comes with great music, exciting moves, noisy coin belts and its own special dress code.

Rhythm and Reason Series, Article 6 Unexpected Mishaps
I invite you to chuckle with me as I retell several gems of last year. I wouldn’t dare to boast of any lesson you must learn from all of this, and discovery of a meaning is up to you!

My Adventure Begins!
At last, another North Beach Memory! "I was creating my life as an adventure, I was making my own destiny; this was Kismet!"

The Divine & Fusion Categories of The Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition,
held February 19-20, 2005 in Long Beach, California, photos by GS staff

Interview with Mahmoud Reda Part 3: Film & Future
If you know about photography, then it will help performing for the movies or for television because usually the choreographer stands beside the director of the movie.

How MECDA Began
M.E.C.D.A., (Middle Eastern Culture and Dance Association) is a nationwide organization which began in 1977 for the purpose of organizing working dancers, sharing information between teachers...

The Egyptian Category 2005 of The Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition,
held February 19-20, 2005 in Long Beach, California, photos by GS staff

Zaharr's Memoir, Part 11- The Minerva
What do Greeks know about Belly Dancing anyway?” He just grabbed my hand and we headed toward the door. Grumbling, I followed him inside and I was startled to see a big stage with a large wooden dance floor right in front of it.

Rhythm and Reason Series, Article 5, Cymbals & the Music
But that’s not the rhythm. As I say at the beginning of each workshop, “Rhythm is the patterned arrangement of sound and silent.”

Raqia's Response
I visited her in the Masr el Dawly Hospital, near where Raqia lives in el Dokki, the next week. Raqia was unable to travel to Sweden while sick!

Interview with Maya Gaorry of Italy, Talks about Size, Fat, and American dancers,
Before there was no rule on how big dancers should be, and now it’s changing. Changing everywhere.

My Experience With Amani’s Oriental Festival
Lebanon, June 14-19, 2005. Amani placed strong emphasis on the folklore and identity of Oriental Dance when compiling the program and offered touring to assist in blending technique with emotion.

Ahlan Wa Sahlan 2005, Cairo
On Monday night, the opening gala was a great success in all senses of the word! It was one of the best large scale events I've attended.

How to Analyze Dance Styles
For a long time, the term “style” was something that I didn’t really understand.

Part Five; Lace and My Muses: Treasures
I was looking at a piece of artwork featuring a classical dancer of the past, turning it this way and that to get a better view, and suddenly, I realized that I had lost contact with my treasured mentors and had also abandoned my sense of artistic direction that they had helped to foster within me.

Behind The Nile Group Workshops in Cairo
How absurd it sounds! How could we, in a small country that a lot of people couldn’t even locate on a world map, compete with her enormous festival in Cairo?

What is a Ghazal?
“Ghazal” is a word in Arabic that means talking to women.

Rhythm and Reason Series, Article 4, For Whom Do You Dance?
Who do you dance for – your audience or yourself?

Belly Dance, Burlesque and Beyond: Confessions of a Post Modern Showgirl
“BUT WAIT!!!” I can hear you screaming, “ BURLESQUE IS STRIPPING!”

Making New Musical Inroads in Spain
Helm takes Rhythm Diatribes Workshops to Europe, series continues...

Sirat Al-Ghawazi, Part 7
Begun in the mid-1970's , the early sections of "Sirat Al-Ghawazi" were first published under the title "The Mystery of the Ghawazi." We are happy to be able to respond to the continued demand for these articles by making them available to our readers worldwide.

Interview with Mahmoud Reda Part 2: The Troupe
So what I call my choreography is not folkloric. It’s inspired by the folkloric.

Re-defining Belly Dance and Middle Eastern Dance
The fact is that “Middle Eastern Dance” is not an acceptable definition for Belly Dance and let me explain why.

Sparkle Mind, Beginner Mind
dragged my weary bones out of bed at 5:30 yesterday morning, March 5, 2005, grabbed some coffee and headed east toward Sedalia, Missouri, for Judy Cunningham’s Belly Dance Workshop and Bazaar with Margo Abdo O’ Dell of Minneapolis.

Sausan’s First Egyptian Dance Seminar
What would you think if you heard somebody say, “There are no isolations in Egyptian Belly dance"?

Health Secrets of a Road Warrior, Part 3: Avoiding Colds
When most people think about getting sick on a big trip, they think of “the mummy’s revenge”, or traveler’s diarrhea. There is another very real, very common health risk that many of us don’t anticipate: the common cold.

Rakkasah West Festival 2005 Page 3-Sat & Sun, photos by GS Volunteers

Tips on Dancing to Live Music (a Musician’s Perspective)
Many dancers find performing to live music intimidating, but with a little preparation, good communication, and a positive attitude, you can make it the most exciting part of your dance performance.

Rakkasah 2005 Casual photos
One maybe two more pages of photos coming yet and then we are done!

The Untaught Teacher
What then, do we do about a teacher who has been misled, apparently, concerning the history of our dance?

Rainbows of the Desert Sponsor Aziza Sa’id to Des Moines, Iowa
It was clear from the overall setup that the Rainbows are very experienced at sponsoring large workshops.

Calling all professional dancers! How much do you charge?
Over the years, we dancers have unwittingly kept the general rate ridiculously low in restaurants and nightclubs.

Interview with Mahmoud Reda Part 1: The Beginning
The Ministry of Culture should be of help, not a source of problems. But anyway, they had control of all the theaters, so to find a theater we must go to them, but they gave us problems. I don’t know why; maybe they were jealous!

Rhythm and Reason Series, Article 3, Community Warfare
Time and again I hear dancers deplore the fact that in many parts of the country there are warring camps among dancers; that is, groups that openly oppose each other and that try to keep all useful information and all jobs to themselves.

Cairo Carnival 2005 Page 1 June 11-12, 2005, Glendale, California
Please help us identify faces. Thanks!

Hadia Speaks: a Telephone Interview
Hadia’s experience is that, although many dancers in Middle Eastern countries are wonderful artists, they generally lack the skills to teach in an effective, methodical, safe way.

The Junior Division of the The Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition
Ages 10-17 years, held Saturday, February 19, 2005, in Long Beach, California

"Ya Mustapha!": A Song Conquers the World
One of the most covered songs of the last 50 years is not from the Beatles but an old Oriental folk song.

Belly Dancer of the Year 2005 Finals
May 28, 2005, San Ramon, California.

Sirat Al-Ghawazi, Part 6
Begun in the mid-1970's , the early sections of "Sirat Al-Ghawazi" were first published under the title "The Mystery of the Ghawazi." We are happy to be able to respond to the continued demand for these articles by making them available to our readers worldwide.

Belly Dancer of the Year 2005 Preliminaries
May 28, 2005, San Ramon, California.

Ahlan wa Sahlan 2005 Begins
Shira is back at Raqia's Cairo festival again this year. Many improvements noted!

The 2005 Eilat Festival, My Fete in Israel
This was the first professional festival of its kind in Israel. Despite its being overwhelmingly exhausting and loaded with material, the celebrating continued in the lobby, well into the night, with endless conversations and the exchange of tales.

Health Secrets of a Road Warrior, Part 2: Beating Jet Lag
I ’ve developed some techniques that usually work for me in minimizing the discomfort and health risks jet lag can cause.

Belly Dancer of the Year 2005 Grand Dancer, more Duos, Trios & Troupes
May 28, 2005, San Ramon, California.

Gitaneria Arabesca: A Different Approach to the Student Recital
Ah, the student recital. There is nothing like watching fledglings leaving the nest, discovering their own creative wings and flying off into the wonderful world of belly dance.

Surreyya: Adding Dance to Her Repertoire
Set choreographies are seldom the “stuff of dreams” but simply serve as crutches for the dancer who has not developed a “clean edge”.

Health Secrets of a Road Warrior, Part 1: Introduction to Healthy Travel
However, some of us don’t have much experience with travel, particularly international travel, and we might not know about the health risks that travel can pose.

Rakkasah West Festival 2005 Photos- Saturday & Sunday Page 2
More to come!

Belly Dancer of the Year 2005 Page 1 Duos, Trios & Troupes
May 28, 2005, San Ramon, California.

Rakkasah West Festival 2005 Photos- Saturday Page 1
More to come!

The Rhythm and Reason Series Article 2- Special Experiences
The audience of mainly flamenco aficionados gave our Arabic Suite a clamorous response.� This bringing together of bellydance and flamenco had begun as a flash of imagination in Cruz' mind.

Atef Farag: A Life in Dance
Pure Egyptian dance does tolerate a lot of sexual innuendo that is not present in my work.

Making New Musical Inroads in France and Ireland
Helm takes Rhythm Diatribes Workshops to Europe, series continues...

Initiating Dance Dialogue: Current Trends, The Panel Discussion at Carnivals of Stars Festival,
Panel members included: Heather as moderator, Monica Berini, Shira, Barbara Bolan, Amina Goodyear, Debbie Lammam.

Carnival of Stars Holiday Dance Festival and Comic Book Convention
A new festival held on Nov 14, '04 produced by Ghawazee.com's at Centennial Hall, in Hayward, California, which included a panel discussion, raffle, costume contest, and famous comic artists, along with the usual dancing and vendors.

Bargaining for Injeers
Bargaining is not just about the money, although that is a qualifier. Bargaining is a medium in which two strangers can have a conversation. Turks love to bargain, and it may be how they get to know you...

Power Failure Halts Troupes & Finals Categories, The Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition,
Willow Street outside the Grand Willow Street Center was a raging river on Saturday morning and the rain continued through the weekend with intermittent dry spells.

Auditioning for the Belly Dance Super Stars: Two Personal Experiences
The Cattle Call by Layla Katrina - "I knew I was not what they were looking for."
My Experience with the BDSS Audition in Paris by Dazzel - "He wanted me to believe that his troupe was too good for me."

Friday Evening, Page 2, Rakkasah West Festival 2005,
photos by GS Volunteers including: Jasmine, Lynette, Michelle, Monica, Sandra, Saroya Ahlaam, Susie, Zaheea

Helm takes Rhythm Diatribes Workshops to Europe
The musicians will be conducting a series of rhythm/music workshops in Ireland, Spain and Luxembourg this April.

San Francisco Screening of American Bellydancer
Traveling to San Francisco to attend the screening of American Bellydancer to a largely belly dance community crowd was like jumping into a hornet’s nest of opposing views!

Daughters of Shahrazad: Face to Face Cultural Encounters Through the Expressive Arts of Middle Eastern Women
On March 5, 2005, a unique conference in Iowa honored International Women’s Month.

The Rhythm and Reason Series Article 1- Cymbals, Beyond Basics
Each rhythm has a distinct arrangement of accents.� If you are sure of where these accents come, you can bring a unique flavor to each section of your routine.

The London Belly Beat!
They have nothing against tribal or fusion styles and seem to enjoy all belly dance.

Rakkasah West Festival 2005 Photos- Friday Page 1
More to come!

Defiant Dancer: How I became a Dance Pioneer In a small 1970s California Community Festival
My attitude turned from community spirit to outright defiance.

“My Aim in Organizing a World-inclusive Oriental Dance Festival”
Dancer Amani of Lebanon Comments, "Oriental dancing has become a widespread art; it is now found all over the world, and among all levels of society in all the five continents! "

Happy To Be Me: Dancing Without Shame-- Recognizing Beauty & Potential Within
I don’t worry about comparing myself to others. Instead, I spend my energy educating myself about the different styles and techniques of Belly dance, and I stretch my boundaries to derive unique performances through innovative presentations.

Rakkasah Democracy Skips First Amendment!
The second call, a few minutes later, warned me not to come to Rakkasah at all.

About my teacher Magana Baptiste
At the time when her husband placed second in the Mr. America body building contest, and mind you, these were the days when body builders took no steroids and were true examples of healthy humans, Magana placed first runner up in the Miss USA beauty competition held in Los Angeles in 1951.

Rakkasah From a Vendor’s Viewpoint
Ah, Rakkasah! For many years the highlight of my vending year! A wonderful idea that has gradually faded over time….

Tatseena's Fantasy Festival October 16-17, 2004,
The Festival lived up to it's name, with two days of creative and innovative dance that broke the mold and showed the versatility of American Bellydance.

The Folk Tours Dance & Music Camp Review
Once upon a time, in far away lands, I performed five shows a night, seven nights a week to great live music. I don’t miss the wily club owners, late nights, or cigarette smoke, but I do miss the music.

The BDSS Experience and Miles Copeland; Doing What He Does Best
Even though Miles Copeland’s vision is similar to that of mine and the majority of belly dancers I have canvassed in my lifetime, he and I differ in our mission approach to elevating the dance, and this is where the discussion became a heated debate.

The Blind and Bellydance
She had a genuine joy in her smile as she shimmied and swayed to the music as her husband sat and enjoyed his wife's enthusiasm.

A Question of Style
Since most of us have chosen Oriental Dance for the pleasure of doing it, being a zealot about purity and ethnicity will just hamper getting the fullest enjoyment out of the dance.

A Report of the 2004 Ya Halla Y’all Saturday Evening Show,
Isis’ annual August shows are always great and professionally presented but the show on Saturday truly lived up to its billing as ‘A Gathering of Stars’. We can’t wait for next year!

Unity through Belly dance
If you are reading this publication, then you too have fallen in love with belly dancing.

Lace and My Muses, Part 4 of 5:Tarnished StarDust
Not until very recent times, could I admit, even to myself, that I had lost a large part of my creative thrust along with many of my treasured friendships because I had perceived wrongly that I needed to become more like the Egyptian and Lebanese dancers of the day.

Taking Good Care of our Stars
Most of all, as we now need them consistently; we have to free them from financial worries by giving them job security including such things as health insurance.

From Rags to Rhinestones
I am most proud of having taken up dance later in life and having become an acclaimed professional-level performer.

Walking the Line: Reflections from a Christian Dancer
I’ve personally never thought of my dance as erotic or enticing. I’ve considered it an attempt to distill the results of study about particular ethnic and cabaret styles, amalgamate them into American form, and present the outcome to an audience as entertainment.

Photos from Sumaya’s Chicago South Side Hafla
Being new to the Midwest, I thought it would be fun to attend one of Sumaya’s haflas and meet other members of the greater Midwestern dance community.

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

BDSS Auditions January 14-15, 2005, North Hollywood, CA
-Inside the Bellydance Superstars Final Auditions by Michelle Joyce
-"What have I got to lose?" by Zaheea
-Photos by Lynette

The Traveling Costumer
More customers! New horizons! Travel! That’s what we needed!

Photos from The Luna Gitana Festival,
Event produced by Vashti on November 13, 2004

The Grand International Bellydance Tour or How We Fled India at Midnight, Eluding Our Captors and Evading our Go-Go-Dance Responsibilities. or What Would Fifi Do?
It may not have been such a problem for us had the prostitutes not been posing as bellydancers!

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

Unchained!
Who the hell is Miles Copeland? And, what is he doing in our ancient and sacred world of Middle Eastern dance?

Making Wise Choices in the Belly-Dance Wear Market-place
We all love the visual feast of a fine dance in a sumptuous package, the glamour of dressing high-high up. A great costume can send a good show into greatness and almost make you forgive a poor one.

2004

Undercover Belly Dancer in Iraq- “THAAWUMPFF”
The women who work in the Ministry are brave women. At first they looked at me with suspicion, not sure of my ethnicity. I sometimes get thanked when they realize that I share the Arab blood.

We Shop, We Bathe, And We Eat! Justine’s Culinary Adventures in Turkey,
The Egyptian spice market in Istanbul is a wonderful place to be a new chef, not only does it hold a treasure chest in spices, it has the most charming men, who know how to cook.

Raven of the Night: Dancer’s Allegory for New Year’s Eve 2005
Raven of the Night was the name by which he thought of her–but feathers? Raven had none! She was the castle’s Dancer of Dreams and aspired to become Jester of the Court...

New Dance Contest/Theme Party ”A Night at Casablanca!”
October 2, 2004 at the Benicia Clocktower Benicia, California Sponsored by Siren In Sanity

Mona el Said in Dallas, Part 2
Mona el Said in Dallas, Part 1,
Sponsored by Little Egypt at the Holiday Inn, Dallas Texas September 3 - 5, 2004.
It's always nice when you find that someone, whom you've put up on a big pedestal, is down to earth, just "folks" like the rest of us.

The Universal Language: Dancing Makes Us Beautiful and Depression-free
After a long time living with my depression, I found something that is better than any kind of pill or therapy.

Rhea’s Travel to Syria … Part 3– Surrounded by Men in the Airport
Clever girl, eh? You think it’s the first time I’ve traveled alone in the Middle East?

My Vision of the Desert Archidance
I had heard about trance dancing before, but had never seen it in an authentic context.

Mystery Dancer #1: Iklas
Gilded Serpent is looking for clues to the story behind this lovely dancer! If you have any information, please contact us!

Sunday Afternoon at the Desert Dance Festival '04, Page 2
Sunday Afternoon at the Desert Dance Festival '04
Consequently, I was a very popular girl all day as vendors called out to me to visit and talk. After all, I was a bona-fide Actual Audience Member.

Lace and My Muses: In Search of A Personal Style, Part Three
I suggest that “elevating Belly dance” to the standards of western dance would be counter-productive in the long-term rather than a valid goal for us to desire.

Dancers Belly Up to Beat Bush,
Even in the politically minded Bay Area, the dance community rarely seems to take an activist stance.

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

The First (and definately not the last!) Tribal Cafe!
It was the first all tribal belly dance event sponsored by MECDA IE and took place on August 21st, 2004 in Montclair, California.

Undercover Belly Dancer in Iraq
My name is Meena. Until a month ago, I was a professional belly dancer in Phoenix, Arizona.

Art, Activism & Magic: Krissy Keefer In Her Own Words
...women dancers are not expected to think and speak.

BELLYPALOOZA! Goddess Power Comes to Baltimore
This ancient art could successfully incorporate modern styles and music while still getting the same feminine empowering message across.

Belly Dancing in Las Vegas- Part 2
Who are those good looking and talented men behind the dancers?

Folktour's 2nd Annual Music and Dance Camp
Pennsylvania, May 2004, Dancers and musicians all over the East Coast (and abroad) came to participate in the four-day oriental dance and music camp.

Rhea’s Travel to Syria … Part 2 – The Airport Nightmare
Too bad they didn’t have any friends in America.

A Subjective View of Raqia's Cash Cow The AWS Festival 2004, Part 1
First, she came out as a snake, then entered wearing a melaya, next, as a caged lion.  Her performance was very entertaining.

The Ramzy Tour of 2003,
Photos from:Brazil, Brisbane, MaryBorough, Wellington, London, Singapore and Tibet? Readers- please help us with matching names to these faces!

A Sour Note
Alexandria's Belly Dance Comics presents Adventures in Music Class...

Dancing in Salt Lake City in the '70s- The Athenian
I told her I wasn’t looking for a husband, but she wanted me to meet him anyway, so I did.

A Rug Story
Rug stores are interesting, the salesman know an amazing information about rugs. Rug men tend to be well educated and full of interesting conversation.

Kismet's Utah's 24th Annual Bellydance Festival, August 2004,
There were more than 500 dancers performing, there were vendors, live bands, and dance, drum and costume clinics to attend.

Sirat Al-Ghawazi, Part 4
Begun in the mid-1970's , the early sections of "Sirat Al-Ghawazi" were first published under the title "The Mystery of the Ghawazi." We are happy to be able to respond to the continued demand for these articles by making them available to our readers worldwide.

Sirat Al-Ghawazi, Part 5 of 9
Begun in the mid-1970's , the early sections of "Sirat Al-Ghawazi" were first published under the title "The Mystery of the Ghawazi." We are happy to be able to respond to the continued demand for these articles by making them available to our readers worldwide.

31st Annual Belly Dancer of the Year Competition,
photos by Susie and Lynette. Where were the spectators? Plan on coming next year!

My Costuming Roots
Soon, however, it became obvious that I couldn’t do three shows a night, on and on, with only one costume! And Yousef, owner of the Bagdad, supported this realization by telling me that if I didn’tget some more costumes, I was fired.

High Desert Hip Fest 2004 Report and photos
High Desert Hip Fest is held every year, the first part of May in Reno, Nevada.

Rhea's Travels to Syria, Part 1, The Delusion is Shattered
It looked like a Middle Eastern attempt at Las Vegas and Disneyland, upscale discotheques where attractive Moldavian that aforementioned familiar tributary, than go on to another one.

Dina in LA,
On May 14-16 of 2004, Nora, Dee Dee & Ahmad Asad of Little Egypt presented Dina of Cairo in a teaching workshop and show at the Radisson Hotel at the Los Angeles Airport.

Smoking with Dina: a casual interview with an Egyptian star in California
I got to see Dina dance and be herself again and again.

The Photos & Poetry of David Ludwig
there is a time each year, when dancers and musicians gather, in a magic forest, to reconnect , with their creative source...

Sirat Al-Ghawazi, Part 3
Begun in the mid-1970's , the early sections of "Sirat Al-Ghawazi" ere first published under the title "The Mystery of the Ghawazi." We are happy to be able to respond to the continued demand for these articles by making them available to our readers worldwide.

Lace and My Muses: Everything Old Becomes New Again , Part Two
Now it was the ancient, exotic art of Belly dancing and my fantasies of the bizarre life of a Belly dancer that smoked incense into my heart.

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

Belly Dance Superstars at DNA Lounge page 2,
More eye candy! Performing in one of the most trendy clubs in San Francisco!

Leila, An American Dancer in Cairo
She would walk into these huge ballrooms filled with thousands of people with a huge stage in the middle of the room while television cameras on cranes are taking note of everything.

Dancing in North Beach
On the occasions when the door was still locked, I was often invited to drink coffee next door, where young girls made their money stripping.

Belly Dance Superstars at DNA Lounge
Saturday, April 17, 2004 San Francisco, CA. Yes, that is Petite Jamilla playing a bagpipe,

Cabaret: Is it a dirty word?
American Cabaret, the original fusion belly dance, is accessible and fun for everyone, regardless of one’s dance education.

Zaharr's Memoir, Part 9 & 10, A Visit to my Teacher's Teacher, More Street Performing
I believe it is the signature of a gentleman to make a woman feel as if she is the center of his universe, even if it is only for five minutes.

Ahlan Wa Sahlan Festival 2004-Intro
Middle Eastern dance artists and students from throughout the world attend this event to immerse themselves in instruction by leading Egyptian instructors, shop for costumes and other supplies offered by Egyptian vendors, and enjoy the gala shows featuring top Egyptian dancers. Check back for regular updates!
First Two Days
Day 3: First Look at Egyptian History
Day 4: More Egyptian Monuments and First Dance Show
Day 5: Shop-portunities and Whirling Dervishes POSTED 7-9-04
Day 6: The Festival Begins POSTED 7-17-04
Day 7: Classes and Free Time POSTED 7-17-04
Day 8: Side Trips, Part 1: Gayer Anderson Museum POSTED 7-25-04
Day 8: Side Trips, Part 2: The Parisiana 7-26-04
Day 9: The Evening Show posted 11-12-04
Day 10: Classes and the Sphinx Speaks posted 11-22-04
Day 11: Camels, Class, & Competitions posted 12-15-04

Romancing the Road (The Bousada Troupe Tours)
We carved our own niche, created our own style, scandalized, delighted, educated and entertained everyone around us, including ourselves. We were “Bou-Saada”.

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

San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival Photo Teaser
Taken last night, you can still see this show tonight and tomorrow and see more next weekend!

Egypt Travel Health Checklist
Here is a packing checklist that may help you anticipate your own needs.

Lace and My Muses Part 1: Egyptian Mummy Lace or “Assiute Cloth”
I fastened around my hips a white Assuite cloth encrusted with gold knots throughout, forming pictographs of falcons, pyramids, crosses, and diamond shaped designs.

The Making of a Bellydance CD
Each phase of the process is expensive, time-consuming, and important.

Nagwa Sultan: Cairo Soul
Like a number of other Egyptian dancers who retired in the early ‘90s, Nagwa couldn't turn her back on the dance world entirely, however tarnished the glitter had become.

At last! The Sunday Photos from Rakkasah West 2004- Page 1, Page 2
Thanks to all the photographers and volunteers whol help make this happen. We still need a few names to go with faces!

Dance Contests
People being who they are, and dance and art and America being what they are, there will always be the competitive urge, the attitude that success is defined by the amount of your income, the number of your trophies.

Belly Dancer of the Year Pageant
The contestants were limited to ten, and all danced to the same music, though they were permitted any props they wanted.

Dance Festival or Shop-a-thon?
Shukriya, can you hear me now?

Dancing Darkly: The Phenomenon of Gothic Belly Dance
This may come as a shock to many, but Gothic Belly Dance isn’t really a new phenomenon, and it’s not just centered in California. First of all, it’s simply a merger of two entities that go well together, like peanut butter and chocolate.

Sirat Al-Ghawazi, Part 2
Begun in the mid-1970's , the early sections of "Sirat Al-Ghawazi" were first published under the title "The Mystery of the Ghawazi." We are happy to be able to respond to the continued demand for these articles by making them available to our readers worldwide.

Page 4 of the Rakkasah West Saturday Photos The last page of photos for Saturday

Page 2 of the Rakkasah Saturday Photos, Page 3
Rakkasah West Festival 2004 SATURDAY, PAGE 1 March 2004, *Let us know if you recognize faces!

Belly Dance in Israel
Belly dancers are the hottest trend at the moment, unlike the totally frozen attitudes towards the Arab culture in Israel.

Dynamic Relationships In the Dance Community
Conflicts happen. People take sides. Learning and growing get lost in the shuffle, particularly when conflicts overshadow the classroom.

Belly Dancing in Las Vegas (part 1 of 2)
I am pleased to introduce a few of “The Divas of Las Vegas!”

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

Shuvani: Music and Dance inspired by the Roma "Gypsy" Trail
Saturday, February 21, 2004 Cafe de la Paz, Berkeley, California

The Myopic View of Bellydancing
It is interesting to note that among dance fields that are culturally based, ours is one of the few that adhere to this stigma and prejudice.

Rakkasah West Festival 2004 Friday Evening March 2004, Richmond, California including:
Biram, Clare, Cynthia, Krista, Lynette, Michelle, Monica, Sandra, Valentino, Yasmine and probably more!
*Let us know if you recognize faces!

Loving Remembrance and Requiem: the Best “School” That Ever Was, Part 3
Truth gives us the wings that brought us where we are today. Most of my jobs now are in places that wouldn't have thought twice about slamming the door in my face in the 1960s. I know because I tried and they did, but I kept coming back with more and more proof. Haven't stopped. Won't.

The Bellybus
For a dancer to be what she is, to dance, she must be free. For a woman to be a full and equal member of our society she must be free to make her own choices about what is best for her.

"Magda, Hurry!"
My aunt was coming! I knew there was going to be dancing, and I could feel the butterflies just flying into in my stomach!

Who Died and Made You Queen of Dance?
This lack of background basic performing experience would be unheard of and un-tolerated in any other dance form.

A Period of Innovations
In the late 1970s, there were two events produced for the belly dance community that were different from things that had happened before – events that began and paved the way for so many that were to happen later.

Rakkasah West Festival Photo Teaser
photos by GS Volunteers including: Biram, Clare, Cynthia, Krista, Lynette, Michelle, Monica,
Sandra, Valentino, Yasmine and probably more! Let us know if you recognize faces!

Part 2 of Photos by Ram, the Featured Stars, Aida Nour & Magdy El-Leisy, and Wafaa Badr
in Dallas, Texas, January 9-11, 2004, sponsored by Little Egypt

"I'd Rather Stay Home with my Kids"
I asked her how to take it off, and she told me to figure it out when I was on stage. Then I heard - "Our "guest" dancer, Amina, all the way from upstairs!"

Zaharr's Memoir, Part 8 Early Street Performing
They actually threw money in our hat!

"I'd Rather Stay Home with my Kids"
I asked her how to take it off, and she told me to figure it out when I was on stage. Then I heard - "Our "guest" dancer, Amina, all the way from upstairs!"

Najia's List of Recommended CDs, 2004 update
Print and compare this list to your present collection or take it to the next festival to help you find these treasures!

Aida Nour & Magdy El-Leisy in Dallas, Texas, January 9-11, 2004, sponsored by Little Egypt

Hindu Extremists Riot at Belly Dance Show
At the time, I was beginning to understand that this was a potentially dangerous and explosive situation. But I had no way of knowing how much danger I was really in.

Belly Dancing with Snakes
My snakes have their own room with a scenic view of Las Vegas, and it is temperature controlled.

Bert and Amaya Workshop
“He makes you feel special and sexy!”, one participant was overheard to exclaim.

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

Live Music and Me: The Third Sunday at El Morocco,
Live musicians, whether hot or just luke warm, alway confront the dancer with a set of variables.

Turkish Shop 'til you Drop
The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is the Mother of all shopping malls and covers over fifteen acres.

Hamam 5
"Take me to a hamam," I begged. She took me to the Besiktas Hamam.

When Comparing & Contrasting
Often, people base their negative judgments of other styles on student-quality performances.

Sirat Al-Ghawazi, Part 1
Begun in the mid-1970's , the early sections of "Sirat Al-Ghawazi" were first published under the title "The Mystery of the Ghawazi." We are happy to be able to respond to the continued demand for these articles by making them available to our readers worldwide.

My Tribal Fusion Festival in Florida
If we have a dream, we should go for it….

Kalifa's Big Comeback
I felt butterflies in my stomach – my throat was dry – and my fingers already damp where I lightly held the ends of my skirt. All the old familiar feelings a performer experiences just before going on stage.

Youth, Beauty and Branding, The Virgin Megastore Grand Reopening, part 2
with Jillina, Sahlala Dancers, and Issam Houshan San Francisco, California, December 3, 2003

Memories from Planet Earth
Apathy is alive and well.

One Ad Changed My Life
I was very desperate and determined to get back to my old self.

Virgin Megastore Reopening featuring Jillina & the Sahlala Dancers & Issam Houshan,
San Francisco, CA, Wednesday, December 3, 2003

One Ad Changed My Life
I was very desperate and determined to get back to my old self.

Understanding Middle Eastern Rhythm
The rhythms of the tabla inspire the dance, so to understand these rhythms is to fully blossom as a dancer.

Luna Gitana 2003
Featuring Kamaal and Shoshanna Presented by Vashti, A Bellydance Odyssey Production, Santa Cruz, CA November 15, 2003

Khairiyya Mazin Struggles to Preserve Authentic Ghawazi Dance Tradition
But when Khairiyya Mazin retires, one of the most distinctive traditions of Ghawazi dance may come to an end.

2003

The New Year's Dance

The 11th Annual North Valley Belly Dance Competition
Feather Falls Casino Orovile, CA, November 8, 2003

Getting Shagged on Virgin Atlantic
This is about a trip that took two days but never went anywhere.

Dancing Inside Out
The state of Oriental Dance in America, as it is most often seen today in festivals and restaurants, is at a crossroads of change from which there will be no way to return.

Egypt 2003
The winner was also the worst dressed dancer. Her name is Ronda and she has the reputation of being too cheap to invest in a quality costume.

Playing Hello Kitty
I would do anything for my children...apparently, even make a complete idiot out of myself to put food on the table!

Zaharr's Memoir, Part 7 Putting it together
"Well, I planned a little treat for you today,” she confided, “let’s see how this works.”

Belly dancing in cyberspace – The LiveJournal Belly dancing Community
It is analogous to keeping a public diary, and asking people to comment on it.

Miles Copeland Responds to Questions from GS Readers
If we are to dominate the world let’s try to understand and appreciate the good in other cultures as we are trying to mitigate the bad.

Report of the Eastern U.S. Middle Eastern and Balkan Music and Dance Camp October 2-5, 2003
The camaraderie of a camp - bunking with strangers who soon become friends, "breaking bread" together, learning new dance steps, songs, and drum rhythms - has all the ingredients for a treasured experience, and this camp lived up to that potential.

Photos from the The 10th and Final Festival Fantasia
produced by Rose Productions, Black Sheep BellyDance and the Sebastopol Community Center
October 11 & 12, 2003, Sebastopol, California

Advice from a Temporal Dance Oracle
These dance related disputes become overpowering

Egypta, a Revivification of Ancient Sacred Dance
Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, Washington D.C. report by Pen Katali, M.L.S.
Egypta impressed me as a stunning artistic success, splendid beyond belief.

2nd Annual San Leandro Festival
it seems that this event is destined to grow each year.

MORE Photos from The Middle Eastern Music and Dance Camp in Mendocino
Just the extra photos of our art and faces you know projected into a beautiful natural setting.

Nour: A Biography
This dance, having its own rules, was like the flight of a soul, especially for one who sees dance as art and not just personal exhibitionism.

Of Hamams and Bathing
The attendants giggle while dumping scalding hot water on the screaming, howling clients.

Workshop in Perth, Australia-Hossam & Serena Ramzy's International Tour August 8th - 12th, 2003
Hossam’s presentation requires the student to listen – and I mean LISTEN.

Raks Assaya Instruction at Najia’s Studio
Demonstrated by Rawan El-Mouzayen (Arab-American, age 3)

Dancing on Broadway in the ‘70s
One of my strangest experiences on Broadway involved getting a small part in Carol Doda’s movie...

Photos from Utah's 23rd Annual Belly Dance Festival
Captions provided by Yasmina, Event produced by Kismet Dance Company, August 30-31, 2003, Salt Lake City, Utah,

Hossam & Serena Ramzy's International Tour, Photos from the Workshop in Singapore
This was both a challenge and a great learning experience, clearly illustrating the differences between prerecorded and live music for amateur and professional dancers alike.

The Greek Scene
There were the usual politics at the Taverna, of course, and if management felt that a dancer was holding back on her tips, she rarely made another appearance.

Kismet's Festival Salt Lake City Photos
Its purpose is to focus on culture and the arts to celebrate the richness of talent, creativity and experience among the diverse peoples of the Salt Lake Valley and the Wasatch Mountains, so it is a perfect place for Kismet's Festival.

The Middle Eastern Music and Dance Camp in Mendocino
There is nothing like immersing yourself in study and in the strange and unique culture of the Middle Eastern music and dance “scene”.

The “Tuck It Under” Phenomenon
“Tucking under” is for ballet, and it has less to do with posture than it does with enabling the execution of the kinds of movements and positions that ballet demands.

Orient House Istanbul
Despite fears about our security from friends, everywhere we went in Turkey, we met with nothing but perfect friendliness and assistance.

Belly Dance and Healing from Sexual Trauma
The main reason I teach this is because of my own issues and a major Traumatic event that changed my life.

Belly Dance in Reno … You Bet!
No hotels canceled our events after the September 11 tragedy or even considered it — in fact, I have found that they actively court our events.

Azad's Mother's Kitchen
I could see her mom doing the mental calculations of where to put everyone while she discussed with Azad the doubtful wisdom of this impromptu rendezvous.

Zaharr's Memoir, Parts 5 & 6," I Arrive at My Teacher’s", "Cost Plus and Woolworth’s"
And there she was this little girl transformed before me, gliding and twirling around the room with a big smile of encouragement on her face.

Delightful Dina in Dallas
By far the most controversial costume was the last one. It was barely there.

Facets of Success in Dance
At times, I’d been afraid not to follow the status quo of what I was expected to do in each step of my dance life.

A Tale of Two Gigs in the City
It was in this space of scarcity that I accepted a Christmas party gig by telephone that left me with some doubts.

Friends Are Where You Find Them
Some people thought that we were partners, as we were so close, but that wasn’t the case, either.

Searching for Your New Dance Teacher, The First Interview
Furthermore, making an effort to meet the people of the culture in question is of the utmost importance when studying foreign subjects.

Loving Remembrance & Requiem: the Best “School” That Ever Was, Part 2
So much great stuff; so little time to see and learn it all. So much of it disappears down the oasis daily.

Dance Journey to Nepal, Part 2
The music had suddenly changed pitch from regular speed to very fast speed.

Eradicating Female Genital Mutilation, My Journey in the Process
He made it very clear that he did not want to discuss with me, but that he had the feeling that I should be reading that book.

Our adventure brings us to a rare treasure! Yair Dalal in Concert in Marin County, California
It described a last minute concert in West Marin that was going to be outside at night, and you had to take a shuttle to get there!

"What is Belly Dance?" The First Presentation in the New Symposium Series, by World Arts West
There has been much controversy surrounding the particular groups and soloists who have been chosen to represent the Middle Eastern Dance category in the Ethnic Dance series throughout its entire 25 years of production.

Photos of Suhaila Solo at Lesher Center for the Arts California, August 2, 2003
The standing ovation, however, was clearly for Suhaila!

Zaharr's Memoir, Part 3- Teas of Green and Gold, & Part 4- My Teacher Arrives
The friend who was a dancer had told him she would teach me for free! “She’s only sixteen”

Kayla’s Travel Journal, The Prince Islands, Istanbul
One picture that caught my eye was that of a dark virgin, named Mirtidiotissa

Zelzeleh, My Troupe Adventures
The first thing that I discovered was that I hated to design or perform choreography – it was like having my teeth pulled - and I wasn’t too hot at it, truth to tell.

Justine and Her Plant Visit Saqra's Annual Showcase
Standing in the door, clutching my plants, vendor fever struck.

The New Age Adage for Performing Dancers
If you have nothing to say through your dance, do not dance.

1001 Nights Oslo Belly Dance Festival, The Show May 2 - 4, 2003
The festival began with a show at Oslo Concert Hall, and this year's guest star was Lulu Sabongi from Brazil, who opened this year's show.

My Greek Transformation A Conservative Engineer meets the “Instigator of Revolutions”
Rhea displayed boundless energy, far beyond my own at the best of times. How would I be able to keep up with her?

The Sacred Surprise of Tribal Fest 3
However, I now understand, in retrospect, that I had been really drawn to Tribal Fest 3 for another reason.

Communication + Cooperation = A Problem Solved
Once upon a time, two events were created in two different states.

Dancing in the '70s at O Aitos Taverna
Suddenly someone yelled, “FIRE!”

God Belly Danced, Part III: Biblical Accounts of Belly Dance in the Ancient Near East
No character in the Bible has been so misunderstood as Salome. Critics condemn her as a wanton slut. Supporters embrace her as a symbol of oppressed female sensuality. Neither is true.

Photos of the 25th Anniversary San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival
Weekend 3, held June 21 & 22, 2003 presented by World Arts West at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, California

Dance Journey to Nepal
I will never forget Nepal and the dance adventures we encountered. They will remain etched in my mind forever. What I found most amazing is how much I learned about Middle Eastern dance going to Asia.

The Artwork of Scott Arguette
In essence, a good dancer owns the stage; she requires it and manipulates it as a fighter dominates the field.

Baraka & the Bus or What happened to Baraka?
By now, having lost my home, my studio, my library, my recordings, and my database, you would think I would start to get the hint that it might be time to move away from dance. Having been a dancer literally all of my life, I simply couldn't give it up!

Photos from the Ahlan Wa Sahlan Festival, The Opening Night Gala
held at the Mena House Oberoi Hotel on June 10-17, Cairo, Egypt. More promised!

Moving to Santa Rosa
So I married a Greek, and for a while it was okay with him that I continued to dance...

Mailbox Missives: When Pop Culture Meets Belly Dancing; Here we go again!
Today, we’re seeing another revival. Belly dancing is popping up on music videos featuring Shakira and other artists.

Samiramis Imports and the Arabic Movie Nights
Samiramis was an incredible store, not only did Sam have the largest selection of records, and cassette tapes of Arabic and Middle Eastern music, but he and his wife Mona embraced the dance community and their desire to find music, videos, and help with anything under the sun.

The 30th Annual Belly Dancer of the Year Pageant
Abrupt musical transitions were rampant throughout the pageant. The competition was fierce in the Duet / Trio category...

Breaking News from the Ahlan wa Sahlan 2003 in Cairo
The flavor of the instruction and dancing are very different from that offered by the U.S. festivals, and it offers an exciting opportunity for immersion in the Egyptian dance arts.

Rainy Night in London Town
That’s how after a day at the Tower of London, I found myself navigating the Edgware district after dark, in the fog and light rain, looking for dinner. Christina trailed behind me, feet dragging, whiney and hungry, but hanging on after a full day or of walking.

The Artwork of Ginger Royal
"Not just the grace and agility, but the total engagement of the dancer is a gauge of her skill, ultimately inspiring exuberance and passion in others."

North Beach and Mark Bell
A lot of my getting the jobs was because I was there available when the opportunity arose.

Tribal Fest 3 photos
Event produced by Ellen Cruz and Kajira, held May 17 and 18, 2003, in Sebastopol, CA

A New Series! Zaharr's Memoirs, Part 1- Washington D.C. and Part 2- New York to Berkeley
I got really excited, and begged to be allowed to sign up. There was only silence from my family.

The “It Factor”
Between the two men, my dance teacher and my artistic lover, how could I not learn to bring the movements from the core (heart) to the outside?

Loving Remembrance & Requiem: the Best “School” That Ever Was, Part 1
I looked at her & said, “If I can’t do better than that, I’ll hand in my feet!” A case of having more guts than brains.

Professional vs. Amateur: What is the Difference?
There are dancers of every gradation in between the two labels of “professional” and “amateur”: dancers who work at dance jobs intermittently, or have part time jobs in addition to regular performances.

Dancing with Shelties
Bashing zills and barking shelties competed.

A Search for the Soul in All Things. Or On Turning 61 and ¼
By continuing to dynamically entertain and stay ahead of the pack, they embolden all women, even of a lesser dynamism, to remain in the fray as long as they desire, instead of being cast to the sidelines as the official baby sitter for grandchildren.

Fusion Category added to Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition
"You know, we're really making history here..."

Kayla's Travel Journal Continues--Hamam III
At that point the steward says "now" and you jump off.

Reconnecting with the Dance: a Performance Critique of Aziza
There are several dancers on the scene that I admire and enjoy watching again and again, but I just saw one that made me stop in my tracks, sit right down on the floor, and pay attention.

Rakkasah Festival West Photos - Sunday
Fahtiem, Aziza, Mesmera, Amaya, Shanna, Akiko, Leila, and more...

The Taverna Athena
I didn’t see just how it happened, but evidently a couple of brothers from Cyprus were hired to put the Taverna out of business.

Rakkasah Festival West Photos - Saturday
Zahra Zuhair , Shoshanna, Bal Anat, Margo, Anaheed, Elena, and more...

Act Your Age? Notes from a Middle Aged Belly Dancer
But sometimes, dancing near a gorgeous young dancer, I wonder how long I’ll feel comfortable performing.

Why Belly Dancers are Natural Snowboarders
OK, it sounds strange. But If you’ve enjoyed dancing Oriental you probably already have a lot of the skills needed to snowboard.

On the Subject of Critique

The Critic; Real Critics Don’t Mince Words
Either we are a sisterhood of ego therapists and our instructors are politically correct in all they say and do—or we are tough artists in search of ways to improve our art form by ruthlessly weeding out the lame from our herd.

The Emperor’s New Clothes
Until we see ourselves in the context of a larger society, no one outside of our community will accord us the respect we desire.

Critiquing, the “Agony & The Ecstasy”
It ’s an unnerving experience to be “critiqued” by your peers, but my personal opinion then and now is that when you perform in public, critiquing just goes with the territory of performing.

An Evening with Einstein's Daughters,
Do pots and pans that dance and clang before us mean more than light - than science - than thought? What choices are left when the mouths at the table hunger for bread and not for knowledge?

Rakkasah Festival West Photos - Friday
Leila Haddad, Ultra Gypsy, FatChanceBellyDance and more...

Belly Dance in Brazil
...they are trying to organize a Code of Ethics

Zorba’s in Walnut Creek
...and I could tell that the Greeks wanted to see more of that, so the job was in the bag!

God Belly Danced: Biblical Accounts of belly dance in the ancient Near East, Part II,
According to the Hebrew scriptures, female belly dancers were reputable and marriageable

Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition 2003 Photo Report
Sponsored by Tonya & Atlantis and held in Long Beach, California. Finalists are expected to be able to improvise spontanious choreography!

Mailbox Missives: No Excuse for Low Video Standards!
A dancer who does this conveys the impression that belly dancers either don’t know what constitutes professional quality or we don’t care.

The Joy (and Pain) of Collecting Tips
I've been collecting tips for almost 10 years now, and it's only in the last 2 or 3 years that I've really felt confident about it.

Painting Dance -Fabulous!
I'd like dancers to understand how the ideas of color, texture, tone, shading, etc. can also apply to the art of speaking through movement.

Hawaii Workshop
Floor Work is a moving Yoga, and as in Yoga, one must let his/her body grow into more flexibility which develops with practice.

God Belly Danced: Biblical Accounts of Belly Dancing in the Ancient Near East, Part 1 of 3,
While Yahweh is not female, the man may have given Chavah a name similar to Yahweh because the woman and Yahweh had something vital in common.

High Desert Hip Fest in Reno
Fahtiem was wonderful and really put the workshop attendees through their paces, but they loved every moment.

Interview with Doug Adams Part II
Much of the last decade was very tumultuous. My personal melt down started around the time that Dark Fire came out.

Glass-Dancing Revisited
Our response to the improvisational passages in Middle Eastern music illustrate the depth of our understanding of the rich texture and nuance of the culture

The Tale of Two Faires
It seemed that the ren faire we all knew in Black Point, Novato, kept changing producers and locations. Now their were two ren faires!

North and South
Also, we were not allowed to lock the office door

How I came to Turkey
There are few people more cynical than I, but I maintain that I saw what I saw. Dada will not confirm or deny the incident; he just laughs.

How I Accidentally Became a Successful Belly Dance Teacher (and you can too!)
Now mine is the most popular class, which led to a snowballing of other gyms adding belly dance aerobics classes.

Weight Loss The Bert Balladine Way
That was not the first time I had nearly starved to death “on the road with Bert”.

An Evening to Remember
"...it shows us the kind of beauty that happens when you go beyond set boundaries and allow yourself to be free

Belly Dance Birthday Bash
I’ve heard rumors that Ireena and Parri host excellent restaurant extravaganzas, and this one lived up to the reputation.

Photos from "Rockin' the Casbah"
An event produced by IAMED on Sept 28, 2002. The best from multiple photographers.

Music to My Ears, How I Learned to Hear Like a Dancer
Musical interpretation is the single, most important skill that can elevate the Oriental dancer from the chorus line to the spotlight.

My Adventures in the Big Apple
So there was really a “mystique” in the 1980’s about dancing styles in other parts of the US, and especially about the New York style, so different from what we were used to in the Bay Area.

2002

Dance/Poetry Festival,
The Dance/Poetry Festival was a blend of different kinds of dance, but Middle Eastern was in the vanguard of many of the performances.

“Kayla, the Beach Girl, Tree Dweller”, Kalbak Beach
...picture yourself on a guru orange air mattress, ever so gently floating atop a crystal clear turquoise ocean ...

At the Egyptian Gardens
“You insult me in the street and apologize in a corner.”

Welcome, Dance Students
If you don’t feel the music and the dance, and don’t have a love for it that is a connection in your heart and your soul, you will have a much harder time learning this love than learning technique.

Photo Gallery of “The Festival Fantasia 2002, A Rose Production”
These random photos are of shoppers, vendors, musicians, dancers and their fans.

Oriental Dance: Myth and Reality, The Harem Slaves
To say so would be like saying that playing music, singing, and reciting poetry are also only the occupations of slaves.

Personal Perspective
So much is happening right now in the Middle East, and we write about our dance shows and events, travels and remembrances but no one dare takes a step to mention political strife. .

The Great American Belly Dance Veil Routine
After having said all that, I must add that American style Oriental/Belly dance is a distinctive style composed of creative elements that are simply outstanding.

Tease-O-Rama, A Weekend of Burlesque in Old North Beach
Curious to learn if women were drawn to stripping for some of the same reasons they are drawn to bellydance...

White Out Wedding
"The first day I donned my giant, fluffy blue ballgown and tiara. A nice man named Bob let me play with his flame thrower. There never was a happier princess." Sarah finally goes to the Burning Man Festival

Dancing again in Afghanistan
As I had suspected, Afghan women belly dance.

Glass Dancing
The art of dancing on glass is a true measure of talent and nerve. It can be one of the hardest things you can do as a dancer, but the rewards are awesome!

And Back in the Holy Land...
What do I feel? Disgust.

Flying Saucers
They tended to talk more than to act and, by this time, I was hooked on the street theater of it all.

Back in the Bay Area
...my zils flew off into the audience, and George stopped playing, went down into the audience...Was I embarrassed!

The Photography of Cynthia F Cushman, Full size photos, smaller photos (and files)
Dramatic choice photos of Leila, Dalia, Momo and Suzanna

A Story Written with Arabic Idioms; Why it is Difficult to Translate Arabic songs into English, Story by Annonymous, Translations and interpretations
“just try to read it in English and at the same time, think in Lebanese Arabic…if you can! "

Visions of Delight, A History of Belly Dance in the United States
Photos of MECDA performers & layout by Susie, Third Annual Bay Area MECDA Showcase

Music and Style
ATS seems to be pushing Middle Eastern dance, at least in the U.S., back into that safe and sexless area, sans the real knowledge of true folk movement

Kayla's Travel Journal- "The Turkish Flim-Flam Man"
...foodstuffs still glued on, --no black marks from any recent explosion,--I believed it to be “working”...

Middle Eastern Dance, a Beautiful, Ancient, yet Misunderstood Art
Why are all the books about this dance written by Westerners?

Charismatic Sultana changes North Beach
She was the only dancer I have ever seen walk off in the beginning, or middle of her set , not to return, because the music or audience did not please her

Adventures out of the Gilded Serpent Lair, Late Summer in Marin County, California,
photos and report by Lynette. Photos from various events in late August and early September, 2002

Kayla;s Travel Journal- Turkish Bath/Hamam 2
Some of the men joked: …if I really wanted to... but I opted out.

On the Road
She was the fiery “Bedouin” who argued with the band in apparent Arabic and seemed so real and dramatic.

My Belly Dance Baptism, or A Tale of Armpit Hairs
There was a rumor (that was the truth) that I didn’t shave under my arms.

Mailbox Missives: Are You Helping or Hurting Our Vendors?
Fortunately, very few bad vendors exist.

Summer Caravan 2002, Sunday Photos from July 28, 2002
extras include- extra photos of Leila Haddad's amazing show and candids shots of faces you know!

Interview- Soraya of Oklahoma City
Shani had learned by going to watch the belly dancers at the Round Table after working as a ‘twister’ at the Peppermint Lounge”.

Summer Caravan 2002, Saturday Photos from July 27, 2002
a "Rakkasah" event, held in the old, but beautifully restored, Scottish Rite Temple in Oakland, California.

"Still More Dancing in the '70s"
"I felt a stabbing pain in the vicinity of my kidney"

Kayla’s Travel Journal -Ferry to Kadikoy; Kayla’s Furniture Safari
Muslim women in full dress (but no mask) were “high fiving” each other,

Certifying the Certifiers, The Chicken or the Egg? Part Two
artists and stars are born, not schooled. You’ve either “got it, or you don’t”

Saturday Night In San Francisco July 13, 2002
Effective improvisation becomes more consistant with experience.

29th Annual Belly Dancer of the Year Pageant
Sunday, May 27 Benicia High School, Benicia, CA by GS Staff
Troupes, Duets, and Grand Dancers' photos at last!

A Rose by Any Other Name……Is this an identity crisis?
"...but was truly mortified all the same and swore me to absolute secrecy"

Interview with Doug Adams of Light Rain Part 1
I told her, "I could make music for you."

Kayla in Turkey, (A Daily Journal) Turkish Bath House (Hamam 1) April 22, 2002
All my Turkish girl friends, had of course been to Hamams, but only in their youth,

Child's Journey into Bellydance
I could feel Alexa wilting by my side.

29th Annual Belly Dancer of the Year Pageant
Saturday, May 26 Benicia High School, Benicia, CA by GS Staff
Wow, is she easy on the eyes! Not only that, she rocked the house!

Rakkasah Trend Report 2002
...the hottest and latest new styles from across the US, Turkey, Egypt and beyond

-News: Mohamed Khordadian, Iran's best - known male dancer, was jailed in May for promoting moral corruption by holding dance classes in the United States as he was making his first visit to Iran in 20 years.

Workshops- Pandora Opens the Box!
Two differing views of a Las Vegas dance workshop introduced by an author of a book on the subject

Middle Eastern Dance Meets Hip Hop Culture
Issues Confronting a “Vintage Dancer” when her Audience is Half Her Age

Certifying the Certifiers
...this has occurred because of the current need to be correct, and within certain predictable standards of competence rather than special, unique, outstanding, unusual, memorable, or even (gasp!) emotion producing...

"Come with me to the Casbah"
...flung me right into her husband's lap, yelling, "Kiss her Henry...

The Art of Tempest
The first image, "Dance," is inspired by the Minoan priestesses and is a monotype/mixed media

Winners announced! Belly Dancer of the Year 2002
in Benicia California. More details and photos to follow

A New Series! Kayla's Travel Journal-Turkey
Episode#1 The Honey Hunt
"He may not have it", since it was rare and very expensive. Off I went.

Rakkasah West Festival 2002 Sunday Photos
Dalia Carella, Eva Cernik, Suhaila Dance Company, Ma'Shuqa, Parri and more....

Aisha Ali & The Birth of the Ghawazee
" This could not possibly be a dance to take seriously", people whispered

Uschi and Akhram's Villa on the Red Sea,
Uschi also shares her pictures from the June 2001 Cairo Festival

-News: George Abdo passed away in Boston, Massachusetts, yesterday, May 6, 2002 at the age of 65.

Rakkasah West Festival 2002 Saturday Photos
Bal Anat, Hahbi'Ru, Shoshanna, Domba and more...

-News: Badia of Ali Baba also known as Joyce Daniels of Phoenix, Arizona passed away yesterday. She died of a brain aneurysm, her family said it was fast and relatively painless.

MORE DANCING IN THE '70's, The Cowboy Bar in Montana
Out of breath, I asked her, "Why didn't you warn me?"

Egyptian Travels after 9/11
I feel safer there on the streets than any place in the U.S.

SNAKE BOOTH PICS at RAKKASAH FESTIVAL WEST 2002
Everyone had much fun mingling with the reptiles

The Birth of Bal Anat and Other Adventures
belly dance will continue to evolve into things new and strange, limited only by dancers' imaginations.

"Does Learning Constitute Copying? My Musings about Sharing Dance" by Najia Marlyz
I could still feel her pain as she spoke...

Rakkasah West Festival 2002 Friday Night Photos
Dalia Carella, Leila Haddad, Ghawazee, Cory Zamora and more...

Rakkasah West 2002 Photo Teaser
Some of our favorites....more to come in April...

Salah Takesh and Janine Ryle present 911 Fund Raiser Middle Eastern Music & Dance Jam
There were more than half a dozen bands...

Rakkasah East Report, More Photos, Part 2
A last minute add in the schedule, Ailet from Israel. She was great!

Images of Morocco
pictures from a trip in January '02...

Rakkasah East Report, Part 1,
the show in New Jersey ran early...

Shahrazad and I
Anyone who wants to tell about Brazil and belly dance must refer to her.

Club Dates and Casuals
"Don't worry, honey, " said the stripper, "I've got a gun!"

"Remembering the Legends" The John F. Kennedy for the Performing Art presents
the Silk Road Dance Company
Laurel Victoria Gray and her Silk Road Dance Company have opened a door to an world that
has long remained mysterious to the West .

What's in a Name
We lived and breathed the dance and its ethnic beauty.

What do You Owe Your Dance Teacher, besides a Christmas Fruitcake?
Teaching involves a selflessness that often does not often jibe with the egotism it takes to be an outstanding performer.

Are Strippers Our Enemies?
Many belly dancers are openly hostile toward strippers.

The Healing power of Dance
Many dancer enthusiasts I have encountered come from wounded childhoods.

The Photography of Ken Keep
They lit me up! It was a life-changing event

2001

Najia's gift -Stage-worthy Names for Dancers
A whole book of names in a PDF file!

GETTING FLOORED
I flopped when I should have bent gracefully like a willow

Dancing at Zorba's in the '70's
By show time it was a full house!

MultiKulti, San Francisco's Marketplace of Treasures!
True to his culture as one would see at Cairo's famous bazaar, the Khan el-Khalili...

Out of Town in Oregon
One of the things that the owner insisted on was fancy hair - he considered straight, hanging hair to be "hippie hair".

News:Rakkasah West 2002 Looms Ahead
Although Rakkasah still is an attempt to give all dance performers an equal opportunity, results of the phone-in to book a dance time is often very chancy because of high demand.

Nomads of the Spirit
Know what are you contributing - either to their dilution as a people or the strengthening of their true image.

The IAMED Fifth Annual Awards of Belly Dance!
Photos from the awards ceremony performances and list of winners.

The Renaissance Pleasure Faire: Bad Jokes and Good Shows
Fighting accusations that I live in a cave...

News: JIZAN's year 2001 Party
Our annual dance party

"A Star Remembered, The Maturation of a Career in Performing"
... last thing in the world that I wanted for myself and my own dance career was to be a "forty year old belly dancer".

Scared Silly, A Letter of Advice to a Beginning Performer

Giza Club Lecture, Wacky Woman Traveler- Leyla Lanty
Hard work and familiarity pays off.

Out of Town in Fresno
You can't wear that vest on stage - we're not running a Sunday school here!
Don't give up on the improvisation!

SUMMER CARAVAN 2001, Scottish Rite Center, July 28 & 29
another beautiful photo spread by Susie

News: The Dancers in Denver work together!
It's hard to get everyone scheduled for a photo shoot!

Tribute to Dalilah!
Dalilah began dancing in the 1950s...passed on September 18, 2001

Adventures by the Nile, Part 2,
Return to a Changed Sudan

Dispelling the Myths: The Many Faces of Belly Dance,
A Teachers' Showcase July 7, 2001, Berkeley, California
One of the first events produced by the recently formed San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of MECDA

Karen Andes: World Dancer
Karen Andes has cooked up a unique fusion of eastern and western movement that that provides rich nourishment for the minds, bodies and spirits of women.

"Dog's Day Afternoon, my audition,"
I BELONGED at that luncheon!

Dancers I Have Known by Aziza!
Over the course of my approximately thirty-year professional career, I have known and worked with some of the most interesting dancers in the business

Follow the Bouncing Butt; in Defense of a Teaching Method
Some of the "Follow Me" teachers should be more aptly described as "inspirationally oriented".

My Taxi Ride in Egypt after 9-11
And as we reach my destination, he asks me to tell America that he is sorry, that Egyptians, they are sorry.

Rhea's Adventures by the Nile, part 1
I guess every belly dancer's dream is to dance in a five star hotel in the Middle East.

DANCING IN YEMEN
I had been to many Middle Eastern weddings before, but none were as visually
impressive as the ones I attended in Sanaa, Yemen.
Jalilah's recommend reading list just added-10-24-01

"RETRO-TRIEVING"
I remember those days back in the '70s when ethnic stylizing was the only "true" way to dance. Latest addition to our North Beach Memories!

Raqia Hassan's Dance Festival (Ahlan Wa Sahlan 2000)
Then my dance idol, Suhair Zaki, walked in, creating eddies of excitement that ran through the crowd.

News: Devija, principle member of Jazayer, Benefit

Make a Giza Club!
...She was to become our first Wacky Woman Traveler...

News:The Casbah of North Beach, San Francisco is changing hands and transforming again!

Fire and Ice
What makes some of our dance good, what makes some of it bad is puzzling to me...

I Walk In Pain And Beauty
I also walk with the Hope that other dancers will read this and know that they don't balance
on this double-edged sword alone.

Salah Takesh
For years, he was involved in the San Francisco North Beach scene during the eighties as a drummer while his brother, Jalaleddin Takesh was a kanoonist and restaurant owner. We asked him to recall some of his experiences for our North Beach Memories series.

RECREATING RITUAL Enhancing our daily lives with drumming and dancing,
The rhythmic patterns and dance movements of this tradition, steeped in antiquity, steeped in women's ancestry, rekindle a natural and sacred state of well being.

News: Walt Baptiste, husband of Magana Baptiste, passed away on July 6, 2001. A memorial service will be held on August 4, 11 AM at the First Unitarian Church of San Francisco. More on Walt will be posted on this site very soon! Magana's contest and festival this year has been cancelled.

Dance Or Career: Which To Choose?
You can still stay involved in dance no matter where you choose to live.

Alice is Alive and Well in Oakland, California!
During the auditions, there was an ongoing dialogue among the panelists concerning guidelines for
festival performances; cultural accuracy vs. artistic expression became an issue.

Rakkasah 2001 Festival West: Sunday Photos
Alexandria, Momo Kadous, Soraya, Leila Haddad, Elana, Suhaila, Jamila, Dhyanis....

Bellydancer of the Year Pageant May 19th, 2001
A well produced event with talented performers, the Pageant afforded us the luxury to sit back, enjoy the dancing and philosphize the genre.

Rakkasah 2001 Festival, West: Saturday Photos
Shoshanna, more Dalia, Good Vibrations, Lunatique, Morocco, and more

Rakkasah 2001 Festival, West: Friday Night Photos
Leila Haddad, Elena Lentini, Dalia Carella, Near Eastern Dance Company and more. Saturday and Sunday coming soon.

Yousef Mustafa, Master of Percussion
When the musicians came from Egypt we promoted this type of music for the shows here too. So, now it has become more popular.

Rhea Recounts, Part II, Of Belly Dancers, Bullets & The Men in Blue, or A Change of Scene: Rhea moves to Greece
Where the bullet went, or how close it came to hitting us, I'll never know...

Taming the Wild Frilly-Lou Bird, Or Training Your Hands to Dance
Once the dancer learns the skill of audience dialogue through energy transfer...

An Interview with MARLIZA PONS,
In a tiny bikini, I'd dive into a lighted pool outside the restaurant, and come up with a pearl in my mouth!

Fouad Marzouk,
I remember at first feeling intimidated dancing to one of Soheir Zaki's musicians.

Rakkasah '01, March 23-25, Richmond, CA
photo sampling...more to come later.

Mailbox Missives-Kid Dance
Is belly dancing a good activity for girls?

Crone Dance
There's an attitude here toward life, toward the art of movement
in general, which expresses the affirmation of a belief in the human spirit
and its manifestation in oneself, one's gender, one's position in society.

Doing it my way
For me, dance is not cerebral, but highly emotional.

The Artwork of Marie Soderlund
Bay Area artist Marie Soderlund's watercolors express her passion
for color, dancing, friendships
and the many wonders of life!

Living in Yemen, Part I - Tafruta
A simple question was all they needed to get them into motion!

The Art of Allison Lee Merriweather
Allison Merriweather lives and paints in Pearland, Texas

Eating in Cairo (Part 2)
You splash da'a on your koshary like a real Egyptian. Perhaps you've even learned how to pronounce da'a. You've had fuul for breakfast and laughed in the face of many an expensive buffet. But all the feelings of superiority aside, you're beginning to feel the need for something, well, different.

"Where's The Hook When We Need It?"
Desert Dance Festival 2000San Jose, California

Dunia's response to a review by Bobbie Giarratana, titled," Where's The Hook "
"My dear: some of these people have zills older than you."

Nabila Metwali On Tour!
"The Christmas Eve performance was exceptional, another fantastic night at El Valenciano!"
Don't miss these photos!

Put Your Dance on a Pedestal
Many dancers make the mistake of using the entire width of the front part of their feet when they dance, because they have never been taught dancer's footwork. "Ankle wobble"indicates...

Giza Academy Awards of Middle Eastern Dance Video 2000
And the winners are.... Photos added on 5-1-01 take another look!

The Fourth Annual IAMED Awards of Belly Dance
Seldom does one see a bellydance production as professionally staged and presented

Yasmeen and the North Beach of Yore An interview with Gail
Another wonderful addition to our North Beach Memories. Find more names and faces you have known or heard about!

Zil Thrills in the '70s, Memories from another Viewpoint
My experience with Bert was the opposite, however; the cymbals were hardly a secret.

The Art of Jan Padover
Famous for the CD cover art he did for Reda, here is more of his work!

News: Yasmeen/Gayle of Aladdin's Lads and Lasses is recuperating from breast cancer surgery. Gayle is doing fabulously - she even did a small belly roll and flutter for her doctors and they were absolutely amazed! The troupe is taking a hiatus from Rakkasah, but will be participating in the Gathering of the Tribes festival in Sebastopol in May. We'll have to wait and see how much Gayle will be doing at that point - I'm sure she'll surprise us all. Send your regards to: Gayle Wayne,c/o Janine- [email protected] - oh, and she loves camels!

News: Mike Solakian, a very well-known and popular California drummer and Armenian folk dance teacher had open heart surgery on Saturday January 13, 2001. He is a regular at Rakkasah, teaching or working as stage manager. Mike is recuperating nicely at his home in Fresno. He will be teaching the Saturday class at Rakkasah and giving a huge party at his house in late February. Please send him your regards at [email protected]. Shukriya says he is in great humor!

Palestine Fundraiser OMEN Production, Palace of Fine Arts, SF
This production marked U.S. Omen's fundraising launch for Palestinian
aide and presented an evening of first-rate performances including solo
vocalists, children's dance troupes, and choir.

2000

Festival Fantasia 2000 October 7 &

Shake and Bake Festival 2000
It's a true happening, an experience, and for all who attend, an adventure.

Tribute to KATRINA HEGG 1950 - 2000
Katrina was going to support herself dancing while auditioning for modeling and acting jobs,
all the while taking acting classes.

Mailbox Missives -Serving Men Indeed! Harumph!
He even has made comparisions to stripping and other similar types related to stripping.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2000 with Troupe Dhyanis
The rough and ready Scots do love a party! No coincidence then that they host the world's
largest performing arts festival in their capitol city of Edinburgh each August.

Peter Fels, Master Cymbal Maker
Peter made the most exquisite finger cymbals. Each one was a work of art.

FLASH FROM CAIRO- RAIN!
The pre-dawn call to prayer, bustling souqs and the constant reminders that everything, from the continuing supply of water to the arrival of the taxi at my destination, is at the pleasure of Allah.

News: Mee'sha falls in love and moves to Cairo!

Why Take Private Lessons and Coaching?
You will enhance your presentation beyond your wildest dreams!

Curly Black Hair, Eyes Like Black Pearls
At a certain point a fake horse was brought out...

Troupe Tabu goes to China!
.It should be noted that somewhere between passing the audition and performing, it was announced
that three out of four dancers in the group (not including myself) were pregnant.

My Visit to Dancers of the South
It is a place with no address...

News: DeAnn Adams of Light Rain dies after long illness.

News:Sirens In Sanity's 2nd Annual Halloween Belly Dance Bash
The evening was filled with belly dance routines in a variety of themes; some Halloween, some traditional, and some alternative.

I am Neferteri
There appears to be some curiosity about the racial background of a dancer. I don't fully understand why anyone in today's world would care, but they do.

Producing a Middle Eastern Dance Festival
"It is necessary to combine your organizational and public relations skills with your creativity."

A Metmorphosis Before My Eyes 
"I know I never could have danced and studied eight hours a day for 4 days straight without the energy and passion for the dance which surrounded me each day."

Interview with Nazir Latouf
An interesting perspective on how a musician grows through the ranks in the Middle East. Includes how music and musicians are controlled and legitimized by the government agencies.

Saudi Searches Save Lives
Life, living on a compound in Saudi Arabia

More North Beach Memories!

My Lessons with Hillary and Aida Al-Adawi (part 1)
"After only three classes, they would teach belly dancing!"
My Lessons with Jamila Salimpour  (part 2)
... would dance instead, without pay.
Reflections on North Beach: Part III
to the East Bay
Interview with Jamie Miller-Sabah, an excerpt of "Searching for the Goddess, A Dancer's Odyssey" in June 1993 by Anne Hawkins of the Legacy Oral History Project sponsored by the San Francisco Performing Arts Library and Museum

Cairo's Costume Disasters 
Tacky, Bizarre, and Surprising Costumes Worn by Cairo's Stars of Oriental Dance

Interview with Michael Beach of the Brothers of Baladi
We are a versatile group. One night I play blues, the next jazz, then I become part of The Brothers, playing either a drum set or dumbek.

Dancing to the Houri's Siren
She was always there dancing at my shoulder and up-staging me in my own mind...

date? Magana's Marathon:Belly Dancer of the Millennium Contest

News: Photos of Beata and Horacio Cifuentes on Tour!
Beata and Horacio Cifuentes have recently concluded a whirlwind World Tour, which included Japan, Europe, Canada, and the USA.

The Music and Musicians
I was very lucky to have danced to live music almost exclusively throughout my career.

A Drummer's Advice to Beginning Dancers -
"...Know your rhythms! I have drummed for bellydance classes where the instructor not only couldn't clap baladi but didn't even know what it was..."

Dancing on the Edge
I learned from the first evening chasing Fatma around the stage that in order to have a serious dance company in the Egyptian style, I had to seriously play with the appearance of disorder.

More North Beach Memories

MiniDisc Recorders-The Best Kept Secret for Music Lovers I would unhesitatingly recommend that, at the very least, a dancer should own a MiniDisc recorder for its editing function alone.

More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About Living With Constrictors
My heart beat stronger and stronger, until something in my human reasoning kicked-in. "I wonder if I'm causing all this?

The Dancers of the Infidel Emperor
Did you know that Belly Dancers played a significant role in the life and destiny of a great European monarch?

The Persian Soul of the Music of Sima Bina
So there she was, a beautiful Iranian woman with an all-woman band!

Jamila and Yousef
Even though we were recognizably taught by Jamila, we were not the cookie-cutter girls she turned out later.

Child Prodigy grows up, Reda D! An Interview with Reda Darwish
"I knew Sahar Hamdi from the time when she used to be a customer watching Fifi Abdu." NIA: A JOURNEY IN MIND and BODY FITNESS
I believe that I am on a fascinating journey and that on of the destinations is the path, itself.

Interview with Kathryn Ferguson
" I hate rules! Every time somebody says "rule", I go the other way!"

Farouk
"I am always looking for ways to enhance my performance and leave a memorable impression"

A Cure for Depression?
My experiences have given me new insight into women's needs for a creative outlet in their lives.

Dance Emotion, Part 2
The audience is not going to care, or even notice, that a dancer did a high-stepping Fandango Walking Step with an over-lay of a Soheir Zaki Head Tilt and a really fine ......

An Interview of Rhea of Athens, Greece,
(This interview has been edited and reprinted with permission.)

Working at the Bagdad
..in the early days, had to have accents when we talked to the customers, to carry out the non-girl-next-door thing.

Rakkasah Festival 2000 Photos- photography and layout

Friday Night - Leila Haddad, Daila Carella and more!
Saturday afternoon Photos -posted 4-20-00
Saturday night Photos- posted 5-6-00
Sunday Photos- posted 5-6-00

Wave #2 of North Beach Memories!

Latifa-The Rest of the San Francisco Dance Scene-(Powell St Station)
Bert Balladine- at long last Bert begins his story
George Elias- a tribute written by his daughter, Nadia Elias.
John Compton- Finnochios, Bal Anat, to Hahbi'ru
Abdullah Kdouh- well known musician interviewed by mail

Dancing to Live Drumming
The Drum can express all human emotions: joy, sorrow, elation, and grief.

FANTASY DANCER
TAK TAK ... DUM, In the sacred wood that night, The old Indian had kept his word, He would play for me...

HOW TO START A MIDDLE EASTERN BAND or How The Arabian Knights Came About by Amina Goodyear
We dreamed of a band that would play music to make us look good always.

Dining in Cairo
One of the wonderful things about Egyptian food is that there is something for everyone.

The Beginning by Aziza!
When she came out to dance in the audience, I thought to myself, "She better not get too near to my husband!"

2-21-00-12:12 p.m. News: ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) -- for three days to prevent him from performing at nightclubs, a Turkish newspaper reported Monday. Neighbors alerted police Sunday after they heard Mahmut Dagyolu's cries for help, the Hurriyet newspaper said. His left arm and leg were chained to his bed. Dagyolu said his father had chained him there three days earlier because he objected to his belly dancing, the newspaper reported. Although female belly dancing is common in Turkey, several Istanbul nightclubs have recently begun to hire male belly dancers who dress in sparkling costumes to perform. Conservatives object to male belly dancing, but the practice has a long history. In Ottoman times, male belly dancers who covered their faces with veils would dance because Muslim women were barred from performing.

Entertainment or Art?
It is possible to be an artiste in a non-art form in the sense that one may be skilled, professional and artistic at the business of entertainment.

Ramblin' Rant About Truth in Dance Advertising
Thoughts and observations from sitting high up in the bleachers, amidst the pigeons and the dusty popcorn.

Honoring Our Connection Between Navel and Nasal
People looked at us strangely, wrinkled their brows and said "Aromatherapy and what?"

REIKI DANCING IS MY PASSION!/
Enhancing Belly Dancing with Reiki

Is it double vision? No, its double tambourines!
All other instruments are apart from the clear connection between the dance and the tambourine.

Pele's Gift
As Nona began to demonstrate the first dance, I noticed many gestures in common with Central Asian dance. I felt as if another piece of our giant dance puzzle had fallen into place when Nona gestured to her heart and said, "the real hula comes from here."

Joy of Teaching
Dancers need to go beyond the "tricks of the trade" and connect with the audience, whether they are in a club, at a faire, in a concert, or with fellow dancers. I have learned the value of simplicity.

The Day I Danced with Metallica
Aside from my family, the two passions in my life are Metallica and belly dancing.

Preparing to Teach
This questionnaire is presented here to help you clarify your goals and ideas about teaching.

Using Magic is My Style
Do you want to make more money at your next gig? The answer is Magic!!!

Rhea reminisces
We weren't the Beat Generation, we were the Belly Generation

Mailbox Missives- The Student Rustler
Teacher #2 started soliciting her students, right after my teacher's class was over!

News: The 1999 Giza Video Awards!
This is like ... a party!

1999

Rhea's Adventures -continues "Egyptian Dance Festival--Intrigue & Chaos" Part 2
"Strike!" I cried, and we all stood up and marched to the bus!

The North Beach Project
I took leave before I was invited to leave.

AT LONG LAST-HERE IT IS! North Beach Memories!
Please join us as we travel back in time to the North Beach district of San Francisco between the years 1957 through 1985. We'll read about a vibrant period of Middle Eastern Dance and Music Performance as presented in our interviews with musicians, dancers, and club owners who created this exciting history.

Second Annual Giza Academy Awards
The judges seldom agree the first time around. So begins a process of arguing the various merits of each video performance as it pertains to the category for which it is being considered, until finally a consensus is reached.

News:Festival Fantasia Sightings- Tribal Queen goes Cabaret!

Dance Emotion, Part 1
"The place of dance is within the heart."

News:Paul Bowles, Famous Writer and Composer, obituary

Sausan's Saga at The Grapeleaf Restaurant
Phoenix-like, arising from the ashes of a dreadful divorce and forced closure, petite and spunky owner-operator Sausan has persevered and returns stronger than ever with her new partner from Egypt.

Traditional Mehndi Adornment
The most lovely part about the traditional dancer Mehndi design is it's shear simpleness.

Rhea's Adventures-Egyptian Dance Festival--Intrigue & Chaos
I was intrigued when an envelope from Cairo, Egypt, arrived at my studio in Athens, Greece

Conversations with Bert, The Belly Dancing Boom of San Francisco in the 1960's
One room was full of coats on the floor and there were people underneath all of them! There were orchids floating in the bathtub and candles everywhere.

I was driving home early Monday morning.
I had had an arrangement to meet my man, my beloved whom, for a number of reasons, I cannot see often.

News:Tahia Cariocca,

Welcome to Bellydance
..Do not allow anyone to limit your possibilities.

Mailbox Missives.
..my little round tumtum... Almost every woman has a uterus, and needs a place to put it.

Living in India- "Beggars"
There's a new group of pavement dwellers living on the median near the market.

News: Winners of "The Wiggles of the West" Contest 1999

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR.
A Case against Standardization in Nomenclature for Belly Dance Instruction

Rhea's Adventures!- Mt. Sinai
...we donned tablecloths after dinner to dance to whatever they had on hand that could be blown into or beat upon...

Living in India- "I Wake from a Dream ..."
No road trip would be complete without hourly sightings of horrible accidents or their remains.

News:Sabah- Jamie Miller's recent illness

Leila Haddad's Dance Mission
...But Leila never has considered moving to a place where the social climate might be more open. As she puts it, "my story is France."

Living in India- "Indian Demolition" by Fred Glick
Carrying 8-12 bricks on your head up three flights of stairs while wearing a sari ...

News:Beata & Horacio's 15th Anniversary Celebration in Berlin, Germany

News: Desert Dance Festival Canceled!
The official letter from Dunia & DDF committee explaining their decision.

Be a Perfect Woman, or Not...
I fell in love with a fantasy created from the Hollywood films of my girlhood.

News: Katrina's fight for health- (6-23 update added)

That "Snake Charmer" Song
a wonderful article on that kitchy didy your friends sing to you, when they hear you're a belly dancer. Includes 2 sound files, lyrics, an animated graphic and antique cover of the original sheet music

Belly Dancer of the Year Contest 1999 (added 6-16-99)

- Leea's official photos of Judges and contestants
-Review by Jay Bangle with photos
-One Fan's Fun and Frustration with Competitive Belly Dancing by Nadira el Farasha , photos too!
-More photos by the GS staff

Becoming a Fanana of the Belly Dance-
Instead of a musical slave, I believe it is your calling as a dancer to interplay with the music.

News: Kim Fitzsimmons injury and rehab
letter from Kim added

The Legend of Julius Squeezer
I shall never forget my most gentle of beasts, my 14-foot long python," Julius Squeezer"! Weighing in at 80 lb., Julius was nearly impossible to pick up all at once.

The Secret of Dance Style
The Secret of Dance Style is Your Self-Image-the Essence of Style!

Rakassah Dressing Room Talk

The Mysterious Performer's Dressing Room at Rakassah, Otherwise Known as the Women's Restroom... A Photo Essay

Salamat Valentine
Would my "Valentine" want to celebrate the day a day early or would he be mad that I would rather be at Salamat Sundays?

Crown of Glory
If you were at Rakassah this weekend you must have passed and lingered upon the booth selling wigs as I did.nbsp; Even with long hair of my own, the sight of a full, luscious head of hair was enough to draw me closer. Pictures added 6-7-99

Adventures of a Dance Goddess - Part 2
Among the most vivid teaching experiences are the two summer intensive workshops I gave at Holloway Women's Prison in London...

The Sheik of Generosity
Who Is This Man and What Has He Got in His Pouches for You?

The Camel Dances

A Feast Fit for The Dance (part 2),
Split tummies?! kebobs and more to come!

Living in India #1-"Bureaucracy"
The bureaucracy here is amazing......

Najia introduces her new column

Premier Issue News and Notices

Dancing on the Bema
Dancing for her Temple, next to the Ark of the Covenant!

Holding onto Integrity
How does an eager neophyte resolve her desire to dance with getting the pay she deserves!

Dance Passion and Burnout, Muses and Goddesses
Is It Time For A Dance Counselor and Coach, or Dance Retreat
To Revitalize Yourself and Your Life?

The Perils of an Ill-fitting Bra
Doth your cup spilleth over?

Theater Terms
Stuff to know before you rent that stage!

A Feast Fit for the Dance
A tasty collection of Middle Eastern recipes for your hafla table

Images Inside and Out
recognizing the ever-present clouds of poor self image

Conversation with Bert Balladine
Words of history and wisdom from our dear mentor!

Plantar Fasciitis
When the "Choo-Choos" give you the foot blues

Adventures of a Goddess (Part One)
"...a survivor of nightclub dancing - 5 years in Europe"

Columns



Bay Point, CA



Diamond Springs, CA



Silicon Valley, CA



Athens, Greece



Cairo, Egypt



San Francisco, CA



San Rafael, CA

Najia

Bay Point, CA

The Magnificent Fundraiser, Part Two- Police Barriers Surround Event
Over coffee, we decided that our fundraiser would have to be an extraordinary dance show rather than “just another student night” or worse yet, a studio recital.

This is Not a Review: Bellydance Superstars
Herein lies one major flaw concerning the concept of superstardom in Bellydance: choreography. While choreography is a form of quality assurance, it is also assurance that the quality attained will be less than stellar in Bellydance!

The Magnificent Fundraiser
That included the Belly dance, which he confided in me (later) that he had hated, because it had been introduced to Greece during the time that Greece was under the suppression and control of the Turks.

The Key: an Allegory* in Which a Courtesan Dancer Greets the New Year
Court dancer, Raven, was lost in thought as she shifted her gaze toward a novice barefoot dancer whose name she could not remember.

Part Five; Lace and My Muses: Treasures by Najia Marlyz
I was looking at a piece of artwork featuring a classical dancer of the past, turning it this way and that to get a better view, and suddenly, I realized that I had lost contact with my treasured mentors and had also abandoned my sense of artistic direction that they had helped to foster within me.

Surreyya: Adding Dance to Her Repertoire
Set choreographies are seldom the “stuff of dreams” but simply serve as crutches for the dancer who has not developed a “clean edge”.

Defiant Dancer: How I became a Dance Pioneer In a small 1970s California Community Festival
My attitude turned from community spirit to outright defiance.

Lace and My Muses, Part 4 of 5: Tarnished StarDust
Not until very recent times, could I admit, even to myself, that I had lost a large part of my creative thrust along with many of my treasured friendships because I had perceived wrongly that I needed to become more like the Egyptian and Lebanese dancers of the day.

Raven of the Night: Dancer’s Allegory for New Year’s Eve 2005
Raven of the Night was the name by which he thought of her–but feathers? Raven had none! She was the castle’s Dancer of Dreams and aspired to become Jester of the Court...

Lace and My Muses: In Search of A Personal Style, Part Three
I suggest that “elevating Belly dance” to the standards of western dance would be counter-productive in the long-term rather than a valid goal for us to desire.

Lace and My Muses: Everything Old Becomes New Again , Part Two
Now it was the ancient, exotic art of Belly dancing and my fantasies of the bizarre life of a Belly dancer that smoked incense into my heart.

Lace and My Muses Part 1: Egyptian Mummy Lace or “Assiute Cloth”
I fastened around my hips a white Assuite cloth encrusted with gold knots throughout, forming pictographs of falcons, pyramids, crosses, and diamond shaped designs.

Who Died and Made You Queen of Dance?
This lack of background basic performing experience would be unheard of and un-tolerated in any other dance form.

Live Music and Me: The Third Sunday at El Morocco,
Live musicians, whether hot or just luke warm, alway confront the dancer with a set of variables.

The New Year's Dance
Poetry by Najia

Dancing Inside Out
The state of Oriental Dance in America, as it is most often seen today in festivals and restaurants, is at a crossroads of change from which there will be no way to return.

Advice from a Temporal Dance Oracle
These dance related disputes become overpowering

Raks Assaya Instruction at Najia’s Studio
Demonstrated by Rawan El-Mouzayen (Arab-American, age 3)

Searching for Your New Dance Teacher, The First Interview
Furthermore, making an effort to meet the people of the culture in question is of the utmost importance when studying foreign subjects.

The New Age Adage for Performing Dancers
If you have nothing to say through your dance, do not dance.

The “It Factor”
Between the two men, my dance teacher and my artistic lover, how could I not learn to bring the movements from the core (heart) to the outside?

Painting Dance -Fabulous!
I'd like dancers to understand how the ideas of color, texture, tone, shading, etc. can also apply to the art of speaking through movement.

Music to My Ears, How I Learned to Hear Like a Dancer
Musical interpretation is the single, most important skill that can elevate the Oriental dancer from the chorus line to the spotlight.

The Great American Belly Dance Veil Routine
After having said all that, I must add that American style Oriental/Belly dance is a distinctive style composed of creative elements that are simply outstanding.

A Story Written with Arabic Idioms; Why it is Difficult to Translate Arabic songs into English, Story by Annonymous, Translations and interpretations by Rima El-Mouzayen, Introduction by Najia El-Mouzayen
“just try to read it in English and at the same time, think in Lebanese Arabic…if you can! "

Certifying the Certifiers, The Chicken or the Egg? Part Two
artists and stars are born, not schooled. You’ve either “got it, or you don’t”

Certifying the Certifiers
...this has occurred because of the current need to be correct, and within certain predictable standards of competence rather than special, unique, outstanding, unusual, memorable, or even (gasp!) emotion producing...

"Does Learning Constitute Copying? My Musings about Sharing Dance"
I could still feel her pain as she spoke...

What do You Owe Your Dance Teacher, besides a Christmas Fruitcake?
Teaching involves a selflessness that often does not often jibe with the egotism it takes to be an outstanding performer.

"A Star Remembered, The Maturation of a Career in Performing"
...last thing in the world that I wanted for myself and my own dance career was to be a "forty year old belly dancer".

Follow the Bouncing Butt; in Defense of a Teaching Method
Some of the "Follow Me" teachers should be more aptly described as "inspirationally oriented".

Taming the Wild Frilly-Lou Bird, Or Training Your Hands to Dance
Once the dancer learns the skill of audience dialogue through energy transfer...

Put Your Dance on a Pedestal
Many dancers make the mistake of using the entire width of the front part of their feet when they dance, because they have never been taught dancer's footwork. "Ankle wobble"indicates...

Zil Thrills in the '70s, Memories from another Viewpoint
My experience with Bert was the opposite, however; the cymbals were hardly a secret.

Why Take Private Lessons and Coaching?
You will enhance your presentation beyond your wildest dreams!

Dancing to the Houri's Siren
She was always there dancing at my shoulder and up-staging me in my own mind...

MiniDisc Recorders-The Best Kept Secret for Music Lovers I would unhesitatingly recommend that, at the very least, a dancer should own a MiniDisc recorder for its editing function alone.

Dance Emotion, Part 2
The audience is not going to care, or even notice, that a dancer did a high-stepping Fandango Walking Step with an over-lay of a Soheir Zaki Head Tilt and a really fine ......

Entertainment or Art?
It is possible to be an artiste in a non-art form in the sense that one may be skilled, professional and artistic at the business of entertainment.

The North Beach Project
I took leave before I was invited to leave.

Dance Emotion, Part 1
"The place of dance is within the heart."

Welcome to Bellydance
Do not allow anyone to limit your possibilities.

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR.
A Case against Standardization in Nomenclature for Belly Dance Instruction

Be a Perfect Woman, or Not... I fell in love with a fantasy created from the Hollywood films of my girlhood.

Becoming a Fanana of the Belly Dance Instead of a musical slave, I believe it is your calling as a dancer to interplay with the music.

Najia introduces her new column

Fred Glick

Cairo, Egypt

And Back in the Holy Land...
What do I feel? Disgust.

My Taxi Ride in Egypt after 9-11
And as we reach my destination, he asks me to tell America that he is sorry, that Egyptians, they are sorry.

Eating in Cairo (Part 2)
You splash da'a on your koshary like a real Egyptian. Perhaps you've even learned how to pronounce da'a. You've had fuul for breakfast and laughed in the face of many an expensive buffet. But all the feelings of superiority aside, you're beginning to feel the need for something, well, different.

FLASH FROM CAIRO- RAIN!
The pre-dawn call to prayer, bustling souqs and the constant reminders that everything, from the continuing supply of water to the arrival of the taxi at my destination, is at the pleasure of Allah.

Dining in Cairo
One of the wonderful things about Egyptian food is that there is something for everyone.

Living in India- "Beggars"
There's a new group of pavement dwellers living on the median near the market.

Living in India- "I Wake from a Dream ..."
No road trip would be complete without hourly sightings of horrible accidents or their remains.

Living in India- "Indian Demolition"
Carrying 8-12 bricks on your head up three flights of stairs while wearing a sari ...

Living in India #1-"Bureaucracy"
The bureaucracy here is amazing......

Rhea

Athens, Greece

Rhea’s Travel to Syria …PART 4 – Damascus
If you try to show what basically decent people Americans are, you will be run over like a wild coyote. Leave your manners at home and take on theirs.

Rhea’s Travel to Syria … Part 3– Surrounded by Men in the Airport
Clever girl, eh? You think it’s the first time I’ve traveled alone in the Middle East?

My Vision of the Desert Archidance
I had heard about trance dancing before, but had never seen it in an authentic context.

Rhea’s Travel to Syria … Part 2 – The Airport Nightmare
Too bad they didn’t have any friends in America.

Rhea's Travels to Syria, Part 1, The Delusion is Shattered
It looked like a Middle Eastern attempt at Las Vegas and Disneyland, upscale discotheques where attractive Moldavian that aforementioned familiar tributary, than go on to another one.

Cabaret: Is it a dirty word?
American Cabaret, the original fusion belly dance, is accessible and fun for everyone, regardless of one’s dance education.

A Search for the Soul in All Things. Or On Turning 61 and ¼
By continuing to dynamically entertain and stay ahead of the pack, they embolden all women, even of a lesser dynamism, to remain in the fray as long as they desire, instead of being cast to the sidelines as the official baby sitter for grandchildren.

Flying Saucers
They tended to talk more than to act and, by this time, I was hooked on the street theater of it all.

My Belly Dance Baptism, or A Tale of Armpit Hairs
There was a rumor (that was the truth) that I didn’t shave under my arms.

Adventures by the Nile, Part 2,
Return to a Changed Sudan

Rhea's Adventures by the Nile, part 1
I guess every belly dancer's dream is to dance in a five star hotel in the Middle East.

Rhea Recounts, Part II, Of Belly Dancers, Bullets & The Men in Blue,
or A Change of Scene: Rhea moves to Greece

Where the bullet went, or how close it came to hitting us, I'll never know...

An Interview of Rhea of Athens, Greece, by Phaedra Ameerah
(This interview has been edited and reprinted with permission.)

Rhea reminisces
We weren't the Beat Generation, we were the Belly Generation

Rhea's Adventures -continues "Egyptian Dance Festival--Intrigue & Chaos" Part 2
"Strike!" I cried, and we all stood up and marched to the bus!

-Rhea's Adventures-Egyptian Dance Festival--Intrigue & Chaos
I was intrigued when an envelope from Cairo, Egypt, arrived at my studio in Athens, Greece

Rhea's Adventures!- Mt. Sinai
...we donned tablecloths after dinner to dance to whatever they had on hand that could be blown into or beat upon...

Shira

Silicon Valley, CA

Health Secrets of a Road Warrior, Part 3: Avoiding Colds
When most people think about getting sick on a big trip, they think of “the mummy’s revenge”, or traveler’s diarrhea. There is another very real, very common health risk that many of us don’t anticipate: the common cold.

Rainbows of the Desert Sponsor Aziza Sa’id to Des Moines, Iowa
It was clear from the overall setup that the Rainbows are very experienced at sponsoring large workshops.

Ahlan wa Sahlan 2005 Begins
Shira is back at Raqia's Cairo festival again this year. Many improvements noted!

Health Secrets of a Road Warrior, Part 2: Beating Jet Lag
I’ve developed some techniques that usually work for me in minimizing the discomfort and health risks jet lag can cause.

Health Secrets of a Road Warrior, Part 1: Introduction to Healthy Travel
However, some of us don’t have much experience with travel, particularly international travel, and we might not know about the health risks that travel can pose.

Daughters of Shahrazad: Face to Face Cultural Encounters Through the Expressive Arts of Middle Eastern Women
On March 5, 2005, a unique conference in Iowa honored International Women’s Month.

Egypt Travel Health Checklist
Here is a packing checklist that may help you anticipate your own needs.

When Comparing & Contrasting
Often, people base their negative judgments of other styles on student-quality performances.

Ahlan Wa Sahlan Festival 2004-Intro Travel Journal by Shira
Middle Eastern dance artists and students from throughout the world attend this event to immerse themselves in instruction by leading Egyptian instructors, shop for costumes and other supplies offered by Egyptian vendors, and enjoy the gala shows featuring top Egyptian dancers. Check back for regular updates!

First Two Days
Day 3: First Look at Egyptian History
Day 4: More Egyptian Monuments and First Dance Show
Day 5: Shop-portunities and Whirling Dervishes POSTED 7-9-04
Day 6: The Festival Begins POSTED 7-17-04
Day 7: Classes and Free Time POSTED 7-17-04
Day 8: Side Trips, Part 1: Gayer Anderson Museum POSTED 7-25-04
Day 8: Side Trips, Part 2: The Parisiana 7-26-04
Day 9: The Evening Show posted 11-12-04
Day 10: Classes and the Sphinx Speaks posted 11-22-04
Day 11: Camels, Class, & Competitions posted 12-15-04

Mailbox Missives: When Pop Culture Meets Belly Dancing; Here we go again!
Today, we’re seeing another revival. Belly dancing is popping up on music videos featuring Shakira and other artists.

Mailbox Missives: No Excuse for Low Video Standards!
A dancer who does this conveys the impression that belly dancers either don’t know what constitutes professional quality or we don’t care.

Mailbox Missives: Are You Helping or Hurting Our Vendors?
Fortunately, very few bad vendors exist.

Are Strippers Our Enemies?
Many belly dancers are openly hostile toward strippers.

Dance Or Career: Which To Choose?
You can still stay involved in dance no matter where you choose to live.

Mailbox Missives -Serving Men Indeed! Harumph!
He even has made comparisions to stripping and other similar types related to stripping.

Mailbox Missives-Kid Dance
Is belly dancing a good activity for girls

Mailbox Missives- The Student Rustler
Teacher #2 started soliciting her students, right after my teacher's class was over!

Mailbox Missives ...my little round tumtum...
Almost every woman has a uterus, and needs a place to put it.

That "Snake Charmer" Song
a wonderful article on that kitchy didy your friends sing to you, when they hear you're a belly dancer. Includes 2 sound files, lyrics, an animated graphic and antique cover of the original sheet music

Aziza!

Diamond Springs, CA

Rakkasah From a Vendor’s Viewpoint
Ah, Rakkasah! For many years the highlight of my vending year! A wonderful idea that has gradually faded over time….

The Traveling Costumer
More customers! New horizons! Travel! That’s what we needed!

My Costuming Roots
Soon, however, it became obvious that I couldn’t do three shows a night, on and on, with only one costume! And Yousef, owner of the Bagdad, supported this realization by telling me that if I didn’t get some more costumes, I was fired.

Belly Dancer of the Year Pageant
The contestants were limited to ten, and all danced to the same music, though they were permitted any props they wanted.

A Period of Innovations
In the late 1970s, there were two events produced for the belly dance community that were different from things that had happened before – events that began and paved the way for so many that were to happen later.

Friends Are Where You Find Them
Some people thought that we were partners, as we were so close, but that wasn’t the case, either.

Zelzeleh, My Troupe Adventures
The first thing that I discovered was that I hated to design or perform choreography – it was like having my teeth pulled - and I wasn’t too hot at it, truth to tell.

Moving to Santa Rosa
So I married a Greek, and for a while it was okay with him that I continued to dance...

The Taverna Athena
I didn’t see just how it happened, but evidently a couple of brothers from Cyprus were hired to put the Taverna out of business.

Zorba’s in Walnut Creek
...and I could tell that the Greeks wanted to see more of that, so the job was in the bag!

North and South
Also, we were not allowed to lock the office door

At the Egyptian Gardens
“You insult me in the street and apologize in a corner.”

Back in the Bay Area
...my zils flew off into the audience, and George stopped playing, went down into the audience...Was I embarrassed!

On the Road
She was the fiery “Bedouin” who argued with the band in apparent Arabic and seemed so real and dramatic.

The Birth of Bal Anat and Other Adventures
belly dance will continue to evolve into things new and strange, limited only by dancers' imaginations.

Club Dates and Casuals
"Don't worry, honey, " said the stripper, "I've got a gun!"

Out of Town in Oregon
One of the things that the owner insisted on was fancy hair - he considered straight, hanging hair to be "hippie hair".

Out of Town in Fresno
You can't wear that vest on stage - we're not running a Sunday school here!

Dancers I Have Known by Aziza!
Over the course of my approximately thirty-year professional career, I have known and worked with some of the most interesting dancers in the business

The Music and Musicians
I was very lucky to have danced to live music almost exclusively throughout my career.

Jamila and Yousef
Even though we were recognizably taught by Jamila, we were not the cookie-cutter girls she turned out later.

Working at the Bagdad
..in the early days, had to have accents when we talked to the customers, to carry out the non-girl-next-door thing.

The Beginning
When she came out to dance in the audience, I thought to myself, "She better not get too near to my husband!"

Amina

San Francisco, CA

"I'd Rather Stay Home with my Kids"
I asked her how to take it off, and she told me to figure it out when I was on stage. Then I heard - "Our "guest" dancer, Amina, all the way from upstairs!"

One Ad Changed My Life
I was very desperate and determined to get back to my old self.

Giza Club Lecture, Wacky Woman Traveler- Leyla Lanty
Hard work and familiarity pays off.

Make a Giza Club!
...She was to become our first Wacky Woman Traveler...

Fouad Marzouk,
I remember at first feeling intimidated dancing to one of Soheir Zaki's musicians.

Dancing on the Edge
I learned from the first evening chasing Fatma around the stage that in order to have a serious dance company in the Egyptian style, I had to seriously play with the appearance of disorder.

HOW TO START A MIDDLE EASTERN BAND or How The Arabian Knights Came About
We dreamed of a band that would play music to make us look good always.

Sadira

San Rafael, CA

The Myopic View of Bellydancing
It is interesting to note that among dance fields that are culturally based, ours is one of the few that adhere to this stigma and prejudice.

Memories from Planet Earth
Apathy is alive and well.

Samiramis Imports and the Arabic Movie Nights
Samiramis was an incredible store, not only did Sam have the largest selection of records, and cassette tapes of Arabic and Middle Eastern music, but he and his wife Mona embraced the dance community and their desire to find music, videos, and help with anything under the sun.

Personal Perspective
So much is happening right now in the Middle East, and we write about our dance shows and events, travels and remembrances but no one dare takes a step to mention political strife.

Charismatic Sultana changes North Beach
She was the only dancer I have ever seen walk off in the beginning, or middle of her set , not to return, because the music or audience did not please her

Aisha Ali & The Birth of the Ghawazee
" This could not possibly be a dance to take seriously", people whispered

What's in a Name
We lived and breathed the dance and its ethnic beauty.

Nomads of the Spirit by Sierra Suraci
Know what are you contributing - either to their dilution as a people or the strengthening of their true image.

"RETRO-TRIEVING"
I remember those days back in the '70s when ethnic stylizing was the only "true" way to dance. Latest addition to our North Beach Memories!

News & Notices

Current news is now posted on our front page

, Iran's best - known male dancer, was jailed in May for promoting moral corruption by holding dance classes in the United States as he was making his first visit to Iran in 20 years.

passed away in Boston, Massachusetts, yesterday, May 6, 2002 at the age of 65.

also known as Joyce Daniels of Phoenix, Arizona passed away yesterday. She died of a brain aneurysm, her family said it was fast and relatively painless.

JIZAN's year 2001 Party
Our annual dance party

The Dancers in Denver work together!
It's hard to get everyone scheduled for a photo shoot

Devija, principle member of Jazayer, Benefit

The Casbah of North Beach, San Francisco is changing hands and transforming again!

Rakkasah West 2002 Looms Ahead
Although Rakkasah still is an attempt to give all dance performers an equal opportunity, results of the phone-in to book a dance time is often very chancy because of high demand.

, husband of Magana Baptiste, passed away on July 6, 2001. A memorial service will be held on August 4, 11 AM at the First Unitarian Church of San Francisco. More on Walt will be posted on this site very soon! Magana's contest and festival this year has been cancelled.

, a very well-known and popular California drummer and Armenian folk dance teacher had open heart surgery on Saturday January 13, 2001. He is a regular at Rakkasah, teaching or working as stage manager. Mike is recuperating nicely at his home in Fresno. He will be teaching the Saturday class at Rakkasah and giving a huge party at his house in late February. Please send him your regards at [email protected]. Shukriya says he is in great humor!

is recuperating from breast cancer surgery. Gayle is doing fabulously - she even did a small belly roll and flutter for her doctors and they were absolutely amazed! The troupe is taking a hiatus from Rakkasah, but will be participating in the Gathering of the Tribes festival in Sebastopol in May. We'll have to wait and see how much Gayle will be doing at that point - I'm sure she'll surprise us all. Send your regards to: Gayle Wayne,c/o Janine- [email protected] - oh, and she loves camels!

Mee'sha falls in love and moves to Cairo!

DeAnn Adams of Light Rain dies after long illness.

Sirens In Sanity's 2nd Annual Halloween Belly Dance Bash
The evening was filled with belly dance routines in a variety of themes; some Halloween, some traditional, and some alternative.

Photos of Beata and Horacio Cifuentes on Tour!
Beata and Horacio Cifuentes have recently concluded a whirlwind World Tour, which included Japan, Europe, Canada, and the USA.

Male dancer
male dancer


ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) -- Police rescued a 19-year-old male belly dancer whose father chained him to a bed for three days to prevent him from performing at nightclubs, a Turkish newspaper reported Monday.
Neighbors alerted police Sunday after they heard Mahmut Dagyolu's cries for help, the Hurriyet newspaper said. His left arm and leg were chained to his bed. Dagyolu said his father had chained him there three days earlier because he objected to his belly dancing, the newspaper reported.
Although female belly dancing is common in Turkey, several Istanbul nightclubs have recently begun to hire male belly dancers who dress in sparkling costumes to perform. Conservatives object to male belly dancing, but the practice has a long history. In Ottoman times, male belly dancers who covered their faces with veils would dance because Muslim women were barred from performing.

The 1999 Giza Video Awards!

Festival Fantasia Sightings- Tribal Queen goes Cabaret!

Paul Bowles, Famous Writer and Composer, obituary

Tahia Cariocca, Famous Belly Dancer, obituary from the news media

Beata & Horacio's 15th Anniversary Celebration in Berlin, Germany

Sabah- Jamie Miller's recent illness

Winners of "The Wiggles of the West" Contest 1999

Kim Fitzsimmons injury and rehab
letter from Kim added

Katrina's fight for health- (6-23 update added)

Desert Dance Festival Canceled!
The official letter from Dunia & DDF committee explaining their decision.

News and Notices

 

Letters to the Editor Archives

'Looking for the current letters? see here

Archives Pg 17- January through December 2008
What's in a name, self acceptance, Men in Belly dance, Yasmina's new column, MECDA Ellections, Tajikistan, AWS fest, Arabic Idioms, Professional Presence, Suhaila in Phoenix, Music recording, Vegas IBDC, Egyptian Code, Jodette, Journey to Womanhood, New York Dance Scene, Amy Sigil, Tito Seif, Arab Defamation, Gothla, Neon's Keeping your mouth shut, Valizan Ozgen, Toronto IBCC, Burlesque, DVD purchasing, God Bellydanced, North Beach Memories, Princess Farhana fan article, Cabaret to DJ by Nina, Raqia Hassan, Serpentessa, Cover-ups, Criticism, John Bilezikjian, Certificaation, BDSS, East too West?, Vendor's View, Lynn Zalot & Habibi,

Archives Pg 16 -June 2007 through December 2007
Tatseena's Belly Bully piece, Amina's writing, IBCC coverage, Review on Tirbal DVD's, Barbary Coast and Bellyqueen, Cover-ups, Non-Profits, lifting the Veil by Yasmina,
Mona Said's letter, Music Copyrights, Ethics of Fusion, Egyptians being too Western?

Archives Pg 15- December 2006 through June 2007
Interview with Nakish, Sashi-kabob, How to charge what yo'ure worth,Tribute to Rhonda, Marliza Pons, Party booking, George Elias, "I dance you follow". Ethics of Fusion
Archives Pg 14- June 2006 through December 2006
Ethics of Fusion, Queen of the Bay, Territorialism Undermines Event Sponsor's Efforts, Greek Flavor, What ME Audiences Expect , Taxsim, Gothic Dance, Gyspy Dance, Sashi Kabob, Wierd Rituals

Archives Pg 13- November 2005 through May 2006
BDSS, Burlesque, Gig rates, Sashi's piercings, Sex shows on Rakkasah Fest stage, God Bellydanced, Sima Bina, Devi Ja's passing, Jamie Miller's Passing, BDSS reviews and Mile's reponse, Michelle and Sandra's Adventures, Turkish Baths, Muslim Cartoons, Working together, Review of Shareen El Safy's DVD, Spokane's Festival Coverage, Articles by Keti, Michael Baxter, Zar article and racism, WHEW!

Archives Pg 12- May 2005 up through October 2005
BDSS, Burlesque, Gig rates, Competing Cairo Fests, Israel Fest, Untaught Teacher

Archives Pg 11- December 2004 up through April 2005
Copeland, BDSS film and auditions, GS kicked out of Rakkasah, Zaheea's dancing for the blind, Christian dancer, the THONG, Luxor club review, Miles vs Horacio

Archives Pg 10- May 2004 through November 2004
Mena in Iraq, AWSF, Desert Dance Festival 2004, Biblical Accounts of Bellydance in Ancient Near East, Bellydance in Israel, Festival of the Nile review, Suhaila’s Sheherezade review

Archives Pg 9- December 2003 Through April 2004
Myopic view of BD by Sadira, Belly Bus, Queen of Dance Contest, Rakkasah West photo teaser, Comparing and Contrasting, Jillina DVD review, Dancing inside out

Archives Pg 8- May 2003 - November 2003
San Leandro Fest photos, Reflections on North Beach, BD and healing from sexual trauma, Dina in Dallas, Searching for your new dance teacher, BDY pageant

Archives Pg 7- October 2002 - April 2003
Najia’s Real Critic article, Back in the Holy Land, Glass dancing, Casbah and Bagdad Club, Reflections on North Beach

Archives Pg 6- March 2002 to September 2002
Vendors, Dance certification, BD and strippers, Jamila Al Wahid video review

Archives Pg 5- March 2001 - March 2002
My uncle Yousef, BDY pagent 2001, Dancer attitudes - BD gossip and back biting

Archives Pg 4- November 2000 - March 2001
Criticizing and reviewing events, “Where’s the hook when we need it?” Desert Dance Festival review

Archives Pg 3- March 2000 - October 2000
Entertainment or art? Sicilian bellydancers, Rhea, Review of Giza Academy Awards

Archives Pg 2- November 1999 - Febuary 2000
Living Goddess review, Fred Glick travel, Fanana of Bellydance

Archives Pg 1- Febuary 1999- September 1999
Shira’s advice to “Offended”, North Beach memory, George Elias & Bagdad Cafe

Gilded Serpent