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The London Belly Beat!
seems to be a buzz going on in London! Belly dancing is
quite popular. When I arrived in London, England, to conduct
my interviews for the Gilded Serpent, I never realized how
big London is. I had to do most of the interviews by phone.
Everyone I spoke with was friendly and extremely nice; they
seem to favor Egyptian style more because Egypt is more
accessible than in the United States. Most have studied
or visited Egypt. The dancers of London love belly dancing.
They have nothing against tribal or fusion styles and seem
to enjoy all belly dance. I had a great time chatting with
all the dancers and met up with some of them. To sum it
up they like to dance!
Jo has the largest school and festivals in the United Kingdom.
Fantasia Festival is held in April (this year-
April 8-10,'05) and October. The festival offers 15 different
teachers and 38 workshops plus a belly dance souk and shopping.
classical Egyptian style including Saidi, balady, and stick.
She keeps her dancing Egyptian but does some contemporary
fusion with her dance company on occasion. She also uses
Alexander principles in her dance teaching. She
has two dance companies, Sharqi and Masriat.
believes that before you do fusion you should have the training
in whatever style of dance you decide to fuse Bellydance
with. She thinks the UK is a little bit isolated, but she
teaches all over Europe.
has been to Egypt. Her favorite dancers are Fifi
Abdu, Samia Gamal, and Namia
Akef. She said London is staying Egyptian style
and the country side of England is going tribal style.
Ann teaches 8 classes a week in London and has 100 students.
She teaches classical Egyptian style. She is a teacher,
dancers and promoter. Her organization, Planet Egypt,
is a consortium of performers and teachers. They host free
dance showcases every month in London.
likes some fusion and finds dance a means of personal expression.
She thinks belly dance is a melting pot and there is very
little dance that is pure any more. She believes it is ever
evolving and is open to these changes and influences. She
dances at clubs, parties and weddings. London's biggest
Arab club was Cave's De Rio but it closed in 2004.
It had a live band and only Arabian dancers. A more diluted
version exists now. She thinks the United Kingdom is isolated
from the rest of Europe. She believes that some students
are less committed than the students in Europe.
favorite dancer is Fifi Abdu. She thinks
the future of Bellydance in the UK will be influenced by
the Belly Dance Super Stars. The BDSS will make
an impact because they will bring about the fusion in Belly
dance. It will attract students even though what we do is
actually very different. Her students loved the BDSS because
of the staging and lights and the glamour.
Angelia's studio is in an adult school in
Maidstone and at Jag Dance Academy. She teaches folklore,
Ghawazi, Saidi, and Egyptian cabaret. She teaches 6 classes
a week and has about 16 students from the ages of 15 to 75.
She works at a restaurant in Canterbury called Azouma
and dances to recorded music making 60 pounds a show. Angelia
enjoys fusion and tribal styles and the Belly Dance Super
Stars. She thinks the United Kingdom is isolated from the
rest of Europe. Her favorite dancers are Azza Sheriff
and Ronda. She likes teaching people on an
individual level and thinks it is good for women to be fit
and to express themselves.
Aylin teaches in North London at the David Lloud Fitness
Studios. She is a performer, teacher, and choreographer.
She teaches Turkish style and was born and raised in Istanbul,
Turkey. Aylin has 55 students a week. She performs on TV
and as well as being a fulltime TV producer. She likes fusion
and also classical. She thinks it is great to be creative
and to explore Belly dance.
believes the UK is isolated form Europe and thinks the UK
dancers like it that way. Her favorite dancers are Nesrin
Topkapi, who is from Turkey and from Egypt, Aza Sheriff.
She saw Nesrin Topkapi on TV in Turkey when she was 11 years
old and fell in love with her; she was inspired by her.
She thinks it is taking a long time because women are shy
here in the UK but feels it is changing slowly. Her take
on BDSS is they look lovely but believe Belly dance is for
Beatrice teaches in Surrey and Berkshire. She is a student,
performer, teacher and event sponsor. She has about 80 students
and teaches Egyptian style, cane, and Raqs Sharqi. Her troupe
is called Desert Flame.
clubs and restaurants in the area that have belly dancing
are Maroush on Edgeware Road in London, and also
Abo Hadmmad on Queen Way London. They have dancing
on Friday and Saturday. The dinner and show costs around
40 or 50 pounds (which is $100 in American money). They
have a live band and are Lebanese owners.
has been to Egypt 2 times and saw Lucy in 2000. The local
conventions are in April and October and called Fantasia.
This festival is put on by Jo Wise the
biggest promoter in the UK.
Carolyn focuses on Egyptian style. She teaches in Glastonbury,
Somerset. She has 18 students.
also believes if you are going to try and do fusion you
must be trained in what ever kind of dance you are trying
to fuse into Belly dance. She is a teacher and performer.
She thinks the UK dancers are a bit arrogant and think they
are a bit better because, after all, they are the Kingdom
and Europe is over there.
favorite dancer is Suraya Hilal, Sohar
Zaki and Fifi Abdu for her shimmies.
She sees Belly dance going tribal and attends the Majma
Festival in March. They have really good dancers like
Amel Tafsout who is from Algeria. She thinks
the women in the UK are really interested in Belly dance
from Egypt and think the BDSS are fantastic.
Has been teaching 14 years in Hampstead and
has 8 students. She teaches Egyptian dances at events and
for ladies birthday parties. She does not do parties for men
alone. She thinks the dance enhances the lives of women. Her
favorite dancer is Anmia Akef. She thinks
belly dancers are isolated not only from Europe but from northern
England as well. She thinks Egyptian dance is difficult.
Located in central London Chislehurst, Jacqueline has 95
students. She teaches Egyptian and Arabic. She has been
teaching for 25 years and has no objection to fusion, but
would not teach it.
dances at parties, restaurants, and big hotels. She thinks
the UK is isolated from the rest of Europe because it is
an island. She thinks Egyptian dancers look down on English
dancers. English dancers work hard. She likes Samia
Gamal, but doesn’t really have a favorite
because she likes them all.
believes it takes a life time to master belly dance, and
that it is important to learn the roots of the dance. It
is important to see all belly dance, the good, the bad and
the ugly so you can understand it. She also believes that
the dance helps women that suffer from low self esteem.
The more people who study the dance the higher the levels
thinks you should give out respect and respect your audience
and they will love you back. She believes the BDSS are good
for England and thinks they are great and professional American
From her home studio in Kent, Jemeela teaches Turkish and
Egyptian. She learned from Serena,
Hossam Ramzy wife. She mixes the two styles
together for performance and thinks you need good hands,
feet, and isolations to be a good dancer.
fusion, she doesn't care too much for jazz, modern, or hip
hop in the Belly dance. She dances in restaurants and parties.
She feels the UK is isolated from Europe. Her favorite dancers
are Lucy, Samia Gamel,
and Namia Akef. In BDSS she loves Rachel
Brice and Ansuya.
Khalisha teaches at a health club called Cannons.
She has 20 students and is a promoter as well. She teaches
Egyptian cabaret dances in Lewisham at the meza bar and
at the Bollywood. They make 50 GBP
for 10 minutes (that is $100 USD).
is an importer called Koochie Bazaar that charges
35 GBP for a hip scarf ($70 USD.) They are the only importer
in the area.
thinks the UK is isolated from Europe. Her favorite dancer
is Dina. She likes all the English dancers.
She thinks they have a lot of soul. She also likes the old
style Egyptian dancers.
took ballet, tap, and modern as a kid. She was a fitness
teacher, and has been belly dancing for 5 years. She sees
Belly dance going tribal in northern England.
Meret is from Cairo. She has been dancing
12 years. Her studio is in London called “The Place”.
She has 10 students and teaches Egyptian style. Her favorite
dancers are Suhair Zaki and Rhonda.
loves fusion and likes Bollywood and hip hop; she thinks
jazz is too harsh. She thinks the UK is isolated from Europe.
She sees Belly dance going tribal and likes it. BDSS: loves
Vashti has been teaching 37 years. She teaches
all over the world. She dances at an October dance celebration
in Devon. She teaches Egyptian, Turkish, Persian, Khaleeja,
Tunisian, Shickhatt, and Azerbaijani. She does not like
fusion. She dances at private parties, lectures, performs,
and teaches. Her favorite dancer in Turkey is Nesrin
favorite Egyptian dancers are Fifi Abdu,
Dansha. Her favorite dancers in the UK
are Nabild. She sees Belly dance going
tribal and fusion for the sisterhood that welcomes any size
women. She admired the presentation of the BDSS.
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Check the "Letters to the Editor"
for other possible viewpoints!
From Rags to Rhinestones
am most proud of having taken up dance later in life and having
become an acclaimed professional-level performer.
Rakkasah West Festival 2005 Photos-
Friday Page 1 photos by GS Staff and Friends
“My Aim in Organizing a World-inclusive
Oriental Dance Festival” by Amani
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 by Nisaa Elon
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.
A Whole Latte' Shaking
Going On, Belly Dance Comics tm by Alexandria
I think we can stop now!"
Belly Dance Comicstm by Alexandria
I sit here for a few moments?"
Class War-fair? Belly Dance Comics tm
"I sprang from the forehead of Isis!"
Belly Dance Superstars
at DNA Lounge page 2, photos by Lynette
eye candy! Performing in one of the most trendy clubs in San Francisco!
8-04 Nagwa Sultan:
Cairo Soul by Edwina Nearing
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.