We made some amazing friends this year in the dance world. While enjoying the groups we usually dance and hang out with from Malta, Lebanon, Turkey, India, Nigeria and beyond…we also made friends with a beautiful woman in the UK named Jenny Muhlwa. She is the owner and operator of Belrobics in Sheffield.
If you haven’t had a chance to check out jenny Muhlwa’s amazing videos then you are missing out.
This past week (20-22 of December) she and several dancers put on a bellydance production of Sleeping Beauty. It was the first of its kind given the scale of the event and tackling a story that does not have a Middle Easter Theme. Most productions and grand theatre events we see, involving Bellydance, are those classified as Folklore. Shaharzade is a well-known character in many of the theatrical bellydance productions as are many mystical characters. It is rare to see someone go this far and portray a delicate story such as Sleeping Beauty…and do it so well. We only got to see the lead up to the event and can’t wait to get a copy of the DVD when it is ready. However, we wanted to talk a bit about it and let you, our friends, know that the event did occur and the response was positive!
We thank Jenny for wearing our MissBellydance.com costumes in her production. In addition to this, she also wore MBD attire as the Olympic Torch came through her town this past summer. Jenny is leading a world of excitement in her area and giving women of all backgrounds a chance to perform and be a part of the bellydance movement. On behalf of the African Asian Business and Cultural Exchange, Jenny is our newest “Best Bellydancer Friend of the 2012!” Please join us in sending her encouragement and love as she continues to work hard to bring bellydance into a “different” spotlight!
Throughout 2013 we will continue to interview and spotlight great dancers who are working hard to put together programs featuring ethnic dance and middle eastern culture. If you are one of those, have videos and material we can share online with friends and can share it on our bellydance fan page then contact us asap so we can chat! We can’t wait to see what you’re up to next!
Music in our industry can be tricky when one has to call up translators and still hope your choice doesn't offend anyone. This is often the case for local expats as well...what to play? What to dance to? Everybody has their favourite regional sounds or preferences... But one set of music that reigns are classic hishibeshek tunes and Egyptian Arabic Pop found on the Mezdeke series and Asena. Currently, I've only found it at MissBellydance.com but found out they are no longer in stock. The next best is the Asena cd...just take it wherever you go. Listen hear to one example of this type of music via youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGtRljkAg9w&feature=youtube_gdata_player
This is the same "genre" that brought you the infamous shik shak shoq. It's the first song one is taught when you're in your teens and really ready to roll with it these days.
There's also a few new DVDs on their site that you'll want to invest in...including Bollywood dance. http://www.missbellydance.com/Belly_Dance_DVDS_s/145.htm
So, call them up and ask for it. I'll be sharing some backstory to other items they are bringing in from Turkiye and beyond...enjoy! Mezdeke Music Series -the essential Arabic Party Music Available at MissBellydance.com 1866.247.2477
Doum-doum tek-a-tek doum! Not only heard on the tabla but on the hands of dancers as they clink these tiny instruments between their fingers. We are currently conducting a zill class at our dance studio now through the second week of March. Zills or Sagats (finger cymbals) are important instruments used by bellydancers and eastern musicians worldwide.
One of our favourite zillists happen to be the famous Tarik Sultan. Tarik’s long time instructor Aunty Rocky is also a master at the art of Raqs Sharqi and we adore them both. Tarik Sultan has become a well known instructor who connects with students and guests in a very unique way. Perhaps this is why he is such a highly sought after teacher.
Here in Atlanta at our HQ we have Aya of Istanbul leading students through a zill class. It is wonderful to hear the class in unison clinging their Saroyan zills in time to the music. Many ask what kinds of zills or sagats are best for beginners. We recommend starting out small with these and moving slowly toward the 10+ styles of zills that exist. Widely used are Saroyan zills because they vary in size and have many options.
Costume zills are for those who are not really playing complicated rhythms. We suggest these for children just starting out in Middle Eastern music and dance. Intermediates and pros can invest in zills that are larger and heard much more than your standard beginner set.
To get instruction on zills you can always start with a DVD then move on to a live instructor or conference where zills are being taught. (Tarik Sultan is teaching a master zills class in May.) The benefit of a zill DVD is you get to practice over and over again. It prepares you for the real class where there may be an excellent instructor such as Tarik Sultan or Karim Nagi Mohammed. Both are essential.
We hope you have enjoyed our blog entry on zills. To purchase a pair of your own please visit our site www.missbellydance.com for a wide range of finger cymbals to suit your needs. And let us know how they work for you!