Cooling Down Post Conference

imageSo, you’ve attended some bellydance and raqs conferences. Got your mind blown by amazing performances by some of the best in the industry. Now, you’re home…you miss them as you shimmy in your hip scarf, swaying around with your veil and blasting your traditional Arabic and Turkish tunes. You pause, you burst into tears because you, like so many need your Raqs Stars everyday. One weekend is never enough. Yet, the next conference is weeks away and you don’t know what to do!

This is post Raqs World Syndrome, a real condition that happens when lovers of the art are left alone a few days after their life changing bellydance conference experience. Our resident raissa has some advice for you.

She says: I suffer from PRWS. Some may laugh but it’s a real thing. It’s that painful longing and constant flashbacks you get for days, weeks and maybe months after a spending hour with some of the raqs world’s finest. Some names of late are Tito Seif, Randa Kamal, Yasmina Ramsey…Amel Tafsout, Artemis Mourat and of course Aunt Rocky, Nath Keo, Tarik Sultan and in my friends case, spending a few hours at a Femi Kuti concert watching a legend in his finest moments. I’ve been there, I’ve seen them all in the traditonal art, music and dance…and it’s a real pain to walk away from them and try to join the “real world” for lack of a better term. Here’s my advice.

lots of tops and accessories on

lots of tops and accessories on

1. Make friends with others at the conference, spend time with them online via social media and talk about the conference until you get it out of your system. I’m fortunate that the people I attend conferences with live in my city so we get together the weekend following the show and talk about it over tea.

2. Stay in contact with your instructors. Write them once a week (i.e. a little note on their social media wall, pin a photo of them on Pinterest and tag them in it). Having that contact makes it feel like they’re “still there.”

3. Go to dance class, be involved in your community. If you feel you have perhaps surpassed the community now with your exposure, then do online classes with those who are at your level and plan to attend one of their classes in person at least once a year.

4. Practice, sing, listen to the music you used in class. Use this passion to perfect the craft/the art.

5. Start saving money to go and be with them at the next concert or conference. Most important, know that it is not over. Grab and reach for opportunities to spend time with the artists and dance styles you love.

We hope that assists those suffering this summer from a longing to be with raqs star you love. If you had a great exeperience at a show, leave a comment for us on Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, Twitter or right here on our blog.

Happy Dancing!

Quick Arabic Lesson -Marhaba

Marhaba – (Mar’-hah-bah): This is the word used to say hello in Arabic. Many times it is followed by Ahlan which means welcome. But let’s stick to just Marhaba for now. It means ‘Hello.’ It is equal to ‘Hi’ as well. This very common greeting is used throughout the Middle East. No matter where you go in the Levant, North Africa, the Far East…if a person speaks Arabic you can say Marhaba and be understood with ease. If you know of other ways to say hi in Arabic and would like to discuss them or share them with us please do. In the coming weeks we’ll be exploring all sorts of greetings and how to conversate in Arabic, French and maybe a little Turkish if there’s time. Our volunteers are multilingual, multicultural and like to share their culture with others.

Thanks for reading.

If you’re having a show, be sure to check out our wide selection of dance and troupe wear at

Essential Accessories

accessoryb1Many want to know if accessories are a vital part of a performance. Our answer, they enhance it greatly. We suggest that you delve into the area of accessories and adornments carefully. We don’t suggest just adding on a bunch of bangles to every bedluh or large dangling earrings during a Khaleegy piece. Always ask yourself what region, genre or image you’re are attempting to portray.

We sell large earrings for fashion as many dancers like to have a little touch of culture with their everyday ensembles. Perhaps this is the best place for big earrings that would otherwise get caught in a costume link and cause ear damage. Delicate rhinestone earrings and bracelets are great for bedluhs. That type of costumes exudes glamour and top notch raqs so save your best jewelry ensembles for those. Tribal, ATS and ethnic pieces can go for earthy, deep colours and bold statements like a dynamic steel ring.

If you have any costume questions or want some feedback on your clothing combinations send us a note, we’ll help you pick out the right items and save you money at the same time.

Zealous for Zills!

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 for a wide range of finger cymbals to suit your needs. And let us know how they work for you!