How Much Do You Love Bellydance?

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Tell us in a paragraph what you love about Bellydance, Cultural Dance and fusions of the art. Send us a photo or story about how much time and effort you put into your troupes, show preparations and overall dance hobby (or work – as for some this is your life as it is ours). We look forward to hearing from you and each person that enters will be featured on our blog and social media! We will have one fan favourite and one we pick ourselves to win a grand prize of a $50 gift card to MissBellydance.com plus a basket full of surprises! You can submit your stories and photos on our Facebook wall and we’ll connect with you there! Deadline is February 20th!

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We can’t wait to hear your love for dance stories! Remember to enjoy 10% off all orders of $50 this week using code “DanceLove” at check out! It’s one of the many ways we say we love our fans! Give the gift of dance!

What’s in a Dance Floor

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The floors in our sister dance studio AFBD were recently changed. They are floors designed to improve shock absorbtion and to keep performers comfortable. We’re still learning about the floors and asking dancers that stream out of the studio after hours of classes what are their thoughts and how do they feel.

We’ve heard nothing but good things. Several mentioned that not every studio has them. They said they could tell a difference in their level of soreness the next day. Mind you, this was after one of Suhaila Salimpour’s visits. She offered Jamila Salimpour certification course here in Atlanta this time. These floors are very similar if not identical to the floors in her own studio. The dancers we spoke with all reported feeling quite good and not as sore or worn out after their training. That speaks volumes.

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Because the studio is 100% used by AFBD with the occasional use for photoshoots, dance parties, lectures and more, it was not MissBellydance’s decision to make the change. Leadership of AFBD should be credited for this and we hope that all who come by and purchased clothing and classes will benefit from this investment.

Have you taken a class since having the new floors? Let us know and get 10% off your next order from MissBellydance.com

Thanks for reading!
Team MBD

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Bring Me This Dress!!

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This is what we’ve been waiting for…a bonafide Beladi Dress that meets the standards and then some. We wanted a stylish homage to the region that didn’t look like it was just another tourist attraction. Enough with the kitsch and on with a respectable piece of clothing that really shines and celebrates the culture.

This garment has stretch but it’s vertical vs. horizontal. This means the pattern is not going to go sideways in an odd fashion. This is important as patterns that stretch can distract from even the most skilled of performances.

We know you will enjoy this dress! It’s the highlight of our Raqs wardrobe right now. While many new garments are to come they will be limited edition and we will not resell them or remake them more than a few times. This Beladi Dress is here for just a few weeks and then it’s onward and upward for the next awesome item. Call or email us today to place your order. If you need a custom size, smaller or larger it’s $10 extra and will be made with care by our team.

We can’t wait to see it on you. Send us photos and we’ll happily share it and feature your show.

 

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Happy Dancing!
AA @ Team MBD

 

Take Me Back to Toronto!

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Our raqs archivist returned to Toronto to reconnect with family and the raqs sharqi and Arabic music and dance community there. This trip was quite an investment on all parts of those who travelled and we’re grateful that they used their time there to assist us in connecting with those who appreciate the culture we come from and hold dear no matter where we live in the world.
The highlights of the night were Hany Morgan, Dr. George Sawa, the Arabesque Drummers, a Debke duo, Yasmina Ramzy, the Righteous Rogues of Raqs and Arabesque Dance Company. Enjoy!

Hany Morgan is a genius from Egypt whose skill in music is mind blowing. In addition to teaching and leading several classes over the past two months (and will continue to do so throughout 2018), Mr. Morgan performed multiple times in the show as a tabla player, drummer, zillist and overall support for several sets. He and the Righteous Rogues of Raqs are one of the main reasons we came and they both made it worthwhile. I’m thoroughly inspired to go the extra mile with my sagats courses. I’ve always wanted at least a 1/4th the skill he possesses.

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Again, Mr. Morgan’s skill with the zills was incredible to say the least. It’s been about 3 weeks since I returned from the show and I still can’t find the words to describe his outstanding performance. He’s an artist you must see in person to understand why I would be willing to invest in recordings of his work the way that one might pay 1M Euros to get the copy of anything Mozart’s hands touched. The man is just delightful to the point I wanted to cry. It hurts that we have to travel so far to be in the presence of talent like that. Perhaps I’m jealous? It’s just so hard to hear and see that and then go back to the states where we’re not fostering an environment for good music on that level. I feel we’re so focused on the glamour of the costume and competitions, dance technique and performance. I say to the producers stateside, without music, what are we? Kudos to Tribal Con, Essence of Bellydance and other conferences on the west coast who have music tracks featuring drummers and zillists.

The great Dr. Sawa was also there with his oud, giving us his genius as always. I could have listen to him at least six or seven more times that night. He was one of my favourite memories from 2008 and I’m so glad he is front and center as support and a key part of Arabesque’s history. Check out his books here.

Aside from his writing and commentary, I simply enjoy his presence and listening to what he has to say on a variety of topics. Tonight was another wonderful memory to be stashed away in my memories of Toronto treasure box. I swear, if ever there was a city I wish was closer it’s Toronto. I guess the 2-hour plane ride is close enough and I need to be grateful for it.

The Arabesque Drummers were spectacular! I believe there were more at one time, I could swear Yasmina had an orchestra. This was a smaller number of people and some looked new to the group. Together and with the help of Hany Morgan they did a great job and made the night memorable and worth the trip up.

The Righteous Rogues of Raqs performed earlier in the evening and were exceptional! Valizan and Tim have an electric energy that made me wish I had sat a lot closer to the stage as in years past. Please enjoy this video and understand why they were such a hit!

I first saw them back in 2008 at the IBCC. I loved them then and I love them now. Again, they are such good dancers, they also make me ache for Toronto to be closer. One doesn’t simply watch The Righteous Rogues of Raqs, one is hypnotised by them. There was more than one squeal of “More! More!” after their performance.

Yasmina and Arabesque were also enjoyable and their colourful costumes were a highlight of their sets. While this group looks very different from those I saw in 2008, the grace and enthusiasm is still very present. I look forward to seeing how this new team will grow, leave us spellbound and grateful to be a part of the international dance community.

Here are some hightlights…

The strong parts of the show were definitely the musicians, the supportive icons such as Dr. Sawa, Valizan, Tim and the closing number by Arabesque as a troupe. For those things, I would gladly return and I pray I can. Yasmina and team’s work from many years ago produced life changing moments for many of us who continue to travel to Toronto for inspiration and authenticity. There’s nothing like seeing this dance performed by those who are truly dedicated to the art and in some cases have a direct tie to the culture(s) from which it originates. Yasmina is continuously in Egypt and stays close to the root and its continuous development there on the soil and the diaspora. This is important. I trust her new students will follow suit and absorb the dance from teachers there as well as cherish their time with Hany Morgan.

For over a decade I have praised Arabesque, certain that there are few that compare, they were the standard. I want their legacy to continue in that same light and I feel Yasmina’s dedication to bringing Egypt to Toronto and vise versa is the solution to ensuring a successful future…I want to be there for Arabesque 60 and all the good things inbetween!

Thanks for reading!

Every Dancer Needs Comedy – K-Von in Atlanta!

What’s better than bellydance? Comedy! That’s right, a good laugh never hurt anyone as long as no one got hurt. We’re headed to the Kanoon on Friday to enjoy a really funny guy, K-Von! We last saw him in Atlanta when Maz Jobrani came to visit the Punchline in Sandy Springs. Now he’s back headlining at the Persian Community Center – the Kanoon and the tickets are only $35 for VIP and $25.

Come see what the local international community has been talking about since he left! He was just THAT funny! K-Von tickets now on sale here.

See you Friday!

Egyptian Intensive Workshops with Jacques al Asmar

Our Resident Archivist talks about the upcoming workshop featuring Jacques al Asmar this month!

We’re excited about Jacques Al Asmar’s workshop this weekend! It will focus on Egyptian dance which is something from which every dancer can benefit. Jacques is energetic off-stage so we know that his workshop will be just as exciting as it is to be around him. I think what workshop attendees will discover from Jacques is the essence and root of raqs sharqi that so many really need to see in order to weed out a lot of things that aren’t beneficial to mastering our art. Jacques isn’t a time waster he just gives it to you as it is.

A lot of people rely solely on YouTube for their raqs education then go out and try to start classes, promoting themselves as these great teachers who are influenced by the people they see on YouTube. Many of us know that is not how this works. Raqs Sharqi has a lot of elements to it that are best learned in person not just by satellite and videos. With Jacques’ Lebanese background and having danced in Egypt as well as on the West Coast with top names, he’s exactly what we need.

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I’m going because I enjoy Jacques’ presence more than anything. All of my early teachers were men and I appreciate everything I learned from them – from relatives and extended family in the market to Tarik Sultan, Nath Keo, Sal Maktoub and many others that I followed over the years. It’s a joy to have their energy in Atlanta and with Jacques here permanently we are truly blessed!

Jacques Al Asmar
Intensive Egyptian Workshop
4800 Briarcliff Rd NE 30345 Atlanta
Every 3rd Sunday at Cosmic Energy Fitness Studio
Next one – 19 November, 2017

MissBellydance.com at Essence of Bellydance 2017

Big thanks to the dancers that wore our skirts, accessories and more during the Essence of Bellydance Festival! We appreciate it! Our archivist wrote her review about the show and here are some highlights from her report.

Is Essence Worth Attending? YES!

Essence is always exciting. No question. This year was my favourite year of all the EOB events I’ve attended. Having Suhaila Salimpour sitting with us, Jacques al Asmar, Mohammed Shahin and the core raqs community plus a plethora of international guests that flew in from as far as Germany and Northern Asia was the icing on the cake. It’s not that it’s not an international conference to begin with…but it’s hella awesome to see so many from around the world go through the trouble of travelling alllll the way from the far corners of the globe to spend 4 days with us in Atlanta. We’re a cool crowd, I have to give us credit for that. A lot of people WANT to be here and perform in this community. We love art and are obsessed with many of the artists…and it shows!

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Be sure to check out Studio Jaki and see about getting some prints

Mohammed Shahin was one of the headliners and presented his signature Tanoura Masri with the colour lights – I’d seen him present this in Vegas and was again just crying like a wailing superfan by the time it was over. Again, that is just a religious moment for me and a full circle moment given I used to sit for hours in my teens reading about what the café guys were doing – thank you distant relatives in the region for all those great entertainment updates that introduced me to this style of whirling. Now, thanks to EOB17, I was able to see it live again – this being a fourth time for me. I just wanted to go stand backstage and hug him for an hour as if he were a living doll just waiting for love from a new doll keeper. I could talk about him all day but I’ll stop now or I might end up writing a book about the experience as I’m known to do.

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Atlanta’s own Amani Jabril performed a real Iraqi raqs set to Mohamed al Salem’s “Galb Galb” and it was so perfect she “Came up out of her jewelry” as the MC said. This piece was one of the three most important pieces of the raqs presentations of the night. When you visit the region, THAT is the level of energy and emotion that you will see. If you’re expecting to witness rapid head slinging and people looking as if their necks are going to snap from the over the top hair spinning you will be disappointed. That is just simply over the top interpretation of Iraqi dance. There are many dances of Iraq and they do include lot of hair and beautiful movements with the hips and shoulders but few look anything like what’s been going around in the video circles of the many dance boards. If you stick to what Amani presented and those like her from the region, you’re going to grasp a grace that is unique to that specific area and the ethnic groups that inhabit it…and it will be appreciated by locals and original people of the area.

Amani’s suave demeanor and regional hair tosses followed by a variety of footwork and travelling steps were executed perfectly. Of all the dancers I’ve known on the circuit these past 11 years (her career is longer than that), she has always stayed a few steps ahead of the times introducing more than just bedluhs and beladi rhythms to her community, students and followers. She is certainly a force and will remain one as it’s just her nature to work hard at staying true to the region that she also calls home. Amani isn’t someone you call as a filler to a show she is a MUST HAVE when you want to make a statement that your production is committed to greatness! Remember that!

For more information on Essence of Bellydance and how to get involved and possibly win one of our cool prize packs if you enter the dance competition visit our Facebook page and theirs to see all of the links and amazing opportunities to be a part of this community dance picture!

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Speaking of photos, be sure to reach out to Studio Jaki and explore the amazing photos she captured for the event. Both Amani and Jaki will be in our studio this October and we’ll take along on the fun of a MissBellydance.com fashion photo shoot!

Fancy and Fine!

We’re excited about the great shows coming up this weekend at Essence of Bellydance. We try to go to as many conferences and bellydance shows near and far as possible. This year’s program features Egyptian icons like Mohamed Shahin! Also taking the stage and teaching workshops is Andrus Ramir of Miami! Suhaila Salimpour will be in town as will Colleen Shakti and dance greats from around the globe.

Each night are big shows and gala events that warrant a fancy dress or two. We’ve got some fun things you can wear for your night on the town at Essence of Bellydance. Sorraiah’s Star and Lycra Pants Set.

 

Tickets are still available if you want to grab a few for you and your friends! Click here or show up at the Twelve Atlantic Station starting the 15th to get your tickets in person. Downtown and Midtown Atlanta are quite cool and comfortable at this time of year! We look forward to seeing you there!

Summer Shows Continue!

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Photos by Studio Jaki

It’s time for the Summer Show Photos! Send us a photo you attending a festival or show this summer while wearing a costume or dance attire from MissBellydance.com! You’ll be entered to win a $50 gift certificate to our online store. We’ve been to quite a few shows this season and they’ve all been quite exciting. From dance classes, to lectures and a night of fantastic debuts for new troupes; we loved them all!

Post your photos from the events on our Facebook page or tag us on Twitter or Instagram @missbellydance! We’re giving out discount codes and putting your name in the drawing. If you’re submitting a troupe picture, the person who submits the photo will be given the gift card if they win, but all of the troupe will be allowed to use the coupon code.
Can’t wait to see your photos!

-Team MBD

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