If you’ve never seen Diana dance you haven’t lived. Charm, grace, talent and more for days. It’s really an impressive moment in our dance on a global scale. Her students often embody that same spirit and seeing them together is a joy. Therefore we’re bringing Diana to Bellydance Fashion Week for one of her spectacular Flamenco instructional workshops.
BDFW 2016: Designers That Dance & Are Devoted
Another great thing about Bellydance Fashion Week will be our featured designers, Eshta and MissBellyDance.com are actually people who are ensconced with their dance community and customers. Both designers attend events, go to shows and are a part of the dance world. When you buy from them, you can guarantee that they are not doing cookie cutter designs and working based on one body type. They are going the extra mile to provide something you’ll love and can be proud to wear.
Eshta Amar creates stunning, beautiful costumes that do not compare to anything else in the industry. Look closely at her work and see the fabric, intricate details of the skirt and the uniqueness in her work. No other designer is doing what she does. She creates costumes for a variety of dancers, her work is featured on many top talent and loved raissat all around. Her Etsy store is also a testament to her talent. Another awesome attribute is that she isn’t terribly expensive. Imagine, someone working diligently on a costume just for you and you didn’t pay $2,000 for it. That’s a bonus! Check out her work here and engage with her online. We’re excited to have her with us in a few weeks.
MissBellydance.com is looking out for every student and teacher in the world. You want some colourful dance pants, hipscarves and custom made professional wear for troupes? You can come to the team and they’ll get to working on it right away. The CEO, staff and volunteers work really hard to create something that is affordable and looks and feels good to wear. They specialize in plus size and petite. There is also custom sizing available and ultra fast shipping for those last minute needs. With MissBellydance.com you get quick service and people ready to cheer you on as a sponsor and fan of your raqs team.
Meet Eshta and members from MissBellydance’s team this coming month at Bellydance Fashion Week. Join us for the panel discussion which will feature dancers, MBD and others. On the weekend, Eshta will be in town for classes and costume discussion. This will be the meeting of the minds! Register here!
See you soon!
Bellydance Fashion Week – Why Now?
While the world focuses on New York Fashion Week, we here in Atlanta’s Mideast and African dance community are working hard to bring our community and guests a week of Raqs Couture to remember! Our resident archivist and raqs enthusiast explains.
I was literally visiting the warehouse, surrounded by fabric, sketching designs and couture desires in my head when it hit me that we don’t have a dedicated week for raqs and bellydance fashion. There are so many costume designers out there and so much creativity in our art that goes completely unshowcased. We see a show, the dancer turns around and we see the amazing work that a hard working seamstress did…then it’s over. That needs to change. We need a second look. There are so many people that make raqs art what it is today and often it’s not just the artist but all those involved in the process to get these stars where they are. I want to talk about it all. I’m so happy to see others want to talk about it as well!
Bellydance Fashion week is designed to highlight the creative side of raqs sharqi (Bellydance) beyond the amazing, skilled performance. It’s a look at how people become successful and what part the visual side of that comes into play…in other words, sometimes the clothes do make the man so to speak. A lovely costume on an amazing dancer is a recipe for success. You can’t have one without the other. We’ll even go further with a look at fans and how they dress up and get ready for shows. This is one industry where everyone wants to look good. Many thanks to Faaridah of Atlanta Fusion Bellydance for leading the organization on this event and Babylon Cafe for their support.
For more information and to register just click here
Coming up: The Bellydance Fashion Panel on Monday April 18th 2016 at Babylon Cafe – What to expect. Subscribe to our blog to keep up with updates on this event and so much more.
Thanks for reading and see you on the runway!
All Dressed Up
This month and next it’s all about holiday parties and gathering with friends for spectacular shows and events. We’re already sharing some of the unique cultural holiday festivites scheduled in our community including Yalda, Hannukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year’s Eve/Day. You also want to look amazing during the evening club scenes and we’ve got several outfits that’ll work for you as raqs lifestyle wear.
Throw a Coat Over It!
If you’re like us, we’ll throw a coat over anything and take it off to reveal something fun and cute…putting some thought into our garments. Most places will be warming the atmosphere so have no fear wearing a skirt or shorter sleeved top to an event. You’ll be happy you did when you start dancing. Our suggestions for this week include clubbing it up in this cute wrap top and skirt. It’s oh so cute.
This ensemble comes in this gorgeous black and white winter print. You can also mix and match to fit your preference. Add a statement necklace or rhinestone jewelry to the set for added bling. This also makes a cool gift for the party goer in your life. Retails at a low price and can be custom made if you give us a call.
Let us know what holiday parties you’re attending this year and where you’re dancing. We’d love to feature it. Looking forward to hearing from you!
Success!! Essence of Bellydance 2015
Wow, we’re still trying to wrap our heads around the oustanding talent displayed at Essence of Bellydance 5. This was perhaps one of the most intricate and layered conferences we’ve partnerned with to date. There are a lot of people involved behind the scenes of this festival. They volunteer their time, energy and resources to make it spectacular. Being behind the scenes allowed our MBD team a glimpse into what it takes to truly celebrate Raqs Sharqi in a respectful way that makes people want to come back again and again not just to this art but to this particular extravaganza.
First off, dance fans are already signing up for next year’s EOB…like right now! There’s an early bird special – all inclusive weekend available. The comments and reactions from fans have been very positive and the team was already planning 2016 just as 2015 got off the ground. They are a super group of dedicated show hosts in that they don’t let anything fall out of place. They really go the extra mile not only checking in with the fans, attendees and of course, the well-pampered stars but also with each other. Faaridah has a true sisterhood of support behind her that helps create something so outstanding you just have to be there to see it! Watch this space for 2016 details.
This year MissBellydance was a major sponsor of the EOB bellydance competition. We requested our friend and archivist Andinha to be on the ground and make sure the winners received gift bags featuring gift cards, merchandise and little extras from our team. We want to thank all of the amazing stars like, Aziza Nawal, Petite Jamila, Issam Houshan and Sorraiah Zaied to name a few, who worked hard to make sure everything was conducted fairly. This was very difficult for us as a company to be limited to “rewarding only a few.” We feel that raqs sharqi is an inclusive past time, a passionate ceremony so to speak where souls mesh on the dance floor together. The idea of “who is the best” is not our philosophy. However, we can get behind the idea of celebrating those who take it to the next level and that’s exactly what the top 3 winners did in each category.
The Fashion Show
An extended Shukran Jazillan to Lady Zaied also cheered us on in the fashion show and was enamored with our raqs lifestyle wear. Her reaction to the pink outfit shown above was priceless! We’ve got your outfit Sorraiah. It’s being custom made just for you! We love and appreciate your legacy and your work past, present and future.
Big thanks to our models who really wore MBD well. Items were quickly requested for purchase in the hours following the show. We appreciate your hard work and time spent promoting the brand.
Continued thanks to Faaridah and Team Essence for taking such good care of raqs in Atlanta by hosting an event that was enjoyed by so many fans and lovers of the art of Bellydancce. This conference featured not just international stars but a myriad of dance teams from Atlanta working together to make the city shine like the sun. You all take care of your stars and you go out of your way to make events positive and memorable, this is not easy feat. Mabrook to each of you and shukran!
*Special thanks to Studio Jaki for her outstanding talent and quick turn around with the photography. There are no words to describe how incredible her dedication is to this industry. Jaki, you are more than appreciated!
Team Essence – The Engineers Behind the Magic (continued)
As mentioned last week, it takes a lot to put on a great show. It’s fantastic when you have a great team of people to support you and that’s one of the plusses with Essence of Bellydance 2015. One of the highlights of the event are the shows. These are front and center ceremonies of the conference’s events where not just workshop attendees are delighted with incredible dances, fashion and a chance to see some of the world’s top artists perform but also the city of Atlanta as a whole. Everyone is invited! What a task the stage managers have to make sure it all runs smooth.
The two behind this gargantuan task are Rana and Na’ilah of Team Essence. Their job/to-do list is entirely too heavy to compile. The heart of the work is liaising with all of the different moving parts. There’s the coordination of the music with the fashion show coordinator, making sure the fashion show team knows when to go on, coordinating the ALL-STAR line up with the Exective Producer, the competitions’ stage strategies, keeping the show team alerted when it’s time to get on stage. Over 30 different people, from the models to the dancers, will enter and leave the stage on each night. Making their entry and exit an art is an art in itself…and these two ladies orchestrate that.
All year round Team Essence is fast at work making sure these Bellydance Conferences are the most amazing, memorable events the town has seen. It boosts tourism in Atlanta and adds to the cities vibrant music and dance scene. Who wouldn’t want to be huge part of that?! This is legendary!
Thank you Team Essence for your outstanding efforts! We love highlighting your work and will continue to do so! MissBellydance.com happily stands behind this type of outstanding effort. We are offering Team Essence 15% off their raqs sharqi and bellydance needs now til November. We’ll also give the same to our readers in honour of the hard work that goes on pre and post show. Readers, just send us a photo of your Essence of Bellydance ticket or registration via Facebook and we’ll send you a code to use at our online store. We’re thrilled and excited to help you all remain at the top of the industry!
Team Essence 2015 – Engineers of the #EOB2015 Extravaganza
Have you ever attended a workshop or cultural dance conference and wondered how on earth did they pull that off? I know I have. I marvel at an organization’s kind volunteers greeting us as we walk into their raqs homes and conference convention centers. I’ve been to plenty within the states and outside, most if not all have been nothing shy of amazing. My favourite was the International Bellydance Conference of Canada hosted by Yasmina Ramzy of the prestigious Arabesque. That magnificent event stays in my heart, it’s tattoed on my soul. It was just THAT good. The teams behind these events are what make them so absolutely awesome. There’s so much work that goes into each of these conferences and festivals and those in charge of it go completely unseen or unheard of until the end when the credits roll in the program. I think it’s time we start shining a light on the behind-the-scenes stars of the events and highlighting them throughout the process. One group that certainly needs to be recognized is Team Essence of the prestigious Essence of Bellydance series that takes place annually in Atlanta, Georgia.
Team Essence is led by Faaridah of Atlanta Fusion Bellydance and is made up of a network of local Atlanta raissat/dancers who are dedicated to the art of Raqs Sharqi. Essence is not this group’s first rodeo, they’ve been in this industry quite a long time and have seen the ups and downs, the good and the bad. In other words, they KNOW what works and what does not. That’s what makes them such experienced and successful event hosts. This year they are again, teaming up with Faaridah, the event’s producer, to continue the tradition of outstanding customer service as well as incredible workshops and heartstopping shows.
Last year’s event featured Bellydance Evolution and forever changed the game of raqs sharqi in America. Since then, shows that many of us have attended have taken on a whole new level of skill and talent. It helped solidify Atlanta’s reputuation as a hub for Middle Eastern and Cultural Art. Kudos to them.
Some of the tasks these fine ladies take on can be seen in their bios on the Team Essence homepage. I encourage all to visit the site, read about this great group and say hi when you see them at this highly praised event. They are as important to this production as the stars who are flying in from around the globe to present the art we love so much. One person I want to mention in particular is Kendaly. Aside from always being so well-dressed one has to stop and admire her, she is very approachable and manages her tasks with grace and kindness. She is the co-producer of the event and helps keep the team focused on the various tasks. Be sure to find her and say hi when you arrive!
Fashion at Its Finest
One of the awesome additions to this conference is the Fashion show. This year it is headed by Dahne and Francesqua. The fashion show offers vendors an opportunity to show off their amazing couture for the upcoming year. Much like global fashion weeks, an emphasis is put on the current styles in the industry. Top designers and boutiques bring their best garments for display. This requires numerous models, coaching and coordination. The Fashion show team is an integral part to making this eye catching portion of the event such a success. Many designers’ clothes have been purchased immediately after the show because of the excellent execution of the fashion show team. The coordinators and leads help sell these items via the catwalk and have done a great job doing so. As Tim Gunn would say, they “Make It Work!” #TeamWerkIt
Ahh, the joys of seeing a good show on a beautiful stage! That’s where Rana and Deance come in, two long time dancers in the Atlanta Bellydance community that have remained dedicated to the art. Be sure to check-in with us next week when we discuss the ins and outs of stage managing. You’ll want to hug these two ladies when you see the long list of things for which they are responsible.
If you’re ready for a raqin’ good time, be sure to get registered. Join in the fun of Essence of Bellydance 2015 where a good time is not an option, it is a requirement and is guaranteed. You will be dazzled and delighted from the time you walk in the door and days after when you’re stepping off the plane to your next destination. It is a conference that will stay with you, a wonderful Raqs memory that you’ll never forget! Join us!
Tweet #EOB2015 or #EssenceATL and get entered to win prizes from http://www.missbellydance.com
Thanks for reading!
Andinha – volunteer archivist with Team MBD
Men Can Dance: Andrus Ramir Workshop & Show
Men have been dancing for centuries right alongside women in the world of Raqs Sharqi. While the history of women and men dancing together varies by region, of late it is a common and welcomed occurance in the bellydance world. We’re happy to celebrate men in dance and are proud sponsors of the Andrus Ramir Weekend in Atlanta. Our partners in this awesome project are Atlanta Fusion Bellydance and World Bellydance Alliance, two of the city’s very strong and active Raqs supporters.
Saturday and Sunday, the first and second of August Andrus Ramir will return to Atlanta for a spectacular weekend. He’ll be teaching three workshops including Sha’abi. Andrus has become a bellydance household name with this amazing, well-developed repertoire in the industry. He has studied with so many greats including the globally loved Tito Seif and Nath Keo. His teachers and influences are some of the greatest names the industry has ever seen.
Andrus Ramir at the Amazing Caravan of Dancers in Florida – Great Organization and Great Show! See Andrus!
Andrus Ramir’s courses are very useful. Dancers can walk away with something to add to their own knowledge, skill and raqs treasures. He’s not only mega talented but super nice and caring which makes him an excellent instructor. We encourage all dancers of all levels to come out and enjoy this great dancer for two days and to attend the Sunday afternoon show at Steve’s Live Music. Andrus Ramir will perform along with an incredible line up featuring several of Atlanta’s Raqs/Bellydance community members and International Community favourites. And we’re giving away prizes! You don’t want to miss this!
Essence of Bellydance 2015 News – The Cool Perks of Competition
We’ve been discussing competitions and opportunities to showcase the cultural art that you’ve learned. We are thrilled that so many appreciate it enough to invest in it by going to classes, perfecting the craft and absorbing cultural aspects. Essence of Bellydance, as mentioned before, is working hard to make sure your hard work will have a prominent stage on which to show your passion for Raqs Sharqi. Their Essence of Bellydance Competition takes place this coming September in Atlanta Georgia. All details are listed on their website as well as instructions on registering. To better understand the environment and staging for EOB2015, have a look at past event videos we’ve included.
Why Compete/Should You Compete?
This is a chance to not just show your appreciation for the art but also to network and get feedback from those working in the Raqs industry globally. There are two competitions, one titled “Oriental Competition” and the other “Fusion Competition.” Judges include Luna of Cairo, Soraia Zaied, Petite Jamilla and other notable names. There will also be an audience choice winner who will earn a trophy as well. The prizes range from gift bags and tiaras to $1000 in cold hard cash – not a check…but actual cash. MissBellydance.com will also be giving away quite a few grand prize packs for several winners. It’s certainly going to be worth one’s while to showcase their love and talent for the dance.
Be sure to read the competition page carefully and understand that there will be preliminaries for the soloists. Troupes will be officially registered once all participating competition performers in their group have paid in full. So keep that in mind and make sure your fellow raissat know that so you don’t miss out. This is a great opportunity to meet the stars, gain new fans and interact on the conference circuit which is one of the best ways to be successful and continue in the art stateside. We want you to feel encouraged and excited about it so reach out to Team Essence or even us here at MissBellydance.com with your questions.
We’re very excited to be a part of the Essence of Bellydance celebration of Raqs Sharqi and we look forward to seeing you there!
Annual attendees, remember how much fun we had in 2013 & 2014? You’re gonna have fits of joy at 2015!
International Dance Day – 29 April
Every year dancers and fans of dance art celebrate International Dance Day with festivals and performances. There is an actual council and committee that work toward keeping this day as an important one in our lives. The focus is not just for dancers but for those who may not be aware of national dance or those who are not particularly “involved.” This day raises awareness of dance education and helps people become a part of the wider dance communities that are active around the world.
Of course, MissBellydance.com is completely onboard these efforts. We’ll be highlighting the website for IDD and reminding others to celebrate and honour dancers in their communities. We’re also offering a discount of 12% using code “justdance” for all orders of $75 or more. In the future, we’ll be reaching out to other dance teams such as Atlanta Fusion Bellydance and create a broader celebration of this incredible day. Meanwhile we want to know what your plans are for this holiday. Send us photos, tweets or tag us on Instagram with your International Dance Day photos. As customary, we’re giving away prizes to five submissions from our IDD prize drawing. We’ll also feature the winners in blog posts and on our social media.
Let’s share International Dance Day together! Happy Dancing!