Autumn Fashion Haul from MissBellydance.com

Autumn is officially upon us! That means really gorgeous costumes and accessories for upcoming gala shows and more. We’re stocked and ready to deliver. Just have a look! You can find all of these in our skirts section.

 

Tell us your favourite costume and why. Post it to our Facebook page and get entered to win a new accessories set from our online shop. We look forward to hearing from you!

-Team MBD

Stay Cute in Raqswear from MissBellydance

 

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Say Aiewaaa to more glam in your raqswear and raqs wardrobe. Enjoy these great styles as you go back to dance class this fall. From cool elastic waist based harem pants featuring cool frills to sleek pieces that accentuate your curves, these look great on so many body types. We got lots of great feedback this past summer and continue to see these are a favourite.

You can mix and match these with the black top of your choice or buy the whole set. You can wear it for class or go out for lunch between sessions in these stylish sets. Get one for you and a friend so you both can twin. It’s a lot fun. We see so much love and care in the dance world, we’re happy to be a part of it through fashion. Enjoy these fun and frilly dance class sets and let us know what you think.

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-Team MBD

Raqswear for the Real World

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Glamour is important when you’re going out on stage. But you also want to look good when you’re in class and out and about with your friends. We’ve discussed the wonderful world of bellydance workout wear and practice outfits in the past but did you know these can be worn as outfits too?

Pair these pieces with your favourite long knit jacket for the fall. Do it up with a little jewelry and cool items from your dance treasure. Let the whole world know you’re into raqs with the right kind of wear.

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MissBellydance has these in lots of different styles and colours and colourways. They’re just the right price for festival season and dance class. But the fabric is limited and won’t last forever. Get these while you can and let us know what you think.

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Dancing, Dining and Diversity

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Soraiah Saied of Egypt

Top Egyptian Star Returns to the City
Last year Sorraiah Saied came into our personal lives and stole our hearts. She is by far one of the most amazing instructors we’ve ever encountered and we are overjoyed at her return to Essence of Bellydance 2016. We hope she continues to be a featured star and sister to this outstanding Raqs Conference. Get the schedule here

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Classes are comfortable and the crowds are friendly…

We hear so many stars, fans and conference attendees rave about Essence and how they can’t wait to return. We agree. It is one of the top notch stops on the dance calendar that we prepare long in advance to attend. The hotel is incredible with modern condo style luxury suites at phenomenal prices. It’s situated in the heart of a very happening and upbeat city that is diverse and easy to navigate thanks to local transit and car services. Most restaurants close around 2am-3am and really famous southern spots stay open all night with 24/7 menus like The Diner franchise located at pulsepoints around the city and deep into the suburbs. Atlanta is one of the best places to host an event and it is home to our favourite annual dance events.

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One of Soraiah’s top pics – Photos by Studio Jaki

Atlanta is also home to our main HQ, MissBellydance.com. For over 13 years we’ve been raqin’ out with fellow Atlantans and keeping our prices low because we make a lot of our costumes ourselves. Come say hi to members of our team at Essence of Bellydance. We’d love to meet you in person. We’ll be doing trivia and other fun things online that weekend. Those who are present will be able to pick up prize packs and discounts on their favourite costumes. So much to look forward to this September. We can’t wait to spend it with Sorraiah Saied, Team Essence and YOU!

Keep it Raqin’
-Team MBD

Bellydance in the Olympics?

Olympics are on in Brasil, home to some of the greatest raissat in the world. We all know Brasil has some truly dedicated Bellydancers like Sorraiah Zaied, who also resides in Egypt, and will be here with us at Essence of Bellydance 2016 in a few weeks. The focus on the nation has brought in a flood  of focus to arts and culture of the region. Shows like O Clone nearly 15years ago also come to mind for us. Their gorgeous costumes and salute to raqs culture and Morocco are unmatched. Take a moment to remember it with us…or buy the DVD!

Cultures live online of late. No longer do we have to fly half way across the world to be a part of events. Olympic viewing parties are happening all around us. And looking at some of the categories featured we see that there are new sports that have been added, things that some said would never be included. We want to ask you, given all of the competitions that have become so much a part of Bellydance culture, do you think it’ll ever be considered a sport? Let’s face it, you have to train for this art to get to competition level. It takes a lot of dedication and work much like many athletes go through. What makes raqs sharqi, as we know it today, different from an athletic sport? Floor dancing through gymnastics is there and includes rhythms and dance art from various cultures and principals. How long before Raqs Sharqi will be included? And what would the Olympic committees call it? We are eager to discuss it. Let us know on Facebook.

Shout out to our Brazillian bellydance and Samba pros in our city like Andrea and KalinkaWe wish their home country well in the games as well the many nations of our staff, volunteers and fans!

 

Competition Couture from MissBellydance.com

There’s so much going on in dance! In particular, there are opportunities to enter competitions in dance this fall. From coast to coast dancers have the opportunity to make a name for themselves through presenting their best of bellydance and raqs sharqi. Showing off your top skills is best done in a great costume.

 

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MissBellydance.com bedluh’s are custom made to fit all dancers in a variety of sizes, it’s tailor made.

Some competitions require dancers to submit one video where they are wearing regular dance clothes and not a costume. We have understood that this is for judges to see the bare skills at the preliminary level before narrowing it down to the top 10 for competition. We suggest wearing something that still makes you look and feel good like frilly cute things. Be sure to check all of the requirements. You may have to wear something very plain but if you don’t have to then go all out with some awesome casual and cute raqswear.

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For men in preliminaries, a great shirt, a vest and or cool harem pants will do you fine. Pair it with a great hipscarf and a comfortable t-shirt. You can raqs ’em and flatter ’em with cute styles and still stay within the rules. We wish everyone the best as they compete this summer and fall!

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Hope to see you all at upcoming shows and more!
-Team MBD

Flamenco Arabe Workshop – Save the Date!

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In February we’ll be celebrating the Art of Flamenco with some really great dancers. Flamenco is what we and others consider a sister dance to Raqs Sharqi. You can learn more about the workshop using this link. We’ll let them educate you on the amazing footwork, hands, music and history while we focus on the fashion.

In recent years many dancers have fused Flamenco with their art. Full 25yard skirts are often used in that fusion and we’re giving away two skirts (one for the winner and one of their friends) plus two free spots in the actual workshop. It’s a great chance to be a part of this interactive learning opportunity. All you have to do is tell us why you want to learn about Flamenco or what it means to you. Winners will be picked at random and in true MBD style we’ll be giving away other gifts as entries come in. Send them via our FB page. Just post them to our wall.

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We can’t wait to hear from you and to give away these great skirts. If you’re eager to get a skirt now you can grab one for your own raqs treasure chest. There’s also some great jewelry. Just take your pick here. If you register for the workshop and end up being one of the winners you will be refunded. Have a great time and let us know how  much you love Raqs Sharqi and the art of Flamenco dance.

Event: Attack of the Bellydancers

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This weekend Attack of the Bellydancers is on and hip droppin’ just outside the city of Atlanta. There will be many dancers from the East Coast featuring Egyptian, Turkish, Fusion, Tribal and Folkloric styles of raqs sharqi.  The Atlanta Bellydance community’s favourite emcee Sig Sawyer will be there as will 14 dancers and teams. VIP options are available. If you need a costume or something cute to wear use code: abd2016 at checkout with MissBellydance.com and get as much as you need. Get your ticket!!

Location: The Art Place
Address: 3330 Sandy Plains Rd, Marietta, Georgia 30066
Time: Saturday 7pm
We’ll see you there in the audience!
-Team MBD

Amazing Memories of Amar Gamal

 

Coming up next weekend, Amar Gamal will be in town to teach a raqs workshop. Our resident historian and raqs traveller discussed with fellow dancers what it was like to take from her.

I was so thrilled when I learned that Amar Gamal was coming to our area. I had been fascinated by her work  since the day I saw her on the Gordon Elliot show back in like…1999? I remember visiting a friend from Kenya’s home to watch her on this episode as I didn’t have cable in my dorm room. She and her roommate were kind to turn off the news and switch the channel to The Food Network for an hour. This was a big deal because they were big on watching nothing but news. However, seeing the previews of Amar made them turn the channel and watch her with me for an hour.  Afterwards I searched for Amar Gamal online as I do with dancers who just floor me. I learned as much about her as I could and then went to study with her in Nashville’s International Community with her host Monica John.

Sadly I was too excited and star struck to complete the work she had prepared for us. Her style was full of amazing technique and passion. There were elements of other dances (Modern and Jazz I believe) for her transitions and that segued into these smooth, amazing bursts of pure raqs sharqi as she shimmied or hip dropped. Her raqs presentation was filled with effortless energy as if she was gifted with this ability to move flawlessly and I don’t doubt for a minute that she was simply born with this talent. Every move was so sharp and perfect it was overwhelming to the point I started crying (tears of joy) watching her. She mastered it so well with her own outstanding personal touch. I was floored with amazement.

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Nawar and Amar at Essence of Bellydance 2013

The workshop wasn’t hard but I definitely felt challenged.  Had I been in better shape physically (I had been diagnosed with some stress-related blood sugar issues and was quite ill when I went to see her) and not been so star struck I would have lasted a lot longer. One of the well-trained dancers in the workshop (Gina) was really killing it. Amar was quick to praise her and acknowledge her skill so we had another body in the room from which to follow in an effort to master the steps. Amar remained very visible and worked hard to make sure everyone understood the moves. We learned technique first and after lunch we did a short choreography where we were able to use the techniques we went over earlier. The level of professionalism and fusion of Modern and Jazz were perfect. There’s a way to fuse other dances and then there’s a way to make a mess of it. Amar Gamal’s inclusion of the additional dances was refined, beautiful and perfect. The entire workshop was a turning point for me.  I’ve always thought raqs sharqi was beautiful and I felt a since of pride in it…but my goodness, I never realised how good this art form can look until I studied with Amar.

The workshop also reinforced my belief that one really must dedicate quality time to the art outside of weddings and haflas with your family. I think we as kids from the culture have to get away from the idea that just because we are from (insert Mideast/African nation or the child of those from the region) we are going to be automatic pros. I never saw myself as such but I expected to master the art pretty fast and I did not in this course.  Despite having taken modern and ballet, I was still behind and didn’t know some of the terminology. I always promote spending time in the culture and that goes without saying. But, if one is going to be a pro, spending time with the music, in a classroom setting alongside a teacher who can give you industry terms and critique is also key. After this workshop I wanted to give  several hours a day to this art in order to produce a flawless look.  Amar’s workshops will jumpstart you to the next level in raqs sharqi.  If you want to be on the pro circuit or add finesse to your raqs art, then get with her.

Will you be able to dance like her after this workshop? I don’t think Amar can be replicated. I’m not sure any amount of time can produce a clone so gorgeous and skilled but she can be saluted and honoured in your work when you put forth the effort. I’ve seen people who studied with her and continued to perfect their raqs presentations with her guidance. They are some of the people you see at top competitions today. So it’s well worth the investment. To start that process, go to her classes and workshops. You will see the difference in your own approach to raqs sharqi immediately. I’m one of the fortunate ones to have had that opportunity and now AFBD has followed up with another chance to study with her. Eventhough I’m recovering from an injury, I still plan to be there and absorb as much as I can. -AA

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Courtesy AFBD, Amar Gamal

Wow, what insight! MissBellydance.com will be in studio the entire weekend as the workshops take place in our home as well. We’re offering a couponcode to those who need to buy things early. You can contact us online and we’ll send it to you. We’re going to look into an in-store pick up option for those who are local. That way you can come in and pick it up when you arrive to events.

Thank you so much for being supportive of Atlanta Fusion Bellydance. If you have not registered, be sure to take a moment and do that here. See you in the studio!

-Team MBD

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