There are so many dancers from around the globe that flocked to Egypt to learn the art of Raqs Sharqi. They bring what they learn back to their communities and build a fan base that usually reaches back into the culture to pull even more knowledge out to share with their friends and family. This has been one of many ways the art has spread. One of those stars that is big on the circuit is Luxor. He showcases The Luxor Show. It’s a powerful production where the star proves his expertise in really strong moves that you can feel way down deep. Luxor is an experience. See this great video from Oasis Festival.
We’re excited that he will be coming to Atlanta in 2018. To usher in his welcome we’ll be highlighting the history of raqs worldwide and how global communities have embraced this dance. Join us every month as we visit Raqs Around the World. You can also sign up to attend events, including his, which we are promoting. Be sure to subscribe and we’ll help keep you in the know.
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!!
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.
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
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!
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!
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!
In 2009, MissBellydance.com hosted a dance studio called Pera/Pera Dance and Event Studio. This 2000sq ft. space was home to many of the community’s raqs sharqi and bellydance workshops. We enjoyed a number of guests brought to us by groups like Les Raissat who hosted Aunt Rocky/Morocco and Shira. Bellydance by Samora, World Bellydance Alliance, Ziah of Awalim, Amani Jabril Middle Eastern and World dance plus several others. Recently through even bigger partnerships and chats, we’re now happy to say that Atlanta Fusion Bellydance has made it their home. The rebrand took place last Sunday and the entire studio has been transformed in colour and spirit with their magical touches.
The 2-hour event was well thought out. It was filled with guests and supporters and all were treated to an amazing buffet of food from Lebanon (hummus, baba ghanooj) to Brasil/Brazil (coxinha) plus class demonstrations and great fellowship with other industry fans. Local stars such as Amani, Aziza, Samora, Jenny Nichols, Heidi Hernandez and Jaki Hawthorne were in house as well.
The salsa demo done by Heidi made a believer out of me, sparking great memories of dancing in our old international house. It made me want to sign up for the class just so I can enjoy the dance with traditional and contemporary Latin music associated with this genre. Faaridah and her team have a lot of great things planned and it’s all exciting.
For those who are still interested/have general questions about the space or like using it for meetings, etc. you can still reach out to using the contact page on fb. However, to submit a formal request/get OFFICIAL APPROVAL for your event, use the RENTAL REQUEST link so that Faaridah or myself can respond to you personally. Looking forward to a fantastic year with AFBD at the helm! Full Speed Ahead!
It is with great pleasure that we announce an exciting opportunity for superfanatics of Raqs Sharqi and bellydance. For the past 8 months we’ve been promoting and sharing the awesomeness that is Essence of Bellydance. This team has continuously put together a grand showcase of Raqs art. Through past partnerships and vending we’ve been able to be involved. We want everyone to take advantage of the amazing learning opportunities through their exquisite events. All of their programming, bellydance extravaganzas, iconic raqs sharqi fashion shows and more are well worth the travel and time spent. The team behind Essence of Bellydance is one of a kind with international instructors, global thought leaders and big time enthusiasts who have dedicated themselves to the art.
Three things we want everyone in our fan circle to see are as follows.
On Saturday the 13th of September, Bellydance Evolution will steal your heart with Alice in Wonderland, you will see Bellydance in a whole new way…it’s innovative yet classic and beautifully done. This is one of those can’t miss shows and you’ll be sorry if you did. Make plans to be there both nights!
The Fan Experience
There’s nothing more amazing than returning home from a great weekend of excitement and unbelievable bellydance classes. Fan Flock has partnered with Essence of Bellydance to bring you a full fan experience. For just $5 you get entered into a raffle to win some great prizes from this event. Don’t delay, get your raffle ticket today. You can buy as many as you want to increase your chances of winning a really cool fan souvenir plus the opportunity to be featured in our blog about your love for the art. Click here to buy raffle tickets to the fan experience.
We’re beyond excited about the work that Essence is doing. It’s a wonderful resource and service not just to the southeast but to the world as a whole. Come one, come all and join in one of the biggest Bellydance Events of the year!
We’re looking ahead to late Autumn where we’ll be spending a week with the Atlanta Fusion Bellydance team for Essence of Bellydance IV! What an amazing team of volunteers and leaders under the direction of Faaridah! Attendees are in for all sorts of amazing extras and surprises with vendors like MissBellydance.com and the team FanFlock hosted by Global Sound Scene. It will certainly be a weekend to remember!
Some of the amazing extras include the Competition. It allows the community and other dancers an opportunity to train with cast and possibly be in the show. Be sure to click through to learn more.
FanFlock hosted by Global Sound Scene will allow 2 raffle ticket winners the opportunity to win really cool items from the event, like 2 free tickets to the show. MissBellydance.com will be revealing some cool new surprises, limited edition autographed cds from Mazaag and fun things for dancers, their friends and professionals. There’s so much to look forward to at Essence of Bellydance IV! It’s going to be an amazing opportunity for all in attendance.
Accommodations are at the W Hotel in Midtown, one of Atlanta’s top hot spots for relaxing and getting away. The cast of Bellydance Evolution will be there the entire weekend, 4 days of ultimate fun with top names like Jilinna, ultra talented mega stars like Danielo and Luchia. You can’t miss this chance to hang out with dancers from around the world in one of the south’s biggest cultured cities. Register right here at a discounted rate. Rates will increase soon so get your tickets now!