The Fabulous Forums of the Raqs World

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IBCC 2008

Right now, all across the social sphere are chats and conversations about raqs sharqi, global dances from the region and music conversations. We want to say thank you for continuing the conversations because they are truly important. Getting to the root of a dance and learning the whys and hows of the region is essential for growth. We believe that no matter what your level in this art, lectures and forums are a key component to being a good dancer and a great fan.
In 2007, 2008 and onward, we had several dancers, enthusiasts and instructors from our dance community in Atlanta join an amazing group of people from around the world in Toronto, Canada. Our resident archivist was there and still marvels at the amazing information and experience of the International Bellydance Conference of Canada. Here her words about the good ole days!

It was a great conference and just about everyone I had ever loved in the dance world was there minus some of the legends from the 50s. Nath Keo, Tito Seif, Mark Balahadia, Shira of Shira.net, the group formerly known as Arabesque and a million others it seemed were there. People I had only had the opportunity to read about online or see when a relative from back home was raving over “this guy named Tito is amazing!” were there…it was a dream come true. I fell head over heels for this conference. My favourite parts w, aside from the incredible shows, were the lectures. We talked about everything from men in dance to the stigma of being ibn raissa… I mean, the presenters held nothing back. I’m happy that these conversations continue. If you ignore it, your presentations suffer. You have to be a part of the talks to really understand what you’re presenting. A class is the first step but take that conversation to the next level at a forum. Dance education is key! -Andinha

Houston Oriental and Folklore Dance Festival is another great conference to attend that features great shows and competitions!
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What forums do you attend? What classes do you take to get more than technique? We’d love to hear from you! And if you’re headed to shows this summer or have been to plenty, reach out to us here on our blog or send us an email on our Facebook page so we can give you a coupon code to save on your next purchase with MissBellydance.com

Thanks for reading!

-Team MBD

Future Fun – Bellydance Shows 2017

We’re happy to begin announcing some cool things to look forward to enjoying in 2017. After quite a rocky year in the raqs and rock world, we’re certainly planning to attend not only tribute events but seasonal and exciting ones featuring top names in our industry and those that we touch. We’ll be dressed to the nine’s in MBD fashions and zaghareeting from the first three rows til we pass out!

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Check out what’s coming up (more to come):
Suhaila Salimpour in Atlanta  – 14 Jan
Flamenco Arabe – 25 Feb
Bellydance Fashion Weekend TBD March 2017
NYC Cairo – 20 to 23rd  April
Houston Oriental Dance – 5 to 7 May
Jendayi School of Bellydance Production Summer 2017
Essence of Bellydance 14 to 17 September
…and let us not forget The Luxor Show featuring the Raqs Awards in 2018.

There is no time like now to plan the biggest and brightest events! Let us know if you need any assistance with registration or costuming for events. We’re here to help!

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Essence of Bellydance 2016 – captured by the amazing Studio Jaki!

The Role of the Raqs Ambassador

We’ve said it before some years ago that the role of a dancer in the Middle Eastern Arts community is one of an ambassador. With the rampant fear that runs through world, particularly the fear we see from people who literally refuse to go to a bellydance show, it’s important to be a very good ambassador and one that is inclusive and caring to your audience. Not only is it important to get the actual dance represented correctly, it’s crucial that we inform the audiences about the nature of the dance. It is a family past time for many and is done by everyone including men and women.

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Photos by Studio Jaki

Restaurants and festivals who are looking to get the crowd involved can hand out hipscarves to the crowd. This is a fun way to get everyone up and excited about a little shimmy. It’s exciting to see the look on people’s faces when they start wiggling  and the coins and fringes are jingling around. So many great dancers include a set where they get wrapped up in a dancer’s veil.

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Another thing is to have plenty of great music. Teach your audience a song, the refrain from a chorus. Do something to break the ice and the fear of the many cultures around the globe. When people are afraid, they don’t come to your events or festivals. This just creates a negative domino. It’s up to us as dance ambassadors to show the joy of loving each other. Middle Eastern Dance is a great way to initiate inclusion and support. Gather with your fellow dancers, grab some hipscarves and great music. Bring your community into the dance circle. Let’s be the beginning of the bridge.

 

 

Get Ready for Regional Tunes

Our resident archivist travels to spend time with bands every year. There’s new music in the region. You ready for it? Let’s explore…

From Andinha: It’s important to keep up with what is going on in the Middle East and Africa as well as the international communities where people from the region are residing. This is where you’re going to find the root of the dance you love as well as its development. This is to what producers in the dance world need to be paying attention.

Recently, I included in a show review examples of what is popular in the region or what is being celebrated. I don’t see enough of this in the United States’ cultural dance communities. I see it only in our international circle, nations specific community centres and that one time a year that a generous donor partners with an incredible producer and brings bands from back home on tour ([Cheb] Khaled, Hakim, etc.). Groups like A-Wa are currently touring.  Balkan Beat Box is their producer? That’s what I heard on a radio interview. I’ve seen BBB as well years ago. I remember spending, like, the last $40 I had on me to get a ticket to their show because it was so important for me.

It’s rare that I find  regional music and learning about the cultures that make-up raqs sharqi of no interest to dancers. Most Middle East dance enthusiasts want this music. They don’t want to be “behind” the times. Take a moment to hear the newest and latest music in the region. Encourage your friends to evolve with it. Reach out to these bands, become a fan, learn their backgrounds and what dances they would do with their music. Ask them to come and perform if you can. Be involved with the actual region you’re representing as ambassadors through dance. Here’s my latest fav… A-WA band.

Thanks for reading! Thanks Andinha for keeping us up-to-date.

Flamenco and Raqs Sharqi – Relatives in the Art

The history of Flamenco dance is so vast. Most historically conscious dancers know that this art has its origins in India and if you watch movies like Gypsy Caravan (the documentary film) or read/study with Aunty Rocky (Morocco) both can give you some really amazing insight to this art and its background. Many bellydancers love to borrow from this particular dance. It is not wrong but there is a respectful way to do that. We’d like to again, remind our readers that we are sponsors of the Flamenco Arabe Dance Seminar coming up in less than 6 months. This workshop will allow you to learn the roots of Flamenco technique, ask questions and get a better understanding of how it can be fused without confusing your audience.

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We do want everyone to take some time to look at the great artists of this era via video. Who are your favourites past and present? Let us know your thoughts. Two interested fans will be entered into a drawing to win two skirts that are perfect for this workshop. Just respond in the comments section or leave us a note on Facebook.
Can’t wait to see everyone there! Again, you can register here.
-Team MBD

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