Easy 2 Sew

Two more tops added to my costume wardrobe. (If they happen to just go with a pair of jeans then that's fine also.) Dressing out for class gets me more in the mood of dancing, don't know why but it's always been that way for me. The red & black is stretch lace I found on sale! The fabric cost $11.01 on sale...I purchased all the yardage that was left. I had enough for a head wrap. The green & purple is stretch crush velvet, since using remnants I had to use the purple for sleeves. On this one I altered the sleeves, making them a bit longer & wider at the ties. Too bad I did not have more of the cone thread in coordinating colors. This is next on my list.
If my memory is working, there is green fabric left over. Sounds like a head wrap to me.

Very dark navy circle skirt is made, I need to trim this and attach the silver sequins! My first attempt at making a circle skirt.

Picture Blues

My camera is acting up! (Canon Cyber-Shot) I need to take pictures of my new tops; hot off the sewing machine and make a video. This is not good. I'll try later a few tips that I got on line, and purchase new batteries. Hopefully, things will workout. I'm looking into getting a new camera,more megapixels, more bells and whistles, so on and so forth. The camera is a need. Why>>pictures of costumes, video clips, belly events, flowers, family, around town, OK...I'll stop.


New Cards

My new business cards came in the mail the other day. Unique cards, 1/2 the size of regular cards. I had the option of uploading many photo choices; this is a plus.
www.moo.com other printing services are offered.
I had the opportunity to handout one of my new cards today:D



I just don't like the cold weather. Off to the sewing room. My blue/beige Salwar Kameez is almost completed, it's on the body double waiting for me to finish the embellishment. More yardage of trim is needed, and perhaps I might add in some seed beads to match. This means I'd have to go out into the COLD. I think I'll listen to music and decide on what's the best way to layout another pattern. The sari is so beautiful; I'm using it to make another outfit. I need to take extra care in layout my pattern. It will be warmer soon.


Reflecting & Looking Ahead

On my list for the upcoming year, I want work on my technique. I'm seriously looking at seminars that are offered here in town & another not too far for me to drive by myself. Giving it much thought and visits to YouTube, I'm satisfied that my money would not be wasted on personal choices. How devastating to take a seminar that leaves you empty! Been there and done that. Word to the wise, read the fine print, find out what's being taught, skill level needed and research the instructor. This is a must. Don't pay for a seminar unless you are comfortable with the instructor OR a style of dance that's not well suited for you. Inquire with others, research or seek the opinion of your instructor or a best belly friend. I love Classical Egyptian, Orientale (aka many other names, this is the area where I desire to acquire more of a polished technique. Do consider other styles of dance as well, this adds more interest to your repertoire. Trying a new style will get you a new prospective that style. Folkloric makes me smile, Tribal is so much fun with a troupe! and the list goes on and on for me.

My classes are not in session the last 2 weeks of this month, Yay....this allows me to take a close look at my accomplishments for this year. I will make note of what I want to accomplish for next year. I must not forget, the break will allow me to revisit old songs, and develop the overall program for 2008. Work on website updates;all thing related to belly dance.

The short/long list, knowing myself, more to be added.

*Watching and rewatching videos on YouTube! (vintage dancers)
*DVD'S to purchase?
*Updating my class CD'S
*Purging the costume closet, somethings are just not me anymore.
*Look forward to "new" students being added to the line up.

I think I have enough to keep my busy.


7th Annual Emerson Elizabethan Evening

Last evening, I was invited to attend "Emerson Elizabethan Evening." I was asked by a fellow dancer; if I was interested in joining her to perform at this event. I did ask a few questions, and decided that it would be interesting. Besides it's a chance to expand horizons, learn something new and move out of one's comfort zone. The performance is comfortable, but this type of event was new to me. My costume of choice was "gypsy". The attendees where dressed head to toe in Renaissance costuming.(Similar to the picture posted, I forgot my camera!)Most of the costumes were in jewel tones and elobrate. My thoughts immediate drifted to sewing, I'd enjoy sewing There was a King and Queen of the Court. I found out this was a two day event after reading the program. It included a Welcum, Book of Curtasye, Diands (Menu),and included a full program of events. Entertainers were sprinkled throughout the program, De Singers Greenleaf, De St. Louis Recorder Consort, De Players, De Entainers (Belly Dancers!) and a wonderful staff. Some entered the backroom giving us the curtain call, I had butterflies, but after hearing the music I began to smile. Beside they were smiling at us! I followed most important instruction, show the King & Queen "curtasye"! It was now shimmy time.


Ending the Session

This week is the last classes of the session. Last night I had the chance to visit the class I formerly taught. It was fun to see old friends and other familiar faces at the "Y". It's one of the places that I've gotten started in teaching classes. This type of thing brings back such good memories. Several of the troupe members attended the class with me; we did a couple of our dances for the class. This allowed them to give it a go. I'm looking for them to join us in the line up!
There is always room for more hips!

Shira Dot Net

Jumping around on the net and finally remember to visit Shira's updated site. I like the blue, the blue costume and so forth. I need to spend more time on the musical part of the website. The clips are very helpful. Thanks Shira for all of your work on the website. It's great info for dancer's. If you are a beginner, it's a must read!



I decided to go to see "Bellylious" performed by Belly Dance United, the show was about a married couple that gets lost in "Bellyious" a magical belly dance world on their anniversary.
To read more in depth visit: www.bellydanceunited.com
The website will offer you much more detailed info than I can give and detailed descriptions of members of BDU.

Ok the shimmy on it all, I enjoyed the show. I found it to be entertaining. I'm one who likes theatre shows and of course a bit of drama, I'm giving the show thumbs up. As part of the audience "Bellylious" to me traveling the world of dancers, various styles were presented. From Exotic to Dramatic. Each dancer presented their flavor and particular style. I did have
my favorites and the music selections were from traditional to non-traditional.
I felt the show was a success. I did not time it but it was over an hour. Afterwards, there was informal dancing, on the belly dance carpet.

I did have a chance to speak with a few of the dancers following the show;
the director of the group, Tamaira & I chatted for a few minutes. Everyone was pleasant and eager to share their excitement of the event. I heard a song last
night that I ABSOLUTELY fell in LOVE with! Of course, I'm off
searching... I won't have to go too far Gaylin told me all the details!
Many zagahreets!

Utopia Studio (def.-a imaginary society or place considered to be ideal or perfect) (http://www.utopiastl.com/)is on Park Ave in St. Louis, MO. There's a parking
lot is in front of the building. Bellyilous was held in the theatre
below called Necropolis (def.-cemetery). As listed on the website the space is
a 16'x 16' room, it is an non smoking room! Now, I did not know this
until I read it on the website, this is a plus for me. It was cold
last night in the room, but I do get cold very fast. I did talk with Spence
concerning the temperture of the room. This was the only thing I did
not like. I did not visit the ladies room , can't comment on it.
He did inform me of the upgrades that have been made and apologized
for the coldness. The sound is good. It's is a dark room, and had
lots of candle lighting. Oh, I did smell inscense burning another
plus for me. (I'm a fan of oils too!) The pews had padded seats and
where comfortable. It's an alternative venue, and fits the owner's
artistic flair. This stage has plenty of room for using all types of
dance props.

Attendees had the opportunity to purchase a variety of beverages.

BDU literatue and flyers for upcoming shows, candy canes, cookies and
general upbeat attitude.

I did take several pictures of performers, but FAILED to have more
memory with me!!!!! I've benn promised copies of pictues, I want to post some
on the Raks

There has been lots of talk on the Utopia Studios, I'm glad it generated conversation on the Raks Sharki in St. Louis Yahoo Group, we could use more dialog. Yes, it is dark and there are people out there who support dark, just a fact of life. Not all belly dance shows or hafla's will be what YOU might be accustomed to, we will never all see eye to eye. But the fact remains, we will need to coexist.
There will be differences in styles, music, instructors, the arts and so on. Let's not forget costumes, another one of my personal favorites.

If we all looked the same, thought the same........things would be boring.
Art is in the eye of the "beholder."


Nakish The Lady with the Eyes!

"NAKISH, a belly dancer who made headlines as the first black, internationally known belly dancer to arrive on the scene." (Ravenmoon)

I found out about her on line as usual...surfing around. Talk about inspiration and beauty. I do see why there was so much attention on the eyes! I would have enjoyed the opportunity to attend her class. A master in the world of belly dance!

To find out more about her click on the link below:



Ruboff complete!

Recently, I purchased a top & pants to wear for class. I liked the top so much that I began to search the web for a pattern similar to the top and pants. Not much luck on these particular designs. I've come to find out that "certain" designs are NOT in pattern form! Well one thing lead to another, after reading blog post on "how to copy a pattern" I tried my hand at this one. It just seemed that this is something I could do. It's simple, using stretch fabric is not too challenging and I do have the proper needles. I selected a white knit in my bundle of don't know what to make with this. I used brown wrapping to rub off the top pattern, it was easy enough. I did past the suggestion of making a muslin of the top first, it would not work for stretch fabric. It came out well. Sad to say I did not have white thread, grey will do it's a trial copy and just for class so why sweat the threads. I have copies of the pants, these I will tackle very soon.

The white top is the rub off. The maroon, velvet is the basic choli pattern from Annabella (she is listed in my links), this pattern is invaluable if you are a dancer. It works in stretch velvet, and other types of stretch fabrics. I've made it at least 10 times. You can also add sleeve drapes, an easy pattern for me. Tip: get the darts just right and listen to music while you work!

www.spandexworld.com stretch fabric galore
www.denverfabrics.com a good selection of costume fabrics

The new issue of Threads magazine(for people who love to sew) is out, nice article on sewing with velvet. www.threadsmagazine.com
Sew Stylish article on "Make Your Own Simple Patterns." www.craftystylish.com


This is funny to me. Last year my anniversary pasted without any notice. Sad to say, it was not remember by myself or my husband! I looked at him about a week later; reminding him, we missed our anniversary. He was as surprised as I was. My thoughts were how could we have forgotten? Having too much fun? It's today and I remembered! In agreement, we've done a countdown to the date.


Cold & Snow

I don't like cold weather or snow. No fan of winter. I'll survive, class is this evening. I've worked on the links page of my website. My goal is to do some type of updating here and there.

Searching around on line, I've found out that Shira.net is updating her website, it's suppose to have a whole new look. I'm giving her 2 thumbs without even seeing it. Her site is one of the best around. I remember when I first surfed on to her site, I finally stopped reading very early in the morning! The place is like an encyclopedia. Tons and tons of information. I wanted to absorb it all, being a new student of belly dance. I've had the pleasure to meet her in person, she's lots of fun. I fondly remember her sharing videos with us at a party, I hosted several years ago. I need to search for the pictures of us....wow, there are stacks and stacks of CD'S with pictures on them or is a regular photo? I'm off searching. If it's found, I'll post!

I guess I'll be up late again to take it all in.

Floor Work

Today I viewed Floor Work Made Simple by Mahisha again. I want to attempt more floor work in the upcoming year. This is another resolution to put on my belly dancer's list of things to do for 2009. It's more for intermediate dancers, it's a thumb's up for this one. By incorporating floor work into your routine, it adds interest, shows skill, strength and grace.

Do not begin this type of practice without stretching. Floor work requires strength in the core muscles and your thighs. Sigh, back to the floor to practice all the drill moves. My goal will be strength.


Basic Posture

I will reluctantly leave the costumes; to put some emphasis on the very basics of belly dance. Posture is so important in belly dance. I can't begin to stress this enough during class. I observe that students are not always adhering to the request of "getting into the basic position". Keeping the knees bent softly, pelvic area tucked, chest up and shoulders relaxed. Oh..... don't forget that you are not in pain! Smile, think positive thoughts as the instructor guides you in your drills. As new and returning students this is so important to properly execute the movements. I can't say it enough, posture is so important. Posture is so important, posture is so important, ok..you got it!

Taking a little more time in front of the mirror really helps. The room I miss the most gave me the opportunity of seeing myself from all sides! This was an eye opener and posture evaluation. There is nothing like a studio with mirrors. One great motivator to say the least.


Costume Wish List

I received an email the other day from a costume vendor. I'm admiring the costumes posted; they are on my wish list. I'm seriously considering purchasing or making a costume out of some type of lycra blend fabric. One of these will be my inspiration to draft something for myself. The purple is different, the layering of fabric in contrasting colors is what I like. The beledi dress is always been a winner. The dress with the rings looks good, it might be challenging to get the loops adjusted just right. Not much room to gain a pound! After an extensive web search, it's obvious that the trend of costuming is going the stretch fabric route. All or most of the beading is attached to the skirt, this does not require the need for the traditional belt. Will this be the end of the 2 piece Bedlah as we have know it? Not sure, but it will always have a special place in my heart, not to mention the circle skirt. Does anyone have any thoughts on the new trend of belly dance costumes?


Burda Costume Pattern

I found this pattern on the Burda website. It looks to be simple enough to sew. Perhaps it's the colors or combinations of, that I like. I've been invited to dance at an upcoming holiday party. This costume fits in with the "theme"! Question is should I attempt to tackle this? Or begin to search the costume closet? Decisions, decisions;)



These costume pictures are from a new belly dance publication. http://www.bellydancemag.com/ I had the opportunity to borrow the magazine from one of my students. Lots of great pictures were in this issue. Flipping through the pages; the costume pictures above caught my eye. I could see my self in the bronze one. The black lace over a red dress is regal. I'm in the process for selecting a track to dance to in this dress! Keeping my lookout for new costume ideas for troupe. If I introduce another costume; ok, ok - I will wait until next year!

The Pattern

This is the pattern that we use for the beledi dress. BD #1003 (I failed to insert the photo on an earlier post) I did some modifications and adjustments to the pattern. 1st - I made it longer to the ankle, 2nd - I slimmed down the width of the dress. It seemed to work better for me, if the dress fitted closer to the body. We used stretch fabric, I'm sure you can use something without stretch. The dress is very flattering to all figures. (Radhiya's opinion) If using this pattern, be sure to purchase 60" wide fabric. It can be tricky to lay it out, the sleeves are 1 yard across! If your fabric is not wide enough, you will have slice the sleeves at the shoulder and re-lay them. The pattern can work well for troupe costuming as well as beginner sewers. I did try to find the link to the vendor but it seems as if she is not on-line or perhaps it's just down for now. But I did include a few links above on where to purchase belly dance patterns. Most of the pattern companies are on line, but the basic companies, McCalls, Butterick, Simplicity and Vogue all sell costume patterns.




Attending a Hafla

Why do you attend a hafla? Just to have the opportunity to improve your dance skills, to share them with others or to just socialize? For many dancers it might be all of the reasons fore mentioned. As a belly dancer are you supportive of the dance community in your area? How far are we willing to travel to be a part of a dance community. Belly dance does offer friendships and bonds among women. We meet new friends; while keeping the old. Through dance you have the ability to encourage others to begin or continue belly dance lessons. It can be a form of advertisement for instructors and costume designers. You have opportunity to shop an instructor, and/or fall in love with a new style of dance. Don't be afraid to ask questions, meet someone new. Review the program, know who's who and what's what, by keeping your ears and eyes open you can enrich your dance knowledge.

We all have many reasons for attending haflas.
Support is one of the main reasons that will keep haflas alive.

Holiday Hafla

This evening "Troupe Nayliyat", had the pleasure of opening the show at the Holiday Halfa sponsored by Danse Orientale. It was a cold and rainy night. I eagerly awaited all of my troupe members to arrive. Despite the traffic and unpleasant weather conditions; everyone arrive in one piece. I missed Rania not being the line up with us this evening; her smiling and supportive face was in the audience cheering us on. Our music selection was from the Tribal Bedouin CD by Hossam Ramzey. I'm happy the performance started and glad when it was completed. Another one down and now I'm looking forward to the next event. We survived, a new choreography, and the challenge of keeping hipscarfs in place (safety pins), cheers and all. There is no way we could accomplish this all without our support group. There is nothing like "family, friends and those who love to see you dance". Hey, someone has to take pictures, hold the table, assist with makeup and clap along with us!

On the program were dancers from the metropolitan STL area. I had several costume favorites, the Ghawazee Coats, a dress that sparkled, and some of the "new" Lycra spandex ensembles are beginning to grow on me. Oh my, how could I forget to mention the menu? Yummy, Middle Eastern cuisine! Wow, I now have to unpack my bag.


What's in your "Raks Bag"?

Being prepared for class is a good thing. Take time to have your dance bag packed. It's a good idea to keep various items in the bag that you might need in class, this eliminates you from searching for the items in a pinch. I keep my bag packed and ready to go. Even doing; so I've forgotten myself! Have you arrived at class to only find out you don't have the neccessary items needed! To avoid this you can have the items ready. I'd suggest 2 (two) hipscarfs, 1 (one)coined, 1 (one)fringed/for no noise, a pair of zills, a veil, tiered skirt (tribal students), dance shoes; if you wear them and don't forget a journal. I recommend keeping a dance journal, it becomes useful in recording what you have learned, making notes to yourself, & writing down dance movements, and so on. This bag is transferable when attending a seminar. Seminars and/or workshops are similar to classes just more intensive. Your bag can be a simple tote bags, rolling bag, backpack or gym bag. Consider personalizng your bag, it will be easily identified!


Scared, petrified and uncomfortable was how I felt at my first hafla. My costume constructed with personal hand stitches to my bra, harem pants & veil. My color combination was of purple & gold. Purple is a color of royalty, so why the involuntary shimmies? Previously, I've attended many hafla's (belly dance recital). To perform for the very first time is exciting! I still have butterflies today as I prepare to go on stage. It's never changes for some, for others it begins to be old hat. I did get through my performance, I did a veil dance. I forgot most of the choreography, but quickly recovered. I was pleasantly surprised the crowd clapped. It's always nice to encourage a new student dancer. As time goes on; you strive to improve your technique. I have had the pleasure of witnessing others starting off as students, and achieving status of the accomplished belly dancer.

As a student,be prepared to do your best. This is all you can do.
Listen to your music over and over again. Never solo on music you don't love. When performing with a troupe, know the cues, attend rehearsals, practice at home!

Hafla's are fun events, costume shopping, dining, if provided, taking picture & being entertained by other local performers. This is a great time to seeing various styles of belly dance, skill levels and costumes. Sometimes you will also see alternative styles of dance, related or not to belly dance. This is a treat. Some performers will put on a mini show with in their performance.

It's a good idea to take a camera with you, this gives the opportunity to capture pictures of local dancers. Make it a point to meet someone new, try out the cuisine.
If you are performing be sure to wear a cover-up before and after your performance; this is part of belly dance etiquette. Set back & enjoy the entertainment.
Hafla's are a great learn experience for all dancers no matter what skill level you have reached. Invite a friend, introduce someone else to the art of "belly dancing"!



Lashes are one of my makeup must have's, I feel out of costume without them. They are quite easy to apply once you get the hang of them. I'd suggest purchasing several pairs to started. Lashes can be found in a variety of styles, colors, and some will have jewels applied to them. If you are really into elaborate styles, try feathered lashes. You will not have a difficult time finding them, at local beauty supply stores, discount stores or makeup outlets and of course on line. I'd suggest purchasing inexpensive ones for starters. I personally don't find it necessary to over spend. You have 2 choices for lashes, individual or strips. I find both are easy to use, individuals are more time consuming but will last a couple of days.(If you are not a hard sleeper!) Be sure to purchase the adhesive, if not included! Adhesive comes in colors, black, white and clear (brush application).
By wearing lashes, your wink can be seen from across the room.



Obama is the 44th President of the United States!

Yes we did elect the first African American President! This is historical. I'm crying; along with all of the people that are in the crowd at Grant's Park in Chicago. I agree, as a nation we have lots of work ahead of us but together we can make it happen. YES WE CAN!
Congratulations to the Obama & Biden families, I'm wishing you the very best.

Election Day!

Today is Election Day! Have you voted? It's your right, exercise this, do your civic duty. You can't complain, if you don't participate.


Our Red Beledi Dress

One more red costume to complete, still working on the bra....the dress is all cutout, waiting for the pieces to be serged. It's a drag to change the threads on the serger, but necessary. Covering a bra is challenging but fun; I do enjoy hand sewing. If I could just stay off line, I'd be done. I chose the BD Pattern # 1003. Sewer beware, I'd suggest only using 60" wide fabric. I learned the hard way and had to detach the sleeves on a couple of the dresses.
Sad to say the fabric was not wide enough. My "test" costume, was shorter than I liked. The shorter version works well with harem pants. Adding length makes a perfect "beledi dress". I found the orginal fabric at a WalMart. At $1 per yard I purchased the entire bolt! It was not enough for everyone, so we had to go with alternate choices of fabric.

I made 4 of the dresses on the picture, I not going to tell which ones, but I'm so very proud of my troupe. We are blessed to have a talented blended group. This is a supportive group of women. I "heart" them all.


Girl Scouts & Belly Dance

It's been many moons ago, but believe it or not I was a Girl Scout! (Making a note to find a pictue.) So, when I was invited to do a class for a local group of girls, my response was yes. Yea, another opportunity to share my love of dance. This class had a variety of ages, several Moms and leaders joined in on the fun. We all broke several beads of sweat! (I mean we glistened!) The girls did very well on the Egyptian Walk, Circle Dance and of course Shimmies. The Moms agreed it takes concentration to isolate specific muscle groups. It's all muscle memory, with time, and practice it all falls into place. It's made me happy to share the excitement of it all.
Who knows, it might be a badge idea.


2008 Loop in Motion Festival!

We received another invitation to dance at the 2008 Loop in Motion Festival! This event is held every year in the University City Loop area. It gives performers the opportunity to exhibit their talents. This year I invited a guest performer to join us. It was entertaining as well as educational. The combination of blending styles worked well. Visit their link for more info:



I've reclaimed: Radhiya Raks

Wow....nothing since 2005, that's a long time. An enoromous amount of events have taken place since the last post. Many performances and changes in my belly dance world. I look forward to sharing, I've reclaimed my Blog!

Bellydance has claimed a large part of my social and personal life. Now the writing begins.