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.