Troupe Nayliyat

We have all worked hard on the new costume concept. Searching for an alternative type of headpiece to use and one that will allow us to balance a sword can be challenging. OK, it's done and looks good to me.

After combining all of my costume pieces, I've decided to experiment more with the color concept. I really like how the color red as a base looks. Searching through the costume closet I've found another choli lenga set that might work even better. I
overlooked more jewelry pieces, how this happened I don't know.

Saturday is the Holiday Hafla. The new additions to my costume are ready; waiting to be used! There will be more pictures to post very soon. ;D


Raks Al Shamadan

Raks Al Shamadan an Egyptian dance usually performed at weddings; and or special celebrations. The dancer dances with a large ornate candlelabrum on her head. This dance is good luck and proserity for the bride and groom.

I recently had the pleasure of performing this dance again. Tips I can give is to try out the candelabrum if you can. If not find out the weight. My new one is brass and is very light weight! It has been a life saver. I feel I can manuver much better with the much lighter one. I took time to add beads and use golden candles. My first candelabrum does weigh a ton or more. I was quite nervous using it, but got by, I even did floor work, brave of me, yeah right! My next project is to decorate the crown part of the headpiece. I must search for the right beading trim.

Some of the best information I have found on line is from the Belly Dancing Diva:
Historical and very informative.
Visit her on line webpage.



Performing in October

As the days began to get shorter,there is more of a chill in the air. It's definitely a good time to sport the "tribal" look. Layers upon layers of stuff, it nevers ends or seems that way. The colors of the costume a artfully working with the fall colors; besides the layers are added insulation. Nothing can replace the look of the turban and it's comfort from the chill in the air. Now the weight of it is another thing. But we suited up; caravaning together.
A good time was had by all.

Vice & Virture

Vice & Virtue was recently presented by Belly Dance United. The event location was The Blue Note theatre in Columbia, MO. It puts you in the mind of a mini Fox that's in St. Louis. Columbia does have several venues that are excellent for stage shows.

In order to find out more info on the participants go to www.bellydanceunited.com

Vice & Virtue was relating to the good and bad virtue's that we all have. Each cast member played a vice and virtue. The one I portrayed were Love and Envy. You can get the idea. Costumes were designed by the cast members, all shakers of the hips. Belly Dance United members are from various dance groups or students.

Participation in Belly Dance United offers challenges, expands performance horizons and widens the circle of friends that shimmy!

Berber Woman

I recently found this picture and just love it. Berber Woman look so regal!
Wow, another costume for me to work on.


Missing in Action

I've been missing in aciton for quite sometime, so I'm going to make an effort to be more frequent. So many things have come up to keep me away from the blog. Blogging allows me to share the belly dance events and knowledge I've aquired.


Earth Dance in Columbia

This year, I was invited to participate in Earth Dance in Columbia, MO. It is: "Global dance for peace taking place simultaneously in over 100 cities around the world."

Due to the raining weather...the alternative to the rain was inside the church. So before I could get to the stage, it started raining! The show must go on and it was moved to the church just up the street. I forgot the name of the church. Not so good on memory banks.

It was a well organized program. The most enjoyable aspect of the program was the unity of the prayer. It was done all over the world at the same time, moving.
Earth Dance is a annual event.

The drummers are from Mid Missouri Collective, yay, women drummers rak! Okay, guys too!

www.earthdance.org Website has lots more information

Costume Sewing

Today I made a pattern for a Turkish vest like top. My plans are to wear the top with a cabaret costume. If not wearing arm bands/guantlets then I have to have some type of top or arm covering. I don't like the bare arm look! My arms are in pretty good shape. The more costume pieces the classier the costume it to me. Reminder this is my opinion. So off to Spandex Wareshouse I went, one of my favorite online fabric sources; for all types of stretch fabrics. The selection is superior, I have found excellent bargains. My selection was one yard of yellow spandex that was emblished with gold sequins. The fabric caught my eye because of the cascading sequins that hang off of the fabric. This will allow for lots shimmer on stage. No need to decorate the jacket/vest with all of the on fabric sequins. It also come in a shade of silver. Best to plan carefully it's $28 per yard. Out of my yard of fabric I got the vest, headband & hipbelt. Most of the fabrics are 60" wide, so your fabric can go a long way. I could not bring myself to get rid of the scraps, so they are filling in at the blank spots on my belt. There are a pile of sequins left over, I'm sure they will be put to good use.


Moroccan & African Castanets

Moroccan Castanets are the double sets with the bag. Play these by holding the middle section and zill away.

The African Iron Castanets (Frikywa). Play these by placing the ring on your thumb and place your middle finger through the hole and play.

These instruments can be found on ebay or by searching by name on the web.

Zills, Sagat

I can play the zills, but there is room for improvement to say the least. I attended a mini workshop today at the Lotus Arts Studio. Somra taught the class a true MASTER of the zills. She is phenomenal. If I could only play them like my sister in the dance! We review all of the rhythms with such enthusiasm. My fingers re-learned old favorites and explored moving the fingers in a break thumb speed; which did not work well for me. (improvement needed!) I'm going back to the zill drills, everyone at home will hate me for sure. Socks or mufflers will be in order to accomplish this feat.

Along with the zill instruction, we had the opportunity to practice a few of the vintage dance movements. Wow, so much to learn!

Now eager to purchase a pair of the Moroccan Castanets and African Iron Castanets (Frikywa)...I will need to make a pack with myself. Play the originals better, then move on to something more challenging. I no doubt have a lot of work to do ;)

**take a look at Lotus Arts Studio offering various mini workshops with local instructors!


Event Calendar

Do you ever wonder why events always seem to fall on the same date? This just drives me crazy. I wish everyone would look at the calendar before scheduling events. Now I have to make a big decision. Enie, menie, minie, moe


It's been awhile since posting. Here's what I've been tackling lately:

My last session ended on a good note, lots of new students. I'm looking forward to the new session next week. Working musical selections for class CD. The rotation of music keeps class interesting and gives the students an opportunity to hear various musical styles.

Cropped & posted new Raks Sharki pictures!! There were several new attendees last month. My goal is to grow the event. I'd like to see more of the belly dance community participate.
It's all about enjoying the sisterhood of dance.
Who will be in the lineup this month. I've decided to have another birthday celebration on this day, one can never have too many birthday parties. (Cake!)

Received my new costume in the mail! I will need to adjust and complete the accessories for the new look.

I did purchase another costume, it's more of the winter type of thing. It need a few minor adjustments. Off to the sewing room.

Sunday, I will attend a mini workshop! Will report more later.

Put forth your best shimmy.


Michael Jackson

I loved seeing him perform. He will be missed. RIP



On the 6th of June I travelled to Columbia MO. The weather was nice, I left in enough time not to be rushed. Upon my arrival to the Kayotea I was pleasantly surprised. This being my first visit, and not knowing what to expect. The parking was not too bad, there was metered parking on both sides of the street. Yeah, it was after 5pm the meter was not needing to be feed. Kayotea is a quaint place, large dance area. The walls are painted red, my favorite color, so I was at ease. Table seating and it is enough to handle a crowd. But beware and don't sit on the antique chairs!(Signs Posted) The tearoom has a delectable menu for dining and of course lots of beverage choices.

I enjoyed my time in Columbia. After I zipped back down the highway to home sweet home.



St Louis Bellydancers

Take a last look at the St. Louis Belly dancer's website! I received an email today stating that the web mistress is moving out of town and the website will be removed. It was a way for everyone to keep track of everyone and current happenings in the area. In order not to let it go to rest, I'm going to make sure all of the links, instructors and performers who currently have a website in the St. Louis area and residing close will be listed on the Raks Sharki website!

I will send out emails soon! If you are a dancer in the St. Louis area, Mid-West, or close proximity contact me. I want to keep things listed. People need to know who, what and we still shimmy in this area!

Yalla for the Audience

The end of the month concludes belly dance events. 3 this month!

I did a volunteer performance at the St. Louis Charter School with Raw Earth, dancing for children is so much fun.

Yesterday was Raks Sharki in STL. Again I enjoyed myself. We had the pleasure of an audience member/male who enjoyed the music as much or more than we did. Now how much fun was that! It has always been a pleasure to share the dance with those who feel the music as much as belly dancers. Yalla


Belly Dance Meetup in Dallas, TX

I have heard Dallas, has a very large bellydance community! I know Vashti is here as well a Maggie(formerly lived in STL!) There will an event tomorrow evening at the Carrollton Arts Center. I'm not sure if my schedule will permit, in town for other reasons. I'd love to attend. Vashti has a class on Saturday, 11am until 1pm :(
I don't think I can attend in the morning, we already have other plans.
Nothing is set in stone for tomorrow evening, I'll suggest a girls night out ;)
Yay, Shimmy time!


Amel Tafsout

My description might not be good enough but I will give it a try. Amel is excellent, and dancing with feeling. The only way to get it is to experience her in person. The rich colorful costumes are breath taking, the colors just flow. I have posted a few pictures of her from the show and workshop put on by Diana's Danse Orientale at the Ethical Society. She is as beautiful in person as she is on stage, it was a pleasure to meet and dance with her informally. This is something I will always remember.

Other performers who participate in this event were from various dance studios around the metropolitan St. Louis area.

Help from my FRIENDS

Support staff are valuable. They are an asset to the troupe. It takes lots of marketing, picture taking, updating & gatering information, phone calls, editing and more. I could go on and on but you get the idea. Having extra eyes, ears and hands help. I get by with a little help from my friends.

Interesting Read

From time to time I do find excellent articles on line, relating to belly dance and other useful topics. If you are interested in public performances on a professional basis or just work with a group, read this article. Belly dance is a beautiful art. Mastering the art takes time and practice, enjoy!

This article is in the online ezine Gilded Serpent. Support the Gilded Serpent, informative and educational articles from belly dancers around the world.

Read the Article: Know Venue!


The Recycle Bin!!!!

I thankful for not emptying my recycle bin! I could have lost some pictures that were important. So from now on I will take more care to be EVER SO SURE to check myself. Dance photos of course. This could have caused me to use my sword;) on myself.


Eastern Illinois University

This past Saturday, May 2nd, we had a road trip to Charleston, Illinois. We performed at Celebration: A Festival of the Arts. This year was the 1st Annual Event. It was a pleasure to attend. From the Funnel Cakes to the variety of booths with food and craft choices. I dined on a Gyro sandwich after dancing, yummy! And got a chance to hold the snake, too bad I had on so much tribal jewelry I could not place it around my neck in costume. I will make a mental note for next time.

Charleston, is just about 2 hours and 20 minutes travel time. One rest stop and we were there. Playing your favorite belly tunes does help to pass the time away.

We took the usual picture break and got the turbans on break neck speed. The rain was not our friend, so we avoided dancing in the mud. A slab of concrete will do us just fine.

Our most supportive supporters were with us. It's not too bad going on a road trip with the troupe, I actually enjoyed the company, and laughs.

Extending Opportunity: Raks Sharki

Once a month, I host the Raks Sharki in St. Louis. It is a free hafla, the event is extended to all belly dancers that are in the St. Louis and beyond. Basically, anyone who is interested in attend to gain more experience in public performances. Usually there is a minimal charge at haflas. This was a venue for my students as well as others to get a chance to wear costume and just dance in an relaxed atmosphere. Besides, I was looking for more opportunities to dance myself.

From time to time we have other local dancers who join us in some fun. Drummers, on occasion show up to drum out their beat. Basically, music and a merry time for all.

My goal is to link the belly dance community throughout the St. Louis area, giving others a chance to socialize with others who share like interest. Kind of like a "belly dancers night out" type of thing. So far things are going well, in the future, I'd love to see more dancers participate. This is my belly-stimulus package to the area. Hope to see you at the end of the month!

If interested join this Yahoo Group!

Our flyer and NEW log was developed by: SSR!

Earth Day 2009

Earth Day 2009....change in the parking lot for performers this year! Walking down hill on a windy day is fine, walking up a hill back to the parking lot not so much fun. I have allergies, so a little suffering was involved. I missed the usage of the pavilion! This year the crowd seemed larger to me or was it due to everyone sitting on the bales of hay?

We choose the color scheme of blue, or purple. Seems to be fitting for a gypsy dancer. Troupe Nayliyat performed on the grassy stage, challenging to a dancer's feet. Twigs, dips and so on. If you dance you will relate. This was another opportunity for us to demonstrate our love for the dance. This year we had a few novice students to join in on the festivities, with butterflies and all. They did a good job. A first public performance brings on a case of the jitters! After all is done; a sea of calm returns. I remember my first public performance. My goal is to make everyone a comfortable as possible. It's not always possible, but I do try help extreme cases of stage fright.

Our support staff recorded the event and the troupe photographer had a chance to capture our best smiles. I'm pleased with the video (will post) and photos!

Hopefully, everyone attending the Earth Day event got the message of Earth Day and saving the planet for generations to come. Let's go and think green, while wearing other colors.

National Dance Week

National Dance Week is the beginning of our performance season. This year it was beautiful windy weather. Our dresses were in my opinion a great selection. Performing at an outside event "folkloric" dresses are pleasing. The dresses were made by several members of the group. Having troupe members with sewing skills are invaluable to say the least. All things went well. Very unfortunate this year there was no video recording done. Personally, I was looking forward to receiving the usual "free" DVD. We can always dress up again to do a demo.

The event featured various belly and non belly dance groups in the St. Louis area and beyond. This always gives us a chance to see old friends.

Getting the group together for pictures, what a blast. Smile!


Shimmy into Spring

Spring brings on new life, flowers and a cleansing of the Earth. This is a time for us to consider our belly dance life and adventures. As the weather turns, turn to your inner dance diva. Make the decision to step out of your comfort zone, explore another style of dance. Having butterflies can be good. Push yourself to higher heights, drill harder. Challenge yourself. Shimmy, Shimmy and more shimmies.

I have a few challenges on my plate for the upcoming season...I'm anxiously waiting to get to dancing!

In June, I have committed to two (2) Saturday's in June with BDU. Costume change for sure, music to pick and choreography to work on. Another challenge, this makes me happy. Let the shimmies begin!

It's all about the Tribal Belt

The winter months are s l o w, not many festivals. But Spring is here! You could not tell by the weather in STL. There will be 2 events for the troupe to look forward to National Dance Week, Earth Day and our monthly Raks Sharki meeting!

Dusting off my costumes, some adjustments to be made and maybe an refurbish to one of the tribal belts. I like the more textured yarn that I'm seeing used on the belts now. I'm pondering what color combo to use, all 3 in the veil or just 2? Decisions, decisions.

The picture posted is of Rania's belt! I adore the various textures & colors. It worked well with her costume. I could easily see this as a crossover belt. Puts me in the mind of a tribal gypsy, if there is such a thing.

National Dance Week, Saturday, April 25th @ Union Station

Earth Day is Sunday, April 26th in Forest Park

Raks Sharki in STL....Sunday, April 26th (Should I do a costume change???)


I've really neglected my blog lately; I miss blogging. But due to such a crazy work schedule there seems to be a problem. Any-who....having the opportunity to dance at the Missouri Theatre for the Arts in Columbia was a treat. The theatre is a smaller version of the Fox Theatre in St. Louis. I'd love to have my dance troupe dance on this stage. This is a excellent space for large troupes. The theatre has gone under renovation, the college put lots of work into the space. Too bad more haflas and or belly dance shows are not held at this location. It's the home of BDU and I'm happy!

Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate, lower than expected turnout :(
What did I like the most? Of course costumes!!! They were all on the creative side of belly dance. More photos are on the Belly Dance United website.



"Wilderness" is Saturday!

I'm trying to control my excitement regarding the production of "Wilderness"!
I'm sure many people/folks know by now I'm in Belly Dance United.(www.bellydanceunited.com) The show is this Saturday. Of course, I'm checking and rechecking my costume, making sure everything is so-so. I don't want to forget or leave something! I'll pack and recheck the packing, JUST TO BE SURE! In the back of my mind; I remember what occurred on my last road trip.

This show will not be the normal belly dance production, it's on the wilder side of dance. Each performer will be a particular creature. Some different and creative. I can't wait until the entire show is completed, I can sit and watch the video!



The Calendar

Sometimes the best planned calendar does not work. I worked diligently on my belly dance calendar for 2009! I had it organized and worked out all of the weekends; workshops and seminars that I wanted to attend. Funny how things change, when you see an opportunity for spreading your wings. I was laid off work in May 2008....now I've been called back. So off I go and my calendar has changed again. In such uncertain times, I'm grateful to have received the call back. So many people are being laid off without having the opportunity of returning. It could be worst.

I'm hoping for the best, and a weekend here and there! Saturday's can be downers.

Katherine Dunham

I ran across these pictures online of course. I'd thought I'd share them with others. I can't hear the music, but I do feel the drum as I admire the photos!



Inspiration for Dancers

If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.
George Bernard Shaw

Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music.
John Milton

If you dance, you dance because you have to. Every dancer hurts, you know.
Katherine Dunham

Dance is the hidden language of the soul.
Martha Graham

The dance is a poem of which each movement is a word.
Mata Hari

Every day brings a chance for you to draw in a breath, kick off your shoes, and dance.
Oprah Winfrey

A poor dancer will be disturbed even by the hem of her skirt.
Polish Proverb

To shake your rump is to be environmentally aware.
David Byrne

Dance is bigger than the physical body. ...When you extend your arm, it doesn’t stop at the end of your fingers, because you’re dancing bigger than that; you’re dancing spirit.

People come to see beauty, and I dance to give it to them.

Judith Jamison


Performing @ Saviour's Day In Chicago, IL

I had the pleasure of attending and performing at Saviour's Day 2009 this past weekend, in Chicago, Illinois.

We stayed at the Hotel Sofitel (Luxury to say the least) this is a wonderful choice if you are visiting Chicago. It's not close to the inner city, but a short distance form the O'Hare Airport. The hotel has excellent customer service and room service is tops! Hotel Sofitel gets a 5 star rating from me. I do regret that I did not take pictures in the lobby. I dined in the main restaurant and French Cuisine is tops. www.sofitel.com

We travelled around town during our stay and the Phoenix Restaurant serves Greek style cuisine. The service and portion sizes were very generous to say the least. Be sure to order the salmon plate, if in Chicago!

Basilico Resitorante was another one of our stops. Italian cuisine and very large portions, I was unable to devour it all. Too bad I could not take a bag home.

It was a rainy drive and not pleasant to pass the 18 wheelers, so be careful when doing highway driving in this situation. Caution is the key!

My lifesaver of the trip was Audrena, I discovered while driving I left my sword. Panic set in. How could I have done such a terrible thing. I remembered I had packed my bag on the bed with the sword under my bag. I will always keep a sword in my car, I will always keep a sword in the trunk of my car. I should know better. I drove out to her house and purchased a bronze sword.

As the announcer introduced me I had a different kind of butterflies, I was more than just nervous. I want to make a good impression, avoid offending anyone and it was to the utmost importance to present the art of Middle Eastern Dance in a respectful way. I choose to do a sword dance. For some reason I feel comfortable with the sword on my head. It was not my usual one but it was fine for a stand in.
Walking across the stage as the music I began to feel at ease and once the music soon passed the introduction I was beginning to settle into my dance. There was applause after the performance and I survived. It was an honor and every stitch that is took me to make my costume was sew very worth it!

I need to download the video of my performance:) My husband captured it all for me-how sweet.