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Middle Eastern Dance issn 14418282

tamalyn dallal shamira vintage bellydance hot make up tips tribal Corner

Issue 46 2013


Tamalyn Dallal......................5 Jamila....................................8 The Assessment....................10 Bahar Bayram......................12 Jillina Live in Oz....................14 Tribal Corner.......................16 Workshop Duet...................19 Ariellah Interview................20 Vintage Bellydance.............25 ‘Tis the Season to Be Hot.........30 Reviews..............................32 Shamira...............................34 CD Review..........................36 Maqsum..............................37 Teacher Directory................39 Bellydance Oasis WA’s Middle Eastern Dance Quarterly Magazine ISSN Number 1441 8282 Issue 46 Director: Alma Sarhan Editor: Ayesha Art Director: Alma Sarhan Assistant Editor: Kerry Stewart Senior Writer: Kerry Stewart Cover photography by Denise Marino Contributors: Ayesha Belyssa Step Coley Dani Grazcyk Johara Rita Abi Khalil Devi Mamak Nanda and Na’ilah Shamira Keti Sharif Kerry Stewart Alma Sarhan Nicole Sanderson Matt Stonehouse Printed by: Port Printing Works Bellydance Oasis

14 Anstie Way, Bull Creek, WA 6149 or PO Box 962 Fremantle WA 6959 Contacts: Ayesha 0438 223 914 ayesha_au@yahoo.com Alma 0417 175 349 alma@bellydanceoasis.com

Deadline date for advertising in next issue of Bellydance Oasis see website Any material contained in this publication may not be reproduced without permission from Bellydance Oasis. Name and contents are copyright 2012. All rights reserved. Bellydance Oasis is not responsible for the content of any advertisement. Advertising: alma@bellydanceoasis.com.au Subscriptions: ayesha_au@yahoo.com 2

Bellydance Oasis Issue 46

2013 has plenty in store for bellydance lovers. Amr Diab performs in Sydney in February accompanied by dancers from Terezka’s Studio Dance Oriental with the talented Nancy Yousef choreographing. Newcastle Bellydance Festival features Deb Rubin in February with many top teachers from Australia. Belly Dance Teacher’s Retreat with Shemiran Ibrahim and Keti Sharif is also one to watch out for and Paulette Rees Denis returns to Fremantle, both events in February. What a busy start to the year. Bellydance Oasis is proud to sponsor the Sydney Middle Eastern Dance Festival (May), WAMED (June) and Bahar Bayram Middle Eastern Dance and Music Camp (Oct). Do come and say hello at these events and support the magazine. Turkish dance star Ozgen will make his first trip down under and will teach in Perth, Queensland and South Australia so there’s no excuse to miss him, we hear he is a real sweetie. The Jillina workshops in Sydney and Adelaide late 2012 were a huge success and proved once again why she is THE original Bellydance Superstar and speaking of the BDSS (the actual troupe) it seems Australia is not on their list any time soon. But fear not Jillina will be back in 2014 according to Jrisi and that’s worth waiting for. Welcome to another issue packed with lots of local news and items of interest. The article on Tamalyn Dallal will surely tempt everyone attending the WAMED Festival this year to take some of her workshops. Central to this issue is the article on Vintage Bellydance by the very talented Nanda and Na’ilah which outlines the process and preparation for the Mystique Dance Academy performance of meticulously researched 1950s “Golden era” style bellydance at the 2010 WAMED Festival Gala Concert. We are pleased to have Belyssa back as a contributor with her courageous article on travelling to New York for assessment of her teaching skills and we thank Step Coley for his tribute to Jamila. The much-admired Shamira is our focus on Aussie talent this issue and Rita has some great makeup tips. Matt Stonehouse has written on Maqsum, the first of a number of articles on Arabic music which will appear. Dani Grazcyk has done a terrific interview with Ariellah which sent me straight to youtube to watch her perform. Johara and Nicole review Caroline Evanoff’s workshops in Sydney and Melbourne respectively. I thoroughly enjoyed Caroline’s Shaabi workshop in Brisbane; watch out for my interview with Caroline in the next issue. We appreciate your contributions and feedback. Our online survey is still open at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BDOMagSurvey

Alma Sarhan Director

Kerry

Assistant Editor & Senior Writer

win a 6 workshop pass to the Sydney Middle Eastern Dance Festival Just subscribe or re-subscribe to BDO and you could win a 6 workshop pass to the Sydney Middle Eastern Dance Festival valued at $240 thanks to Leonie Sukan. For more information on the festival visit www.sydmedfest.com


tamalyn dallal

Photo by Brian Lin

by Bellydance Oasis and Keti Sharif

Seattle (USA) based dancer, Tamalyn Dallal will be in Perth as a guest artist the WAMED Festival, May 30 - Jun 3, 2013. When asked what style of belly dance she does, Tamalyn replied “Human style”. Ms.Dallal does not like to be put into a box. “When I began, in 1976, there was not such a segregation of styles,” she added. “In those days, we looked to Jamila Salimpour as the originator of Tribal. We were influenced by her style while dancing at outdoor events, but if we danced in a club or at a Middle Eastern wedding, we wore coins and chiffon circle skirts and we always studied folkloric dances as well. A dancer wasn’t one style or another. She used a variety of styles.” Tamalyn categorizes different eras of bellydance by which form of electronic media prevailed at the time. “During Egypt’s ‘golden age’ (film era), the dance was modified to appeal to a Western aesthetic, from the slender figures of Samia Gamal and Tahiya Kariyoka to the short hairdos mirroring the fashions in Hollywood. Smiles were innocent, yet enticing. It was a time of femme fatale glamour. These dancers are still revered in Egypt.” “When I started, the style was definitely American,” she continued. “We wore zills the entire show and did a five part show with veil and floor work. Some of these things are getting lost now, but they are beautiful, so I like to incorporate 70s American bellydance

into what I have learned in my world travels.” “By the early 80’s, videos were in vogue. I lived in South America at that time; Colombia, Brazil, and Argentina. My friend, Tony Mouzayek (who is now a famous singer) had a little Arabic shop in downtown Sao Paolo (Brazil) and sold the latest dance videos coming out of Egypt; Nagwa Fouad, Souhair Zaki, Fifi Abdo.” “We started to emulate these powerful women. They exuded independence and confidence. Each dancer commanded her own band. They were among the richest women in Egypt. All levels of society admired them and their names were known to every household in the Arab world.” “By the time I moved to Buenos Aires (Argentina), I danced six nights a week in an Arabic club with Amir Thaleb and the musicians Mario Kirlis and Osvaldo Brandan, both famous recording artists today. In those times, we were night club performers among the Arabic community. After work, we would go out and eat a full meal at 5am. Buenos Aires never slept.” “Dancers at that time pored over Egyptian videos. Azza Sherif was my favorite, with her strong earthy womanliness. Egyptian dancers were legally required to cover their stomachs, which often meant flesh-colored fishnet with an awkward zipper up the back. They did two forty-minute sets. The first

was ‘oriental’ with the sparkly two piece costume and a simple veil opening and the second set was in a baledi dress incorporating cane, zagat and interaction with the audience.” “Now, in the new milleneum, we have the era of Youtube and Facebook and the globalization of bellydance. Professional dancers are not accepted in most Middle Eastern countries due to the schism between the revealing costumes of the dancers and the ever more covered look worn by an increasingly religious Muslim population.” “I have my own personal form of ‘global bellydance’ which I call ‘Middle Eastern Interpretive Dance’. It is based on my experiences travelling and dancing with local people.” “I teach a month-long workshop in Shanghai every year. During this workshop, we produce a theatre show with a different concept each year. This year was ‘Caravanserai’, about the routes that dance and culture travelled through history. It was in five sections; ‘Silk Road’, ‘Arab- Andalus Spain,’ ‘Ottoman Empire’,’Indian Ocean trade routes, ‘ocusing on East Africa,’ and ‘electronic media’. All of these have influenced our dance or the music we dance to.” “Bellydancers in China are passionate about learning and perfecting their art. In the beginning, they merely imitated DVDs, not knowing the roots of the dance, history, music or culture. In addition to giving cultural and historical Bellydance Oasis Issue 46

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CD cover of Tamalyn’s recording in Zanzibar (with Africa’s oldest orchestra)

context to the dance, I have to work quickly to impart technique and flavor. People who come really want to see a change in their dancing by the end of the month.” “One of the most effective methods, which goes well with the Chinese concepts of chi energy, is that I divide the body into two parts, ‘earth’ and ‘sky’. The earth movements work through the feet and lowest part of the belly (called lower Dan Tien in Tai Chi). These rule both hip and rib cage movements. When the ‘earth energy’ is activated, movements become more rooted and smooth. I actually learned about this in a small island in Kenya, then refined the concept whilst teaching in China. The ‘sky’ uses middle (heart) and upper (forehead) Dan Tien to give more quality to the shoulder, arm, hand and neck movements. It makes more sense when these are demonstrated, but when I teach this way, big changes happen to people’s dancing. It is more about the quality of the movements rather than how many different movements one can do.” Tamalyn Dallal has danced in forty one countries, written three books, produced music CDs and dance documentaries. Her studio, in a small town outside of Seattle, Washington, USA is called Zamani Culture House. The walls are curated with rare hand crafted textiles from her travels; from the Siwa Oasis of Egypt, Indonesia, China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region and Tanzania. All pieces are labelled, encouraging visitors to share and understand the adventurous life she leads. The name, ‘Zamani’ is a Swahili word, based in Arabic, meaning “Time 6

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that goes back very far into the past. It absorbs, holds, and stores all the events that have ever occurred.” Tamalyn stays home four months a year, during which she teaches and hosts events at Zamani. She has a full roster with teachers of Middle Eastern dance, Flamenco and music classes who take over while she globetrots, teaches workshops and films traditional dances worldwide. From 1990 to 2005, Tamalyn directed a non-profit arts organization and multi ethnic dance school called Mid Eastern Dance Exchange in the opposite corner of the USA, Miami Beach, Florida. Many dancers who later became famous learned and/or taught at the Mid Eastern Dance Exchange under Ms. Dallal’s tutelage. Her long time students include Amar Gamal, Bozenka, and Virginia, who were each with her for seven years. Former students from the Mid Eastern Dance Exchange have opened schools in Switzerland, Oman, India, and around the US. Through the organization, Tamalyn created ground breaking bellydancetheatre shows. For several years she partnered with Amir Thaleb in workshops and productions, exchanging their work between Miami and Buenos Aires in shows such as Infinito (a dance-drama about the transformation of an evil king to a humble man with nothing but the love of a woman) and Sawah (a journey through the roots of bellydance). It was through Mid Eastern Dance Exchange productions that Saida first performed in the USA. Tamalyn has a nose for little-known dancers on the verge of becoming famous. She was the host for Raqia Hassan’s Miami workshops during her first two US tours (1995 -1996). Amani of Lebanon taught in her studio, as did Ansuya. At any given time, she had fourteen resident instructors. Every year, from 1994 to 2007, Tamalyn hosted a bellydance and ethnic dance festival in the streets of Miami Beach called Orientalia. Guest artists hailed from India, Harish Kumar (2002), recently catapulted to fame by winning ‘India’s Got Talent’, Algeria (Amel Tafsout,

2004), Argentina (Amir Thaleb and Saida, 2000), China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region film star Pasha Umer (2005) and US based Louchia (2005), Helene Eriksen (2006), Karim Nagi (2006), Ahmet Luleci (2007), and Mohammed Shahin (2007) and Bellyqueen (2001, 2002, 2003). Since Tamalyn’s departure from Miami, the Orientalia Festival has traveled with her, being held in Hong Kong, Buenos Aires and Zanzibar; in 2013 it will be in Seattle. In 2002, Amar Gamal was selected as part of the first team of Bellydance Superstars. She in turn recommended Tamalyn, who was in the film American Bellydancer and the first Bellydance Superstars DVD. No bellydance DVD had such mainstream distribution before. This one catapulted Tamalyn’s career onto the international stage, allowing her to travel the world beyond South American and the USA to Asia, Europe, and Africa (and soon, Australia). Ms. Dallal’s first book ‘They Told Me I Couldn’t’ is about her adventures as a young bellydancer in Colombia, South America. In 2003, she authored ‘Belly Dance for Fitness’ for Ulysses Press, which outlines her beginners teaching methods as well as important points that every teacher must know. Because of her international success after the Bellydance Superstars, Tamalyn gained the freedom to travel the world, teaching dance and exploring cultures. In 2006, Ms. Dallal travelled to five Muslim countries to film and write about the everyday life in five Muslim societies; Indonesia, Egypt’s Siwa Oasis, Zanzibar, Jordan and China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region. Consequently, she explored the roots of bellydancing and found that movements and musical styles span a wider area than she previously thought. She got dance inspiration from western China, through the Middle East, to East Africa, which has helped make her art what it is today. She recognized a need to film dance and share it among cultures, so the project ‘Dance on Film’ was born. The first of the trilogy of ‘Dance on Films’ was Zanzibar Dance, Trance and Devotion (released 2011), an anthology


of twenty six traditional dances. Directors of Zanzibar’s state folkloric dance company, Kariako, took Tamalyn to local villages where she met their leaders and arranged to see their dancing in its natural context. Some dances served to induce trance and appease spirits, others were meditations and others celebrated marriage, harvests and circumcisions. Zanzibar Dance, Trance and Devotion is a fascinating look at dance before being translated onto the stage. Kariako dancers then show the transformation when traditional dance is brought to the stage with choreography. Currently, Ms. Dallal travels to Ethiopia, where she is filming ‘Ethiopia Dances for Joy’, a dance-based travel documentary in memory of her late brother, Richard who was a renown travel writer. This film will be released in 2013. Tamalyn has regular groups of students which she teaches during yearly trips to New York City, Miami, Shanghai and Taiwan. In 2013, she is scheduled to teach in Seattle, New York, Miami, New Hampshire, Milwaukee, Perth, Nagoya, Japan, Zanzibar, Chile, Shanghai, Taiwan and Bangkok. She will also continue filming in Ethiopia. Special events include: • WAMED Festival www.wamedfestival.com • Zanzibar Dance and Culture Retreat from July 7-14 in Zanzibar. Week-long retreat includes classes by Tamalyn and Moria Chappell with live music, parties every night, and hoeing at the home where Freddy Mercury was born. • Week-Long Teachers Training at the Zamani Culture House (outside Seattle), going in-depth into Tamalyn’s signature techniques, culture, music, and how to have well informed students. July 17 -25 • Orientalia Dance Festival behind the Zamani Culture House at Country Village in Bothell, Washington, featuring ‘The Art of Bellydance Dancers’ from Miami, Florida (stars from both Tamalyn and Bozenka’s former dance troupes). August 8-11 To read more about Tamalyn and her projects, see www.tamalyndallal.com, www.zamaniculture.com and www. danceonfilm.info

Top Row (from left): Poster for film “Zanzibar Dance, Trance and Devotion. ‘40 Days and 1001 Nights’ cover. Tamalyn and bellydance students at the Circus school in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Second row: Tamalyn in traditional home, Harar, Ethiopia. Boy and Donkey cart-Siwa Oasis, Egypt, Photo by Tamalyn Dallal Third Row: Dancers in Ethiopia, photo by Tamalyn Dallal. Tamalyn Dallal photo by Denise Marino Bottom Row: Henna party in Egypt’s Siwa Oasis, photo by Denise Marino. Children at Maulid (spiritual festival) Harar, Ethiopia, photo by Tamalyn Dallal

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Jamila By Step Coley Photographs by Richard Stein Introduction by Alma Sarhan

Jamila performing a solo. Step and Jamila performing a duet. With long time troupe member Cate Williams

Jamila (Janet Adams) was a big part of the bellydance community in WA from the early eighties and sadly passed away in October. She started the Sirocco Club in the early 90s to give students a venue and supportive event in which to perform. I met Jamila many years ago when she was invited to be part of the two Bellies for Breasts concerts myself and Rose organised. We liked her strong authentic style and she had a real passion for the dance and quite simply, she was bloody good. She was not afraid to speak her mind and had a strong point of view of the dance. Women drift in and out of bellydance but very few stick with it for that length of time and still remain passionate like Jamila. Her death is a big loss to the dance community in WA and we hope Step’s tribute gives you some insight to this remarkable woman. We thank Step for letting us publish this article about his beloved Jamila. My girlfriend Jan and I had been dancing, living and holidaying together as a couple for about four years when one day in 1981, she turned to me and said “I want to learn belly dancing” so we both joined Belyssa’s YMCA classes. Jamila was born. I became Farouk. And so Jamila set out on a path she’d follow for the rest of her life. She’d never forget that first concert, making her way through the crowd at the Hyde Park festival with people calling out in admiration. She was hooked. After we parted with Belyssa we danced for Charles Beydoun in his 1001 Nights Restaurant in Northbridge (a gig Belyssa had pioneered) Then Charles 8

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moved on to other enterprises and our restaurant career waned, but Jamila’s enthusiasm for the dance didn’t. Vacations inevitably had a Middle Eastern flavour: Morocco, Turkey, Egypt. In the early 90’s Elias Nachef introduced Jamila to a couple of his relatives who wanted to learn to dance at home and Jamila started her teaching career. Things progressed and she was soon hiring space at the Dance Workshop in West Perth with a troupe of ten to fifteen students that became the Arabian Nights Dancers. She formed the Sirocco Club with Shaheena to give dancers a venue to perform. In 2000, after an over 20 year relationship, Jamila and Farouk married. We celebrated, typically, by holding a Sirocco Club event and inviting everyone who wanted to come. Jamila never commercialised her teaching. She had a well paid daytime job and was satisfied with a small group of loyal students who were happy to do things her way, and if they weren’t, she lost interest. By 2002 her band of students had dwindled. In 2002 we bought a small place in Rockingham with a large powered shed we transformed into an air conditioned Aladdin’s cave with lights and mirrors as a home for the Rockingham Arabian Nights Dancers and we gradually saw the number grow and restarted the Sirocco Club nights. Jamila was a prolific choreographer. Here are some of her philosophies about the dance: “What makes a good dancer?” Youth. It helps to look young, but

that’s not what really matters. Practice. The dance is all about isolation: Focussing on those movements you want the audience to notice. It’s a skill that needs to be learned and endlessly practiced. Presence. Learn how to connect with your audience. Demure doesn’t go down well on stage. “How do we stop people talking about the dance as if it’s sexy and provocative?” You don’t. Own it! Jamila knew this doesn’t apply to everyone or to all dances, but she believed the dance often is inherently sexy, and was uncomfortable seeing children dressed in bellydance bra and belt. “What’s Authentic Bellydance?” Jamila never claimed to be authentic, preferring to describe herself as in the style of Middle Eastern dance. Nevertheless, she worked hard to keep her dress, music and choreography authentic. “How should you dress?” Bare flesh and the classic bra and belt is OK, but it’s not for everyone and doesn’t suit all occasions. Jamila said a dancer looked as good in a figure hugging full length saiidi dress and matching head scarf. Things continued on as usual until last year when Jamila was diagnosed with gastro oesophageal cancer. Characteristically, she refused to let it beat her. Through the chemotherapy and radiotherapy she pressed on with her dancing and teaching. She was still planning the next Sirocco Club night when she was admitted into hospital for the last time. She died on Friday 12 October.


the assessment Photo by Alma Sarhan

by Belyssa

Thirty five years into my Oriental dance career, I looked at my commitments and wondered why I was still so excited about teaching, choreographing, mentoring and seeking challenges. I had taught and performed on all continents, been blessed with a busy studio, sponsored many internationally famous dancers and groups, celebrated dozens of my students being recognised as accomplished artists in their own right, had the privilege of intensive research into the dance and culture of desert dwellers in the Middle East and, more recently, built my own dream studio. What more could one wish for? Yet, something was missing; that final ingredient that makes one feel complete, content and proud. I realised that, for the first time in my dance life, I wanted some in-depth, ruthlessly honest feedback from respected senior teachers/ performers, teachers who had decades of international experience, had worked in a dynamically larger community, had climbed larger mountains and stood on more intensely spot lit stages. As much as I respected and appreciated the feedback from my Australian colleagues, I sought an even more objective perspective. Being aware of one’s strengths and weaknesses is fine but I wanted a team of experts to look deeply into my technique 10

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and comment on the less obvious. So, I decided to take myself to New York, my bellydance birthplace. Apart from attending some intensive workshops with my mentor, the late Ibrahim Farrah, I had been away since 1981. I figured that after thirty years of independent career building, I could safely return for an assessment. I contacted well-known New York artist Samara and requested she put together a panel to sit in judgement. An unexpected problem arose almost immediately. None of the panel had ever been requested to formally assess a teacher, so the actual process was a mystery. Was there a choreography, a performance or a particular technique/ method to evaluate? What were the criteria? How were they be to be graded? What was the projected outcome and were comments to be verbal or documented in writing? Many in Australia thought I was seeking certification and expected I would be rewarded with an official document of some sort, but this was far from my aim; being assessed by one or two colleagues or receiving certification for a correspondence course was for myself, far from an honest evaluation. I actually wanted some way to measure whether I had improved over thirty five years and had done justice

to all the master classes attended, whether I was up with the times and trends, and, most importantly, whether I was honouring the methodology and technique instilled in me. Even though Ibrahim Farrah passed away in 1997, his legacy of excellence and of being the best you could be never left me. From previous experience facilitating Teacher’s Training courses, it was my conviction that an eclectic panel from several artistic institutions was essential. As the industry of Oriental Dance has no universal curriculum and no universally agreed qualifications or grading, it was essential to avoid single opinion certification. An open public session was important. To formulate my upcoming assessment criteria, the task of putting together relevant forms and grading was passed onto a third party. Suddenly it all started to make sense, a studio was booked, sample students were recruited and I prepared to travel. September 28th, 2012 I landed at JFK Airport, excited, confident and organised for my test the following week. As October 4th loomed, anxiety showed its face and I began to question myself on my purpose, class content and anticipated outcome. I was to pitch myself in front of such greats as Phaedra (Phillis Saretta ), Elena Lentini, Jajouka and Samara herself.


Jemela Omar was also invited to be on the panel. All had extensive international teaching and performance credentials and I valued their opinions. What if I had come so far, only to find that I’m not worthy of international standing? What if Ibrahim’s methodology was not evident in my style? I understood that my exposure to so many other teachers over the last thirty years had probably influenced my styling and convictions and I wanted to do justice to ALL of my teachers, but especially Ibrahim. I hungered to continue my own teaching from an even stronger base, offering all students quality development and guidance. Dancers from all over the world had sent their best wishes and in return, wanted to know every detail of the process and result. Many could not get their heads around my mission, but through curiosity, began asking for a daily bulletin. October 4th in Manhattan’s Pearly Studios, the panel came together, seated behind the students, while I introduced myself and my class plan. We began. With only two hours allocated, I found myself rushing through the warm-up and moving onto one of two short combinations. As the class started to flow, I relaxed, trusting my experience and my enthusiasm, teasing out layers of detail for the students to consider. It all seemed so free-flowing and pleasant, I did not consider that some of the ladies were long-term students of panel members, accomplished in detail and presentation, but playing as intermediate dancers. I had also requested feedback in writing from the ‘students’. Their sharp eyes were evaluating my style and methodology and they asked pointed questions. I fairly quickly realised that it was easier to teach regular students versus those investigating the value of every move and instruction for a formal assessment. Then, the unexpected appearance of my very first teacher, Margrecia, in the role of ‘student’ somewhat confused my planned material. My inner self questioned whether I should try to

impress, validate, compete with or disregard her presence. After all, this was about MY work and not anyone else’s. Simultaneously, I felt honoured by my bellydance ‘birthmother’ standing behind me in class. Upon completion of the session, everyone got busy filling out assessment forms. I was fortunate to be able to record the panel’s immediate thoughts with further individual meetings scheduled in following weeks. May I say here that it was not just the class assessment that made this trip worth the experience, but the entire process; the dream, the setup and needing to be clear about my aims, the regular phone conversations and emails, my concentration and anxiety, organization around my absence from my own studio, the huge financial outlay for travel and accommodation for an extended period and time management (given all the distractions in such a dynamic city as New York). I returned with lists of details to consider and regard this whole experience as a great privilege. You probably want to know details post assessment, but allow me the indulgence of keeping this confidential for my own development, especially given the overall cost and complexity of the process. However, let me reveal that I was rapped across the knuckles about many aspects of my teaching. For example, I was asked to improve on directional work, foot placement and arm definition, but I was thrilled by compliments for enthusiasm, attention to emotional

content, facial expression and good breakdown of steps and weight shifts. Where to from here? I imagine, having finally rounded off my fifteen year research of the Bedouins in the Middle East (before the current political strife), I will again offer myself on the workshop agenda worldwide, beyond my own studio in Perth, hoping to pass on to a new generation the gifts I have indulged in and all I have been fortunate to be exposed to over thirty five years in Oriental dance. Armed with the advice of my panel (whom I hope will remain my mentors), my New York students’ observations and the encouragement of my colleagues here in Australia, I feel ready with a new energy and vigor. What I would also like to do is to offer dedicated dancers the same opportunity for confidential evaluation, combined with awesome live music experiences at Arabic events and cultural centres, with private classes and the opportunity to be in one of the world’s most culturally dynamic cities. Come to New York with me! If you would like to be part of this experience in September/ October 2013, do let me know. May I use this opportunity to thank all of you who sent messages of encouragement and curiosity. I will be corresponding with many of you personally and I hope to share in more depth when running workshops. The next workshop is ‘Sharing the dream’ with the beautiful Rose Ottoviano, scheduled for March 2013.

With the Assessment panel New York: Margrecia, Phaedra, Belyssa, Samara and Jajouka

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camp quality by Alma Sarhan. Photography by Alma Sarhan

This was my first visit to the Bahar Bayram Music and Dance Camp held in the beautiful Numinbah Valley not far from the Gold Alma Coast, Queensland. To get there you can fly into Brisbane and as I was coming from WA, the organisers arranged for someone to pick me up (many thanks, Olivia) so you’ll need to discuss that ahead of time, but I believe this is all part of the service. The website is informative but I did not read the small detail and was not aware until the week before that I needed a sleeping bag, a sheet and pillow. (So do make sure you read the FAQs pages on the website). With visions of camping in my head, I was struck with terror being a girl who likes her comforts and who is also terrified of Australian wildlife like snakes and spiders. But fear not, the accommodation is very comfortable even for a city slicker like me. It is basic and ranges from large dormitories with a shared shower and toilet facility to smaller chalets which sleep from four to eight and have a shower and toilet en suite. The rooms overlook a breathtaking national forest. All food is provided and it is terrific and plentiful. There was so much and all dietary needs are catered for. The Camp is run as a not for profit organisation with a committee. Tamara Taylor and her team spend an entire year planning and working on the event. The entire committee deserves a huge pat on 12

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the back and do take the time to visit the website and see who they are. The first thing that strikes you is that everyone is so welcoming and friendly. There are no dance egos or factions. The other unique aspect about this Camp is that if you pay for the whole Camp you can go to all the classes. You don’t need to pre-book; once you arrive you can get a feel for what you’d like to try and move around accordingly. All accommodation, meals, evening events (concert) and classes (as many as you can muster the energy for) are just $590 ($560 early bird). That’s just $150 a day and is amazing value. You can also book a day and night ticket for $175 or if you live locally and come for a class, they are just $40 each. This was 2012 prices so do check the website for 2013 prices The line-up of teachers was impressive. Paivi Mielikainen covered folkloric style like Hagalla and the Reda styled Muwashahat. Melusina taught classes called Liquid Gold and Bellysamba in her unique style. Margaret Cunningham specialises in Turkish style, in particular Romani. She knows her stuff inside out and I thoroughly enjoyed this class. Virginia Keft-Kennedy taught Chiftetelli, Tunisian and Egyptian Shaabi. Tamara covered the rhythms for dancers, accompanied by her drummer husband Mike. I’ve done this sort of class a few times and this was one of the best. There was Ballet for Dancers, Dabke, Tribal Sword and ATS with live drums and that’s just the dancing. I attend many

of the classes and the difference here was each teacher had a deep understanding of the background to their dance; they weren’t just teaching choreographies learnt on a trip overseas. Everyone offered clear technique, well-paced classes and great choreography. All the teachers had spent years of researching their style, knew the roots of that dance and communicated it to the class. We could all perform what we had learned on the closing night with the teacher if we wanted and many did, resulting in everyone rehearsing all over the place at the strangest times and in a fantastic closing night concert. The jewel in the crown for me was the Dabke with Amber Hansen. Amber is a multi- talented artist who plays piano, percussion and the oud and sings. She learned and performed Palestinian Dabke with Al Zaytouna Dance Theatre in London. She broke down the dabke technique really well. Dabke can be quite exhausting and she was able to guide students of all levels of fitness. Her bellydancing was also stunning due to her deep understanding of the music, being a musician herself. She is a dancer to watch as she really exudes that true Arabic style. We’ll talk to Amber in more detail in our next issue. In addition to the dance classes there were music classes in a variety of styles and instruments. There was Arabic Strings, Turkish Ney, Persian Tar, Darbuka/Tabla, all individual classes and participants could join an orchestra


Tahktib with Marlene Faisal

class and play with other musicians. This really enhances your understanding of the music we dance to. I tried Tobal, the large drum used for dabke and saidi played with two sticks. I was perhaps the worst in class, but the atmosphere was non-judgmental; I really enjoyed it and learned something. Every night we listened to top class musicians in an intimate setting playing beautiful Persian, Arabic and Turkish music and watched dancers perform. It really doesn’t get any better. The dancers could choose from well know Arabic songs that the band knew (the 10 best Arabic songs CD would be very helpful to have beforehand). We saw a stunning performance from Virginia to Tamra Henna, Melusina made my cry with a deeply emotional Enta Omri and Moya Harvey was breathtaking performing to Bitwannes Beek (sung by Amber). Michelle Ridsdale performed to live music for the first time ever to a song she’s never even heard off and was a knock out. What a talent. It was unlike any other festival I have been at. It was relaxing, fun and inspiring. As I sat outside my chalet, I could hear musicians rehearsing beautiful Arabic music and could watch dancers interact with them as they passed. There was no pressure to be perfect or to be the best, simply to enjoy yourself and immerse yourself in the dance and the music. I avoided the snakes and spiders but I was smitten with the Camp and I find myself counting the days to the next one.

Virginia Keft-Kennedy

Our chalet which we renamed ‘Bogan City’ from Logan City!

Tabul class with Peter Van Vuuren

Margaret demonstrating gypsy style with the band

Shekhinah Morgan performing baladi

The totally amazing Amber

Päivi Mielikäinen

Aya from Melbourne

Michelle Ridsdale

Gypsy Camp built by Margaret Cunningham

Bellydance Oasis Issue 46 13


jillina live in Oz

While Jillina was the star of the show we were also treated to a line up of great Australian talent. These stunning photographs of the concert were taken by Steve Berry. For more visit www.facebook.com/groups/ hathordancestudio

Jillina

Underbelly

Jrisi

Hathor Dance Ensemble

Devi and Jrisi

Dabke with Raks Harissa

Olia Tais Derbasova.

mission free spirits on a

One of the goals (our raison d’être if you will) of The Free Spirit Dance Community Incorporation is to support the development of the fusion styles of dance in Western Australia. One of the ways we do this is to invite the fusion dance pioneers to our beautiful, if somewhat isolated, part of the world to perform and run workshops for WA dancers, who otherwise could not access master fusion teachers. We have hosted the gorgeously gooey gothic Elysium expert - Ma’isah from Melbourne, the delectably crunchy Industrial Icon - Aradia from Queensland, and the

gloriously grounded Tribal trio Nina from Gypsy Rain, Dee from Tribal Blossoms and all the way from Portland Oregon, the source teacher for Gypsy Caravan Tribal Style, the one and only Paulette Rees-Dennis. A founding member of the ever-spreading dance phenomenon that is American Tribal Style, Paulette travels the world delivering her accredited courses for students and teachers alike, writes a monthly (or so) travel international e-newsletter, ‘Taking Tribal Global’, with over 1700 subscribers and a newly revamped blog, (www. tribalbellydanceblog.com). Paulette also produces Tribal Technique DVDs, (eleven so far, with more to come), and with more social networking every day, she is able to fulfil her dream of taking Tribal Bellydance Global! The FSDC is delighted to welcome

Paulette to our shores once more in Feb/March 2013, teaching both the Olia Tais Derbasova. Collective Soul (CS1) and Teacher Training (TT1) intensive courses for dedicated Triballettes culminating in a long weekend of individual workshops indulging in specific tastes and props. Aided and abetted by Nina from Gypsy Rain, Paulette will include classes that will be suitable for the newly Tribalcurious who can start their tribal journey with one of the foremost source teachers in the world. How’s that for thrilling? There will also be a Tribal Jam Performance Night to see Paulette and Nina flock it up with the dancers of Perth and rock it Caravan-Style! For more details, see www.FreeSpiritDanceCommunity.com or email us at FreeSpiritDanceCommunity@gmail.com


kapow workshops by Rose Ottaviano

Jillina is someone special indeed. She epitomizes what every dancer and teacher strives to achieve. She has knowledge, superb musicality and technique, inimitable style, creativity; with that comes vision and boundless energy, even in forty-degree heat! We knew what to expect; she briefly graced our West Coast shores in 2008. We didn’t hesitate to support Jrisi Jusakos in her quest to improve the standard and quality of bellydance in Australia by sponsoring this lovely lady to come down under. We stuffed our bellydance suitcases and rehearsed our Dabke to the point of injury to get there! I attended just two of the fiveday intensive in Sydney, followed by Adelaide, sponsored by Keke Hedjandonis. The first five-hour workshop, ‘Raks Sharki Kapow’, was choreography with technique. Concerned that five hours would be too long for our brains to maintain the attention span to absorb the material, I was pleasantly surprised that five hours went so quickly. Despite the added challenge of a underachieving air conditioner, no one retired half way through! We were enthralled and determined to learn this fantastic choreography to which Jillina

In the workshop. Photograph by Alma Sarhan

gave us the opportunity to improvise and add our own input in sections. The yoga warm up was, in short, brilliant. A dynamic stretching warm up that used the whole body prepared us for the five hours of dance followed by traditional static stretching at the end with a wonderful meditative finish. The second workshop ‘Fantastic classic’ was a wonderful emotive piece called ‘Ekdep Aleya’. I was looking forward to the yoga influenced warm up, but our abdominals were also

given a wake up call when Jillina put us through an abdominal workout to prepare us for the juicy undulations and flutters in the choreography. I loved this piece, a soulful Egyptian classic that has dynamic strong accents interlaced with expressive moments which again, gave the flexibility to add one’s personal style and nuances. Unfortunately I couldn’t attend the drum workshop, or the ‘Acting up’ and the master class, ‘A day in the life of an Evolution dancer’, but apparently they were, to quote, ‘inspirational’. I’ll be honest, I’ve been disappointed of late, by workshops with international artists that have not delivered what was promised, where half the time is spent joking and carrying on with not much dance or knowledge shared. But this was, for want of a better term, bang for your buck! Well organized and well prepared with lots of dancing! Many thanks to Jrisi and Keke for organizing the amazing concerts with talented artists and the fantastic week of awesome workshops. If you can’t make it to one of her workshops worldwide, apparently in 2014 she’ll be back in Oz. If you’re mad about bellydance, you’re mad to miss it!

Her equally ‘kapow’ performance including a stunning Tanoura. Photographs by Steve Berry

Bellydance Oasis Issue 46 15


tribal corner Tribal Happenings with Devi Mamak

As I type the latest news for you, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel of what has proven to be a very busy six months. Like most of you, we had performances leading up to Christmas as well as big shows and festivals. I know that all of our readers love to hear what all you Tribal enthusiasts have been up to in your part of the world, so please tell us what you have been doing. Let’s share the love! I have been busy travelling around the place as usual, this time starting in Wollongong (a little closer to home), sponsored by Jasmin Langton and Kylie Morrison of Illawarra Tribal Collective. It has been so long since I didn’t have to get on a plane to teach a workshop that I was happy to do something local and all the ladies and myself had such a lovely time. Next for me (and for many of us Tribal gals) was the Biennial Tribal and Trance Festival held in Sydney. I held the first Tribal and Trance Festival in 2006 and then handed the reins over to Debra Napier who has held it biennially ever since. I have to say it gets better every year! The central location of Parramatta makes it easy for interstate guests with an abundance of accommodation, cafes, restaurants and shops within walking distance of the workshops and show venues as well as great transportation. There was a huge variety of workshops on offer including ATS, Oriental fusion, Makeup, Props, African Tribal Fusion, layering, Hands and 16

Bellydance Oasis Issue 46

arms, and Spins and turns. International guests were Sabine from Oregon, U.S.A and Bellydance Superstar Samantha Emmanuel. Sabine is known around the world for her sword technique and although I didn’t get the opportunity to attend her workshops, I heard rave reviews; many said she gave them wonderful insights into new ways to handle the sword as well as various combos and ideas. I managed to get to workshops with Samantha Emmanuel and Acushla Mkrtschjan. As well as being a dear friend, Acushla is a wonderful teacher and performer. I found her class well structured and at a perfect pace. We often laugh at how we both come up with similar ideas simultaneously and this workshop was no different! I found the workshop challenging with new material but we have a very similar way of moving, so her combos felt natural to my body. I also thoroughly enjoyed Samantha’s layer cake workshop. I got lots of great tips and ideas for classroom drills and performance. Although some of it was challenging coordination-wise, Samantha’s explanations and patience paired with her down to earth nature made it all user friendly. I was very honoured that she attended both of my workshops, asking questions and giving it all a go up the back of the room! The Saturday Red Carpet night held at the Parramatta Riverside Theatre involved performances by all workshop

teachers and their respective troupes and the variety of styles kept things interesting for the audience. The all day Soiree and market day on the Sunday had a lovely relaxed atmosphere with lots of goodies to purchase and drool over as well as performances by professionals and students alike all through out the day. I and everyone I talked to enjoyed this year’s Festival, so well done Deb and all her team! November was my European tour, and it was HUGE! This time I made it easier on myself and used Belgium as my base to rest on arrival and between cities. This was a great idea; Europe is just so far from Australia and the travel is hard on your body. After several days resting, I flew to Oslo, Norway for Tribal Camp Oslo hosted by Tribal Troopers. Susan Frankovich (from USA/ Croatia) and I were the special guests. I felt very honoured to be a special guest with Susan; she is a delightful person and an amazing teacher and performer. Tribal Camp Oslo is not a festival but a weekend intensive for a small group with just two teachers (in this case, Susan and I). The benefit of this is to really give the workshop participants grounding in both styles. We had a lovely group of about forty women from Norway, Sweden, Germany, U.K - and one man from Canada. There was of course a performance night with many genres of bellydance presented. I asked a woman from Sweden what she would


Almost full cast of Battle of the Tribes, Oslo

With Gudrun before the show

In Strasbourg with Nina from Germany

be performing and she replied, “A Tribal, ATS, steam punk, Saidi cane fusion piece!” To my delight, that’s exactly what she did; it was very entertaining and certainly different! The event went very smoothly and all participants were very enthusiastic and asked lots of questions. My only regret was I didn’t get to see enough of Norway. Then back to my little house in Belgium for a few days with the motherin law of Hannele, my European tour manager and friend from Finland. I taught an evening workshop during the week in Leige, Belgium; most people in that part of Belgium don’t speak much English, however, coming from a migrant background, I am pretty good at getting my message across with as few words as possible! Next I was off to Germany in a town not far from the French border hosted by Gudrun Herold who I have known for many years. Gudrun was resident in New Zealand for a number of years and came to many of my workshops. Gudrun recently returned to Germany and has really worked hard to create a great Tribal community there; many of the dancers travel seven hours to dance together. Gudrun hosted a casual performance night which gave all the workshop participants an opportunity to dress up and perform. There were many standout performances including a couple of ladies from Edinburgh who danced to Performing at the Intertwine Project: Birds of Paradise. Photo by Alma Sarhan

Bellydance Oasis Issue 46 17


With Hannele from Finland and Gudrun from German

With Susan Frankovich

Scottish music and added tartan to their tribal costume! I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Germany but once again wish it could have been longer. I am lucky to be able to travel and see so many great places, but in reality, I was lucky to get a morning drive in Norway taking photos, an afternoon shopping in Belgium and a quick stopover in Strasbourg, France for lunch on our way to Germany. I wouldn’t change anything, but it is not quite as glamorous as it sounds. It’s seeing a lot of airports, workshop venues, performance venues, and the room where you sleep but I get to enjoy the drive to and from and just to be in a different country is exciting in itself. Two and a half weeks later, I come home and hit the ground running to prepare for the Jillina show and another instalment of Intertwine, which all fell on the same weekend. Jillina Carlando of the BDSS was sponsored by Jrisi Jusakos in Sydney and Keke in Adelaide. The weekend started with Jrisi putting on a well-thought-out show which involved many top dancers from around Australia including Rose and Raks Harissa from Perth, Melusina and Underbelly from Melbourne, Jrisi and The Hathor Dance Theatre, myself and Ghawazi Caravan. Of course, the star of the show was Jillina and she did not disappoint! From what I saw, every act was top-notch and the attention to detail was impressive. Jrisi sure knows

Fanveil workshop in Germany

how to put on a great show! The next day after the Jillina show was time for Intertwine, ‘Birds of Paradise’. This latest instalment of Intertwine had a different line up and feel to the previous Intertwine shows and was held at the Blacktown Arts Centre, a lovely space surrounded by rooms full of local artwork. Our musicians included Hands, Heart and Feet, African drummers and dancers, Bronwyn Kirkpatrick (shakuhachi master), Miriam Leiberman on voice, guitar and Kora, King Parrot Samba, Samba band and my Kalon Captain holding up the Arabic percussion section, as well as being a member of King Parrot Samba. We took the audience on a journey around the world, fusing dance and world music in a beautiful and cohesive way. At times the dancers became the musicians and visa versa, a particular element that Jillina loved about the show (yes she came!). There were things I felt we can improve on, but I felt that it was the best Intertwine yet. The dance and music was so diverse and kept the audience guessing and wondering what was next. We all enjoyed working together (a crucial element!) and we are hoping to do a few more shows later in the New Year. So, watch this space for more info and dates. Next day I dragged myself out of bed to attend at least one of Jillina’s workshops. How could I not? I was not disappointed. It was Classical Egyptian

Choreography which was beautiful of course, capturing every nuance in the music. Her teaching style was clear and precise with plenty of great tips and to top it all off she was just so lovely and down to earth, something you may not expect from someone as wellknown as she is. I was really glad that I made the effort to go. Please read on as we have a great interview with the fascinating Ariellah conducted by our very own Dani Grazcyk. I wish you all a relaxing and fun time over the holiday season with your close friends and family and will check in again with you all in the New Year. Until next time, take care. Cheers! Devi xx

Denya Aroha May, performing at the Intertwine Project: Birds of Paradise. Photo by Alma Sarhan

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workshop duet Belyssa and Rose combine their talents

If you have not recently been seduced and transformed by a dance experience, perhaps this is exactly what you need to get excited about. Belyssa and Rose are uniting on March 16th-17th, 2013 to thrill dance hearts with a new dialogue of classical, modern Oriental, flamboyant experimental fusion and exotic folklore with ancient Pharonic influences. The aim is to seduce your body and senses and plant seeds of excitement, being faithful to tradition but challenging a new generation of performer. Who would have thought that two such diverse artists would have so much in common? Belyssa comes from Classical Oriental and folkloric training. She began her studies when Nagwa Fouad, Mahmoud Reda, Sohair Zaki, Nadia Gamal and Fifi Abdo were idolised both on stage and in movies, when musical compositions were played with natural instrumentation and the depth of sensuality in a dance was measured by long pauses, anticipation and liquid transitions. Belyssa could be considered the ‘designer of dancers’. Rose’s signature style has been influenced by skilful combinations of traditional and electronic, the powerful

and the passionate and IS the design, with swirls and angles and colour and surprises. Yet her background in music has driven her curiosity about the intricacies of a musical composition and into the body’s interpretation thereof, whether it be full orchestral or with modern electronic influences. Her choreographies and her collaboration with musicians have reflected this. Together with the master of theatrical performance and emotive presence that is quintessential Belyssa, this promises to be an intensive weekend of pure dance, whereby the dancer will have the unique opportunity to explore two different interpretations of the same music. The aim is not for a dancer to change their style but rather to enhance and/or develop their own style by exploring all dimensions of dance and performance. What do Rose and Belyssa offer? Using identical music, remixed by an independent technician into three distinct combinations, they have agreed to NOT reveal each other’s choice of combination and compete in providing a personalised framework without constricting individual creativity. With two workshops each day, students will be split up into two groups alternately studying with each teacher. Time slots

will be left for practice and mentoring. Saturday’s workshops deal with technical aspects and choreographic building whereas Sunday is dedicated to refinement and performance qualities within the contrasting styles of Belyssa and Rose. Sunday afternoon, we will all come together for informal ‘show and present’ giving an opportunity to immediately apply what has been learned. At this time, you will be able to film each other’s interpretations. Dancers who love to take a relaxed yet luxurious stance will love these workshops as much as the student insatiable for stimulation. Belyssa and Rose plan to challenge and excite by exploring how a great dance is put together, the essential elements, structure, dynamic changes, mood surprises, multidirectional aspects and how to surprise your audiences with a new you. The professional studios at King St Arts Centre have been booked for its central location and generous spaces. COST: $180 weekend VENUE: King Street Arts Centre, Murray and King Sts, Perth REGISTER BY Feb 27. Email Belyssa: belyssa@hotmail.com or Rose: roseott@ozemail.com.au for more info and registration forms.

keep up to date: visit our facebook page www.facebook.com/bellydanceoasis Bellydance Oasis Issue 46 19


ariellah Interview By Dani Grazcyk

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Bellydance Oasis Issue 46


2Easy Photography

tribal corner interview DG: What do you believe is the core of your unique style and how has your dance evolved throughout your years of performing? Ariellah: I believe that honesty is at the core of my dance, an authentic representation of myself, my emotions and my interpretation of life and my understanding and complete adoration of music. I believe my dance has evolved over and over again and has reinvented itself numerous times in a very organic way, from the first two to four years when I was only able to replicate what I had learned from my first two bellydance instructors, to some solo work that allowed me to grow a little into my own, with added support from my teacher and dance community to add more and more of myself in my dance, to hundreds of dance classes, private lessons and workshops ten years later. I am still striving to improve my technique and understand more and more about stage presence and intention. I continue to take dance classes and private lessons to master my own art form to this very day; it is the journey in the end, I suppose, the striving for excellence and mastery of a certain skill. I want to elevate this dance form as much as I can and the only way I know how to do that is by gaining a better and very intimate understanding of every single movement and isolation in order to convey this highly skilled art form to the general public. DG: I know that you come from a Moroccan ancestry, has this influenced your dance style? Ariellah: I am not sure whether it has influenced my dance style directly, but it most certainly has given me a deep love of music and dance. Since I can remember, there was always music and

clapping and singing and often dancing at my home amongst my father, myself and my many Moroccan aunts and uncles and this instilled in me a deep love of music, rhythm and movement. So, though the movements may not be influenced, the understanding and adoration behind music and dance was greatly influenced by my Moroccan upbringing. DG: When you perform, you have a gift of holding the audience with your energy. How do you create this and are there any tips you have for dancers to practise to enhance this technique? Ariellah: I am not sure, but I am a very intense human being and I am also very passionate; I believe that this enables me to project and engage on stage. I implore my audience to see or feel or try to understand what it is I am trying to convey. It was not always like this, however. It has taken YEARS and years of practice and pushing myself to get over horrible stage fright and trying to not be so shy and scared in my personal and social life. This has taken a lot of effort on my part, both on and off stage. If I had any tips for dancers to better engage their audience, it is to find exercises and techniques on making eye contact with your audience, understanding projection, being mindful and fully in the present moment on stage (and off) and developing the capacity to fully understand what it means to bring intention and depth into one’s movements and performance pieces. A dancer may also want to take acting classes to better understand how to convey a message to an audience and the amount of energy and characterization necessary to make that authentic and to make it hit home with

their audience. I also believe that if there is something behind your piece, an emotion, a storyline or a character and if you truly believe in that and the music reinforces it, then you will be more easily capture the audience’s attention. If you truly love your music, your movements and what you are doing in your piece, that will also come across and will help to keep the attention of the audience; they will feel all of that connection coming from you. DG: I am sure everyone would be interested to know what inspires you; what is your muse? Ariellah: My one and only muse is music. It is my life. I adore it. I am in utterly in love with it. DG: Can you please share one of your favourite quotes and how you apply that to your dance and performance. Ariellah: My favourite quote is by Charles Baudelaire: “Dancing can reveal all the mystery that music conceals.” When I dance, I am purely moved by my music and am in love with it. I am so in love with my music and I know it so well, that I want to go inside and inbetween the notes and bring each one to life with my movements, with a gesture, with an expression, or an emotion so that I make a three dimensional experience of the sound coming through the speakers; I want to bring the music to life! I want to show my great passion and love affair with it! DG: UMBRA Theatrical Gothic bellydance had the pleasure of hosting you in 2011. Was this your first time in Australia? What were your impressions of the ‘Land Down Under’? Ariellah: My first impressions of Australia were very welcoming; both Bellydance Oasis Issue 46 21


Dani on left, Ariellah and Rose on right

the bellydance and gothic communities seemed to be so inviting and authentic. My interaction with other dancers on and off stage and in and out of worshops was outstanding. Everyone seemed to be supportive of each other and of me and I felt a strong connection there. I also thoroughly appreciated the drama, the love, the emotion and the theatre I saw in the dance performances at the Umbra show. I was blown away by the depth and emotion of each piece and in that respect I also felt at home and in good company. DG: While in Australia you were the guest performer at Evernight 3 2011, dancing with UMBRA and as a soloist; how was your experience of Evernight? Ariellah: I will say much of the same

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as in the previous question; it seemed a very community-driven place and event and ran very smoothly. I was treated so kindly by all of the staff and fellow dancers. I even had the opportunity to join in a piece with Dani and her dance company and I had such a smooth and easy time working with her and all of the other dancers that it was a pleasure. DG: We know you got to meet some of the Aussie animals here, did you have a favourite critter? Ariellah: I did indeed get to meet many animals whilst there which was absolutely beautiful and inspiring. I am still in awe of the kangaroo and also all of the different species of birds, but my favourite encounter was with two of the most beautiful peacocks my eyes have beheld. I will never forget their loveliness; two of them even kissed in front of me and ate from my hand. Their colours are simply mind blowing! DG: Travelling around the world teaching, performing and sharing your passion of dance keeps you very busy; what has unfolded for you over the past

twelve months? Ariellah: Over the past twelve months I have been lucky enough to work on another new project, alongside an older project and both of these projects have given me extreme satisfaction both artistically and technically and have given me new found inspiration. DG: Ariellah, you have given so much of yourself to the community of bellydance around the world, what is something you have received in learning that you carry with you throughout your journey? Ariellah: That is a very deep question. I think I have learned that with hard work, focus, appreciation, consistency, and dedication that one can improve by leaps and bounds. Hard work makes it all worthwhile in the end with its great rewards. The quest to learn and understand ever more has been valuable to me. References: www.ariellah.com www.deshretdance.com


Vintage Bellydance

Photograph of Na’ilah by Dick Stein. Photoshop grading and background by Alma Sarhan

by Nanda and Na’ilah

At the 2010 WAMED Festival Gala Concert, “Reflections”, dancers from the Mystique Dance Academy stunned the audience with a performance described simply as ‘Vintage bellydance inspired by the 1940s and 1950s’. The choreography was the result of a collaboration between Nanda and Na’ilah and became the first of a series of Vintage bellydance performances by the Mystique Dance Academy. Nanda and Na’ilah explain their vision and how the project unfolded. The pieces of what was to become our Vintage Bellydance Series fell together in a fortuitous and fairly speedy manner. The Mystique Dance Academy, under the watchful eye of Angie Irwin (Shaheena), has been a staple in the WAMED Festival Gala Show for many years. Once Shaheena began working with Renate and Jilyan in the organization of the WAMED Festival, it became increasingly difficult for her to run the bazaar and the Gala Show as well as co-ordinate all of the Mystique Academy performances. That’s where we (her daughters) came in. After the 2009 WAMED Festival, the reins for the Gala performance were handed over to us. This was perfect timing, because we were looking for a project to collaborate on; we have danced together since childhood and our styles, while different,

Samia Gamal and Tahia Carioca

are complementary. We love sharing our creative energies and we had big ideas. The inspiration In any area of the arts, there is always an emphasis on the history and an appreciation of the past that informs future development, whether through inspiration, recreation or interpretation. Our area of the arts is no different. As a community, we have embraced a wide array of styles within the genre of Oriental Dance, although sometimes there seems to be a disconnection between the dance of the past and what we are doing today. That continuity and connection was important to both of us and became the central premise we explored through our project. While brainstorming, we focused

on the fact that Na’ilah had a long-time interest in vintage styling in general. She was expanding her dance repertoire into Egyptian style and had recently discovered a love of orchestral music, whereas Nanda was strongly modernEgyptian-trained and wanted to move back to classical Egyptian music and dance roots. The vintage era of 20th century bellydance and all that it entailed was the missing piece and we were, like many dancers, enticed by the allure of the beautiful dancers in those black and white films. Music to the ears The decision was ultimately made by the music. Being a form of cultural expression, Oriental Dance and the context within which it is performed is defined by the music. We both wanted something rich, textured and diverse, and the music of the early 20th century had an appeal which spanned generations and transcended eras. It was a time of new cultural influences, new instruments, exploration and experimentation, which fitted perfectly with our vision. Finding exactly the right music for our first piece was difficult. Should we go with the soulful and original (but poorer quality) versions or sacrifice that vintage texture for a modern production quality suitable for large venues and Bellydance Oasis Issue 46 25


Mystique Troupe at WAMED 2012. Photography by Wayne Eddy

sound systems? We eventually found the perfect piece; Hobak Ala Feyn (Where has your Love Gone) was originally composed for a film starring Naima Akef and recreated beautifully by Hossam Shaker as part of the excellent Jalilah Raks Sharki series. Nanda broke down the sections and phrasing and by the end of 2009 we started the choreography. The creative process As childhood performers who ‘grew up’ on stage, the art of performance and stagecraft was an important part of our dance styles and strengths. We wanted to create specifically for the stage; we wanted theatre, drama and storytelling, which was another reason why our chosen era was such an inspiration. The presentation of the dance through those 1940s and 1950s films was a construct, a cultural expression that was recreated, not necessarily authentically, for a consumer audience. This could have been live on a stage at such places as Badia Masabni’s Casino Opera or translated for film and shipped worldwide. We choreographed using what we called the ‘director’s view’, looking at how a director used the set and the characters within it and at how it was enhanced as well as limited by the camera. We emphasized upstage to downstage movement and we travelled the floor. We didn’t simply use the 26

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space, we owned it and filled the frame. Combinations were created which kept each the dancer facing the audience bar fleeting or purposeful moments and enabled each dancer to play the star in her own right. The stylistic choices we made for our technique had to fit within this framework. Movements were to be savoured, done fully and with intent. We revisited old film clips and compilation videos to explore the elements that defined the era, if it could indeed be defined. We looked at the movement and style repertoire of each dancer to see how they were expressed within that space. We looked at the poses, the framing and the lines. Rather than “she took two steps forward there and then moved backwards” we asked “why did she move”? How was she working within that scene? Was there a stage edge? What was regulating her performance? We didn’t want to be limited by presenting an idealized version of what 1950s bellydance was supposed to be like. Paradoxically, exploring the constraints of the dancers gave us more freedom to push the boundaries of our developing project. It was certainly never our intention to present ourselves as experts of the dance in this era, it is simply too vast.

The choreographic process was quite organic and was definitely a ‘bare your soul’ give and take. Working with the right person is a meeting of minds, not always smooth but accepting; it was a partnership of integrity. We both understood that creating choreography is not simply making up a dance and we wanted to indulge our students and ourselves in the entirety of a dance performance, from inception to completion. The classes We wanted to give as many Mystique students as possible the opportunity to partake in this new and exciting journey with us, so the class was opened to anyone with an intermediate and above skill level. Even though any performing Mystique dancer would have had experience with Shaheena’s rigorous rehearsal and performance requirements, the class structure, the audition process, the strict costuming requirements and commitment to the project were all different to what the students were used to. From the very start we tried to set the bar high and get across that this was not just any ordinary class. We wanted to prepare the dancers for the hard work ahead, the possibility of disappointment, and the equal possibility that if they worked hard enough, they would be representing Mystique on stage with


Mystique Troupe - Frankie, Stephanie (rear), Na’ilah, Adrienne (rear), and Jacintha. Photography by Nanda

national and international stars. One of the benefits of having two teachers was that we were able to offer tuition in not only the usual ten week, slower paced term course, taught by Na’ilah, but also an intensive three lesson workshop at Summerfest, taught by Nanda. That sounds simple enough, but, as with all things new, there were some unexpected difficulties. Despite having danced together so often (and for many, many years), we still ended up teaching slightly different versions of the original choreography. This was compounded by the fact that Na’ilah was suffering from Dengue Fever during most of the choreography phase. We ended up offering a consolidation period for all students during the later stages of the ten week class which enabled everyone to get to a point where they were ready to audition. The audition We had a separate time set apart to audition. We put the dancers into different groups, each getting the opportunity to audition twice with a different combination of dancers, in order to better display individual strengths. They were told who the people were in their group and given a few minutes to organize positions and blocking before performing for us. This audition was filmed so we could

review it later for a final decision. We were looking for dancers who knew the choreography first and foremost. We didn’t want to be re-teaching parts of the choreography during the rehearsal stage. We also needed a group confident enough that if we needed to tweak or change anything, we weren’t going to have any major dramas. In addition, the dancers performed the piece at a Mystique Academy hafla so we could see how well they worked together in a live performance scenario. We needed dancers who worked well in the team and we wanted a unified look, without the dancers sacrificing their individual styles. Perfect technique was not essential but cohesiveness was. Lastly, we considered the dancer’s commitment to the project. All dancers selected were formally invited to join us on this journey and the commitment requirements were made clear at that time. After the initial audition there would be another six weeks of rehearsals, costume making, hair and makeup tutorials. Every dancer had to commit herself, knowing that if she was not in 100% she would be letting down the team. From eighteen potential performers, we now had our final ten, including Liz Grzyb, Ruza Foster, Andrea Orlowsky, Giulietta Valuri, Kim Astle, Dixee

Poh, Anna Klyne, Elisabeth Purser and ourselves. Mystique Dance Company already had a reputation for being well rehearsed and tight, but people weren’t seeing all we were capable of. To perform on the same stage as master teachers from around the world as well as local and interstate stars, we had to respect that space by being as professional as we could. The dancers we selected understood and enjoyed having that responsibility. Couture When considering our costuming options, we wanted to capture something that was undeniably “Golden Era” in essence. Wading through clip after clip, searching for suitable attire, was almost as time-consuming as searching for our movement repertoire. We predominantly looked at the three big stars of that era, Taheya Karioka, Naema Akef, and Samia Gamal. Ultimately, it was the costuming of Samia Gamal which gave the troupe its signature classic vintage look. The belt was the defining feature of the costume in that era. The belts were substantially wider then and beautifully cupped the derriere of the dancer, which in turn emphasized the fullness of her skirt and her womanly form. They neatly curved up into a rather wide front panel with closures either dead centre Bellydance Oasis Issue 46 27


Top: Liz Gryb Bottom: Adrienne Byrd Photography by Nanda

To finish the look, we added details such as pin-tuck curls for our hair, with headpieces (an added theatrical component of our own), 1950s style ‘screen siren’ make-up

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Bellydance Oasis Issue 46

or off-centre (never at the side), so the silhouette remained unaffected. Some of our dancers used a tube of stretchy material to effectively obtain the same look. Searching for the correct bra base was crucial. The bras were more bandeau in style, not at all plunging, and curved under the sternum, giving greater emphasis to the beaded looped fringing center-front of the bra. The wide choice of strapping options meant that each dancer could obtain a very individualized look. There were so many options! Another wonderful feature of the costuming was the skirts. They were floaty and full, and fishing-line hems instantly added a romantic feel to the costume. In the old films, splits commonly went up as high as the belt on both legs, and we were able to get a similar, more comfortable look by adding underskirts or a splash of contrasting colour by way of a sash that ran from belt to floor. To finish the look, we added details such as pin-tuck curls for our hair, with headpieces (an added theatrical component of our own), 1950s style ‘screen siren’ make-up on matte porcelain skin, red polish on finger and toe nails, elegant heels, and vintage style crystal jewelry, which (other than the earrings), was also an added theatrical element. As we and the dancers continued to research and bring in material swatches, colour samples and ideas, the costuming concept evolved into its final state. Our monotone palate was set very early on in the project to be suggestive of the black and white films.(1) Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse Everything was coming together. The process had already taken about eight months from inception to audition and we finally had a group of wonderful dancers we could take to the next level. With approximately two more months until the WAMED Festival, the hard work really began. In all, we had six two-hour sessions to be stage-ready and it was to be a much greater investment of time and

effort than any of us had anticipated. Our job was made easier by having dancers who really knew the choreography. We now needed to work on blocking, tweaking, polishing, (sweating) and getting our costumes and ‘vintage look’ perfect. Every session became a show and tell for costumes and the dancers brought their works in progress to each rehearsal. It was fabulous; not only could we see that the dancers were honouring their commitment to the project, but it inspired anyone who had a case of costuming block. We shared ideas and thoughts for the benefit of everyone. It was an incredible bonding experience. As choreographers, we felt very blessed to be in the company of such wonderful women. We honestly could not have chosen a better group of dancers to work with. Most of the dancers had never attempted any type of vintage styling. Nanda put together a collection of youtube tutorials on everything we needed to look the part, from setting pin tuck curls, to brushing them out, from styling the hair to 1950s style make-up. We spent weeks sleeping with pin tuck curls and wearing head scarves around setting hair and long periods in front of the studio mirrors making ourselves up, gas-bagging about our fabulous red lipsticks and nail polishes. We became experts on false eyelashes and the best glues and techniques for applying and keeping them in place. We were doing a complete overhaul of our look, and we loved it so much, it continued to be our performance look long after the show. The final stages of our preparation were our two rehearsals at the King Street Arts Centre. The performance venue, St Mary’s Theatre, was a much larger space than we had been practicing in. Having already invested so much in the project, it seemed fitting that we took it just that little bit further and practiced in a space with the same dimensions as the theatre and it was well worth it. By the time we finished those two rehearsals, we were all feeling very confident with our positioning and how we used the


space. After concluding with a full dress rehearsal at King Street Arts Centre, we were, at long last, ready to perform! Showtime! Hair curled and makeup immaculate, everyone arrived at the venue ready apart from costumes. The feeling of anticipation was awesome; we were ready for those few minutes under lights to show off all our hard work. Backstage is always fun, whether rubbing shoulders or sharing a mirror with an international star or catching up with dancers you haven’t seen since the last big event and with everyone buzzing on their own performance high. It was one of those nights when everything came together perfectly. We had a great audience, a lovely venue and the most amazing lighting technician! After only a short tech run in the days prior to the show, he was confident he could work us some magic and he sure did. The lighting and sound completed our performance that night and delivered the whole package just as we had envisioned. The afterglow We can’t quite explain the feeling having finished our performance; it was unlike any performance we had ever done, and we’ve done a few! We felt we had achieved something monumental. We were elated and so proud of our dancers. Morocco, the guest workshop instructor that year, went sidestage to watch the performance and complimented us on being ‘period perfect’. She understood that we were exploring the construct of dancing in those black and white films. Coming from someone who personally knew the dancers we were drawing inspiration from, that meant a great deal. There were audience members in tears. It brought tears to our eyes knowing we had created something that people connected with so emotionally and knowing that the creative energy which went into the piece was worth it. When we started this journey, neither of us knew we would still be so inspired and motivated to be choreographing

within the same creative space three years and six choreographies later. However, we are still going strong with many more plans in place, and we agree our debut success of Vintage Bellydance inspired us to see just how far this project can take us. Nanda Nanda is a teacher and choreographer based out of Bellydance Central studio in Perth WA. She performs as part of the Mystique Dance Company. Bellydancing for over twenty years, Nanda has been fortunate enough to have studied with many of the greats of Oriental dance during that time. Some of her most significant dance influences are Aida Nour, Farida Fahmy, Dr Mo Gedawi and Shareen al Safy. Her main inspiration though, has been her mother, Shaheena, who has mentored her as a dancer, as a teacher and in the business of bellydance for her entire dance life. Nanda has been teaching for over thirteen years, specializing in all things Egyptian, from rural and urban expressions to raqs sharqi and theatrical styles. She is the co-creator and co-choreographer of the popular Vintage Bellydance Series with her sister Na’ilah. To contact Nanda enquire through www.bellydancecentral.com.au or email shimmy@iinet.net.au Na’ilah After dancing from the age of three in many of the more conventional

disciplines of dance including ballet, modern, jazz, tap and acrobatics, Na’ilah was introduced to the world of contemporary dance in her teens. She performed with STEPS Youth Dance Company and worked with dancers and choreographers from the West Australian Ballet Company, 2 Dance Plus, Chrissie Parrot’s Dance Collective and Ruth Osborne. Being the daughter of Shaheena, Na’ilah was bellydancing from a young age. After an extended period working overseas, she returned to teach at Bellydance Central and to perform with the Mystique Dance Company. Drawing from a diverse background, Na’ilah is known for her original, intricate choreographies and challenging technique, as well as her passion for teaching. Since 2009, Na’ilah has been collaborating with Nanda on their ‘Vintage Bellydance’ series. Based on their unique combination of skills and experience, Nanda and Na’ilah find inspiration from the dancers of the Egyptian Golden Era of film, creating timeless, theatrical choreographies for stage. Na’ilah can be contacted through www.bellydancecentral.com or nicol_ irwin@yahoo.com (1)For additional information on costuming, check out Liz Grzyb’s blog “The Costume Rack” at http:/ costumerack.wordpress.com

Na’ilah and Nanda. Photography by Ruza Foster

Bellydance Oasis Issue 46 29


‘tis the season to be hOT! By Rita Abi Khalil, Facialist and Makeup Artist

So what does that mean for your makeup ladies? Well it means hot sticky face, makeup possibly melting, itchy face from sweat and constantly reapplying and powdering your face. Remember these words “Less is more” when it comes to this hot and sticky season where sometimes most makeup looks won’t last between your gigs. Don’t stress here are some helpful tips and products. In your emergency makeup kit for your gigs this summer make sure you have: • Primer • Blotting paper • Oil free foundation or a good mineral based powder foundation • Makeup setting spray I would concentrate on your eye makeup and lips more and with your complexion the best trick is to keep it simple. Instead of a full face of foundation, conceal any imperfections and apply a tinted moisturizer or a sheer and light liquid foundation. Primer: Primers are a very personal product and usually are one of the hardest things to find, it’s like that perfect LBD in your closet. I recommend using a primer as that is the product that will make your foundation look and feel so much better and extend the life of it. There is so much on the market but here are a few to check out and I will leave you to make up your own mind. But in saying that, a primer’s prime job is to fill in any gaps in your skin texture and create a smooth surface for foundation to go on skin. Think of when you paint a wall there is always 30

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an undercoat and the primer is that for the skin. Some primers come in colour to even out skin tones or are loaded with specific ingredient to help with ageing or sun damaged skin. Bodyography, Smashbox, Yves Saint Laurent, Nude by nature, Benefit, MAC, Laura Mercier are some of the names to look out for. Foundations: MAC Face and body liquid foundation: It provides you with a sheer coverage and is quite natural. I personally use this foundation on some of my brides who want a sheer look but still have an even tone to their skin. Even though it is sheer you can build up the coverage to what you like. This foundation allows you to either have a dewy finish or more of a matt look if you powder it lightly. It is a water based foundation, water resistant and long lasting so this is great for all the sweating that you will do while dancing up a storm. All skin types can use this foundation and no matter what skin tone you have MAC has a colour to suit you. Makeup Forever Face and body liquid foundation: Again this foundation is really beautiful and has a nice silky gel texture and will melt into your skin. It is water resistant and very long lasting with a natural finish leaving a thin layer of powder on the skin when it dries. Best application with this foundation is your finger tips and it can be applied on face and body. Coverage is sheer and natural and can be built up.

Makeup setting spray: Skindinavia: This brand has become the leader on the market for makeup setting. I use the bridal setting spray for my work and there is also a dance setting spray. Fantastic to keep makeup in place. Party All Night: Perfect for dancing, working out and parties. Helps control excess shine and keeps makeup from running even through perspiration. Photo-Ready Makeup Setting Spray. It will extend the life of your makeup wear and controls excess shine for fewer touch-ups. Moisture resistant, so great for sweat and suitable for all skin types. Creates a luminous finish for hours. Fewer required ‘touch-ups’ throughout the day. Extends makeup wear under high stress. Keeps excessive shine off makeup surface for better photography. Helps makeup resist heat and humidity. Both of these sprays are fantastic: you might have to try to see which one you like more, in my work kit I have the bridal spray and I really like it. Blotting paper: There is so much blotting paper on the market but these are cool because they have benefits as well as blotting oil from your skin. Green Tea • Immersed with Green Tea antioxidants to protect and rejuvenate skin. • Absorbs oil quickly and effectively Tea Tree • Rapidly controls t-zone and oily areas


A beauty minute with shamira Devi’s Inspired Combinations

on face. • Remove excess oil without budging your makeup Fresh Face • Remove excess oil that can cause blemishes with fortified pulp paper infused with salicylic acid. This company is all about blotting paper and they come in “Blemish control, rejuvenate oil, bronzing, blushing, highlight and foundation blotting paper”. These will help keep your complexion flawless between gigs, get rid of oil and add colour and highlight to the skin. Colour of the season for lips: Reds, Oranges, Fuschias Orange and Fuchsia are the colours of the season so have fun with your makeup. Whatever you do this season just remember to keep it simple. I hope you find these products and tips helpful. For any questions add my facebook page “Rita Abi Khalil Skin and Makeup” and follow me on twitter @RAKSkinMakeup

Rita: What is the one beauty product you can’t live without and why? Shamira: Sunscreen. I particularly love the new BB creams, sunscreen, make-up, moisturiser and illuminator in one. Rita: Best lip product you love and colour? Shamira: I always use a soft plum lip liner, not too heavy, but enough to create a defined slightly fuller lip, line, then fill in the whole lip, add a lipstick on top, or just a touch of gloss in the centre of top and bottom lip to plump them up. Rita: What does your skincare and makeup regime consist of? Shamira: I use Paula’s Choice skincare range as it’s not tested on animals, is fragrance free and relatively inexpensive. Skin Recovery cleanser is good for normal to very dry skin, and you don’t need a toner as it takes all the make-up off on it’s own I use her skin perfecting glycolic acid with 8% AHA, and the Resist super antioxidant concentrate serum at night. For day, if I don’t use the BB cream, I’ll use Paula’s Choice ‘all bases covered’ foundation which has a sunscreen in it, dust with loose powder on the eyelids and cheeks, put on a tinted eyebrow gel, add blush, eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara, lip liner and lipstick. That might sound a lot, but it’s fairly subtle for day, and for night, more dramatic eyes and colour. Rita: What is your favourite makeup look to wear? Shamira: Although not performing much these days, I still do a bit of MCing at shows, and so make-up has to be a bit over the top and dramatic to be effective on stage. Playing with lots of eye colour and false eyelashes is fun, so that’s my favourite.

Bellydance Oasis Issue 46 31


reviews Caroline Evanoff’s Australian workshops Melbourne workshops review by Nicole Sanderson Sydney workshops review by Johara

Caroline Evanoff is a teacher, performer and choreographer who teaches and performs all over the world from Cairo, where she is permanent resident. Originally from Sydney, Caroline recently toured the Asia Pacific for six weeks to teach and perform in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), then Melbourne, Sydney, Albury-Wodonga and Brisbane (Australia). Bellydance Oasis asked two wellknown teachers and performers to share their experiences of Caroline’s workshops. An interview with Caroline will appear in our next issue. Recently I had the privilege of attending a weekend of choreography workshops in Melbourne with the lovely Caroline Nicole Evanoff. The first workshop (and the one I loved the most) was a modern Egyptian choreography to the song El Saber Tayeb by George Wassouf. The second workshop was a cute pop choreography to “Mish Haoul” by Hamada Hilal. The second day we moved into Saadi to Kalil I Hida by Egyptian singer Yasmin and finally a fun and funky Shaabi dance designed for the stage to Souq el Banat by Mahmoud El Leisy. I have to say that this song is still stuck in my head. Caroline explained the meaning of the words and interpreted them through movement and gestures within the dance, putting emotion and feeling into her choreographies rather than just running us through the motions. Some of the choreographies played out a story, such as the shaabi dance where the man was looking for a suitable wife and he didn’t want one of those “prissy” Uni girls, he wanted a good 32

Bellydance Oasis Issue 46

beladi girl. This got plenty of laughs from the participants and helped me remember the choreography; it’s always a bonus to know what the song is about. Caroline shared her wisdom about the ‘feel’ of Egyptian dance with comments like “The key to Egyptian dance is resistance”. Such insights from a professional working Cairo dancer are always valuable. Whether you are a teacher, a professional dancer or simply a recreational dancer, I highly recommend attending any of Caroline’s workshops whenever she is here in Australia. Thank you to Bellydance Kizmet for hosting the Melbourne leg of Caroline’s Australian workshop tour. We are fortunate to have such wonderful teachers visiting our shore to further our own dance education and I encourage everyone to support these events. I love this dance of ours: performing, teaching and most especially, learning. After twelve years I still attend weekly classes and I have Johara to admit to being a bit of a workshop junkie. I’ve travelled to Egypt four times for the festivals and have worked one on one with some of the country’s master teachers and performers. If I could I would go every year but unless I win the lottery that’s just not going to happen. So what does a dance addict like me do to find that authentic Egyptian style without the expense? Caroline Evanoff’s Australian workshops of course! Caroline’s workshops in Sydney were sponsored by Amera’s Palace. I attended two, Tarab and Saiidi. Set to a very emotional Georges Wassouf song Saber Tayeb (Patience is a Virtue), the Tarab

workshop was ideal for a solo dancer of an intermediate to advanced level. Caroline’s choreographies contained some unique combinations with characteristic Raqia Hassan and Randa Kamel elements, dynamic level and directional changes and layered moves over what was, at times, rather complex footwork. Hand gestures illustrated and emphasised the words of the song and aided our understanding of the emotions behind them. The Saiidi choreography, to Kalil Hila by Yasmin, was more for an experienced beyond beginner to intermediate level dancer and would be great for a soloist as well as allowing adaptation for a staged troupe performance. Caroline challenged us with some interesting assaya ‘gymnastics’ which, in combination with footwork, caused a brain twister that had us all laughing! The choreography combined both feminine and masculine saiidi moves including the different ways that men and women hold the stick. Caroline used the assaya, in quite a playful manner, to accentuate specific expressions in the song. Caroline brings a wealth of knowledge that she is more than willing to share. This year the workshops were three hours long, which seems a long time but it flew by and allowed plenty of time to complete the choreography as well as break down some of the more complicated techniques. Caroline’s choreographies are a lovely balance of complex travelling steps and more traditional tummy moves incorporating the deep muscles of the hips and the core. While not always easy for students to pick up, Caroline has worked hard to break down these moves. She has put a great deal of thought into the mechanics behind them,


making difficult moves easier to learn and replicate. Caroline regularly moved through the room giving individual assessment and feedback, a great indication of progress and certainly not something every workshop teacher does. Caroline’s workshops are interesting and challenging, incorporating signature moves from master teachers and the current stars of Cairo. She is constantly travelling and learning, undertaking her own research into the different styles of Egyptian Dance which gives her own style an authentic Egyptian flavour. Caroline weaves her choreographies between the words and the melodies of the music. This can often make learning her choreographies tricky, as we are used to working with a stricter count of beats and more to the rhythmic accents of the song rather than going with the feelings behind it. This teaching style is very different to a typical dance class in Sydney and while Caroline is not always certain of the number of moves in a sequence and needs the music to remember what is coming next, this is not always such a bad thing. In fact, it is a very Egyptian way of teaching and adds to the authenticity of her work. Regardless of their level of experience I think every dancer walked out of the room having learned something new, whether the complete choreography or a single move or combination and, just as crucial, everyone had fun! Certainly I was left wanting more, wishing I could go to the other workshops and rushing off to buy another lottery ticket!

Bellydance Oasis Issue 46 33


shamira


shamira is our pick as one of Australia’s most talented

focus on Aussie talent

teachers and performers. A legend in dance, she is

Photography by johnma.com.au

passionate about sharing her experience. Shamira was crowned Queen of the Sydney Middle Eastern Dance Festival in 2010 and has been a popular teacher and performer there for many years. Shamira established the Belly Dance Arabesque Studio in Adelaide, South Australia in 1997 and has performed and taught throughout Australia and in New Zealand. Bellydance Oasis: What was your first contact with Middle Eastern Dance and how did you start bellydancing yourself? Shamira: In early 1986 I was working as a secretary in a large office, driving a very old, rusty, unreliable Holden Kingswood. I went along to the WEA (Workers’ Educational Assoc) in Adelaide to enrol in Basic Car Maintenance, but was distracted by the great variety of other courses on offer. After doing a bit of French and Medieval Life and Art, I tried Belly Dancing. That got me hooked. I carried on after the first course, and haven’t stopped. Bellydance Oasis: Have you had other dance training? Shamira: I did ballet and tap as a six year old, then broke my leg at seven and didn’t continue. I often tell new students that I’m living proof that you don’t need a dance background to bellydance. Bellydance Oasis: You’ve taken some training overseas, how has that influenced you? Shamira: My first overseas trip was to Rakkasah in San Francisco in 1993 and I did two weeks of workshops with a variety of teachers, including Amaya from the USA and Beata Cifuentes from Germany. I went to Egypt and Lebanon with Amera’s tour in 2001, then individually with Barbara Wolfkamp a couple of times. I also took Terezka’s tour to Morocco and Egypt in 2006. I understand that everything has changed now, but I loved the way you

could travel around Cairo at any time of the day and night, attend classes with teachers, shop (of course), go out to see a great show featuring a different great dancer every night and walk back to the hotel at 4am in the morning and feel quite safe. Even though I’m a cautious person travelling, I didn’t feel threatened there. Also, going with Amera and Barbara who travel there all the time does make a difference. Although Cairo is busy, dirty, noisy and chaotic, if you just let yourself go with the flow and don’t expect things to be as organised as in Australia, you can enjoy the experience and the Egyptian people who have a wonderful attitude to life. Bellydance Oasis: Who were your main teachers there? Shamira: I have to say that Yasmina is my favourite teacher in Cairo. She’s English but has lived there for many years so is able to teach every Egyptian style authentically and most importantly, break down the technique to make it understandable to Western dancers. Egyptian teachers often teach with little or no breakdown which can be hard to follow. Bellydance Oasis: Who or what inspires you as a dancer? Shamira: Inspiration comes from a piece of music, not necessarily bellydance music, but something that speaks to me and brings out some creative moments. Often I’ll hear something and then see the costume style that will work and what the mood of the dance should be. I think you take influences from every dancer and teacher you see, even if you are not consciously trying to emulate them and, hopefully, what happens along the way is that you develop your own style so that you don’t become a clone of someone else or parrot their moves in an

obvious way. I like to watch a confident performer who looks totally at ease when they dance, which is something I really struggle with. Bellydance Oasis: How do you juggle between teaching and performing? Shamira: Now that I’m fifty six, I’ve stopped performing except for end of term harem parties at the studio and special one offs like the show Barbara Wolfkamp put on when Yasmina was here in April and SydmedFest, but when I was dancing regularly it was pretty full on. When I think about it, there’s not much difference between teaching and performing. When teaching, you have to be organised about your lesson plans for each level, choosing music that you hope the students will like, come to class with a positive attitude and lots of energy and make it all about the students and their experience in your class. Performing is much the same, being professional in your dealings with clients, choosing appropriate music and costuming for the event and venue, and turning up with the intention of giving everyone present a great time and good memories. Bellydance Oasis: You are very experienced with TAFE courses and workshops in country and regional areas. What are the differences between teaching there and teaching at a bellydance studio? Shamira: Adelaide is a fairly small city compared to Sydney for example, so when someone rings up and says a fifteen minute drive to the studio is too far, do we have anything closer to them, I just roll my eyes. The girls in the country will drive for a couple of hours to come to a workshop and are so grateful that someone will take the dance to them. Bellydance Oasis: What do you think attracts women to bellydance? What Bellydance Oasis Issue 46 35


keeps them coming to classes? Shamira: The obvious ones are; not needing a dance partner, knowing they don’t have to be a certain size or shape, and just doing something that gets them moving if they’ve been at a desk all day. If they go to the gym, they like to come to bellydance as well for the opportunity to do something more creative and graceful. Offering different styles is important too, so that students don’t get stale. One term they are doing a drum solo, then a baladi piece, then veil and so on. We also have great Bollywood and Tribal teachers who have the same dedication to encouraging the women in our classes to enjoy themselves and not worry about being perfect. At least once or twice a lesson I am pep talking either an individual or the whole class to keep the confidence level up. We women can be so critical of ourselves, that it’s important to bolster their self-confidence. I love to tell the story of a soccer team of eighteen to twenty year olds who thought they were going to the pub

for beer and burgers as a pre-season bonding session. Instead they were brought across the road to the upstairs studio for a bellydance lesson. When I showed them a simple step to do as a warm up, they were hopeless, but they all clapped and cheered and high fived each other because they thought they were wonderful! This was just two minutes into the session; quite a contrast from the usual group of diffident women who come along. Bellydance Oasis: Who inspires you as a teacher? Shamira: I’ve had inspiration from different teachers along the way, but I think one of my first teachers, Amaya from USA, was quite inspirational. She had a way of imparting her knowledge with kindness and humour, so I think I’ve been drawn to that in teachers ever since. I have to mention Amera and Barbara Wolfkamp again; they are my friends, but I think our friendships have grown from that mutual respect and shared common ideals as teachers. Bellydance Oasis: Tell us about the Belly Dance Arabesque Studio. The studio was established in 1997, and expanded in 2002 during the Shakira-inspired boost in popularity of belly dancing. I think belly dance teachers around the world owe her a big thanks for that! I sold the studio to Regan Gardner (Rania) one of my teachers in July 2011 because I have to spend a bit more time at home due to my husband’s health. I still teach five classes a week at the

review

Ten Songs Every Bellydancer Should Know, is a CD which includes many well known and favourite musicians including Mohamed Ali Ensemble, Hassan Abou El Seoud and The Cairo Orchestra. As the name suggests this is a compilation of ten of the best known songs which every bellydancer should not only recognise immediately but be completely familiar with. Not only should you be familiar with the music but most bellydancers would have learnt or created a choreography to the majority of the compositions. reading Bellydance Oasis Issue 46on try and guess which of the ten songs 36Before

studio which keeps my hand in and frankly, I can’t imagine not teaching bellydance in the near - and distant future. Bellydance Oasis: What are your goals and what do you see ahead for yourself? Now that I’m semi-retired, I’m hoping to still keep dancing, even if it’s just in my own living room, and teaching a few classes a week. Not having the responsibility of a large studio means more time for the grandchildren (two boys, so no chance of getting them into the dance) and relaxing with a bit more gardening and reading. Gosh that sounds a bit boring, but when you’ve been flat out for ages it’s nice to coast for a while. I’ll just wait and see what else pops up on the horizon. I’ve been very fortunate to realise many goals in my dance career, and I’ve met some wonderful people through bellydance. Sure, there are a few large egos around, but on the whole this dance attracts women with generous spirits and kind hearts and I feel privileged to be a part of it. When you perform you get lots of lovely comments and compliments from people, but one will always stand out for me. I was dancing at a birthday party in the backyard of a Greek family in the mid-nineties. I got an elderly gentleman up to dance with me and he had a big beaming smile on his face as he said “Shamira, you come, you dance, and you make everybody happy”. Not a bad way to earn a living.

By Ayesha would be on your favourite list and see if they match up. The CD actually has twelve recordings so you should get at least six of them correct. I’m sure most of you would have guessed them by now so here they are: Aziza, Zeina, Shik Shak Shok, Leyet Hob, Zey el Hawa, Habibi Ya Eyni, Mishaal, Inta Omri, Tamr Henna and Alf Leyla. The other two songs are Baladi Ala Accordian and Solo Gamalat. Available on Itunes so if any of these songs are missing from your collection you can buy individual tracks. They are the songs that you keep going back to again and again, not just for dancing but for pure listening pleasure.


m

Percussionist Matt Stonehouse creator of the Fingers of Fury on line drumming school has helped thousands of drummers all over the world and we are thrilled he will regularly contibute to Bellydance Oasis. www.fingersoffury.com. au is also a community that is dedicated to helping one another reach musical goals and realise dreams.

Putting the

back in Maqsum

By Matt Stonehouse (www.fingersoffury.com.au)

One of the most popular and commonly used rhythms in Arabic, Turkish and Greek music is Maqsum. It is lighter than its cousins Baladi and Saiidi, giving it more flexibility with tempo and even the option of shifting double time into Fallahi. In all of my years playing this simple four beat rhythm, Maqsum never ceases to open doors into new worlds of possibility and expression. Let’s take a closer look at this wonderful and often misunderstood rhythm and see how we can put the ‘M’ back into Maqsum. First things first, what is Maqsum? How does it sound and what is the main fundamental of this rhythm? 1

&

D

T

2

&

3

T

D

&

4

&

T

Legend: D-Dum / T-Tuk / K-Ka / M-Mute

In the example above, try tapping a pen along each box (like the bouncy ball on the karaoke machine) and you will be able to sing Maqsum. In this chart I have written the fundamental of Maqsum, sometimes called the skeleton. This is the ‘bare bones’ version of Maqsum and really the most important part. Anything else added onto this ‘skeleton’ is simply ornamentation or ‘rhythm bling.’

D

e

& T

a

2

e

&

T

K

T

a

3 D

e

&

a

4

T

K

T

e

1

&

D

M

2

&

3

M

D

&

4

&

M

In this example below you can see that the ‘T K’ has been substituted with ‘K K.’ 1

e

D

Once we have learnt to play this we can then add the next part to Maqsum so it looks more like this (tap that pen a little faster because I have added extra boxes: I will spare you the theory lesson this time). 1

So, what is a better way of playing Maqsum? I’m so happy you asked! The problem lies in the fundamental. Playing it this way is too weak. We need to play the fundamental with our right hand and ornament with our left, and to change one tone. In the example below you will see I have switched the fundamental ‘T’ to an ‘M.’ This in itself will make the world a better place. The mute tone is not ‘muted’ as it suggests, rather it is like a ‘cha’ sound as if playing a soft slap. It instantly gives the sound of a frame drummer playing the rhythm instead of a tin can. From here on, we think of ourselves as two drummers; the right hand plays the rhythm whilst the left ornaments/ decorates. This is a very Turkish approach and a very clever one at that. Let’s take a look at the same two versions played in this new way:

&

a

T

K

Now that we have established how Maqsum is written and played by thousands of drummers worldwide, I have one humble request; please don’t ever play it like this! I hear so many drummers playing this version and never looking beyond to what is actually an incredible rhythm with a real groove.

&

a

M

2

e

&

K

K

M

a

3

e

D

&

a

4

K

K

M

e

&

a

K

K

This really is a simple shift that makes a big difference. I will leave you with one more example of where we can take this new Maqsum paradigm by simply filling all of the gaps with a ‘ka’ tone. Eventually, through practice, we can solo with our left hand whilst keeping the rhythm going with our right hand (left handers please do the opposite) 1

e

&

a

2

e

&

a

3

e

&

a

4

e

&

a

D

K

M

K

K

K

M

K

D

K

K

K

M

K

K

K

This is just a glimpse into changes that can be made to bring these rhythms to life. Bellydance Oasis Issue 46 37


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Bellydance Oasis Issue 46


Your guide to classes around the country

Teacher’s Directory New South Wales

Terezka’s Danse Orientale Studio Sydney CBD – creating bellydance ‘stars’ Speciality – dancing to live Arabic music Ph: 0411 045 877 E: terezka@danseorientale.com.au www.danseorientale.com.au

Amera Amera’s Palace, Marrickville Ph: (02) 9519 4793 or 0412009983 E: amera@ameraspalace.com.au www.ameraspalace.com.au

Northern Territory

Rachel Bond – Inspire! Bellydance Sydney Specialising in Egyptian modern and Folkloric styles Ph: 0403 771 134 E: Rachel@bellydancer-rachel.id.au www. Inspirebellydance.com.au

Jamealah Bellydance Ph: Myf (08) 8945 3134 or 0418 850 441 E: darwinbellydance@gmail.com www.darwinbellydance.com.au

Queensland

Desert Flame Belly Dance Sandra Rather, Toukley Ph: 0404462284 E: desertflame@tpg.com.au www.desertflamebellydance.com.au

Maria Masselos

Desert Moon Dancers, Wallsend

South Australia

Dancing for spirituality, beauty and truth Ph: (02) 4950 0830 or 0417 043 307 E: desertmoondancers@aapt.net.au

Bellydance Amethyst, Adelaide

Shows, classes and workshops, ATS and fusion styles. Specialising in ATS. FCBD certified. Sister studio to FCBD All ages, all levels. Ph: Devi (02) 4758 7264 E: devimamak@ghawazicaravan.com www.ghawazicaravan.com

Hathor Dance Studio

Bellydance Arabesque, Adelaide Bellydance, Bollywood, Tribal ATS, Fusion, Yoga, Performance and Tuition Beginners to Advanced Ph: (08) 8363 5499 E: regan@bellydancearabesque.com.au www.bellydancearabesque.com.au

Victoria

Newtown Middle Eastern Dance Centre

Bellique Bellydance

Leonie Sukan, Director, Sydmedfest Ruth Jost – Director, Bellydance Pantos Ph: 02 – 4519 3764 Mobile: 0411543764 www.sydmedfest.com

Alia Bellydancer, Northern Suburbs

Myra Fallon Classical, modern, tribal and world fusion Beginners to performance level Ph: 0408 115 044 E: info@bellydanceamethyst.com www.bellydanceamethyst.com

Jrisi Jusakos – Bellydance classes for Beginner to professional. Ph: 0409 243 764 E: jrisi@hathordancestudio.com.au www.hathordancestudio.com.au

Underbelly Dance Studio, Melbourne Classic Egyptian, tribal fusion, veil, double veil, Zills, swords, cane, floor work, fire, folkloric, African dance, samba and Bollywood Teachers, Trisnasari, Mel Rogers, Andrea Makris, Prue Welsh and Maria Sangiorgi Ph: (03) 9419 6620 E: prue@underbellydance.com

Western Australia

Ph: (07) 3359 4680 E: sismasse@eis.net.au www.winterwarmup.com.au

Ghawazi Caravan, Hazelbrook

Bellydance Kizmet, Barbara Wolfkamp Main studio, Brighton Classes also at Boxhill and Essendon Egyptian, tribal, folkloric. All levels Available for workshops Ph: (03) 9596 9588 or 0412 351 945 E: kizmetdance@optusnet.com.au www.bellydancekizmet.com.au

Performance and tuition, Melbourne Ph: 0408565707 E: info@belliquebellydanc.com www.belliquebellydance.com

Classes for fun, fitness and performance Ph: 0414 826 059 Ph: 0420 402 040 E: alia_bellydancer@live.com

Bellydance Central – Mystique Academy Northern Suburbs and Rockingham Ph: Shaheena (08) 9342 9460 or 0409 511 125 E: shaheena@iinet.net.au

Belyssa Academy of Danse Orientale Beckenham (est. 28 years) Ph: (08) 9458 4326 or 0417 182 096 E: belyssa@hotmail.com

Free Spirit Dance Community Based at South Fremantle High School Classes in tribal bellydance, bellydance, Bollywood, tribal fusion and yoga. Performances Quarterly haflas, troupe rehearsal space Richelle: 0437 152 659 Nicole: 0422 771 928 Kerry: 0409 114 819 www.freespiritdancecommunity.com

Rose Ottaviano, Perth Ph: 0412 686 518 E: roseott@ozemail.com.au www.rosebellydance.com

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www.shafirasbellydance.com/Belly-Dance-Diary.php Bellydance Oasis Issue 46 39


Workshops with Australia’s top teachers Dabke, Tribal, Folklore, Technique, drumming and more

Photograph by Matt Ucar

Terezka - Saiidi Live Jrisi - Entrances & Exits Elenie - Create a Dance Rose - Wake ‘Em Up Amera - Romantic Georgette - Get HAPPY Alma - Hagallah Prue - Double Veil Rishi - Big v Small Virginia - Shakin’ All Over

Gokden - Turkish Gypsy Shamira/Zahraa - No Substitute Tais - New Balady Margo - Tribal Made Easy Zoe - Moves Between Kristen - Spins & Turns Cynthia - Saiidi Shaabi Jamil - Drum Solo Elie - Dabke

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