Amabella Magazine V0, Summer 2017

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Vol. 0 - Spring/Summer 2017

AMABELLA Belly Dance • Costume • Lifestyle

Seeing Red

Affordable Lip Cocktails

Finger Cymbals Selection & Protection

Ten Tiny Events To hold this weekend!

Silent Shimmies Three Strategies for Crafting Quiet Hipwraps that Really Move!

Basinah Modern Belly Dance Classic Style

photos by Alisha Westerfeld

The comprehensive book about being a belly dancer through every phase of your dance journey from beginning student to pro.

Becoming a Belly Dancer: From Student to Stage A Stagecraft Handbook by

Sara Shrapnell Dawn Devine Alisha Westerfeld and Poppy Maya Book Specs 8” by 10” 402 pages 900+ B/W Photos

5 Star Reviews on

“Over the years I have seen many books being described as a handbook for belly dancers but up until now I’d never seen or read one that actually met me expectations.” NADA Magazine

“Becoming a Belly Dancer not only answers all the burning questions you always had about performing, but it answers a lot of questions you probably never even thought to ask.” Sophia Ravenna Author Sara Shrapnell has pulled together a tight team of dancers, writers, and photographers to produce the definitive guidebook for living the dance life. This book is a must-have for dancers who want to up their game in every facet of the dance from your mind set to your makeup, and everything inbetween.

Studio Davina Buy Direct

Now Available at your favorite dealer

“Soul to the last Drop”

Basinah Page 18

Photography by Alisha Westerfeld

Amabella V0 Inside This Issue 6 Letter from the Editor

10 Lip Cocktails

p 10

12 Belly Dance Art

16 Ten Tiny Events 18 Basinah Raqs

24 Belly Dance Gallery 10 Tiny

26 Zills: Selection & Protection Events

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30 Silent Shimmies: Quiet Hipwraps 32 Website Spring Clean

34 Book Reports: Faridah Fahmy 36 Inspirations: Instagram

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p 25

Mandala #9 George Goncalves & Dawn Devine see #5 on p 13

Letter From the Editor Hello and welcome to our debut edition of Amabella Magazine. This project has been a dream of mine for more than a decade, and I’m so pleased to share this inaugural issue. My personal mission is to make an informative, inspirational, and most importantly FREE, digital magazine devoted to belly dance. Over the past 20 years, I’ve worked in every facet of the magazine biz. I have written, edited, laid out, and art directed many publications. While I was working in all of these different capacities, I visualized having my own imprint. I’ve long dreamed of having my own publication, in the form of a digital magazine. In 2013, I made a one-off digital magazine, “Costumer’s Notes: Special Edition.” “Costumer’s Notes: Special Edition” gave me the proof of concept that I needed to test my ideas. The Issuu website allows us to deliver our content in flippable magazine style for the perfect price - free. As you read our magazine, if you see some a writer, article, or product you would like more info about, you can simply click where you are reading and jump to the website associated with the content. It makes research, shopping, and sharing links quick and easy. But what really makes this magazine a finished publication, rather than simply a dream, is the contribution of a team of talented writers, photographers, designers and thought leaders from around our community. Without their help, advice, and myriad contributions, this publication wouldn’t be possible. I am so grateful to be working with the great team. I am so proud of our project and so please you have chosen to visit and read it! I hope you enjoy our first edition of Amabella Magazine!

Dawn Devine ~ Davina July, 2017

Amabella Magazine V0 - Spring 2017 Editor in Chief - Art Director Dawn Devine ~ Davina Contributing Editors Sara Shrapnell Poppy Maya Copy Editor Joe Engledow Associate Copy Editors Judy Devine Michael Hyde Director of Photography Alisha Westerfeld Contributing Photographers Michael Baxter Technical Director Jerry Case Main Contact

Amabella Magazine is an imprint of

Ibexa Press P.O. Box 64391 Sunnyvale, CA 94088 USA

Mission Amabella Magazine is a digital publication published three times a year. We are devoted to sharing our passion for living, learning, and loving the world of belly dance. Subscription Visit our website and sign up for our mailing list. You will be notified via email when new issues are available. Print Copies Full color print copies are available for sale from our website. Price varies from issue-to-issue based on length. For more information, visit the issues page on our website Issues. Submissions Amabella Magazine is seeking original articles, artworks, and photography for future issues. For more details about our submission guidelines, visit our FAQ page of our website Copyright Info The views expressed by individual authors do not necessarily reflect those of Amabella Magazine and its editorial team. Advertisements in Amabella Magazine are not endorsements unless otherwise stated in the ad. Contributors of individual articles and advertisements are solely responsible for copyright of any text, images and other materials submitted to Amabella Magazine. All contributors retain sole copyright of text, images, and materials for each submission. For reprint rights of articles and images, please make direct contact with the author of their contribution. We accept advertising on the same basis as other reputable publications: that is, we shall not knowingly permit a dishonest advertisement to appear in Amabella Magazine, but at the same time, we will not undertake to guarantee the reliability of our advertisers. Amabella cannot be held responsible for unsolicited pictures, manuscripts, and products.

Sara Shrapnell

International Belly Dance Instructor Author - Coach - Workshops

Sara Shrapnell is a Belly Dance writer, teacher and performer. She is available to teach workshops in the USA and makes an annual return to her home country of England to teach and perform. In addition, she provides support to belly dance professionals through her books, blog, on-line lessons and one on one mentoring. The stagecraft handbook for belly dancers of all styles and all levels. Packed full of helpful advice, learned in the trenches tips and guidance for your belly dance journey. Available through Amazon. The book about setting up, planning, teaching and enjoying belly dance classes. Five star rated on Amazon “A must for anyone planning to teach belly dance!” “… my mind is just blown by the wealth of smart and useful information…” Sara is an instructor for the Belly Dance Business Academy. “The tools, training and support you need to build your belly dance business.” For more information visit Sara’s website Sara’s Email - Follow her on FaceBook -

Lip Cocktails

Building your custom color one layer at a time. Marilyn Monroe is often cited as putting on her lipstick in thin layers of different colors to create unique colors that women couldn’t buy off the rack. She also used contouring with different shades to create a fuller and more dramatic pout. As belly dancers, our mission is the same, to draw the eye with a brilliant red color, and frame our smile. Our makeup has to endure through the heat and perspiration. To make your lip-look last until the end of your performance, mix your own lip cocktail.


The first color layer is an all over stain made from a long lasting formula. Even if your more emollient lipsticks slide off, your stain will last until you take it off. Try: ELF’s Essential Lip Stain in Crimson Crush, No7 Lip Stain in Red, Or Maybelline SuperStay in All Day Cherry

Lip Liner

Lip liners occupy a critical role in developing a bold beautiful red lip. They work to define the lips, reinforcing and emphasizing the edges of your lips. In addition, a good lip liner will make a barrier to keep your lipstick from feathring. Lip liner also adds a depth as you build your layers. Retractable liners are best for last minute touch ups. Try: Rimmel Exaggerate liner in Red Diva or Nyx Retractable Lipliner in Red


Finish your lips off with a layer of lipstick, or for better lasting power, use two layers and blot inbeteen applications. Every makeup company has a red lipstick or two in their collection. Remember to apply your final layer right before stepping onto the stage for the ultimate in perfection. Try: Cult Classic Mac Ruby Woo or more affordable Wet n Wild MegaLast Lip Color in Stoplight Red

What’s Your Undertone?

Mac Cosmetics are a cult favorite among dancer for their intensity of pigment, and real staying power. Their wide range of mid-priced lipsticks includes a shade to enhance the three undertones. A visit to your local department store and a discussion with a makeup professional will help you identify your undertone. Mac’s three most iconic red lipstics for each undertone: Ruby Woo (C)

Red Rock (N)

Lady Danger (W)

Affordable Reds Gems of the drugstore

Soft - Supple - Smooth Lip Care & Prep Many of todays modern longwearing matte lipsticks can leave lips feeling parched. With a little bit of lip prep, you can keep your kisser in tip top shape. Here are three essential tips for keeping yours smooth and supple. 1 -Hydrate - Use a super hydrating balm or gel at night before bed to wake up with soft lips. Look for products with shea butter, vitamin e, and beeswax. Avoid camphor and methol which can be irritating. 2 - Exfoliate - Remove dry skin using a soft tooth brush or mix up a combo of sugar and honey to avoid flakes.

A few favorites from our editors collections - top drugstore picks for rocking a brilliant red lip. Clockwise from the top: Revlon Lustrus Cream Lipstick #740; Certainly Red. Milani Color Statement Matte #67, Matte Confidence; Almay Smart Shade Butter Kiss #80, Red, Light/Medium; L’Oreal Paris Color Riche Lipstick #315, True Red; Milani Color Statement Lipstick in 05, Red Label; Nyx Extra Creamy Round Lipstick, Chaos. At center: Wet’N’Wild Megalast #911, Stoplight Red.

3 - Protect - Sun damage affects lips too. To protect yourself, look for 30 SPF lip balm to wear daily under your lipstick.

Call For Submissions

Featured Work

Amabella Magazine is seeking original artwork for upcoming issues.

Belly Dance, Taking Over the World One Hip Drop at a Time

Belly Dance Art Every issue of our magzine includes a gallery of 2D artworks that feature belly dancers as a theme or subject. We are looking forward to publishing illustrations, paintings, photography, collage, montage, or any media that will reproduce well in a digital magazine format. If you are interested in sharing your artwork, visit our website’s FAQ page for more information. We would love to hear from you!

Mandala 5 George Goncalves & Dawn Devine

Opposite Page

Misty Dawn Waggoner of The Chubby Girl Belly Dance Chronicles

About the Artist: Born and raised in Texas, Misty has been dancing and creating her whole life, she grew up in a household where music was always playing. Now she combines her love of Belly Dance, Craft and Graphic Design to spread the word about the Dance that changed her life.

I Will Dance Through the Sands of Time Following Pages

Michael Baxter Photographer

An experimental alchemical view of dance. “I will dance” is first conveyed by Amber, who shows her inner determination. This force links to the outer world “through” Jill who moves “the sands of time” as rippling playthings. The will enlarges space within the dancer for all time. Models: Amber Dratz (L) and Jill Baker (R)

Ten Tiny Events... ...that

you can organize this weekend, to help build your belly dance community! By Sara Shrapnell

Haflas, shows, and workshops bring our local belly dance community together, but they also take months of organizing, and a team of volunteers. Here are ten ideas for tiny events that are quick to organize, fun to attend and help belly dancers connect with others in their community. 1 - Host a Coffee Club It’s a bit like a “Dinner Club”, but cheaper! Each month one dancer invites the others in the club to her favorite coffee shop. It makes for a great, casual get together, and you have a tour of the local area. Some dancers prefer wine bars for their monthly gatherings. 2 - Organize a Spa or Pamper Evening This is the perfect excuse to dress down, put on a face pack, soak those feet and moan about bad gigs! Hostess gets first pick of the pamper options. 3 - Plan a Swap Meet, Flea Market or Jumble Sale This is an annual tradition in every community in the UK. Bring your unwanted costumes, fabric and jewelry stash and buy, sell or swap with others. 4 - Run an Improv Night It you can hire a small studio space, suggest everyone brings a piece of music or two and experiment with improvising together. Prepare a lucky dip (or grab bag), so everyone has the challenge of a mystery piece of music. 5 - Set Up a Make Up Tutorial with a Before & After Photo Party The internet has millions of brilliant video tutorials (and thousands of crazy ones). Gather a group of belly dancers, pick a tutorial, and work through it together. Be prepared to model in a photo at the end of the try outs.

6 - Gather your Friends for a Sewing Circle and Costume Rehab Night Invite your crew to bring their unfinished sewing projects, their broken jewelry and their un-coordinated costumes to the hostess’s house and pass the projects around until they fall into the most capable hands.

7 - Book a Photographer Hire a local photographer and book each dancer a short studio session to update their marketing materials. Joining forces cuts down the costs and each dancer can help the others with poses or quick costume changes.

8 - Coordinate a Pot Luck Dinner The old ones are the best. Pick a theme and invite each attendee to bring a dish to share. Consider the countries of origin as inspiration for your menu. 9 - Volunteer your Living Room for a Show and Tell Ask each dancer to prepare a short talk on their favorite dancers and bring a video clip, DVD, or YouTube link that shows why they are so loved. 10 - Get Crafty, with a Craft Night We all have skills to share, from putting together a hair flower, to cutting out a pattern for a skirt. Set up a monthly meeting, where each dancer takes it in turns to share a skill with others. Plan to bring extra materials, so that everyone can take a turn. These mini events are perfect for uniting the student body for a teacher who had multiple classes, or for bringing together all the dancers who study at a studio. They are fun to organize the night before a big event, when dancers from out of town are gathering. Consider using them as an icebreaker if you are part of a committee organizing a big event, or if you are new in town and want to get to know your new community. Tiny events should be less stress for the organizers, so everyone can share the fun!

Basinah Raqs Basinah is a Bay Area native who has been performing and studying belly dance for more than a decade! Her first lesson was a birthday present and she had no idea it would turn into a love affair. Shimmies stole her heart, belly dance has become part of her soul… Basinah has been trained in Tahitian, Hula, Ballet, Hip Hop, and of course the exotic Art of Belly Dance. She is a multiaward winning dancer celebrating her latest first place win this past April at the 2017 Hot Raqs Festival in Clovis, CA (hosted by Andalee Owens). She was also a trophy winning finalist at the 2017 Belly Dancer of the Year Competition in Orinda, CA (hosted by Jennifer Cooper). You can find Basinah Performing all around the Bay Area at Restaurants, festivals, and public events.

Q: What is your current go-to dance prop?

Q: Which band/singer do you like to perform to live?

My go-to dance prop is a veil. I love getting all wrapped up in silk. I also love my fire tray, isis wings, and swords!

I love live music! There a magic to it, dancer and music, musician and movement, pure emotion right before your eyes. Often at performances, I ask the musician to play their favorite song or something they suggest, it’s always great! We are so lucky in the San Francisco Bay Area to have such saturation of incredible musicians. My local bands are, Arabian Passion Band (Nazir Latouf, Reda Darwish, and Khader Keileh), Mary Ellen Donald, Caravan Band (Amina Goodyear, SuSu Pampin, Nazir Latouf, and Younes Makboulh), Pangia, Tahneen, Light Rain, and Helm.

Q: Who is your favorite performer in person and on line? Ah! So hard to pick a favorite, too many stunning dancers in our community! I have recently been watching a lot of videos with the Golden Era dancers: Taheya Karioka, Samia Gamal, Naima Akef. I just adore them! But just a few of the many modern dancers I can always watch a video from and swoon are: Sadie Marquardt, Aziza of Cairo, Aziza of Montreal, Diva Darina, Ekaterina Oleinikova, and Cassandra Fox.

Q: Do you have a pre-gig routine? Before a show if I don’t do anything else, I make sure I hydrate, if I don’t I end up feeling quite unwell after my set. Coconut water or Gatorade are life savers. When getting ready, I listen to my music and end up dancing around the house with eyeliner in hand. Once at the venue, I get my costume on, pinned and secured! (Baby Diaper Pins are the best!) Make sure that I am stretched and warmed up. Take a few deep breathes and then show time!

Q: How many costumes to do you own? How many are in current rotation? I think I might need Belly Dance Costumes Anonymous, I have a lot of costumes. I started dancing when I was 12, so I have been collecting these beauties for a long time. I love them all, it’s so hard to let them go... unless they just don’t fit anymore or can be salvaged into another beauty. Thanks mom! I like to rotate them regularly so all the sparkles get the love they deserve. Q: What is your best advice for dancers who dream of going pro? My advise is if you want it, work for it and DO IT. Having a regular person life (full time job, family, friends, pets) and a Belly Dancer Alter Ego is so incredibly rewarding and fun. But juggling it all can be a struggle. I always end up having to ask myself, after working my 8-5 Silicon Valley Techie job, do I want to watch a show and be lazy on the couch or do I need to practice and get my set ready for the next show? Grrr! The trade-offs kill me, I normally just do it all and sleep less, but that’s not for everyone. Q: What is your most memorable performance moment? It would have to be when I was named Basinah. My first teacher, Shelpa (a student of Dunia)

presented me with my name in the old school American Cabaret way. She arranged a feast and had invited all of my family and friends. I had no idea that the feast was for me! She told me to craft a set about 15 minutes long: Intro song, fast song, slow song, prop song, fast song, Exit Song- all to be played with zills and the use of a prop of my choosing. Of course, because I’m crazy I did over 20 minutes, with zills, veil, and sword. I had crafted my set filled with surprises. No one knew that I had been working on sword balancing. So on feast night we all show up ready to dance and party, me still thinking it was a regular show. I was confused why everyone was wearing darker colors and I showed up in orange! When it was my performance time, my teacher called me up and gave a little speech. She told me that this was MY feast and that I was going to be presented with my performance name this night. Traditionally the student would perform his or her set and the teacher would present them their name after, but not for me. This would be the first time I would dance under the name Basinah. My name means “catlike”, chosen for my slinky nature, sassy dance style, and mane like hair. She had my name chosen for weeks, I was the first student to receive a dance name in her reign of teaching.

Basinah has been featured as a model in several publications by Dawn Devine including “The Cloth of Egypt and Zills: Music on Her Fingertips” and the co-authored book “Becoming a Belly Dancer: From Student to Stage“ by Sara Shrapnell, Dawn Devine, Poppy Maya with photography by Alisha Westerfeld.

Alisha Westerfeld Photographer Portraits • Event • Travel View her growing portfolio

Belly Dance Gallery Introduce yourself to the Amabella family! Send us a photo along with your name, hometown, profession and web site. The editorial team will pull a selection out of the hat each issue to feature in our photo gallery. We want to see dancers from around the world, dancing at all levels and in all styles of belly dance. Show off your favorite photo, the one that makes you feel fabulous, osensual, strong, or adorable. We also love to see your troupes! Please only send us photos of yourself, that you have permission to use from your photographer. Send a print-quality image. We prefer a 5” by 7” or 8” by 10” digital image at 300dpi in a high resolution .jpg, .tiff, .png, or .pdf. Although we are a digital magazine, print editions are available. We want you to look your absolute best! Send your file with your name, location, title, website/link, and the name of your photographer to


 San Francisco/Bay Area, Ca Professional belly dancer Photo by Alisha Westerfeld

Neshee Dolu

 Livermore, ca, Festival Troupe Photo by Alisha Westerfeld


 Tribal Fusion Performer San Francisco/Bay Area, Ca Photo by Alisha Westerfeld


 San Francisco/Bay Area, Ca Instructor • Performer Photo by Alisha Westerfeld

Ea Indigo

 Pleasanton, Ca Belly Dance Performer Photo by Dawn Devine

Inara the Great  Oxnard, Ca ATS & Tribal Fusion Instructor • Performer Photo by Alisha Westerfeld

Finger Cymbals Selection & Protection

One part instrument, one part prop, and perhaps the most iconic element of a belly dance performance are the distinctive ring of finger cymbals. While scholars can theorize about the development of dance moves through the ages, finger cycmbals are part of the archeological record dating back to the 3rd century BCE. The Magic is in the Metal No matter how large or small your finger cymbals, the shape of the dome, width of the lip, thinness of the metal, the number one factor that impacts the sound quality of your instruments is the metal from which they are made. If there is no copper in the metallurgic recipe, known as an alloy, in your zills or sagat, your finger cymbals will simply not ring.

Copper Changed the World The first metal smelted and turned into objects by humankind was copper, and it gave rise to the name of the historic period “Copper Age,” also known as the Chaleolithic. Copper itself is quite malleable, soft, and tools and instruments made from copper will lose their shape quickly. So people went on a quest to find ingredients that would strengthen the copper, so stronger tools, untensils, and instruments could be forged. Today, there are three major groups of “Red Metals,” alloys that have a high level of copper in the mix, often giving the resulting metal a rosy hue. Although pure copper finger cymbals appear, they are rare, and difficult to find.

Zill Pile

Photo by Alisha Westerfeldf From the book, “Zills: Music On Your Finger Tips” by Dawn Devine, Alisha Westerfeld, and George Goncalves

Bronze The oldest of the three red metals is bronze, an alloy made with copper, tin, and sometimes a third metal such as zinc, nickel or aluminum. The bronze era began around 1300 BCE and is still being used today for making bells, gongs, and cymbals of all sizes. Manufacturers of cast finger cymbals use bronze, and the most common formula is B12. (Image below: left)

Brass Unlike its precursor, brass is made primarily of copper and zinc. The addition of zinc makes this metal much more malleable, so it can be twisted and molded into wildly fantastic shapes. In the 18th century, the machine age brought better tools for smelting and tooling brass, and a whole new category of instruments, all those horns in the brass section, really took off. Brass finger cymbals are the easiest to find. They resist corrosion, a problem with bronze, and will hold up to rigorous use, unlike their pure copper counter-parts. (Image below: bottom right)

German Silver This silver colored alloy was developed during the 19th century and is often considered a subset of brass, called white brass or silver brass. It is used to make the orchestral instruments piccolos and flutes. You will find silver-toned finger cymbals made from this metal labeled as nickel silver, German silver, Argentan, or electrum. It’s a nickel based alloy that varies wildly in recipe but almost always includes zinc in the mix. This is a softer metal that standard brass, and you will find zills or sagat are more easily scratched. (Image below: top)

Tips for Selecting Finger Cymbals However, at the end of the day, there are a few guidlines to use when considering the purchase of a new set of finger cymbals.

Give them a test drive Do they sound good to your ear. Simply put, you won't practice and play instruments that don't sound nice to you.

Pick your metal to "match your style"

Practice Practice Practice Belly dance instructor Sara Shrapnell encourages dancers to practice as much as possible. Make or buy a set of mufflers like the crochet variety pictured above to mute the sound during practice sessions. Pay attention to the condition and fit of your elastic regularly, so when you are ready to practice or perform, you instruments are ready to go!

If you only wear silver as your primary metal, you might prefer German silver zills or sagat to coordinate with your costuming, jewelry and accessories. If you wear a lot of gold, brass instruments may harmonize more easily with your wardrobe.

Choose comfort Start with smaller finger cymbals and work your way up if you like. If you have troubles with your hands, tiny, child-sized finger cymbals, might give tired, sore, or injured hands a place to begin.

Buy the best quality you can afford Like jewelry, makeup and costuming, the more you spend, the better quality products you will get. And like makeup - those among us with better skills can make even inexpensive zills sound good. But it’s a good rule of thumb to buy the best quality you can afford. Choosing a name brand set will ensure a better sound and look, higher quality metal and more precioun surface finish.

Purchase a style and shape that your guru, mentor, or instructor recommends If your instructor teaches zills with one hole, you will want to purchase a similar set so that you can integrate the “wobble” into your technique. If your instructor prefers double slot cymbals with a firmer fit to the finger, that style of zill will help you master their sound and technique.

Storing Finger Cymbals Of course, once you have selected the perfect set that look great and sound breautiful, be sure to purchase or make a bag or wallet for your instruments. A distinctive storage bag for your cymbals makes them easy to find in your class tote or gig kit. If you don’t want them to chip or scratch, store them in a wallet with each cymbal tucked into it’s own slot. If you are concerned about tarnishing, choose a firmly woven fabric bag that will shut out light and air, and thus reduce coorosion. Of course, if you own a lot of different sets, be sure that each of your storage bags, pouches, or wallets is unique, distinctive, and memorable. So you can grab the right pair for your intended venue.

Find more information about the history, metallurgy, use, and care of finger cymbals, pick up a copy of “Zills: Music on Your Fingertips.” By Dawn Devine, Alisha Westerfeld and George Goncalves.

Belly Dance Business Academy Online Classes Coaching Circle Membership Private Consulting

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Membership and classes are free. Enroll today!

Silent Shimmies

Quiet Hip Wraps for Class and Workshops

Have you ever missed a comment a dance instructor has made during a workshop or class? Was someone absentmindedly fidgeting? Have you been in a dance space where the jingle of 10-100 ladies shaking drowned out the music? Has your bottom been part of the problem? The best solution? Wear a silent hip wrap!

Coin Hip Sashes Break

I think we’ve all seen the floor of a dance studio after a whole passel of dancers have taken class? There are almost always beads, pressed coins, and rhinestones scattered across the floor. Stepping on the flotsam and jetsam of deteriorating hip wraps is uncomfortable to step on, can cause slippage, and always makes extra work in Here are three good reasons the clean up. to tuck a quiet hip wrap into your bag for your next learning experience.

Coin Sashes are Uncomfortable During workshops, you may wind up taking a moment to sit down while the instructor demonstrates a combo or explains a move. Where ever you are standing, you just plunk down to the ground. Coins can poke you, they can twist and cut the threads, leading to breakage.

Coin Hip Sashes are not Unique

With all the possibilities for hip wraps, from purchased scarves to hand-made Of course, one of the best fringe sashes, why not wear reasons not to wear a coin something to enhance your hip sash, aside from the dance rather than risk getbreakage and the discomting poked, making a lot fort of sitting on them, is of noise, seeing someone that they simply aren’t that wearing the same sash, unique. and having it fall apart if you dance to hard, chose to dance over to the quiet side.

Opposite: Dance Instructor and Author Sara Shrapnell, models three different belts that pack a lot of visual punch without disrupting a crowded class. Photo by Alisha Westerfeld from the book, “Becoming a Belly Dancer: From Student to Stage.”

DIY a Bouncy Spandex Fringe Hip Belt In the example opposite left, Sara models a bouncy, fluffy, and compleately silent belt featuring hand cut fringe. This style of belt is easy to craft If you own a sewing machine, sewing shears or rotary cutter, pins and thread. Simply cut four rectangles as wide as your hips, and an additional rectangle long enough to wrap around your hips and tie. Draw evenly spaced lines along your base cloth as sewing guides. Slice into your hip-length pieces, cutting 1/2” 1” wide strips being sure to leave a solid connector strip at the top. Pin in place along the guidelines and sew by machine.

Invest in a Beautiful Shawl Perhaps the easiest silent hip-wrap is a beautiful triangluar shawl. Designed for wear around the shoulders, triangles can easily be pressed into service as a hip wrap. Sara’s peacock pattern velvet shawl is strategically beaded for maximum effect. An assiut triangle, like the one at left, can be integrated into a variety of different ethnographic and tribal costume ensembles for stage. It can also lead a double life serving as lovely shawl when going out on the town and as a silent hip wrap for your next dance class or workshop. Think about all the ways that you can integrate a beautiful triangular shawl into your costuming while shopping in ready-to-wear boutiques and department stores.

Website Spring Clean

by Poppy Maya

Your website is your shop front. Every day people visit your site to find out more about you as a dancer. They arrive with questions: Can they book you to dance? Can they take lessons with you? Can they buy your product? But, if your information is out of date, or no longer relevant, they may move on to the next website. Take a few hours today to check over your website and make sure it is easy to use, up to date and user friendly. I have compiled a simple check list for you to use as you spring clean your website. Visit each page and ask yourself these questions: • Is the main photo of you up to date? • Is your sidebar or top bar easy to read? • Do all the links work? • Is the first impression one that explains clearly who you are and your business? • Is your elevator pitch up to date? • Does your page look too busy? • How many different colors are you using (less is more!)? • Is your text easy to read? • Is your location clear?

• Does your mailing list sign up still work? • Is your web page mobile friendly? Check on a variety of different phones, not just your own. • Are you offering an easy way for people to connect with you on social media? • Are you using photos and video wisely? • Are you offering an easy way for them to contact you? • Does it fit in with your overall branding? Check your fonts, sizing, colors. • Is your dance style reflected in your web site branding? • Do you need to update your text in areas like your bio to reflect your recent experiences? • Do you have upcoming events, classes or performances that need to be added to your calendar page? • Have you removed out of date information? • Are there any pages that are no longer relevant? If your web site is large, or this list seems overwhelming, tackle each task one at a time and work towards improving your web site over the next few weeks. Your website can be fabulous, useful and informative. Keep it updated, stylish and relevant and people will return time after time!

Poppy Maya International Belly Dancer Events & Workshops Costume Styling

Book Reports

The Creative Development of Mahmoud Reda - Contemporary Egyptian Choreographer. by Farida Fahmy, Masters of Dance Thesis, UCLA If you are obsessed with the history of dance in Egypt, do not wait to get a copy of Farida Fahmy’s Master’s thesis on the subject of Mahmoud Reda. This is a 96 page deep dive into the Reda style, influences, history, and lasting impact on the Egyptian dance world. Although a master’s thesis, and written in an academic mode, I feel that this publication will give any serious dance enthusiast a richer peek into the world of iconic dance master Mahmoud Reda.

Mahmoud was born in 1930, and as a young dancer, was influenced by Hollywood song and dance men, Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire. He trained as a gymnast and made it to the world’s biggest sporting stage, the Olympics, at the 1952 games in Helsinki. The famous Reda troupe was founded by Mahmoud and his brother Ali, along with iconic Egyptian dancer Farida Fahmy. His vision was to present classic and folkloric Egyptian cultural dances in a compelling and stylish way. With better quality and more appealing costumes and choreography, presentation and style, which elevated Egyptian dance from the streets to the stage. This well researched, detailed work, was written by a key participant of this important dance troupe. In this thesis, Farida has documented the foundation, development, and impact of the Reda Troupe group and traces the career of it’s leader, Mahmoud Reda. As a principle dancer, Fahmy is uniquely positioned to share this information not just from the point of view of someone who was there, but also as a scholar of dance ethnology. In this work, Fahmy presents valuable insights into how Mahmoud brought his creative vision of Egyptian folkloric dance to the global stage. Although I bought this as a digital publication, I had it printed and bound so I could make notes in the margins, read and reread the details, and have a copy on my shelf to consult as an important reference. This thesis is available as an e-boook in .pdf format in 7 languages including English, Italian, Dutch, Danish, Spanish, Afrikaans, and Japanese. At the time of publication, it was available on her website for only $15. Available on her website: http://

Above and Opposite Promotional images for the Reda Troupe illustrate the theatrical approach to staging. Images like these helped create desire and shape the taste of the global theater going public.

Inspirations - Instagram



Premier Instagram belly dance phenomenon, Cassandra’s videos are the perfect blend of showmanship, a high-level of skill, and humor. Always inspiring and entertaining!



Contemporary Turkish-fusion dance artist, Mr. Ozgen’s feed is filled with performance clips, behind the scenes of his travels and shows, snippets of his well attended workshops. Follow him as he travels the world.

Dancer - Instructor and Owner/Manager of LA Area dance studio, Movement Art Space. Her feed features classes, video clips, photos of events, and more.




From real-life back-stage shots, fuzzy cats, vintage punk rock images, and tarot cards. The mix is unique, the point of view is intense, and the video clips are inspiring!

Princess Farhana

Mr. Ozgen

For a dash of San Francisco style, follow the shenanigans of this ATS style troupe based out of San Jose, CA, House of Inanna. This fabulous feed is filled with gorgeous dancers, fitness professionals, and yoga aficionados wearing her attire. She reposts images from her customer’s designs tagged #inmymelos.

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