Why, why, why? by Beatrice Walker

Why am I torturing myself? Why am I spending so much time perfecting a technique when it is “just” a hobby? Why? I asked myself this question regularly and often when I hit a roadblock and I can’t figure out to overcome it. But I always end up going back to the basics and remember how I felt when I was not as active in the program: alone … I felt alone and with no purpose.

It was an accident!

My encounter with belly dancing was a total accident. A friend of mine who knew a friend who knew a friend…

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Arabic Music Listening Exercise

It’s a new year and I couldn’t be happier! January is always an exciting time, especially if you are excited by goals, resolutions and new office supplies like me…truly I am still on the hunt for a stylish weekly whiteboard for my office. I find myself trying out new activities to satisfy my resolutions. Last year, it was new ways to organize and inspiration boards.

This year, it is journaling and writing. I’ve found myself diving into blog posts, journals and collages. I’m writing a…

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The Music of Suhaila Salimpour’s Enta Omri

Hi all! The Atlanta debut of Suhaila Salimpour’s Enta Omri is just around the corner. One of the things that makes me so excited about this show is that it features classical Arabic music. Now, while that excites this Arabic music nerd, Arabic music is not something many people are very familiar with. I’d like to help bridge that gap with some preparation. Yes, many of these pieces are long, deep with meaning and every changing Arabic maqam (musical modes). I’d like to try to simplify some of these concepts for you in…

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Why I Chose the Salimpour Certification Program

Hi all, today’s blog post is personal. I wanted to talk about why I chose to certify in the Salimpour School of Dance. This past week there has been a lot of conversation around belly dance burn out and the change of the industry, which has made me reflect on my study and what I bring to my students. I’m not comparing or contrasting this program to others, this is my own personal experience and I hope it helps you think about this program as well!

My first Suhaila…

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Dancers…let’s work on your introductions.

Whether you are dancing nightly at a restaurant or performing at your first student hafla, your introduction is important. As dancers, we tend to focus on our choreography, our music and our costume…yet many times we tend to leave our intro’s for the last minute. I think many of us leave it to the last minute because we have trouble writing about ourselves or our pieces – get over it. This is the first interaction with you and the audience – make it a great first impression!  I recently asked Atlanta emcee Sig Sawyer what dancers should provide in…

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Why Belly Dancers Should Take Music Classes

10429455_10153039963806690_7856203292189762348_nWe’ve all done it. We get super jazzed about the next BIG festival and cannot WAIT to take from our favorite dance stars. There are a bazillion classes all scheduled at the same time and the absolute last thing on our mind are those music classes. Perhaps there is a class about drum rhythms, perhaps there is a class about musicality and dance or perhaps there is a class about Arabic musical modes called maqamat. (Ahem…I teach that class and I can tell you most dancers do go screaming in the…

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Sama’i is much more than a rhythm…

Most belly dancers have heard of the sama’i thaqil rhythm. It’s a 10/8 made popular by the Andalusian song Lamma Bada Yatathanna. But the term sama’i has many meanings in classical Arabic music. Let’s explore!

Side note: In the Arabic language many words originate from a root word comprised of consonants. The word sama’i means listening and come from the root word s-m-‘ (سمع) which means to hear, to listen, pay attention, be told, hear about. More info to be found here.

1. The 10/8 Rhythm (Yeah, yeah we know…)

Samai’I thaqil roughly translates to heavy listener. The rhythm consists…

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Tips for Performing with a Live Band

Performing with a live band is probably one of the most exhilarating experiences I’ve had as a performer. As a dancer and a musician, it’s what I live for. I’ve often joked that if someone approached me with a gig to perform with a professional Arabic band 5 nights I week, I’d drop my entire life to do it. Interaction with live musicians is an experience I hope all…

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Marketing Food For Thought

This past weekend I conducted a campaign-based marketing class at TribOriginal. The class went great, and I enjoyed our discussions! Here are the notes for anyone who wasn’t able to attend or didn’t get a copy.

1. It’s all about timing – Whether you are planning an event, wanting to increase the numbers in your classes, or book more gigs – timing is everything.

Time for participant prep
Might be longer or shorter in your area/ city/ student base
Are your students procrastinators or planners?

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