Belly Dancer Tribute 2/18/12: Yassmeen Samra (Los Gatos, CA) original Tweet 10/5/11, What is your favorite recollection of “The Belly Dancer Magazine” or Yassmeen Samra?

Black Belly DancersBelly Dancer Tribute 2/18/12: Yassmeen Samra (Los Gatos, CA) original Tweet 10/5/11

Do you ever think back to when you were a kid and what you wanted to be when you grew up?

Surprisingly (or not), the first thing I wanted to be at age 5 was a dancer.

I am so glad that my mom allowed me to take dances lessons in ballet, tap & jazz.  She also enrolled me in acrobatics, but I was so horrible at acrobatics that I gave up.  I can’t turn a decent somersault or do the splits if my life depended on it.

I love it when I see any “older” person turn a flip, like Diana Ross did in The Wiz, tee hee.  I get a big kick out of it, because it’s something I can’t do.

I had a life-changing event in 1973 and was forced to change my life goal.  My next favorite thing to do was write.  I was an editor on the newspaper and yearbook staffs during high school.  So no more dancing, from now on, Journalism.  My father worked as a photographer for a local newspaper so when I graduated from high school, I saw my future as a journalist at the same newspaper.  I majored in journalism in college, until . . .

Ut-oh, life happened again and a new change happened in 1977-78.  Journalism was out, baby was in, 1977.  Then came Belly dance in 1978.  I taught my little sister Candy everything I learned in my belly dance classes.  One year I was at her dance recital and a little girl (show-off) was dancing to “ I want to be a dancer.”  I cried when I saw that and knew that I wanted to dance.

So dance I did from the late 1970s onward.  I was still in college, but noticed that I kept changing my major to classes that would help me in dance like Costume History, Sewing, Business Administration, etc.  And along the way, I ended up doing more dancing than college, with teaching dance, travelling, performing and directing my dance troupe.

When you are at age 5 and want to be a dancer and then become a teen and pick a more practical vocation, it is so hard to predict that you will end up doing what you wanted to do at age 5.  Who knew?

Yassmeen Samra was a Mentor for me in so many ways.  I am so proud to have had a chance to meet her in person at a dance workshop in Fort Worth, TX sponsored by Carol Shannon featuring Bert Balladine.  I also met Amaya there and saw George Abdo perform Live in person.  Talk about a dream belly dance workshop!  I tried to recreate those types of Dream workshops back when I used to sponsor workshops with great teachers like Bert Balladine, Amaya, Raja Zahr, Lala Hakim, Morocco, Aisha Ali, DeAnn, The Sirocco Band, the Trans Arabian Band and many more.

I used to contact Yassmeen Samra by mail (not email, cell phone or fax back then, LOL) back in the late 1970s and early 1980s because I was a customer of her Belly Dance Bazaar.  She had some great items.  And she mentioned that she had became a Multi-Millionaire.

Yassmeen, you are my personal Hero in dance.  With so many achievements as far as journalism, financial success in dance, personal style in dance and just being a great role model.  I wish you were still around, I don’t know what happened to you, where you are, if you are still dancing, etc.  I wish I still had some of my copies of the Belly Dancer Magazine from the late 1970s.  But a lot can happen from 1980 to 2012.  I have lived in different houses, sometimes my favorite magazines were stored in the basement, some of them got moisture damage and ended up being thrown away.

But, please check with your local libraries to see if they can get copies of them:

Hello,

It looks like the magazine is in storage at New York Public Library.  Were you hoping to find an article or did you need any information about the magazine itself?  I also checked the Los Altos library, but they don’t show the magazine in their catalog.   Let us know if we can help you with more information.

Melinda Mattingly, Reference Librarian

Also, I sent an email today to Lynette Holloway.  She wrote: “From flab to fab: belly dance your way to fitness,” for the August 2007 issue of Ebony Magazine.  Her website is listed below and it has her contact email address in it.  Please contact her and suggest doing an article that includes dancers like Nakish, Yassmeen Samra, Zarifa Aradoon, etc.  Also, the 1st 2 links below pertain to that article.

Again, 6 Degrees of Separation, shows how our belly dance paths are linked as one journey.

http://blackbellydancers.tribe.net/thread/6217a9a4-2f20-4725-a5c0-f7318dbd9c89
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1077/is_10_62/ai_n19378636/?tag=content;col1
http://nubiandivas.tribenetwork.com/thread/611625f8-d768-41da-8a3f-3007992ed281
http://lynetteholloway.net/
http://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=5856802912&searchurl=bi%3Ds%26pics%3Don%26vci%3D14508
For
more Dance Gossip & Goodies, check out my book, "Learn to Belly Dance Textbook" available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble :
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/learn-to-belly-dance-textbook-certification-program-shalimar-ali/1105014103?ean=9781465346582&itm=1&usri=9781465346582

I will be posting some of my original Dancer Tributes in WordPress, only the early ones that were in Twitter only, not WordPress.  Back when I first starting posting the dancer tributes on Twitter I only had 2 subscribers.  Now that I have more, I realized that a lot of people missed my early dancer tributes.  But as I am reposting those, I will also keep adding new content for topics like Dance Choreography, new Dancer tributes, etc.

Black Belly Dancers

Yassmeen1

Now is your time to Join the Conversation!  Comments, questions, concerns, controversy, rebuttals, tributes, etc., are all welcome!

What is your favorite recollection of “The Belly Dancer Magazine” or Yassmeen Samra?

Belly Dancer Tribute 2/2/12: Lala Hakim (Egypt/Montreal, Canada) original Tweet 9/28/11, What is your favorite dance by Lala Hakim?

Lala1Belly Dancer Tribute 2/2/12: Lala Hakim (Egypt/Montreal, Canada) original Tweet 9/28/11

I first found out about Lala Hakim when she taught a workshop in St. Louis MO many years ago.  I LOVE the St. Louis Belly Dance community!  Lala was running a bit late for the workshop, so the St. Louis dancers asked me to fill in and teach a bit before arrived.  Wow!  Talk about an honor!

The real honor came when I first got a chance to study with Lala Hakim during her workshop.  She instantly became one of my FAVORITE dancers and I absolutely had to study more dance with her beyond that workshop.

Lucky me, she was planning a weekend workshop in Montreal.  I was so excited to be able to attend.  I LOVED Montreal!  It was like visiting France without a long plane ride.  I love seeing familiar American restaurants renamed in French, like Kentucky Fried Chicken was Poulet Frit Kentucky and Coca Cola was de Coca Cola.  I loved seeing the trademark pictures that I recognized but seeing a different language.

I learned many dances from Lala Hakim including Egyptian cabaret style, Saidi, Cane Dance at both the St. Louis Workshop and her weekend workshop.  I also got a chance to study with the fabulous Gamila Asfour at Lala’s workshop as well.

Lala Hakim was one of my absolute favorite dancers, so I also asked her to teach a dance workshop in my hometown as well.  That was so much fun!  We had live music at that show by Brothers of the Baladi.  And at first, Lala only wanted to perform her solo to her taped music.  But after she heard the band, she decided to do an impromptu free style dance with the band.  What a treat!

Lala Hakim provided music tapes when she taught workshops, and I really loved the music that I got from her.  I did a choreography to one song, not sure of the name, but I called it “Sahara City" because I have a different version of that song on one of my other albums that is named Sahara City:

11. a. Hip Thrusts L—2 cts.
b. Hip Thrusts R—2 cts. c. Turn 2-3/rib drop—3 cts.
Bounce step in place, for music transition
12. Hip Shimmy in big circle—16 cts.
Mamie Section
1. a. Hip Thrusts—2 cts. slow to L, face aud.
b. Hip Thrusts—2 cts. slow to R, " "
c. Hip Thrusts—2 cts. slow to L, " "
d. Hip Thrusts—2 cts. slow to R, " "
e. Turn—4 cts. f. Cissy—5 times (RL RLR)

I have a cousin who passed away, but what I sometimes do is take a regular step that I see someone dancing to, just regular dancing and use it in a Belly Dance routine.  I remember my cousin Mamie performing the “Cissy” many years ago (just told my age, didn’t I, LOL), and I loved her “attitude” when she danced it, so I named that section of the choreography after her.  My tribute to Lala Hakim is on page 196 of my book.

Here is the link to see Lala Hakim’s videos:

http://www.lalahakim.com/videos.htm
http://www.gildedserpent.com/cms/2010/11/26/marthyna-belly-dance-quebec/
http://www.lalahakim.com/
For more dance gossip & goodies, check out my book, "Learn to Belly Dance Textbook" available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble :
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/learn-to-belly-dance-textbook-certification-program-shalimar-ali/1105014103?ean=9781465346582&itm=1&usri=9781465346582

I will be posting some of my original Dancer Tributes in WordPress, only the early ones that were in Twitter only, not WordPress.  Back when I first starting posting the dancer tributes on Twitter I only had 2 subscribers.  Now that I have more, I realized that a lot of people missed my early dancer tributes.  But as I am reposting those, I will also keep adding new content for topics like Dance Choreography, new Dancer tributes, etc.

Lala2

Gamila Asfour

Now is your time to Join the Conversation!  Comments, questions, concerns, controversy, rebuttals, tributes, etc., are all welcome!

What is your favorite dance by Lala Hakim?

Belly Dancer Tribute 1/31/12: Dalia Carella (New York, NY). What is your favorite dance by Dalia Carella?

Dalia4Belly Dancer Tribute 1/31/12: Dalia Carella (New York, NY)

Sometimes a dance artist is so inspiring when you see them perform, you are urged to try to study with them more, beyond attending just one workshop or seeing them perform in a video.  That has rarely happened in my dance career, so there are just a few dancers on a short of those that I want to soak up their knowledge, in perhaps a 3 –5 day workshop.

I was fortunate to be able to study with most of those dancers on my list like Morocco, DeAnn, Lala Hakim, Amaya, etc.  But I also have a few names, that if my work schedule and vacation time permits, I still want to study more, to soak up more of their flavor.  Because their dance is so inspiring that I need/want to learn more.  Amaya is still on my list, also I wish I could participate in the upcoming San Francisco event with Horacio Cifuentes.   Ah, those were the days my friends, when I had the jobs with so much vacation time off, etc.

I was so lucky to be able to take one workshop (so far) with Dalia Carella in St. Louis.  I had stayed in touch with her for quite some time, to see if I would be able to study with her in New York.  So far, job situation has not allowed something so great, but hey, I can wish and dream, right?

Dalia’s dancing can actually TRANSFORM you into a different world, time and place.  She takes you on a journey, whether it visiting Gypsies or her elegant, timeless Dance Oriental cabaret style.

As Fred Sanford used to say to Elizabeth, hold on Dalia, perhaps one day I’ll be coming to study more with you.

 

http://www.daliacarella.com
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Tribal_Style_Belly_Dance
For
more dance gossip & goodies, check out my book, "Learn to Belly Dance Textbook" available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble :
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/learn-to-belly-dance-textbook-certification-program-shalimar-ali/1105014103?ean=9781465346582&itm=1&usri=9781465346582

Dalia1

Dalia3

Dalia2

Now is your time to Join the Conversation!  Comments, Questions, concerns, tributes are all welcome!

What is your favorite dance by Dalia Carella?

Belly Dance Tribute 12/29/11: Signature Moves/Dances

Amaya2Belly Dance Tribute 12/29/11: Signature Moves/Dances:  Have you noticed that some dancers have awesome Signature Moves?  For example, I remember learning the Basic Beledi step from Bert Balladine many years ago and I love it so much I use it in a lot of choreographies.  Amaya does this fancy turn step with her arms.  When I see her do that turn, it speaks “Amaya Dance Talk.”  Check out the YouTube video clip of Amaya and look at about 20 seconds into the dance when she does the turn.  (Amaya, what is the name that fancy turn you got going on girlfriend?  Whenever I watch Amaya dance, I want to take more lessons with her again.)   I remember learning the Hip Down Shimmy from Mahmoud Reda back in the early 1980s, which I nicknamed Reda Shimmy (or maybe that’s name of the shimmy).  When I learned Saidi from Lala Hakim, she taught a move with our hands waving in the air whilst we are traveling back, to remember this step, I nicknamed it the Mickey Mouse move.  With Neon of New York, NY what I love best is her Smile!  I know that sounds goofy, considering she can balance that tray  of candles while wearing a cape like nobody’s business.  But when I put on the Love Potion DVD, I love to do that one on a Monday night because her smile lights up the room, it cheers me up and gets me in a great mood to dance.  I talked about “phoning in” a dance show, but I think Neon’s smile is very genuine and bright.  As a performer our mood can affect the audience’s mood and we are not just merely executing dance movements, we projecting attitude and emotions as well.  With Suhaila Salimpour, she will forever be the person I feel that introduced locks, pops and drops.  There are some great dancers doing that today, but I remember Suhaila teaching that in dance seminars 20 or so years ago.  She was the innovator of those moves and also the squeezing gluts, which she demonstrated so well as a guest artist on the Ellen DeGeneres show. 

Let’s talk Signature Dances!  With Amaya, I love seeing her dance to Amayaguena by the Trans Arabian Sound Band, especially when she wears the costume with the hat and pants.  It is so authentic and her spirit changes on that dance, in my opinion.  That music was created for her, so it seems to be a very deep, personal experience when I watch her perform to it.  I love watching Nagwa Fouad perform to Samara by Setrek Sarkissian.  Especially the version when she is carried out and is posing with the fan.  You go Belly Dance Queen of Egypt Nagwa, the Princess of Cairo!  Do you have a favorite dance, that might be your “go to” dance or, just one that you love the costume, music or choreography for?  Mine used to Sahara City (not sure if name is correct); I got the music tape from Lala Hakim after attending her weekend workshop.  When I did the choreography, I used a lot of the steps learned from Lala Hakim.  I thought of that routine as my signature dance for quite some time, before moving on to the next favorite dance.  A Signature Dance, is one where dance movements, steps, costume and/or choreography all meet to make a perfect fit for the dance.  Another favorite Signature Dance was to “Souk el Jawaree” because the music sounds like ancient Egyptian Pharonic style, so I had a costume made to match the music and used steps that I felt matched the music as well.  This dance looks great with one of my large capes, especially the ones that are pleated.  I have the large Gold cape that I use as well as a Multi-Color cape that is pleated with large sequin palettes.  Please post a comment to let us know your favorite Signature Dance or Signature Move.  Thanks.

Amaya1

Amaya3

For more dance gossip & goodies, check out my book, "Learn to Belly Dance Textbook" available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble : 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005SFPN6I/ref=s9_simh_gw_p351_d0_g351_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=121QKD526S21XAKBP0T2&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=470938631&pf_rd_i=507846