Belly Dancer Tribute 3/11/12: Nagwa Fouad (Egypt) original Tweet 10/9/11. Who is the queen of Egyptian Belly Dance?

Nagwa1Belly Dancer Tribute 3/11/12: Nagwa Fouad (Egypt) original Tweet 10/9/11

Who is the queen of Egyptian Belly Dance?

There are many contenders, past queens, new queens, imposters and posers.

We all love seeing the top belly dancers in Egypt – past & present from Tahia Carioca, Samia Gamal, Liz & Lyn Jamal Twins, Nagwa Fouad, Soheir Zaki, Fifi Abdou or Dina Talaat.

The one who sticks out in my opinion as the True Queen who can’t be topped is NAGWA FOUAD!

Everyone has their opinion, by to me she sticks out as queen for one reason and one reasNagwa2on only: VERSATILITY!

You never know what Nagwa Fouad will do next, she constantly changes her dance style and looks, so you know her show will always be exciting, innovative and FUN!.

As far as talent goes, you can argue that Soheir Zaki is just as talented and beloved as an Egyptian Dancer.  Speaking from personal opinion again, I knocked her down as 3rd place because of her HAIR!  She has different hairstyles in some of her early dance clips, but then it seemed like for 10 years in a row, all shows had the same “unflattering” hair style, that severe part down the middle.  Mix it up a bit Soheir and change your hair style every now and then, as Nagwa does.  I have Nagwa3seen clips of Nagwa sporting all sorts of different hair styles from curly, to different colors (mostly shades of red hair), different styles strait, Afro, different hair pieces.  Hair is important to any DIVA or entertainer, whether you an actress, singer or dancer; look at Cher, Diana Ross or Farrah Fawcett for proof.

Speaking of Egyptian Dance Divas, the 2nd place Diva is FIFI ABDOU!  She really puts on a show!  I love it when she runs and does the splits.  Or, she takes the shoes off and throws them.  Then if the audience seems bored, she’ll get right in their face and entertain them.  In her ,most recent shows, she is always fiddling with her costumes, but she does it Diva-StyleSoheir Zaki so it’s all good.  Her entrances are always spectacular and I love to watch her dance.  The best shimmies in Egypt belong to Fifi!

Then we have Dina.  Dina seems to be the most COPIED dancer currently, from everything to her costume style, singing the song while dancing, the hand gestures and the famous BUTT (look at my Ass!!!) move.  She is so copied that her antics are getting old, expected and somewhat “boring” in my personal opinion.  It was cool the first time she did them, not every Belly Dancer and their students are copying the DINA style by singing along, the BUTT (look at my Ass!) move.  It’s really, really overused, so the point that I get bored even when I Tahia Cariocasee her perform.  Change things up every now and again DINA and your IMITATORS!!!!  Those moves were cute and endearing the 1st few times, but after seeing it again and again and again by her and so many people, I just like to shout STOP, DO SOMETHING NEW OR DIFFERENT!  Let’s put her in 4th place.

Let’s show some love to the EARLY Queens of Egyptian Belly Dance:  Tahia Carioca, Liz & Lyn Jamal Twins and Samia Gamal!  Tahia was our first Belly Dance Queen Diva by appearing in over 300 movies and TV shows.  She brought Belly Dance to the MASSES!  Tahia’s fabulous costumes set the stage for the next generation of Egyptian Dance queens like Samia Gamal.  How cute were the Jamal Twins, Liz & Lyn?  Their costumes were adorable –Samia Gamal EATYOURHEARTOUTBELLYTWINS.  BTW, the Belly Twins (Veena & Neena) should TOTALLY make a movie about the Jamal Twins, there is no one else better in the world to play them, perfect casting!

All joking aside, I love, adore and respect ALL of the Egyptian Queens of Belly Dance.  If it weren’t for them, I would not be Belly Dancing.  SALUTE: Tahia, Samia, Liz, Lyn, Soheir, Nagwa, Fifi, Dina and all of the rest of the great Egyptian Belly Dancers.  Here is my favorite QUEEN OF EGYPTIAN BELLY DANCE – NAGWA FOUAD performing.  Show them how it’s done Nagwa!



For more Dance Gossip & Goodies, check out my book, "Learn to Belly Dance Textbook" available at and Barnes & Noble :

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.

Now is your time to Join the Conversation! Comments, questions, concerns, controversy, rebuttals, tributes, blogs, guest bloggers, etc., are all welcome!  Who is the queen of Egyptian Belly Dance?

Belly Dancer Tribute 2/1/12: Suhaila Salimpour (Albany, CA) original Tweet 9/27/11, Can you name a “PERFECT” dancer?

Suhaila3Belly Dancer Tribute 2/112: Suhaila Salimpour (Albany, CA) original Tweet 9/27/11

Suhaila Salimpour, Jamila Salimpour and Isabella are Belly Dance Royalty in the United States!!!

Jamila is the First Lady, Suhaila is the Lady in Waiting and Isabella is the Princess of Belly Dance.

The first time I took a workshop from Suhaila was in St. Louis when she was still a teenager.  It was so funny how she was so young, yet so commanding and able to order all the “older” dancers around . . . TEE HEE!

That part of it cracked me up, but boy can Suhaila crack a whip in  dance workshop!  I used to try be one of the last few standing because her workshops were so physically demanding.  I tried to attend as many of her workshops as I could back in St. Louis.

So glad I did.  I have a tribute to Suhaila on page 198 of my book:  As close to perfection – that’s Suhaila, in my humble opinion.

I can’t stand dancers who think they know it all, they are above it all, they are so great that they have stopped learning because they already know everything, right?  I hope to NEVER stop learning, I hope to ALWAYS keep growing and keep studying dance, whether it’s someone I have only seen on a video or some of my precious favorite dancers, like Suhaila Salimpour.

I don’t think any dancer knows everything.  I don’t believe it is possible to be a PERFECT dancer, meaning you know how to perform every style there is, you know every finger cymbal pattern, and you are at the top of the game.  Some dancers come very close, like Suhaila, Morocco, Aisha Ali, Nagwa Fouad, and others that you have in your heart that are near perfect (in your eyes).  The trick is, sometimes dancers perform their FAVORITE style.  And some dancers are known for CERTAIN styles.  There are some dancers who you will never see doing floorwork.  There are some dancers who would not perform cane dance.  And there are those only want to do Egyptian cabaret style, so when you see them dance, you mostly see their preferred or favorite style.

Name one dancer that you have seen perform every style, including Tribal, floor work, Greek Cabaret, Turkish Cabaret, Gypsy, Spanish, Sword, cane, etc.?  That list is pretty short.  At the top of the Leaderboard of course is the magnificent “Aunt Rocky” Morocco of New York.  Aunt Rocky is a “walking” encyclopedia of dance!  I don’t think there is anything about dance that she does not know.  I’m sure I can ask her about any style, any country, any shimmy, any step and she would be the Authority on that subject, whether it’s what style of dance did Haggala come from, or what type of dance movements are used in Tunisian dance?  She knows, not calling her a know-it-all, but she is the expert!  Aunt Rocky you are perfection!!!

Even when I think the Queen of Belly Dance Nagwa Fouad.  She does Egyptian cabaret, some floor, cane of course, but I have not seen her do Tribal Dance or anything close to Greek or Turkish cabaret.  I could be wrong, and if so I stand corrected though.

But wait, what makes Suhaila so special?  Suhaila has built an EMPIRE in dance!  Looking at how popular her workshops are, being an actress on the TV show Fame, her line of videos and her earnings potential are off the roof!  She is one of the few dancers in the country that can appear on a TV show, based on the fame of being a belly dancer.

Suhaila — thanks for showing me how to squeeze my buns Suhaila and for the all great workshops I have attended with you and seeing your performances throughout the years.
For more dance gossip & goodies, check out my book, "Learn to Belly Dance Textbook" available at and Barnes & Noble :



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.

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

What is your favorite dance by Suhaila Salimpour?  Can you name a PERFECT dancer?

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.



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

Belly Dance Musician Tribute 12/15/11: Setrek Sarkissian (Beirut, Lebanon)

Belly Dance Musician Tribute 12/15/11: Setrek Sarkissian (Beirut, Lebanon)
When I cook dinner, I usually have the right “go to” ingredients (as Rachel Ray calls it) for my meals.  Whether I’m making sure I have some chicken, ground beef, potatoes or hot dogs for the kids; or onion, garlic and bouillon cubes for flavor, I can usually whip up any meal on short notice.  Well belly dance is just like cooking a meal, the dance steps, music, finger cymbals and costuming are the INGREDIENTS that you put in your dance routine MEAL.  And you know what, Setrek Sarkissian is one of my “go to” musicians that can provide the dance music ingredient for any routine.  I have some of his older cassette tapes going back to his days with Daniel der Sahakian, such as Belly Dance with Samara.  I love watching Nagwa Fouad perform that piece.  I have her on one video tape where she is being carried in.  She is really the Cleopatra and Queen of Dance of our era (personal opinion).  Not to say that I get a sense of bragging in her dances, but rather just my feeling that she is our true dance queen of this era.  At any rate, I felt intimidated by her performance on that piece, but finally gathered up the courage to perform that song about 10 years ago, using the version by Adam Basma.  Setrek has a version of Samara on some of his newer cassettes that are now on CD.  I’m old school and today I was searching for dance routine on a cassette and had to look through hundreds of cassettes.  I know, they need to be on CD.  Also today I just got a Cassette-to-USB converter and can’t wait to start putting some of my favorites on MP3.  Setrek has a wide collection of great belly dance music to listen to and dance to.  I have so many of them, it’s real hard to pick a favorite.  So hey, do what I do when you need some “go to” music, pick out something sensational by Setrek!
Check out Setrek at:

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