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 1/27/12: Mesmera (Los Angeles, CA) original Tweet 9/25/11, What is your favorite dance by Mesmera?

Mesmera4Belly Dancer Tribute 1/27/12: Mesmera (Los Angeles, CA) original Tweet 9/25/11, What is your favorite dance by Mesmera?

I LOVE Mesmera!  Belly Dance Star of Stage, Screen, Movies & Beyond!

One of the most creative performers in the world!  Always exciting, always evolving, always MESMERISING!

I remember watching her on a long time ago on FAME as the belly dancer doing the bellygram, that was back in 1982.  I also loved watching her on Mama’s Family belly dancing in an episode from 1990.  It is so cool that Mesmera was able to belly dance on so many of my other favorite shows including Hill Street Blues, Gimme a Break, etc.  She really brought Belly Dance to the masses.

It was an honor to meet her in person when I sponsored her in a workshop in my hometown, along with Live Music provided by Raja and John Bilezikjian.  I still have her Video tape, Dance of the Serpent, it is one of my all-time favorite belly dance videos!

The one thing I LOVE most about Mesmera is that she told me who made one of her belly dance capes.  And that was so sweet and honest because I have met so many dancers who are reluctant to share any, information that might give you an edge.  Not Mesmera, she is totally sweet, down to earth and can dance like nobody’s business.

www.mesmera.com
http://www.mesmera.com/photos_press.html
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0112051/
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

Mesmera1

Mesmera2

Mesmera3

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, tributes are all welcome!

What is your favorite dance by Mesmera?

Belly Dancer Tribute 12/26/11: Angelika Nemeth (Irvine, CA)

angelikasupine3When I watch Angelika Nemeth perform, 2 words come to mind:  POWER and INTENT!  Angelika is not afraid to use her power and show how powerful a dancer she is.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about someone not being feminine, which she is, but when you look at her performance, her strength and power stand out.  In particular I love one of her performances on the Dancing Live to Raja video.  She was doing a shimmy and did something very simple, but yet it was very powerful.  In the middle of the shimmy, she jumped and turned to face the other direction.  Simple, yet the way she did it was very powerful.  Intent – when you watch Angelika dance, she intends to do the movement!!!  I know that sounds simple, but yet it is very effective.  I have a saying in my classes about being a “stick dancer” or someone who simply does a movement without any personality, feeling or connection to the dance or the movement.  You can see intent or lack of in any performer, whether it’s a singer, dancer, actor, etc.  And I myself will admit that with some shows, I PHONE IT IN!  I’m there physically, and committed to do the show, by I’m not there in my mind, because I’m either dead tired, sick or had a bad day at work.  Well the show must go on, regardless.  Some times I can get away with phoning in a performance it and sometimes not.  It’s really hard to “phone in” a show with Live Music.  I used to sponsor large workshops with a guest instructor and bands like Raja Zahr  & John Bilezikjian, Brothers of the Baladi, Jazayer, Trans Arabian Sound Band, Sirocco, Oasis Band, etc.  As a workshop sponsor, I probably should not have committed to dance in my own shows, because I knew I would be too tired and too busy.  But hey, those bands were so great that I could not resist.  I tried to phone in the shows with Raja and Brothers of  the Baladi.  I think the musicians sensed it because Raja made me respond to him and Michael Beach from Brothers of the Baladi was drumming onstage next to me while I was dancing.  When you watch Angelika perform, she has “Intent” and passion in her movements.  She is all like, I MEANT to do this shimmy.  I’m not playing with the shimmy, I’m going to do it the best I can and so good that the audience feels like a part of that shimmy.  Intent!  She draws the audience in with power, intent, passion and feelings.  Check her out at: 

http://www.angelikanemeth.com/angelikabio.html

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

Belly Dancer Tribute 12/14/11: Ansuya (Miami, FL)

Belly Dancer Tribute 12/14/11: Ansuya (Miami, FL), I was watching Ansuya dance on some of my Belly Dance Superstar DVDs and then I thought to my self, “Hey self!  Haven’t you seen her dance before somewhere else?”  This was a belly dance mystery that I had to solve.  Then I remembered, I saw her dance on the Dancing Live to Raja Video tape many years.  I think Ansuya was a teenager in the Raja video, but even though she was young, she was a kick-butt dancer!  She moving and grooving those hips like nobody’s business.  And you know how it is sometimes with young performers, we say, awe, they are so cute, and sometimes kid performers can get “brownie points” just for being so young or so cute.   But that was not the case with Ansuya, she was one heck of a dancer at a very young age.  It is funny how you can look at someone dancing in the present day; but look back at how they danced in 1989 and today, 22 years later.  The apple did not fall far from the tree, as her mom, Jenaeni, who taught Ansuya, is one heck of a dancer with kick-butt performances too.

Check out Ansuya at:
http://www.bellydance.org/articles/ansuya.html
www.ansuya.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