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.



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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 :