Belly Dance Publication Tribute 2/24/12: The Belly Dancer Magazine (Los Altos, CA). Where were you 32 years ago?



Some would answer, not born yet. Or some would say, raising a small child.

Well 32 years ago, I was raising a small child, and I was also a Belly Dance student back then. I LOVED the belly dance publications, like The Belly Dancer Magazine, Arabesque, Habibi, The Caravan, Jareeda, etc. Back when I was a beginner dancer, I fantasized about the day that perhaps maybe, just maybe I could grace a magazine cover. Did not happen until 1994 when I graced the cover of Shimmy Chronicles.

The old belly dance magazines bring back so many good memories. It’s weird to look at the ads and names in the dancer directory and see names of great dancers and musicians who are no longer with us (Bobby Farrah, Bert Balladine, George Abdo, etc.)

BDM1Belly Dance has changed so much in the past 30 years, that it is refreshing to look back on “simpler” times. No Facebook buddies to share the latest dance item, no dancers on Twitter giving their latest dance update or being able to view any dancer or video instantly via YouTube or MySpace.

Back then, you had to TRAVEL and take a dance workshop to study with the greats. Now you can just buy or rent their DVDs.

Most dancers used to make their own costumes back then, but now it is so cheap to get costumes on eBay, why bother?

Belly dance times were so simple then. You had to wait 1 month to get caught up on the news, Belly Dance news by waiting for your favorite magazine to arrive by mail.

BDM2And when you got your copy, you were in for a treat. That’s how you found out what dancers were doing all across the country. Now that we have Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, email and Internet, we don’t need to wait a month, we can find out in seconds.

A great place to search for rare books and magazines is Abe’s Books (URL is below).  Here’s to a look back at simpler times . . .
For more Dance Gossip & Goodies, check out my book, "Learn to Belly Dance Textbook" available at and Barnes & Noble :

BDM4Now is your time to Join the Conversation!  Comments, questions, concerns, controversy, rebuttals, tributes, etc., are all welcome!

Where were you 32 years ago?


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:


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.;col1
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.

Black Belly Dancers


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?