Dawn literally wrote the book on finger cymbals and is a vertiable treasure chest of finger cymbal knowlegde.
In this conversation she shares some amazing information about this history of zills, the oldest connection we have to our ancestors in dance. She will take you on a deep dive into how finger cymbals have been made throughout history and what comprises the most popular styles we see today. We talk about how to chose your first (or next) set of zills and how to care for them so they last you a lifetime.
So please enjoy this special Zill Hero interview!
And then let me know – are you feeling inspired?
Connect with and learn more from Dawn online here:
One of the most beloved of all belly dance zill patterns, the Gallop gets a lot of playtime. But what I want to know right now is – how many different ways can you play it?
If you want to really up your zill game and be able to master more rapid and complex patterns, having dexterity in BOTH hands is really key. Learning to play your favorite patterns in more than one manner will free up your hands to play and your head to focus on other things while you are doing it.
In this video you will learn how to play and drill this simple pattern in the following 5 ways:
Right hand lead
Left hand lead
Cross-handed right lead
Cross-handed left lead
If this doesn’t make sense don’t panic! Just dive into the video to get the basic scoop.
To really dive deep and get the complete breakdown as well as pro tips and tricks to make this pattern sound smooth and clean, check out the full class at
Welcome to another installment in my “Zill Heroes” Series!
This month I am interviewing the amazing women of Baksana Ensemble from Portland, Oregon. This incredible group caught my eye online a few years ago with this mad zill skills and incredible “Finger Cymbal February” challenge on Instagram. I started following them and finally had the chance to connect and take a class with them at JamBallah Northwest in 2019. I am a total fan!
So today I would like to share a conversation I had with these zillstars.
We talked about how each of them came to their finger cymbal practice (spoiler alert – almost none of them were complete fans of the instrument in the beginning!), the formation of Baksana and how their zill style has evolved over time.
We also take a moment to explore a bit about their amazing zill notation book that was released a few years ago and will give you the inside scoop on Finger Cymbal February and how YOU can get involved.
I can’t wait to share this conversation with you.
Be sure to check out their performance that starts around 43:00 to see exactly how amazing their zilliciousnes is!
Check it out here, and then follow Baksana at the links below. I will be there every day for the February Finger Cymbal Awareness Month challenge. I hope to see you too!
Today I’d like to share with you a posture primer that will help you hone your stance on the dance floor. Our posture is the foundation for everything we do as belly dancers, and because our dance incorporates such detailed articulations of the hips and torso, posture is key to attaining great precision in a safe manner.
I invite you to take a few minutes to work through the video and pay particular attention to how this posture feels in your body.
Then, when you walk into your next dance class, find this posture again before you begin to move.
I encourage you to incorporate elements of your beautiful belly dance posture into you daily life even when off the dance floor. The more aware of our body and our alignment that we are, the better dancers we become.
Introducing “5 Fabulous Shimmies that Every Dancer Should Know” – a free class designed to get you up and moving with some of the belly dance world’s most popular shimmies.
In it, I will share with you my technique and secrets to creating big beautiful shimmies that will become an integral part of your belly dance movement arsenal.
Whether you are brand new to the dance, or have begun taking classes but struggle with some of your shimmies, I invite you to join me as a break down the process step by step so you can create better shimmies with confidence and joy.
Join me now and start your collection of fabulous shimmies today!
I am thrilled to bring to you today and interview with Alyssum Pohl. She is an authenticy coach and the founder of “Awaken Authenticity”, a business she created to help others show up in the world “unfettered and fulfilled.” She also happens to be a belly dance performer, instructor and… a clown!
In this interview she explains how the art of clowning works (spoiler – there are A LOT of similarities to belly dance!) as well as how you can begin to uncover your authentic self in your life and in your dance. We touch on some heavier topics including perfectionism and stage fright, and Alyssum has some fantastic advice and tips for dancers of all levels who are looking to freely express who they are on stage.
What is the message you wish to spread with your dance?
When do you feel most alive and free?
The idea of authenticity and an exploration of what that means to you is a valuable pursuit no matter where you are in your dance journey, and I think you will discover some intriguing and actionable ideas that can help you find a new way to approach your dance.
So please join me for this special interview! Be sure to stick around until the end to see exactly how Alyssum combines her dance with her clowning experience in a way that is truly authentic for her.
Set your goals for the New Year NOW and hit the ground running in 2021.
Join me for this goal setting workshop where I will walk you through step by step exactly how to turn your dreams into SMART goals and how to take those goals from paper to reality with a series of actionable steps and important habit systems.
Get your workbook and set your goals alongside me here http://SahiraBellyDances.com/Goals
Music used: https://davidmacejka.bandcamp.com/album/eclipse
Book recommended: “Atomic Habits” by James Clear: https://jamesclear.com/atomic-habits
Are you ready to rev up your dance practice for 2021?
Whether you are a new dancer looking to learn some of the basics, a student needing to get inspired to practice with more regularity or a long-time dancer wanting to get back to the basics, this 7-day Belly Dance Jumpstart is for you!
Seven days of free short, basic practices delivered to your inbox to help you get the “easy win” you need to create momentum in your dance for the new year.
If you play the finger cymbals there is a good chance you have heard of Karim Nagi.
Karim is a native Egyptian drummer, DJ, composer and folk dancer. He promotes and fosters the study of Arab dance in the USA as the director of the Arab Dance Seminar. His performances boast a dynamic concoction of live drumming and dance, done in unison. Because of his proficiency in both music and dance, his workshops deliver students to a new physical understanding of the connection between these two disciplines.
I had the pleasure of taking a workshop with him many years ago at Tribal Elevation in Bolder, Colorado and between that class and the late-night after show musical jam session, my eyes were opened to an entirely new way to play the finger cymbals. And I have never looked back.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Karim and chat with him about how he got started with finger cymbals and his original inspiration behind the style of playing he has developed through the years. We discuss how teachers can make the cymbals more accessible and approachable and the three simple things every dancer can do to learn how to play with confidence and joy within the form.
Be sure to watch to the end of the video for an incredible performance clip of Karim that showcases exactly what grabbed my attention when I met him years ago.
How do you feel when you approach the finger cymbals in your practice? (Do you approach them? Or run in the other direction?)
If you haven’t yet found a place of comfort from which you can play within the form I invite you to try to approach Karim discussed in the interview. An understanding of the music and rhythms in the dance combined with solid basic skills will set you on the path to joyful and creative finger cymbal play.