About the Hybrid Real Time Intensive Format


Are you tired of spending money on an online class just to have it slip to the back burner when life gets busy?

Are you done making investments that you don’t have the incentive to complete?

Do you enjoy the online course format but miss the personal interaction and ability to ask questions as you work through the material?

Me too! And I’ve designed this new online intensive to address all of these issues.

This online real-time format is designed with the “flipped classroom” methodology being used in many top universities and institutes of learning. Within the course I will be offering the recorded content at the beginning of each week for you to work through and review as many times as you would like. At the end of each the week we will have a 30-45 minute live class on Zoom to work through questions and dance the material together.

The online real-time format also not only ensures that you will take the time to access and actually use the course you’ve purchased but it will also give you the opportunity to dive deeper with me by your side as you learn.

The end result? An online course that you’ve actually used and done on time!


Week one will be open to you upon registration. You will have one week to work through the material as many times as you’d like before we meet for class at the end of the week. Week one will then be removed and week two will come online. At the end of the second week we will meet for review and questions, then week two will be taken off-line and week three will be released. One week after week three is released, we will meet for class and questions and then week 3 will be taken down and week four will become available. (See the pattern?)

If you are anything like me, having a deadline keeps you on task and moving! Using this format you will have the incentive each week to work through the material, since it won’t be around forever. The hybrid recorded/live flipped classroom system will give you the opportunity to take your time working through the combinations so you can ask the specific questions you need to succeed when we meet live.

I would love to have you join me for this special online hybrid intensive course! If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out and ask!



What is Acapella Belly Dance???

If you are a dancer who has ever learned a choreography, or a dance teacher who has ever wanted to be sure your students really (I mean REALLY) know a choreography, then you will understand exactly what is happening in this video.

Enjoy! (But don’t be too judgmental…we are dancers – not singers – after all!)


If you like this choreography you can learn it too! Jump in to the 8-week “Princess of Cairo” Choreography Intensive that begins on July 6th, 2020! Registration is open until the 6th at midnight… so don’t miss out!

(Don’t worry…no singing is required! ;p)


Don’t pay full price for the course! Join my mailing list to get a special members-only discount.


Learn the choreography “Princess of Cairo” with Sahira in this special intensive course!

Oh my gosh I am so super excited about sharing with you this brand new choreography intensive. Eight weeks of dance adventure all wrapped around one of my favorite choreographies of all time.

This choreography is a treasure chest of belly dance texture and feeling. The music will take you on an incredible journey from a gorgeous veil entrance to a slow and sultry opening, a lighter-than-air section in 6/8 into a furious crescendo of energy to the end. There is so much space in this piece for variation in dynamics and emotions and we will explore and take the journey together step-by-step.

http://SahiraBellyDances.com/Princess (link in bio)

This online real-time hybrid format behind this course is designed with the “flipped classroom” methodology being used in many top universities and institutes of learning. Within the course I will be offering the recorded content at the beginning of each week for you to work through and review as many times as you would like. At the end of each week we will have a 30-45 minute live class on Zoom to work through questions and dance the material together. In additon to the recorded and live class content we will have a private Facebook group for ongoing connection and questions.

The online real-time hybrid format also not only ensures that you will take the time to access and actually use the course you’ve purchased, it will give you the opportunity to dive deeper with me by your side as you learn.

Learn more about how the course works and reserve your spot now!


or join my mailing list to get your member’s only discount code:


Creating an At-Home Space for All of Your Needs

Are you a singer, dancer, or musician with the need for a spot to practice at home? If so, you’ve probably already considered your basement, attic, or spare bedroom. Maybe you’ve begun the process of transforming your space and need ideas on how to make it useful for your other needs, such as for work or school. Maybe you’re just looking for ideas.


Whatever your reasons, here are some practical tips on getting the job done!


Know how it will affect your home’s value.


Whenever you decide to make improvements to your home, you’ll want to consider their financial value as well as the quality of life they provide. Adding a multi-purpose space is a great way to make your home more attractive should you decide to sell. Buyers want plenty of room, and giving them more usable space may help raise your home’s appraisal value.


Plan it out ahead of time.


It’s not enough just to know that you want to space, you need to know how, exactly, you’ll use it. If you’re taking online dance classes, for example, you’ll want to plan to have a place for your computer and ensure your internet signal is strong. A home dance studio will also require hard floors; Liberty Dance Center recommends padded wood or, at the very least, some type of subflooring if you’re transforming the basement.


A home dance studio can also double as a safe space to work out or do yoga. A few additions to consider to maximize your fitness space are:


  • Hang mirrors. Mirrors not only maximize natural light, but they also make your workout area feel larger and give you an opportunity to watch your form as it unfolds.


  • Keep your essentials handy. If possible, add a few small built-in storage areas to keep things like towels and bottles of water.


  • Install a ballet bar. A ballet bar is not only good for dance but can also be used to steady yourself and for stretches. Dinamica Ballet explains that this bar should be level with your elbow or within a few inches between your hip and waist.


Anticipate your other uses.


Since you want your performing arts area to work for other needs, make a list of these and plan ahead here, too. If you use your space as an office, for example, install a Murphy desk, which is essentially a folding table that stores neatly on the wall until you need it.


Sound absorption is another consideration, particularly if you are a musician or tend to turn the volume up when you dance or work out. Having a rug that you can roll in or out depending on the room’s current use will also come in handy. Room & Board offers more advice on how to choose a rug and notes that a larger one gives you more floor space.


Finally, talk to the rest of your family. If they use the space frequently, there may be problems. Don’t assume that an empty room is always left that way. If your household protests, discuss how the dance/fitness space can benefit everyone. Ultimately, you may need to consider moving to the garage or detached storage building or providing them with another area in the house to complete their respective tasks.


Building a studio in your home is not a difficult task. It takes some planning, that’s for sure, but it’s doable. Having the space will benefit you in many ways, and if you think you may sell your house later, you may even put some money in your pocket at closing.


Thanks to Derek Cannon @ hobbyjr.org for sharing!

Image via Pexels

“Princess of Cairo” by Sahira

I wanted to share with you one of my favorite original choreographies “Princess of Cairo” which I created for my incredible students at the NiaMoves studio here in Houston, Texas.

This performance was done especially for the Bwitchs International Belly Dance Festival online instructor showcase!

A huge thank you to my husband for his fabulous video work for this performance. (We had WAY too much fun with my new DJI Osmo Mobile 3!) What do you think of his handiwork?


Like it, love it, want more of it?

This choreography can be yours to learn and perform! I am releasing a new intensive course at the end of June 2020 for you to learn this dance step by step with me by your side!

Check it out here: http://SahiraBellyDances.Teachable.com/p/Princess

and be sure to subscribe to my mailing list to get the special members-only discount when I release the course.


#30toThrive with Sahira [Episode 9] – How to Move Past Hopelessness PLUS a Dance Combination

In this time of required social distancing, we need our online communities more than ever!

That’s why I’m joining you live weekly to connect, share stories of inspiration and explore concrete ways to find grounding, meaning and even joy in these strange times.

Today we explore: How to Move Past Feelings of Hopelessness In Quarantine

It’s easy to begin to feel hopeless as the pandemic and quarantine continues on for weeks on end. Today we will look into ways to approach these feelings, acknowledge their existence, and move forward and away from them in positive and productive ways.

And then, because moving our bodies every day is so very important, we will end with a dance lesson to help you move our way into a place of joy! The dance lesson begins at 18:00.

** recorded from Facebook Live on May 23, 2020

A Conversation on Race in the Belly Dance world

For many years I believed that the belly dance community was a shining example of openness and inclusion.

In the wake of the racist tensions rocking the US and beyond many dancers have spoken out to the contrary and I’ve found myself having to question those previously held beliefs.

So I’m reaching out – to organizations at the forefront of this struggle to offer support, to people of color to hear their voices and their experiences, and to friends and fellow dancers to be able to openly and thoughtfully communicate in a non-judgemental manner in order to find the next steps in the anti-racism journey we need to make together.

This is a recording of one of those conversations. It’s two long-time friends and belly dancers openly and honestly discussing a black experience in the belly dance world – what is working, what is not, and how we can move forward together towards a more just, equal and racially-diverse future.

I hope you will listen to this with an open heart and mind and use it to inspire conversations and action in your community and to help right the many years of wrong that have been happening on our watch.

A gigantic thank you to my friend Sharron Melton for being a woman I can always have any conversation with – for her acceptance of me, my questions and my flaws and her willingness to share her story here with us.

Let’s keep the conversation going and include every voice.

Add your thoughts below. (Racist or inflammatory remarks will be deleted. Please respect one another in civil discourse.)

Thank you for being a part of the movement.

#blacklivesmatter #raceandbellydance

Get Into the Groove

Perhaps you’ve been teaching movement classes for a while now, or maybe you are new and just getting accustomed to the feeling of having all student’s eyes on you. Either way, putting yourself out there as an expert in your field in front of dozens of students every week can be a daunting experience.

* Why would anyone want to study with YOU when there are so many other people out there just as qualified to be teaching (or more!)?

* Who are YOU to claim to know enough to be able to lead a classroom of people?

* What if you’re not good enough/strong enough/graceful enough/organized enough to keep your classes going week after week?

Does any of this sound familiar?

I have news for you…


Even the biggest names in your field were unsure to begin with and almost everyone has experienced imposter syndrome at some point in time. It’s ok and totally natural to feel unsure and worried that you don’t have what it takes.

Please don’t let that hold you back from offering your talents to the world!

I’m here to tell you that what you have to offer is unique and wonderful and important for your students and they are depending on YOU to get out there and share your talents with them and with the world!

Not sure you have what it takes? Then this is the course for you. I invite you to join me as we explore ways to “Get Into the Groove”.


We will discuss how to tackle imposter syndrome and build confidence for your classes (and your daily life!) We will work through a series of concrete exercises, both physical and written to help you tease out exactly what you are worried about, why you are worried about it, and what it means for you and your classes. We will explore class organization and 5 habits of highly successful instructors that you can easily incorporate into how you create and organize your classes today.

In the end, the goal is to get you pumped up and excited about this amazing gift you have to offer the world and help you find a place of flow and groove that you can come back to week after week in order to create incredible movement classes that will keep your students engaged and joyful and you feeling positive and confident about your work.

I look forward to helping you overcome insecurity, find flow and get into your groove in the movement teaching world!


Get Your Movement Classes Online Quickly and Easily Today

Are you a movement instructor struggling to get setup to teach online classes?

Do you find the technology confusing and the thought of dealing with audio and camera settings overwhelming?

Do you wish there was a quick and easy way to bring your class offerings to your audience without needing to invest a lot of money to get setup and spend a bunch of time researching the best camera, microphone and mixer options?

Welcome to “Doom Tech” – your step-by-step guide to the quickest and easiest way to get your technology setup to teach online TODAY.


The good news it that you probably already have much of what you need to start teaching online! A computer with a webcam and a built in microphone and a good internet connection is all you need to take your offerings to your students. A few simple items like a bluetooth headset and a ring light can make fast, impactful improvements to your studio setup.

Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good! If you wait until you have it just right before you begin, you may never get started!

Join me for this informational course and get setup to teach your online movement classes today!




From SparklyBelly.com

6 Belly Dance Costuming Tips for Zill Performance by Sahira

6 belly dance costuming tips for zill performance with sahira


Got a zill performance coming up?


How do YOU decide which costume to wear for your zill performance?


Have you even thought about pairing a costume to your zills?


Today we’re in for a treat. 🙂


We have a special guest, Sahira, at Sparkly Belly today! 😀


If you’ve seen her performance, I think you’ll know what I mean. I consider her the queen of zills.


She transforms zills from a cute prop to a serious musical instrument and dance partner. (She even dances with zills only…. NO MUSIC!!!)


So how does someone who loves performing with zill choose costumes?


Below Sahira will reveal her secrets. Enjoy!



Sahira zill performanceFirst of all, let me just get this out in the open: I love zills!


No really… I border on obsessed with finger cymbals!


I have an ever-growing collection that currently stands at about 15 pairs (it would be more but my entire previous collection was stolen out of my car about six years ago!)


And I don’t just like to collect them… I like to play them too!


Correction: I LOVE to play them.


In fact, I don’t believe I ever go out on stage without them! (OK… I can think of a couple of times this is happened – but it is definitely the exception and not the rule.)


I use zills for cabaret style and for tribal, with live music, recorded music and no music at all. In fact, making my own music with my zills is probably my most favorite thing of all!


While many dancers may be content with just one pair of finger cymbals I think that owning just one pair is like owning just one belly dance costume! How could you possibly express yourself and everything you want to say through your art with just one costume? Do you get where I’m coming from?


So when I am getting ready for an upcoming performance I think carefully about my costume and my zills!


In general, when I am performing with recorded music just about any set of cymbals that I own will work. Although I will admit I almost never play my smaller zills anymore… They just don’t have the power and hutzpah that I am looking for!


I will often match my finger cymbals to my costume – choosing silver zills to wear with a costume with silver accents or brass zills to wear with gold for example.



 Then I think about the tone of the performance.


If it is live music or a particularly loud venue I love to use my Saroyan Afghanis in brass or silver or my Saroyan Pros in silver… those things are really loud!


If I am dancing to recorded music in a restaurant setting I will choose slightly less boisterous cymbals. At the moment I am really loving my Grecians in silver and my Ghawazees in bronze.


When I am dancing a folkloric or tribal improv style performance I almost always use my Afghanis or Ghawazees. These have a deeper, earthier tone that seems to blend perfectly with the dance style and music I use in these settings. And big cymbals really fit the look of the tribal costumes more as they match with all that delicious chunky jewelry.



 The most exciting of all choices comes when I decide to perform acappella using only my zills for music.


Here the sky is the limit and the possibilities are endless! I have performed acapella with just one set of zills. In this case I have typically used my Afghanis because I love the size, feel and the easy ability to switch between various sounds with these cymbals.


But sometimes I like to mix it up – playing more than one set of zills for mixed sounds. I even recently dove headfirst into the deep end and played five zills on stage at the same time! What was magical about this was the melodic possibilities that it unlocked for my performance.


Choosing zills and costumes for an cappella performance is really fun because you are limited by nothing. You can really listen to the notes that your cymbals play and pick notes that mix well together. (Yet another reason to own more than one pair!)


What totally suprised me when I did this last performance with five zills was that the tonality of the cymbals completely dictated the feel and style of the performance that I was going to give. I had already planned in my head to wear my super sparkly turquoise and burgundy Aida Style costume for this performance as it is one of my favorites!


Sahira turquoise costume with zills


But when I began working with the tones of the zills I realized the melody they created sounded like a soothing wind chime and made me visualize spritely nymphs in a forest! (I kid you not!)


So the costume needed to change. I ended up choosing a super soft and feminine bra and belt sets with a diaphanous circle skirt in muted earth tones… green, brown and dusty pink. It was just the feel I needed for the piece!



 So as you can see, choosing to dance with zills opens up a world of opportunity in your performance! If I could give you some advice and choosing zills and costumes that will enhance your performance and make you shine on stage it would be the following.


  1. DO consider your venue first. Smaller venues and softer music call for a lighter sound with your finger cymbals.
  2. DON’T use really loud zills in a small restaurant setting unless the music is really loud. Sometimes they make babies cry!
  3. DO use larger, louder zills when performing with live music or on a big stage.
  4. DO have fun matching your cymbals to your costume. If you are playing just one set of cymbals choose the costume that works best for your dance and then pick zills to match the color or style of your costume.
  5. DO consider using tan colored elastic in your zills to make them less noticeable on your fingers so they blend more seamlessly with your costume.
  6. When performing an acappella zill piece DO experiment with using two different sets of zills and allow the tone that they produce to drive your dance and the costume you choose.


When performing with finger cymbals there are very little rules that dictate which you should do! The most important thing is just that you choose to use them! Happy dancing!



Was it an amazing post or what? 🙂


You can go ahead and check her out at:

Sahira’s website: SahiraDances.com

Sahira’s online studio: SahiraBellyDances.Teachable.com

Sahira’s favorite zills in the world: sahira.cc/Saroyan-Afghanis

Social Media (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube) @SahiraBellyDances


DID YOU KNOW that both Sahira and I are part of this year’s Bellydance Bundle?


That means, you can get both Sahira’s and my courses plus 20 more programs at a fraction of the price!


If you fell in love with Sahira in this post (or if you’ve always loved her!), try her course inside this year’s Bellydance Bundle!


In fact, this year’s Bellydance Bundle instructors are quite AMAZING –> Have a look here!
Hope you enjoyed this guest post by Sahira, share love and share this post with your dancer friends! 🙂


And if you’re interested in getting more belly dance costuming tips and DIY ideas / how-to tutorials, sign up for my newsletter & get access to my free email course, Belly Dance Costume Making 101 below:


Click here to sign up for my FREE email course Belly Dance Costume Making 101!


Thanks for reading, and keep sparkling!



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Belly Dance Costume Making 101

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