Fabulous Fan Veils – Belly Dance Technique and Combination

Get ready to fly away with a beautiful fan veil combination!

Many dancers struggle with finding ways to creatively use their fan veils through an entire choreography (not to mention arm fatigue!)

In today’s video you will learn a beautiful fan veil combination from technique to finish, as well as gain an insight on how you can dance with this beautiful prop while keeping it closed, giving you the option for a dramatic opening moment later in your choreography.

We will explore gorgeous arm pathways and graceful ways you can dance WITH your fan veil, making it a beautiful extension of your body as you move.


Are you a dancer who loves the idea of performing exciting and engaging dances with a beautiful belly dance prop?

Do you sometimes struggle with what to do with your arms within the dance and are looking for a way to strengthen your arm movements and expand the creativity of their pathways?

Are you ready to dive into a unique online hybrid learning experience that combines the best of on-demand video learning with the personal touch of live online classes to ensure you get what you need to succeed?

Join me for this “Fabulous Fan Veil” 5-week choreography intensive to get all of that and more as we flutter, flourish and turn through a beautiful and exciting fan veil choreography that is a spell-binding addition to any dancer’s repertoire.

Registration is open until April 12th: SahiraBellyDances.com/FanVeil

Get your special insiders club discount here: SahiraBellyDances.com/Discount

These four tips will greatly improve the way you belly dance with a fan veil!

Do you love to belly dance with beautiful props?

The fan veil is a gorgeous prop that many dancers incorporate into their routines. They bring a floaty, fluid and exciting element to the dance and are so much fun to work with.

In this video, I will give you four tips that will make huge impact on your belly dance fan veil work, making this exciting prop easier to work with and lending a polished edge to your dance.

Are you ready to level up your belly dancing? Join me today and receive 10 free classes to get you on your way to becoming a stronger, more graceful and joyful dancer!


Get your shimmy on with this live shimmy workshop!

Today we are going to polish our shimmy!

We are specifically looking at the Egyptian shimmy as well as the differences between a three-quarter and a triplet shimmy, all of which are foundation movements in our belly dance vocabulary.

I am going to give you some crucial tips that helped me transform my shimmy into something reliable, comfortable and much easier to do!


This clip is taken from a live shimmy class given in my Teachable Tribe Facebook group – a totally FREE group for anyone who is a member of my online belly dance studio at SahiraBellyDances.Teachable.com. Membership there is totally free as well!

Want in on the next class and access to the entire 45-minute replay of this class?

Head on over first to:

SahiraBellyDances.Teachable.com and get a free membership! While you are there grab your free online class sampler: “Belly Dance Bites”

and then join me on Facebook at:

SahiraBellyDances.com/TeachableTribe to get access to the entire 45 minute shimmy workshop!

See you on the dance floor!

Do you know how are your zills made? Watch the process here!

Sure you love to play those beautiful shiny instruments at the end of your fingertips, but have you ever wondered exactly how they are made?


I recently sat down with the owners of Saroyan Mastercrafts (my all-time favorite zill manufacturer) and asked them to give us the scoop on how they make the instruments that we use to make the music.


In this interview they will give us an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at their workshop in California and walk us step by step through the process of creating their famous finger cymbals. We will also talk about their plans for Saroyan’s 50 year anniversary (wow!) and how they’ve been taking their magical musical instruments into brand new and exciting realms.


So join me for this incredibly special interview, and let’s learn how some of the best finger cymbals on the planet are made.


And if you are inspired to pick up a set (or two) of these amazing instruments after learning all about the manufacturing process, you can do that right here: SahiraBellyDances.com/SaroyanCymbals Tell them I sent you! 🙂


And if you liked this interview you will LOVE the Q&A session I had with one of the owners in my Facebook group “Zillicious” – a community dedicated to sharing the love of all things finger cymbals! She spent some time with us there to answer questions about caring for your zills, the environmental ins and outs of the manufacturing process and more! Join us there at : SahiraBellyDances.com/Zillicious


Belly Dance Lessons with Sahira | Finger Cymbals – The Open Beladi


Today I’d like to share with you a zill lesson aimed to help you understand the beauty that is opened to us when we begin to use more than one sound with our zilling.

We’re diving into one of our most popular Arab rhythms used in belly dance, the Beladi. Literally meaning “of my country” it is more accurately named the Masmoudi Saghir (or small Masmoudi), especially when speaking to musicians of Arab descent.

While this was one of the first rhythms I was ever introduced to as a baby belly dancer two decades ago, I was not shown how to play it like a drummer until I started studying with musicians in the community, most notably Karim Nagi and Lauren Checchio. They taught me the importance of using a variety of sounds in my cymbals to create rhythms in order to actually be able to differentiate between rhythms in the dance.

So let’s learn to play the “Open Beladi” – this is the essential framework that makes the Beladi what it is and what is retained no matter how we move on to embellish it.

We’ll be using two zill strokes – The Basic and the Clack and working ambidextrously! 🤓

Are you ready? Let’s do it!


Ready to dive in and learn to really rock your zills! I invite you to check out my FREE zill jump start course to get the foundations you need for great zill playing.


And if you’ve nailed the basics and are looking for the next part of your adventure, you’ll definitely want to join my signature zill course “More Zillicious Zills” an in-depth exploration of finger cymbals, advanced sounds, patterns, and musicality with zills!


Finger Cymbal Lessons with Sahira | Tick Tick Thud… Creating the Tick two ways

In our quest for most robust and delicious zilling, we are always looking for new and unique sounds to add to our arsenal. Whether you are in the earlier stages of your zill adventure, or are a long-time player looking to expand your tool belt, using more than one sound on your cymbals is a huge ingredient to more expressive and satisfying zill work.

Within my practice, I have four core sounds:
The Basic – A hard attack of finger down to thumb zill that opens into a ring.
The Clack – A muffled chomp of both zills together.
The Ring – An edge to edge connection of the zillls that results in a clear ring.
The Tick – A muffled stroke using one zill perpendicular to the other.

You can learn them here: https://youtu.be/5blbtE5VVAI

(There are lots more great sounds where these came from… I consider these four to be the foundation of my zill toolkit.)

For years I have been teaching that fourth sound – the Tick – in a specific way : with the middle finger cymbal creating a little “hat” for the thumb cymbal and the two striking perfectly perpendicularly, with the rim of the thumb cymbal aiming towards the center of the other cymbals’ inner bell. This worked well for me.

Until it didn’t.

I recently bought a fabulous set of zills (the large Saroyan Grecians in silver) and discovered to my surprise that more than half of all my attempted Ticks came out more like Thuds.

What the heck?

This led me to do some investigation and this is what I discovered. If you’ve ever found yourself in a thuddy rut while trying to create a clean Tick sound, or are looking to find a way to create the Tick more quickly for complex zill patterns, you will definitely want to check this out.


Are you able to create the Tick sounds with your finger cymbals both ways described in this video? Or does one work better for you?

If you are ready to take your zilling to the next level I invite you to join me for my online course: “More Zillicious Zills” – designed to take your zilling from basic to scintillating with interesting sounds, riffs, patterns, combinations and more. Become the confident zill star you were meant to be and join me here!


Zill Hero Interview | Dawn Devine

Meet my zill hero – Dawn Devine.

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:






Feeling inspired? Check out my absolutely favorite zills on the planet here:


And then grab your free zill jumpstart course to get you up and playing today!



Belly Dance Lessons | Finger Cymbals | Gallop 5 ways

How many different ways can you play the Gallop?

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

Continuously alternating

Cross-handed right lead

Cross-handed left lead

Say what?!?

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


Zill Hero Interview | Baksana Ensemble


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!

Learn more about and follow Baksana here:



instagram @baksanaensemble (follow for Finger Cymbal Awareness Month)

Notation book:


Belly Dance Lessons with Sahira | Your belly dance posture primer is here!

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.