How do you track your dance practice for maximum success? [Free downloadable resource inside!]

How do you track your progress in dance? If you’re like most dancers, you kind of… don’t.

Maybe you go through phases in your practice where you go really hard, get inspired or motivated, practice a ton and then kind of burn out when you don’t see the progress you were hoping for. Frustrated, you switch focuses or hit one of those lows where you just don’t practice.

As a result you find yourself no closer to your goal than when you started, and probably feeling pretty crummy, which is never where you want to be with your dance practice.

I want to let you in on a little secret. One of the reasons you have these highs and lows in your practice is because you’re not tracking your progress.

“But how do I track progress in something like belly dance?” (I can hear you asking.) I’m so glad you asked! 😊 Here’s the tool that is going to show you exactly how to do it.

This new guide by the Belly Dance Bundle takes you through some different ways that you might be able to track your practice, has you set some goals, and then has a 30 day fillable tracker that you can use while you’re practicing! Download it now, and begin to track and see your progress in brand new and fabulous ways!

I’ve already downloaded mine and am blown away by the incredible suggestions inside. This is totally going to revolutionize your practice, fabulous dancer. I can’t wait to see what you do!

Performance Video! Shaabi & Acapella Zills

I would love to share with you this original shaabi choreography, showcased at an online Zoom performance event in the Summer of 2021.

This choreography is one that I created for my students – and I enjoy dancing it so much I decided to use it for this special event. I added zills (naturally) and was having so much fun that I didn’t want to stop once the music ended. So check out what I did instead!


Are you ready to rock your zills like the Zill Star you are meant to be? Then join me for this free jumpstart course to put you on the path to finger cymbal success!

Do you find that sometimes the momentum you get after being on the dance floor – whether in performance or practice – gives you a fabulous feeling and great energy for the rest of your day?

One of the best ways to change our state and our emotions is though motion. So I invite you to do a little dancing today and see where it takes you! (Bonus points if you put on your zills!)

A finger cymbal adventure and prizes await you @ | Belly dance zill tutorial.

Are you ready to really rock your finger cymbals?

Would you like to not only play them with confidence but also dance with them with grace too?

I have been teaching and performing belly dance with finger cymbals – or zills – for over two decades and I’m here today to invite you to join The Zill Challenge – a 10 day event designed give you everything it takes to confidently play and dance with your zills.

The challenge includes ten days of video tutorials via email followed up with a daily Facebook live session to interact and ask questions.

At the end of this challenge you will not only have a fun and funky new riff to play on your zills, but you will be moving to your beat too!

And did I mention there are prizes for participation? Saroyan Mastercrafts, the makers of the best finger cymbals on the planet have joined us for this incredible event and will be giving away some awesome prizes.

To join the challenge visit today!

You will get immediate access to the challenge workbook and online community when you register.

The challenge officially begins on September 7.

I look forward to making music with you there!

Sahira Acapella Zill Performance “Nothing Without The Other”

I was recently invited to perform at a beautiful theatrical event here in Houston. The show, entitled “Nothing Without the Other” explored the intimate and deep connection between music and dance – the idea, as the organizer explained to me, “that dancing and music go hand in hand and one doesn’t function without the other.”

She asked me if I would create an acapella zill piece for the occasion. Of course I jumped at the chance.

While music is often the inspiration for dance and the two are most certainly inextricably linked, in the ancient art of Middle Eastern dance the musicians, dancer and audience all come together to create an ecstatic experience known as “tarab”. The music moves the dancer, who in turn moves the musicians, who are themselves being listened to and encouraged by the audience… It is all energy flowing in multiple directions that creates the beauty of the art form.

But what happens when the dancer and the musician are one and the same? This is exactly the question I have been exploring as of late and here is where I have arrived so far.

The finger cymbals are an ancient instrument linked to belly dance. They are often played by the dancer as she performs to live or recorded music, though many large musical ensembles in the Middle East today have a dedicated cymbal player, so often the dancer will not play.

In this improvised piece I’d like to share with you today I take turns leading with the music and leading with the dance until it all becomes a blurred line of flow and instantaneous inspiration.

I hope you enjoy!


Are you ready to start your finger cymbal journey and get the solid foundation you need to become the Zill Star you are meant to be?

Join me for my free finger cymbal jumpstart here:

Belly Dance Finger Cymbal Tutorial | How to choose WHAT to play on your finger cymbals.

Do you feel a a bit nervous when you pick up your finger cymbals because you’re not sure WHAT you should be playing?

You are not alone! I am approached by dancers all the time who feel a bit lost when they find themselves with zills on their hands, music in the air and the expectation that they are supposed to just starting playing something. It can be a little scary, especially if you are under the impression that you could possibly make the “wrong” choice.

I’m here to tell you that you have a lot more options than you might think, and that short of playing something that is not in tempo with the music or doing something non-committal and sloppy, there aren’t too many choices that I would characterize as “incorrect.”

In this video we are going to explore 3 basic ways you can choose to play your zills. There are definitely more ways to be explored (more videos to come!), but these three will get you started confidently playing your finger cymbals the next time the music begins to play.

Are you ready to dive in deeper so you can put together fabulous zill patterns of your own? Join me for my FREE zill jumpstart course – ZillStar – designed to give you the foundation you need to become the zill star you are meant to be!

Join me here now:


A huge thank you to the amazing Miss Thea for the music in this video. You can pick up her album at her BandCamp here:

Belly Dance Finger Cymbal Tutorial | The Importance of Multiple Sounds

Inquiring minds want to know…

How many sounds do you use with your finger cymbals?

And why does it matter?

The finger cymbals are a musical instrument (which makes YOU a musician!) And as such, your cymbals are capable of creating several sounds with different timbres and textures within each one.

However, when I see finger cymbals used in belly dance performances, nine times out of ten it’s going to be just one sound.

Why would we only ever use just one sound when they are capable of so much more? Honestly, using just one sound with the cymbals is a little like owning just one pair of shoes. Sure, you can get away with it, but why limit yourself where there is so much more fabulousness to be had, right?

Maybe you still aren’t convinced. And while I was let in on the secret of the importance of multiple zill sounds years ago, it wasn’t until I learned this one fact that I changed my zill playing for the better for good.

Want to know what I learned that tipped the scales and made me commit to better, more musical zilling in my belly dance life?

Check out this week’s video and I’ll give you the inside scoop!


If you are ready to take the plunge and take those musicals instruments on the tips of your fingers more seriously, I invite you to join me for my free finger cymbal jumpstart course aimed at giving you the foundation you need to become the rock star ziller you are meant to me.

Check it out here:


How to sew elastics into your finger cymbals for maximum success!

If you’re anything like me, the less-than-thrilling task of sewing elastics into your finger cymbals can sometimes sit on your “to do” list for quite some time, leaving you with awkward safety pins getting in your way or (even worse) no zills to play come practice time.

I’ve been sewing my zill elastics the same way for nearly twenty years. The method worked pretty well in just about all my finger cymbals… until it didn’t. I’ve found with a few sets that no matter how short I cut the tail of the elastic after I sew them on the underside of the bell, they still get in the way of some sounds, leaving me with not-so-marvelous muffled messes.

So with a bit of tinkering and a few great suggestions from other finger cymbal aficionados I’ve come up with a new and improved way to sew elastics into finger cymbals, and this method is making all my sets sound cleaner and more precise.

Today I’d love to share with you how to do it, so you can set yourself up for ultimate success with your finger cymbals too! (And I hear some of you saying “But I don’t sew!” If you can thread a needle you can do this. I promise you!)

Head to 5:00 to jump straight into the sewing tutorial.

If after this tutorial you’re still not getting around to the elastic sewing task, I’d love to make one more recommendation to you! I’ve started keeping zills that need new elastics near the TV in my living room along with my sewing kit, so on an evening that I sit down to watch a movie, I can get those babies all sewn up and ready to go while I relax.

Try it for yourself!

Happy zilling!


Once you have your finger cymbals all set up and ready to play, join me for my finger cymbal jumpstart – a free course designed to help you become the zillstar you are meant to be!

“Albi Ya Albi” Performance Video

The firs time I hear this song I fell in love with it. The voice, the simple guitar line, the lyrics – everything about it called to me. And while it isn’t the kind of song I would usually choose to perform to, I just knew I had to dance to it.

So I did. And this is what happened.


This video was taken during an online Zoom showcase with my incredible students – The Shimmy Babies – during our 2021 Summer Student Showcase. (You may notice I’m performing for my webcam, which is just off to the right in the video.)

Music is “Albi Ya Albi” by Nancy Ajram

Top 10 Moves that Every Belly Dancer Must Know | The Hip Bump

There are so many beautiful movements in the belly dancers vocabulary and we can spend a lifetime diving into the beauty and nuance of this incredible folkloric dance. (That’s totally where I am right about now!)

Within this vast treasure chest of movement are a handful of totally iconic moves that are the total “must-haves” for any belly dancer learning this art form. And this, my friends, is one of those moves.

In today’s video we are going to take a good look at the Hip Bump, an incredibly versatile movement that you will see just about anytime a belly dancer performs.

I will take you through the best way to create this movement in a strong, graceful and body safe manner, all the while building strength, fluidity and grace in your body.

Are you ready to learn this must have belly dance move and starting rockin the dance floor?

Let’s do it!


Stay tuned for more of the Top 10 moves that every belly dancer must know series.

In the meantime, are you ready to build on what you’ve learned here? Join me online and get ten free on-demand belly dance classes to help you take your technique and creativity to the next level!


Extra special thanks to the amazing Miss Thea for the use of her music in this video. You can get the entire awesome album online at :

How to Get Started with Finger Cymbals (Zills / Sagat)

The finger cymbals are an ancient instrument with a long and beautiful history within the art of belly dance.

While not every belly dance instructor teaches finger cymbals as part of their curriculum, it is very important that everyone studying the dance gets at least a basic introduction to this amazing instrument and learns how finger cymbals can be used to enhance the dance.

In this video I will take you through the first basic steps you need to create a solid foundation for fabulous zill work – from what to look for in a first set of zills and what to do once you get them in your hot little hands.

I invite you to join me for a magical journey and dive into the wide world of finger cymbals!

Get your very first pair here.


Feeling inspired and ready to take the next step? Sign up here for my free zill jumpstart, designed to help you become the zill star you are meant to be!