Sahira Featured in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai by Jatin-Lalit (J. Ashar Cover) Video

 

Are you a fan of Bollywood movies?

I absolutely LOVE them! The music, the dancing, the drama and colors and pageantry – it’s all so very decadent! I would love my life to be more like a Bollywood film. (Gotta work on figuring out how to make that happen.)

I had not seen Kuch Kuch Hota Hai when I was approached by my friend and fellow creator J. Ashar a few years ago to create a music video in honor of the 20th anniversary, but I always have such a great time working with him that I said yes to his wacky idea right away.

While I’ve spent my entire life in the theater, playing roles from Marian in The Music Man to the Cabbage in my high school PSA play against drug use, and have danced for over two decades in so many different scenarios, I had never been asked to do this on stage before. I tried hard not to giggle too much, but I may have lost it just once or twice. (Can you see it in the video?)

A huge thank you to J. Ashar for inviting me to be a part of this special project. Enjoy!

Four things I wish I had known when I started to play the zills

 

Not everyone enjoys playing the finger cymbals. (Yet!)
 
Maybe you are a dancer who feels intimidated or confused by the zills, so you choose not to learn them.
 
Or perhaps you are a long-time dancer who was not introduced to them early on, and now it feels too frustrating to add them to your practice.
 
I believe that every belly dancer has the ability to play the finger cymbals confidently and creatively with the right training, but there are a few ideals that are essential to making this happen.
 
In this video I am going to tell you four things I desperately wished I had known when I started playing the finger cymbals.
 
And then I’m going to share some of the answers I received when I asked thousands of avid zillers what they wished they had known when they first got started.
 
Some of these things will make the learning process so much easier for you. Some concepts will make it more exciting, and some will open you mind up to just how important this incredible art form is and in turn will super charge your practice and up your motivation to learn how to play.
 
So, if you are a little zill hesitant (I see you and I understand!) do yourself a favor and take a moment to hang out with me while I share these game changing ideas to allow you to unleash your zill creativity today.
 
And if you are already steps (or miles!) into your zill Journey, what do YOU wish you had known before you got started? Post below – I would love to hear from you!
 
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📀📀 Join my free Facebook group where thousands of zill stars from around the world unite to share our love of the finger cymbals : sahirabellydances.com/zillicious
 
🎁 Snag my FREE Finger Cymbal Jumpstart Course to get the solid foundation you need for confident, creative and super fun zilling : http://SahiraBellyDances.com/Zillstar

 

Finger Cymbal Essentials – Learn to play the Beladi rhythm

 

Finger cymbals are an ancient and time-honored tradition in Belly Dance and a beautiful way to accompany your movement and be part of the music that you dance to!
 
There are many beautiful patterns and rhythms that can be used when playing your zills, and the Beladi is one of the most important ones that every dancer should know.
 
A foundational rhythm in Arabic music, the Beladi comes up all the time in the pieces we dance to. It is important to be able to identify and dance to it, and in this video you will learn to identify this essential rhythm and play the most popular filled version on your finger cymbals.
 
No matter your level of experience with the finger cymbals, this is a fabulous rhythm to learn as it can be used with a lot of different music and performance situations and has lots of room for creativity too!
 
Practice this rhythm with me now and I will have you dancing confidently with it in no time!
 
 
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Are you ready to elevate your zill skills and unlock the door to endless creativity? Don’t miss out on the opportunity to explore the rich tapestry of finger cymbal mastery. Enroll now in “Acapella Finger Cymbal Foundations,” my advanced online course, and embark on a journey of musical discovery at
 
 
 
 
Just getting started with the zills and looking for a solid foundation to help you play confidently and creatively? Join my FREE online course to get started today!
 

“Princess of Cairo” performance at the 2023 Amethyst Dance Festival

 

 

After 24 years of dance this song still remains at the top of my personal charts for a song that every belly dancer must perform to!
 
I come back to this piece from time to time when I have a special event or I am feeling particularly nostalgic. I knew I just had to dance to this belly dance classic at the incredible Amethyst dance festival when I was brought in to teach at the event in the fall of 2023.
 
And even though I have created a choreography to this gorgeous piece… every stage, every audience, every unique moment always brings out some subtle nuance or idea I have not played with before. It is an ever-changing work in progress and a fun exploration of dance creativity, overtime.
 
I hope you enjoy this iteration.
 
Join me on the dance floor! Find confidence, creativity and health through the ancient art of belly dance with me at SahiraBellyDances.com.

Flow & Flex : Your Go-To 10 Minutes Belly Dance Cool Down Stretch Session

 

 

Let’s talk about the unsung hero of our dance practice: The Cool Down! It’s the secret to keeping your belly dance body happy, healthy, and ready to rock on the dance floor.
 
You know how it goes – you finish a killer dance session, and you’re buzzing with energy. But wait! Before you dash off to conquer the rest of your day, let’s hit the pause button and give your body some love.
 
Skipping the stretch might seem tempting when you’re in a hurry, but trust me, it’s a dance sin we need to avoid! Stretching not only helps prevent injuries but also promotes flexibility, muscle recovery, and overall well-being.
 
I invite you to shake off the rush and dive into a blissful ten-minute cooldown with me. Together, we’ll flow through a sequence designed to create length in those important belly dance muscles.
 
This video will take you through the exact cool down flow I use daily in my practice. It will create length and ease in the muscles you use while dancing and help you prevent stress and injury.
 
And here’s a fun fact for you: Did you know that stretching after dance practice increases blood flow, reduces muscle tension, and promotes relaxation? All essential ingredients for dance longevity!
 
Join me in this video and we’ll unwind and stretch together. Consider it your personal post-dance ritual – a time to honor your body and thank it for all the incredible things it can do
 
Be sure to hit that save button and make this video your new post-dance BFF. Your muscles will thank you!
 
Leave a comment below sharing how these stretches make you feel – I can’t wait to hear from you!
 
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Ready to find health, confidence and creativity through the ancient art of belly dance? Join me now for this FREE 7-day program designed to get you moving with confidence and grace today!
 
 
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Music is from the fabulous Miss Thea https://missthea.bandcamp.com/track/simply-groovy
 

Learn this Belly Dance Essential – The Comma

 

 

The Comma is one of the most iconic movements in belly dance, and there are so many ways you can texturize and finesse it to fit your mood and the music.

The Comma is part of the unweighted hip drop family, and drilling it with me will give you a fabulous strengthening and toning workout for your legs, hips, and obliques.

It’s a move that absolutely every belly dancer must know!

In this video I am going to show you exactly how to do the Comma with style and confidence from the ground up – focusing on the correct muscles to use in order to perform it safely and beautifully.

So grab your hipscarf and let’s dance!

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Ready to learn more of the “must have” belly dance movements? Dive deep into the beautiful art of belly dance with this FREE 7-day programs designed to get you moving with confidence and grace today! http://SahiraBellyDances.com/jumpstart

 

 

Sahira performs with the National Arab Orchestra at Go Live 2023

 

This opportunity would usually fall into the “once in a lifetime” category for sure…

Except that this is the SECOND time that I’ve had the immense honor of performing with the National Arab Orchestra. (I’m such a lucky girl!)

The first performance happened at a concert in Houston in 2022. (Want to see that one? You can find it here.)

 

This incredible second opportunity was given to me when I taught at an incredible festival event in San Antonio – Go Live, hosted by Karen Barbee and Michael Ibrahim.

A three-day even unlike any other, Go Live gives dancers from around the world the opportunity to learn how to dance to live music while actually dancing to live music with some of the best ensembles for Arab music in the US. (I HIGHLY recommend you check it out.)

Performers were purposefully NOT given the opportunity to practice with the ensemble before getting on stage… because the in-the-moment improvisation is a big part of what this artful is all about.

This performance just flew by for me. I would have loved to have spent so much more time up there on stage with these incredible musicians. You can almost see the disappointment on my face when the music ends.

Enjoy!

The 3/4 Shimmy and the Triplet Shimmy are NOT the same thing! 🤓

 

Let’s talk math and level up your belly dance technique while breaking a sweat!

 

Did you know that a 3/4 shimmy and a triplet shimmy are NOT the same thing?

 

This is one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to shimmies. So often the fast triplet shimmy is broken down as a slow three-quarter shimmy, which leads to dancers feeling twitchy and frantic when they try to ramp it up to speed.

Since I was an engineer before I was a belly dancer all of this math means something to me! And even if math is not your thing, knowing the difference between these two shimmies will be a game-changer for your practice.

 

In this video, I will take you through the details of a well-crafted 3/4 shimmy, the difference between a 3/4 and a triplet (and why that may have messed you up in the past) and how to actually make a true 3/4 shimmy happen cleanly and with control. We will practice and drill the movement slowly, eventually ramping up the speed to work our muscles and our stamina.

 

Are you ready to sweat? Let’s dance!

 

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Are shimmies kinda your thing? (Mine too!)

 

This tutorial is from my full online “Sensational Shimmies” Intensive Course – your one stop shop to learn, drill, perfect and have fun with 22 different shimmies and variations that are quintessential in the belly dance world.

 

Whether you are

❃ a new dancer looking to learn some of belly dance’s most popular shimmies

❃ a long-time dance student frustrated with shimmies that are unreliable, wonky or difficult to achieve

❃ or an experienced dancer looking to expand your shimmy repertoire

this course is going to be help you skyrocket your knowledge, ability and confidence dancing dozens of sensational shimmies!

 

By the end of this course you will have

✓ A solid understanding of how to make shimmies big, relaxed, delicious, dependable and fun

✓ The clear blueprint for drilling your shimmies to achieve the shimmies you’ve always wanted

✓ Twenty two different shimmies that you can play with and use to create amazing texture and expression in your dance

✓ Four ways to easily workout your shimmies anytime no matter how much time you have

 

JOIN NOW for a more confident shimmy tomorrow!

Sahira Performs a Ghawazee-Inspired Finger Cymbal Dance at The Amethyst Dance Festival

 

I will admit that this performance was a bit out of the ordinary for me.

When I was invited to teach at the Amethyst Dance Festival in Casa Grande, Arizona, the organizers confided that as they came back from pandemic closures and opened up their festival again they were looking for an instructor who could teach both modern Egyptian style and something more tribal or fusion in nature too.

I was totally their girl and super excited to be able to bring my range of dance styles and knowledge to their fabulous festival.

And since I was performing in the gala show, they asked if I could do a performance in each style as well.

As I began preparing my pieces for the show, I realized that the vast majority of all the fusion performing I’ve ever done has been with my tribal improv group Urban Hipsy…. I almost never perform the style alone.

Unfortunately my troupe wasn’t going to be there with me for the festival… so I had to come up with another plan.

So here’s what I did. ☺️

I learned most of this piece from the incredible National Folkloric Troupe of Egypt when they came to Houston about eight years ago. It is from their Ghawazee style showcase, and features finger cymbals (so of course I fell in love with it instantly!) I’ve changed it up a bit to fit this performance stage, but the inspiration and credit belongs to them for sure!

In the end I had SO MUCH FUN performing this style on my own. So keep a look out for more folkloric solos in the future!

Finger Cymbal Drilll for Rock-Solid Rhythmic Playing

 

 

I used to believe that fancier was better.

For just about everything… Jewelry, clothing, food, dance, finger cymbals, etc. I thought that fancier and more complex equaled better and more interesting. I would sometimes play my zills like one of those overzealous electric guitarists who just wants to show you how fast they can go, but lose all the feeling and soul in the process. (You know the kind I mean?)

But let me tell you… Over the years I have learned that there is so much more nuance and interest to the art of finger cymbals than “fancy” captures. And I’ve also learned to really appreciate simple, clean and musical playing.

And it all starts with a solid foundation.

It all begins with being able to really feel the steady pulse of the beat, create simple patterns inside that beat, and of course… move your body to the music.

Let’s do that together right now with this drill for rock solid rhythmic playing!

In all honesty, the only thing you can really do “wrong” when you’re playing the finger cymbals is not play in time with the music. So let’s be sure that you’ve got that steady pulse going and your simple and beautiful zill work fits right inside the beat.

Once you’ve finished, be sure to take a video of your practice and tag me on social media at @sahirabellydances so I can cheer you on!

 

Start your finger cymbal journey with the rock-solid foundation you need in this free finger cymbal course! Get it here: SahiraBellyDances.com/Zillstar

 

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Finger cymbals played in this tutorial are Saroyan Mastercraft’s King Tuts in Brass. Get your own set at SahiraBellyDances.com/SaroyanCymbals

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Special thanks for the fabulous Miss Thea for the music used in this video. Support her on Bandcamp here: missthea.bandcamp.com/track/4d-recollection