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!

 

*****

 

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

Free Saidi folklore masterclass happening this week.

 

The Saidi rhythm and dance infuses energy into countless belly dance compositions and performances and is a crucial element for every belly dancer to study.

In this free Masterclass you will develop a deeper understanding of this earthy and powerful style including:

✓ rhythm identification for greater stylistic recognition

✓ the most quintessential Saidi movements to level up your dance

✓ cane foundations for more dynamic and natural prop work

✓ tips on how to avoid the most common stylistic pitfalls so you can dance more authentically

✓ a fabulous, energetic combination perfect for your practice or the stage

Ready to approach Saidi style folk dance with confidence, grace and authenticity?

This masterclass is available for a short time only! Choose your date at SahiraBellyDances.com/Masterclass

I’ll see you on the dance floor soon.

OMG… I’ve been SHUT DOWN!?

 

I’m angry and I’m not sure what else to do… so I’m giving you the dirty details behind this frustrating situation I find myself in.

 

After 12 years of sharing my love of the dance with you and building a following and a library of instructional performance videos online… I have been shut down. I received one email, and one pop up when I logged in to post on Instagram earlier this month. One chance to verify my account (which I promptly responded to) and then they shut me down. And that was it.

 

So I’m dishing the dirt on what happened.

 

*****

Here’s the “Too Long Didn’t Watch” synopsis. Through no choice of my own I have a new Instagram account. ​Would you please follow me there? ​

*****

 

(And if you happen to know of a way to get my old account back, I’m all ears!)

 

Thanks for listening.

Free Saidi Style Masterclass Enrolling Now!

 

Are you ready to elevate your dance and deepen your understanding of Arabic folklore?

Come and embrace the folklore with this Saidi Style Masterclass!

The Saidi rhythm and dance infuses energy into countless belly dance compositions and performances and is a crucial element for every belly dancer to study.

In this free Masterclass you will learn the foundations of this earthy and powerful style including rhythm identification, dance steps and cane basics. You will also discover how to avoid the most common stylistic pitfalls and dance more authentically. Finally, you’ll put your new-found knowledge into a fabulous energetic combination that is perfect for your practice or the stage.

Ready to make Saidi style folk dance an unforgettable part of your dance repertoire? This masterclass is available for a short time only!

Join me at SahiraBellyDances.com/Masterclass I’ll see you on the dance floor soon.

Saidi Style Dance | Cane Essentials – The Forward Spin

 

Saidi style dance is an earthy and folkloric dance style from upper Egypt that is often referenced on the belly dance stage. It’s important for every belly dancer to be familiar with this folk dance, recognize the rhythm and know how to dance some of the fundamental movements.

Saidi dance often utilizes a cane, or assaya, as part of the dance. In this video I will take you through the basics of holding the cane and effectively and cleanly creating one of the most fundamental movements – the forward spin.

So grab your cane (or a dowel rod can also work in a pinch) and let’s do some Saidi style cane work!

Belly Dance Lessons with Sahira – Saidi Basic 1

 

 

Time to get your Saidi on! Saidi dance is a folkloric style from upper Egypt that is energetic and grounded. It has a very different feel from classical raqs sharqui and is one of the most important Arab folkloric dance styles to be familiar with, as the rhythm and the music is often used in belly dance.

In this tutorial I will take you through the basics of this earthy style and show you some tips and pointers so you can really dive into the feel of the dance, which is something that many dancers struggle with.

So grab your hip scarf and let’s Saidi!

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If you enjoyed this tutorial and are looking to get a solid foundation for an amazing belly dance journey of your own, sign up now for the FREE 7-Day Beginner Belly Dance Jumpstart program online.

http://SahiraBellyDances.com/jumpstart

Get 7 days of free belly dance tutorial videos emailed directly to you today!

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The music used for today’s drill is: Arabian Nights by Hossam Ramzy

Refresh your belly dance technique for the new year with this drill!

 

Dust off the old and dive into the new! Get your body ready for the new year with this fabulous drill that will help you hone all the important foundational belly dance isolations.

In this video I will take you through the isolations your body needs to internalize in order to master more complex belly dance movements and combinations.

Use this drill weekly to create the muscle memory you need to propel your belly dance practice into an incredible year!

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And if you love this kind of focused and intentional drilling in order to hone your belly dance skills, I invite you to join me for my online “New Year’s Technique Refresh” course.

​Inside the course are four dynamic one-hour recorded sessions, meticulously designed to breathe new life into your belly dance practice. Each class is a treasure trove of insider tips, expert guidance, and refreshing drills that will leave you with a solid foundation for the year ahead.

Say goodbye to dance plateaus and hello to a year filled with vibrant, confident, and captivating belly dance. Don’t miss the chance to refresh your technique and set the stage for an extraordinary dance journey in 2024.

Sign up here.

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Music is Jeet B’waqtak From “Ya Bahaia” vol 2 by Samer Issa