Thursday, June 30, 2011

Teejei Expands Classes at Dance 101

In the "shameless plug for my own tribe" category (though it also fits the "classes you should seriously consider attending because they are awesome" category), here's some hot news from Teejei of Awalim!  In addition to her Monday night Tribal technique classes at 7:00, Teejei will be teaching a new choreography class at Dance 101 on Tuesdays at 8:00, starting July 5.

This class will feature an ATS-inspired choreography that includes lots of basic ATS moves and technique, plus a touch of Teejei's unique fusion style.  Dance 101 is a beautiful all-adult studio where students are surrounded by dance and music of all styles.  I love going to classes there and really feeling like a part of the larger world of dance!   They often run class card specials that make the cost of a class around $11, which is a great deal.

Bookmark Teejei's web site to learn more and keep up with all of her classes!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Poetry Wednesday

The Dancing Cry Of The Soul

Loie Fuller (learn more)

Love is the dancing cry of the soul, calling the body to worship
Like a shining whirlpool, or a spinning mayfly
So is love among the skies.

I leap across the mountaintops, madly singing the song of all songs
I float through the ether, intoxicated, thrilled
I think only of your love, your calling to me
And I dance the thousand dances of love, all returning to you.

It is not the play of children, nor the detached unity of wise sages
Unreal! Unnecessary!
Where is the beauty?

When I, like a glowing comet, may flash around your sun
Laughing, singing, with the joy of loving you!

Wine makes drunk the mind and body
But it is love which thrills the soul
When I approach you, I feel the mad pounding of love
The singing wonder
The joy which opens blossoms on the trees of the world.

Come to me, and I shall dance with you
In the temples, on the beaches, through the crowded streets
Be you man or woman, plant or animal, slave or free
I shall show you the brilliant crystal fires, shining within
I shall show you the beauty deep within your soul
I shall show the path beyond Heaven.

Only dance, and your illusions will blow in the wind
Dance, and make joyous the love around you
Dance, and your veils which hide the Light
Shall swirl in a heap at your feet.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Plan Your Saturday!

Yes, it's another weekend with lots of belly dance activities to choose from here in Atlanta!  Last weekend's post contains all the details and ticket links for the Awalim workshop at AFBD and the shows produced by Jendayi in Marietta and Natakiya in the Athens area.  Now we can add some breaking news about a great way to cap off a day of dance -- Aya's birthday party at Taverna Plaka!

So here's a quick rundown of this Saturday's events:

Majda of Awalim
2:00 - 4:00 at Atlanta Fusion Belly Dance is the second in the Awalim Dance Company series of Foundation Revelations workshops.  This one is all about using your body more efficiently for better endurance -- tips and drills that will help any dancer.  Only $35 at the door or $30 in advance here!

At 7:00, it's the Bellydance Troupe Appreciation show at the Art Place Mountain View in Marietta.  The more I hear about this show, the more I'm looking forward to attending!  I expect a great mix of performances from troupes based in Atlanta and throughout the Southeast.

Also going on Saturday evening at 7:30 in Bishop, GA (near Athens) is the Kangari Tribal Dance Company student recital at the Portico.  Kangari is led by my Banat Almeh troupemate Natakiya, whose generous and creative spirit flows in many directions and touches many people.

And finally, around 11:00, Aya's birthday party at Taverna Plaka will bring the night to a close in true belly dance style!  Let's hope Inara and Aziza, who will be performing at Plaka that night, stay for the party.  Everyone's invited to come out to Plaka and celebrate with Aya of Istanbul!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Poetry Wednesday (with Guest Poet Lacy Perry)

"Terpsichore Muse of the Dance"
Quim Abella Ojeda
Lacy Perry

When I open myself to her charms,
she twirls me about, enfolds me,
fills my ears with breathless words,
and I no longer care if we are seen embracing.
My will becomes but a far-off memory,
a vague sense of something to be done.
In these fleeting moments, I am hers alone,
a devotee to do with what she will.

She deftly maneuvers my limbs,
guides my motions like a puppeteer.
When her heart is full of love,
my feet skitter over the floor.
When she teases, I flirt along with her.
When she sings, light shines in my eyes.
When she aches, I crumble to the ground.
When she screams, I plead to the skies.
When she conjures ancient lore,
I am a vessel of ages past.

She recreates me in each moment,
interpreting me, molding me,
filling me out into a version of herself,
to show the world how she might look
if they had no ears to hear.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Belly Dance Examiner(s)

Have you been following the stories from Dahne of Company Mezza and Oracle of Jahara Phoenix at  Another great source of information about the local scene.  And we're mentioned in Dahne's latest post about where to study belly dance in Atlanta!  I'm looking forward to her upcoming profiles of local dancers.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Preview of Next Saturday's Events

Here's a quick overview of the three big events going on next Saturday, June 25... another busy day in the world of Atlanta belly dance!

Aziza, Majda and Ziah of Awalim Dance Company
At Atlanta Fusion Belly Dance, the second in the Awalim Dance Company series of Foundation Revelations workshops is going down from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.  This session is all about endurance techniques.  You might be surprised how building a better understanding of muscle mechanics and making small adjustments to your posture can help you maintain your energy level through long performances, weekend workshops, marathon rehearsals, and all-night haflas.  Dancers of all levels will benefit from this workshop!  Click here to register.

Rafi'ah Dance Company
Saturday evening in Marietta, Jendayi will be your hostess for an event that's been in the works for a while -- the Bellydance Troupe Appreciation Show.  You'll see performances by some of the most talented troupes from metro Atlanta and beyond, including some we don't get to see often enough!  The line-up currently includes Jahara Phoenix and Sherar, Rafi'ah Dance Company from Atlanta Fusion Belly Dance, Ora Serena (led by Sarai), Emerald Hips of Chattanooga, Christy Fricks & Sulukule Dance Company from Athens, Cybelle World Fusion of Savannah, Nadia Evona Dance Company of Carrollton, the always fabulous Bahiraat, and more!  Stay tuned for more news about this show -- meanwhile, get your tickets here for just $15!

Finally, if you are near Athens, don't miss the Kangari Tribal Dance Company student recital at the Portico in Bishop!  Led by the extremely fabulous Natakiya, Kangari is an innovative dance company that's starting to make a splash in the local belly dance scene!  Doors open at 7:30 and the show starts at 8:00.  Admission is free, but donations are welcome to offset the cost of renting this lovelt venue.  Check out the Facebook event for more details!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Daughters of the Nile at Imperial Fez this Saturday

Come and see Chandani Amaya and her student troupe, Daughters of the Nile, in the beautiful setting of Imperial Fez Moroccan Restaurant this Saturday, June 18, at 6:00 (doors open at 5:30).  Tickets for this show are only $20, and include a three-course Moroccan dinner, a glass of wine, and complimentary valet parking!  Both pillow and table seats are available.  Please contact the restaurant at 404-351-0870 for reservations.

Check out the Facebook event for more information!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Poetry Wednesday

Deer Dance Exhibition
Ofelia Zepeda

Yaqui Deer Dancer, Ballet Folklorico Sinaloense
(Photo by Brendan Lally)
Question: Can you tell us about what he is wearing?
Well, the hooves represent the deer’s hooves,
the red scarf represents the flowers from which he ate,
the shawl is for skin.
The cocoons make the sound of the deer walking on leaves and grass.
Question: What is that he is beating on?
It’s a gourd drum. The drum represents the heartbeat of the deer.
When the drum beats, it brings the deer to life.
We believe the water the drum sits in is holy. It is life.
Go ahead, touch it.
Bless yourself with it.
It is holy. You are safe now.
Question: How does the boy become a dancer?
He just knows. His mother said he had dreams when he was just a little boy.
You know how that happens. He just had it in him.
Then he started working with older men who taught him how to dance.
He has made many sacrifices for his dancing even for just a young boy.
The people concur, “Yes, you can see it in his face.”
Question: What do they do with the money we throw them?
Oh, they just split it among the singers and dancer.
They will probably take the boy to McDonald’s for a burger and fries.
The men will probably have a cold one.
It’s hot today, you know.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Another Out-of-Control Saturday!

This Saturday, June 11th, there's so much going on in the Atlanta belly dance world that it's a little ridiculous!

Awalim at Atlanta Streets Alive 2010
Atlanta Streets Alive Festival
10:00 - 1:00 at Hurt Park and other locations downtown
Brave the heat and come to see Awalim and Banat Almeh... plus, enjoy lots of other dance, music and fitness activities downtown!

The Dance Market at Pera Dance
3:00 - 6:00
Enjoy an afternoon of dance samplers from Pera teachers and look for bargains on costumes and other belly dance gear in the market!  $5 entrance fee; $10 if you want to set up a table and sell your stuff.  Get more information about performing and vending here.

Titania from A Midsummer Night's Dream
Arthur Rackham
Open Stage Night at Dune Lounge
7:00 until...
Once again, it's time for open stage night, hosted by Kira!  This month's theme is "A Midsummer Night's Dream."  Come and sign up to perform, and dance in the drum circle starting at 10:00!

Atlanta Belly Dance at Red Light Cafe
7:30 - 10:30
Atlanta's largest belly dance studio will take over the Red Light with a cabaret show featuring student, troupe, and instructor performances.  Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door.

Aziza Nawal at Fanoos Persian Cuisine (Friday night, too!)

Lamia of Atlanta Fusion Belly Dance at Nicola's (Friday night, too!)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sherar's "Spark of Hope" Show This Sunday 6/12

Members of Sherar & Jahara Phoenix perform at the
"Devil Went Down to Georgia" show, July 2010
Yes, this Sunday night the student show at Nicola's will have some stiff competition from our sisters in Lawrenceville (in fact, if I wasn't performing I'd probably be there)!  Sherar, the student troupe of Jahara Phoenix, presents the 2nd annual "Spark of Hope" benefit show at Messina's Mediterranean Cuisine.

This year's performance will be a fundraiser for Indonesian Culture Exploration, a charitable organization taking action to save the rainforests. Along with the members of Sherar, performers will include Jahara Phoenix Dance Company, Jendayi Belly Dance Company, Rafi'ah Dance Company, & Oleandra.
The doors will open and dinner will begin at 6:00. The show starts at 7:00.  Tickets are $20 online and $25 at the door (if available).  Dinner includes a chicken or vegetarian plate.  Click here to purchase advance tickets.  RSVP to the Facebook event here!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Poetry (Okay, Prose) Wednesday

The Dancer
From The Wanderer
Kahlil Gibran

Once there came to the court of the Prince of Birkasha a dancer with her musicians. And she was admitted to the court, and she danced before the prince to the music the lute and the flute and the zither.
Ruth St. Denis in "Radhda," 1906

She danced the dance of flames, and the dance of swords and spears; she danced the dance of stars and the dance of space. And then she danced the dance of flowers in the wind.

After this she stood before the throne of the prince and bowed her body before him. And the prince bade her to come nearer, and he said unto her, "Beautiful woman, daughter of grace and delight, whence comes your art? And how is it that you command all the elements in your rhythms and your rhymes?"

And the dancer bowed again before the prince, and she answered, "Mighty and gracious Majesty, I know not the answer to your questionings. Only this I know: The philosopher's soul dwells in his head, the poet's soul is in the heart; the singer's soul lingers about his throat, but the soul of the dancer abides in all her body."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Big Awesome Student Show at Nicola's THIS SUNDAY!

Majda Anwar
Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!  Don't miss the semi-annual Student Showcase at Nicola's Lebanese Restaurant this Sunday, June 16, featuring performances from Awalim student troupe Banat Almeh (including moi), Majda Anwar's Georgia Tech students (you might be surprised at how well those engineers and scientists can dance), and Aziza Nawal's equally fabulous students.  All of these teachers are known for preparing their students very well so they can deliver professional-quality performances!

Aziza Nawa
All told, you'll see a wide range of Tribal, cabaret, and fusion belly dance choreographies -- as well as student solos.  Oh, and of course there will be performances by the Awalim Dance Company... making this much more than a student show!  In fact, I've been going to these shows for a few years and I've seen Awalim debut some really amazing new work.  So you never know what you'll see -- but rest assured that you will be entertained... Nicola will make sure of it!

Doors open at 6:00 -- show starts at 7:00.  Get there early and get a good seat!  Get your tickets in advance right here, and RSVP to the Facebook event here for more details.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Atlanta Streets Alive -- This Saturday!

Aziza Nawal teaches 2010 Streets Alive visitors
a few belly dance moves
The second annual Atlanta Streets Alive festival will take place in downtown Atlanta this Saturday -- and yes, there will be belly dancers there (including yours truly), along with other dance, music, and fitness stuff!  Starting at 10:30 in Woodruff Park, the goal of Streets Alive is to open our city's streets for people to play, walk, bike, breathe, and make their own.

Awalim at Atlanta Streets Alive 2010
Dance events at this year's festival will include performances and casual, fun lessons with Awalim Dance Company and student troupe Banat Almeh.  That means I'll be down there in full costume from 11:00 to 1:00!  Awalim and Banat Almeh will be at Hurt Park, which is on Edgewood Avenue, between Peachtree Center and Courtland Street.  We've been promised a shady spot!

Check out more photos of all the fun we had last year here, and put Streets Alive on your calendar for Saturday, June 11!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

This Weekend's Belly Dance Events

Aziza & Inara at Taverna Plaka

This weekend will be fairly quiet... allowing the community to take a few deep breaths between Black Orchid and all the things that are going on next weekend!  But there are a few performances to check out.

Inara will be a very busy lady this weekend!  Saturday night, she'll be wowing the crowd at Taverna Plaka with Aziza Nawal.  Taverna Plaka is still one of the most fun venues in Atlanta -- great Greek food, a fun mix of music, and later in the night the napkins start flying and everyone starts dancing on the tables!  Aziza will be at Plaka Friday night as well.

Inara is one of Atlanta's most philanthropic dancers, and on Sunday, June 5, she and her Hip Chics troupe will be performing at CAN Dance for Cancer at the Defoor Center.  June 5 is National Cancer Survivors' Day, and this is a community dance event intended to unite the Atlanta dance community while raising funds for the American Cancer Society, as well as for a local family in need. Performances will begin at 4:30.

Jahara Phoenix

Also happening this Saturday night... members of Jahara Phoenix will be performing at Messina's Mediterranean Cuisine.  The first Saturday of every month is Bellydance Night at Messina's.  Reservations are recommendation -- you can reach them at 770-935-9990.  You can also RSVP to the Facebook event here.

Remember to check our Calendar page for all the belly dance events happening in metro Atlanta!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Poetry Wednesday!

"Tambourine Dancer," Otto Pilny

The Turn

Dance when you're broken open.
Dance when you've torn the bandage off.
Dance in the middle of fighting.
Dance in your blood.
Dance when you're perfectly free.
Struck, the dancer hears a tambourine inside her,
like a wave that crests into foam at the very top,

Maybe you don't hear that tambourine,
or the tree leaves clapping time.
Close the ears on your head,
that listen mostly to lies and cynical jokes.
There are other things to see, and hear.
Music. Dance.
A brilliant city inside your soul!