Monday, December 24, 2012

January Preview

Jaki Hawthorne
The new year will kick off with some exciting events!
Saturday, January 5
10:00 - 2:00
Jendayi Dance Company Bellydance Boot Camp
Visit the Facebook event for more details.

Saturday, January 12
11:30 - 12:30
Abdominal Workshop with She'nez
Nazeem Allayl Windy Hill Studio

Sunday, January 13 New Date:  March 16
10:00 - 12:30
Fast & Fun ATS Combos with Jaki of Jahara Phoenix
Atlanta Fusion Belly Dance

Suhaila Salimpour
Photo by Pixie Vision

January 19-21
Suhaila Salimpour -- Level 1 Workshops with Certification Option
Atlanta Fusion Belly Dance

Saturday, January 26
1:00 - 4:00
Romantic Valentine's Choreography Workshop
Nazeem Allayl Little Five Points Studio

Sunday, January 27
7:30 - 10:00
Hurricane Sandy Benefit Show
Pera Dance & Event Studio
Stay tuned for more details! 

Happy Holidays & All the Best in 2013 from Yalla Y'all!

Shaman and her Drum
Alfred Joseph Woolmer
As our second year comes to a close, I just wanted to wish every Yalla Y'all reader a Merry Christmas and/or whatever else you choose to celebrate, and a very happy New Year!

I started this web site to give back to a community that has given so much to me. I hope my work over the past year has helped you enjoy and appreciate the many gifts that are exchanged within the metro Atlanta raqs community year-round. Hundreds of dancers, teachers, choreographers, musicians, costumers, event producers, restaurant owners, costumers, photographers, and many others pour their hearts and souls into creating experiences for all of us.

Along with our personal goals, let's all resolve to get out and enjoy more of what our community has to offer in the coming year. I promise to do my best to keep you informed about all of it. Cheers!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The 2012 Belly Dance Community Survey

This year's survey is focused on workshops and performances... how you learn about them and how event producers can make them better.  We're also checking in once again on your level of participation in raqs events and what types of events you'd like to see more of in your community.

This survey is open to raqs enthusiasts everywhere, so please contribute and share!  It's completely anonymous and just 10 questions.  The survey will be open throughout the month of December, and results will be published in January.  Thank you in advance for your valuable input!

The survey is closed... thanks to all who participated!

Friday, November 30, 2012

2013 Workshop Preview

We can expect lots of exciting events in 2013!  Here's a quick preview of the workshops featuring internationally-recognized instructors and performers that have been scheduled so far.  See anything missing?  Let us know!

January 19-21
Suhaila Salimpour Workshops with Level 1 Certification
Atlanta Fusion Belly Dance

February 14-17
Instructors include Donna Mejia, Zoe Jakes, April Rose, Lacey Sanchez, Onca O'Leary, Natalie Brown, Carmine Guida, Dave Machek, and many more 
Ziah & Awalim Dance Company

March 8-10 
Anasma & Beat Box Guitar -- "Collaboration & Creation: The Edge of Music & Dance"
World Belly Dance Alliance

April 19-21
Kaleidoscope 2013
Mohamed Shahin & Myra Krien (register here)
Global Dance (Zaia Hadiyyah & Liezel Lane)

April 20-21
"Gems of the South" Belly Dance Competition 
Judges and instructors include Princess Farhana, Shoshanna Rose, Amani Jabril, and more
Mina & Dalloua Dance

May 24-26
The Second Dancer's Intensive: Crafting the Art of Dance
Drummer George Sadak, Amani Jabril, and Samira Shuruk
Amani Jabril

July 13-14
Crossroads & Origins
Artemis Mourat & Amel Tafsout
Ziah & Awalim Dance Company

August 3-4
Workshop with Naima Sultana
World Belly Dance Alliance

September 6-8
The Essence of Bellydance 3
Amar Gamal, Jill Parker, Mira Betz, and Sadie Marquardt
Atlanta Fusion Belly Dance

November 1-3
Certification Workshop with Unmata 
Atlanta Fusion Belly Dance

Monday, November 26, 2012

December Preview

Lots of great events coming up to close out 2012!  Come on out and support our fabulous metro Atlanta raqs community.  Please note that the deadline for pre-registration for the Tempest workshop is this Saturday December 1!

Sunday, December 2
Jingle Shimmy at Laziza with Inara and Kalinka
Join Inara, her students and performance troupes Sandtrance and Lum'a as-Sahar -- plus Kalinka Mahaila and her students -- for a festive evening at Laziza Restaurant in Marietta. Tickets are $15 at the door for the show plus dinner!  RSVP to the Facebook event for more details.

Wednesday, December 5
"Rak the 40 Watt" in Athens
Ziah of Awalim
Join dancers from the Healing Art's Center and UGA's Ramsey Center (plus special guests from Atlanta) for an evening of traditional, contemporary, improv, and fusion belly dance at the historic 40 Watt Club!  Tickets are $5 in advance and $8 at the door. Doors open at 7:00 and the show starts at 7:30.  Check out the Facebook event.  Visit the 40 Watt's web site to buy tickets.

Tuesday, December 11
Awalim Dance Company at Tantra Restaurant & Bar
Ziah and Aziza of Awalim will raq Buckhead with two amazing sets starting at 8:00 in this gorgeous venue.  Three-course menu available for $25!  Call 404-228-7963 for reservations.  Check out the Facebook event for the latest details.
Leena of AFBD

Sunday, December 9
"AFBD's Got Talent"
Atlanta Fusion Belly Dance Student Showcase at Nicola's Restaurant
Experience a fusion of many different styles of dance, with performances from AFBD's students, delicious food, and the fun you can count on from Nicola!  There will also be raffles, including a special pre-event drawing will be held on Friday 11/30 for everyone who has purchased a ticket by then. Show starts at 7:00;doors open at 6:00.  Purchase tickets here. RSVP to the Facebook event for more information.

(this "Metropolis" costume is to die for!)

December 15-16
Tempest, Sponsored by Beledi Boutique
At Atlanta Fusion Belly Dance
Tempest is one of the most unique and striking performers in the world of raqs, with an amazing vintage look and vintage-style moves to go with it.  Beledi Boutique presents four workshops with Tempest in distinct theatrical dance styles, including Steampunk, Gothic Nouveau, floorwork, and Tempest's signature "Nouveau Noir" style.  The pre-registration deadline is this Saturday, December 1!  Pre-register here.  Check out the Facebook event for details!

Monday, October 29, 2012

November Events!

You've probably already noticed that November is going to be a very busy month in the metro Atlanta belly dance community!  Here's a preview of the workshops and shows coming up next month.

November 3-4
Princess Farhana (Lapis Photography)
Princess Farhana's Glamour Garage
Mina and Mariana present a legend of belly dance, burlesque, and much more -- Princess Farhana!
Two days of workshops in dance as well as makeup and how to pose for a camera at Sound Body Gym (3334 North Druid Hills Road, Decatur, GA 30033).  I believe the workshops are sold out, but don't miss the Fab Glam Showcase Saturday night at Kavarna!  Your chance to see the amazing Princess Farhana and many other belly dance and burlesque performers in an intimate venue.  RSVPP to the Facebook event for more details.

Saturday, November 10
Les Raissat Presents Legends of Dance Morocco & Shira
Atlanta's newest performing duo brings two of the leading authorities on our art form to Pera Dance & Events!  How many times in your early dance career did you refer to to learn more about belly dance?  And "Aunt Rocky" has been performing and studying the dance since the 1970s.  She recently published "You Asked Aunt Rocky:  Answers & Advice about Raqs Sharqi and Raqs Shaabi (Oriental & Folk Dance)."  She will discuss her book, and Shira will present "Hares in the Harem & Fantasies of Seduction," a lecture she has been researching for many years, including lots of photos and videos.  The lectures begin at noon, with a show featuring Shira at 7:00 and an after-party at Nicola's.  RSVP to the Facebook event for more information!  Click here for tickets, including a great deal on a package including a signed copy of Morocco's book!

Nazeem Allayl at Red Light Cafe
Saturday night, Atlanta Belly Dance/Nazeem Allayl Studios presents a cabaret showcase at the Red Light Cafe in Midtown.  Check out the instructors and troupe members from this popular studio with a variety of performances from instructors, troupe members, and students!  Click here for tickets.

Ziah & Aziza Nawal of Awalim
Sunday, November 11
Awalim Student & Apprentice Showcase at Nicola's
Shameless plug for my own student troupe and teachers with a fabulous show at Nicola's!  This event combines students and Awalim apprentices from Ziah's and Aziza Nawal's classes for a wide variety of performances.  Cabaret, tribal fusion, group improv, folkloric, Bollywood, and more!  Tickets include dinner, as always, and dancing with Nicola.  Click here for advance tickets.  Check out the Facebook event for the latest details!

This show will also be a fundraiser for Our House, a childcare, education, and support center for homeless families in Decatur. They need clothing and household items for children and adults.
Bring an item for the kids at Our House and get a free raffle ticket!  You could win a ticket to the TribalCon 2013 shows.  Here is a list of their needs to plan what you want to donate!

Saturday, November 17
Amani Jabril
Bhangra & Bollywood Workshop with Jaki of Jahara Phoenix (sold out)
Though this event is sold out, I wanted to make you aware of it!  Jaki and Jahara Phoenix teach a variety of styles in regular classes as well as workshops.  RSVP to the Facebook event to find out if any spaces open up!

Sunday, November 18
Choreography Workshop with Amani Jabril at Atlanta Fusion Belly Dance
Building upon previous workshops in Egyptian technique and combinations, Amani returns to teach a short choreography in the Egyptian style. The workshop (10 a.m. - noon) will include technique and favored combinations as seen on the contemporary dance scene as well as movement from Amani's own signature Egyptian style. Click here to pre-register.

Get out there and support the community in November!  Check out our Calendar page for all the upcoming events in metro Atlanta.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Gearing Up for the 2012 Belly Dance Community Survey -- What Do YOU Want to Know?

Last year's belly dance student survey was fun and informative -- I hope it gave instructors, event producers, vendors and others who make some or all of their living from belly dance some valuable insights into how students were spending their time and money!

This year's survey is going to be a little more broad.  We'll check in for an update on some of the more interesting questions from last year's survey, but I also want to ask the community as a whole about what excites them, what inspires them, and -- again, when it comes right down to it -- how they choose to spend their time and money.  Classes, workshops, shows, competitions, costuming, DVDs, musical instruments... how do raqs enthusiasts choose between all the options we are fortunate to have available to us?

If you've got a specific question you'd like to ask the belly dance community, let me know!  The survey can only include so many questions, but I will try to address your suggestions.  Just add a comment on this post or send an e-mail to  The survey will be conducted for about six weeks, beginning in mid-November.  Thanks in advance for your participation!

Monday, October 22, 2012

"The Soul of Fusion" This Weekend!

This weekend, October 25-28, Black Orchid Danse brings some of the world's most accomplished fusion artists to metro Atlanta for "The Soul of Fusion," a weekend of workshops and performances. Music and dance instructors include Kami Liddle, Nath Keo, Tarik Sultan, Jeremiah Soto of Solace, and many more.

The event will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn Airport/Millenium Center in College Park.  Events begin Wednesday with a three-hour intensive with Nath Keo and a welcome reception for workshop participants.  There will be shows Friday night and Saturday night featuring the workshop teachers as well as performers from metro Atlanta and well beyond.  You know these shows will be amazing!  Online sales have ended, but click here to learn about show ticket pricing.

Visit Black Orchid Danse for more information.

Here's a video preview of the event!

Amani, Jenny & Nawar at Steve's Live Music this Wednesday

Nawar & Jenny
This Wednesday, October 22, don't miss a chance to see three of our most talented local dancers in an unusual weeknight appearance together!  At 8:00, Steve's Live Music in Sandy Springs hosts Amani Jabril and Jenny and Nawar of World Belly Dance Alliance, along with music from Aviva of Aviva and the Flying Penguins and live drumming by Meriwan Abdullah.

Steve's Live Music is on Hilderbrand Drive, just off Roswell Road.  It's right across the street from Muse for Life, so if you're in Aziza Nawal's 7:00 class (like me), you might want to stop by after class!

Tickets are only $8.00 at the door.  Steve's has a full bar and food, too!

RSVP to the Facebook event for more details.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Awalim & Friends in the Little Five Points Halloween Parade this Saturday!

Fresh off a glorious appearance in the Oakhurst Arts & Music Festival parade last Saturday, Ziah brings her merry band of dancers, drummers, and belly dance ambassadors to the Little Five Points Halloween Parade this weekend!

This parade (and the Halloween festival surrounding it) is legendary for its wild costumes and overall party-down atmosphere.  So come on down to Little Five Points Saturday, October 20 for the parade!  It kicks off at 4:00 p.m.  With a high of 70 predicted, the weather should be lovely.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Belly Dance by Samora Annual Student Showcase this Sunday!

Tomorrow night, join the fabulous Samora, her students, Amoraat Dance Ensemble, and special guests (including Jahara Phoenix Dance Company) at Nicola's!  Tickets are just $22.00 in advance for adults, $15 for children ($27.00 and $20.00 at the door, respectively).  And Samora is awesome about scheduling her Sunday shows a little early so you can rest up and be ready for Monday!  Doors open at 5:45.  As usual, your ticket includes a delicious Lebanese dinner, with wine and beer available for purchase.  Bring some dollar bills to tip your favorite dancers!

RSVP to the Facebook event for more information, or click here to buy tickets in advance!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Jahara Phoenix Halloween Hafla This Saturday!

This Saturday, October 13, Jahara Phoenix will host a Halloween hafla at Fancy Footwork Dance & Fitness in Lawrenceville!

The party starts at 7:00 with performances from members of Jahara Phoenix, Sherar, and some other talented metro Atlanta dancers.  Then the floor will be open for dancing and live music from Danny Stern and other local musicians. At 9:00, the party moves outside and heats up with fire performances!

Tickets are just $5 -- get them in advance here.  Admission is free for musicians!

RSVP to the Facebook event for more details.
Fancy Footwork Fitness is at 198 Gwinnett Dr SW Lawrenceville, GA 30046.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

"Haunted Oasis" this Saturday in Oakhurst

This Saturday at 8:00, join Mina and Mariana for a special edition of their "Night in the Oasis" series of shows at Kavarna in Oakhurst.  Expect to see both new and familiar faces from metro Atlanta and beyond, putting on some spooky Halloween numbers!

Performers will include Aimee, Amanda Button, Amirah Bey, Asmak, Balefire, Duality, Heidi, JDC, Jana of Firebelly, Leene, Mariana & Gretchen, Mindy of Serpentine, Nawar, Paige Haggard, Qamar, Raja, Stellanura, Taylor, and Zondra! Mina will perform, of course, and Sabrina Pandora will emcee.

Kavarna is located at 707B East Lake Dr. Decatur, GA 30030, in the heart of Oakhurst. Coffee, beer, and wine will be available, along with baked goods and snacks. There are lots of restaurants in the area if you want to grab dinner before or after. Admission is just $5 at the door. Seating is limited, so get there early! RSVP to the Facebook event for all the latest news about this event.

Friday, September 21, 2012

"Raks el Hob" this Sunday at Dez Persian Grill

This Sunday the 21st, enjoy some of the area's most graceful dancers at "Raks el Hob" (which I believe means "Dance of Love").

Saroya, Cairo, Sheri, and Galina will entertain diners in an informal presentation at Dez Persian Grill in Smyrna, starting at 8:00 p.m.

For more information, RSVP to the Facebook event at

There are lots of awesome workshops, shows, and other events coming up this fall!  Keep up with everything by visiting the Yalla Y'all Calendar.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

"Essence of Belly Dance 2" at AFBD

Aziza of Montreal
Coming up September 15 and 16, Atlanta Fusion Belly Dance gives local dancers an opportunity to study with two legendary performers:  Aziza of Montreal and Sera Solstice.  The "Essence of Belly Dance 2" weekend will include workshops, a gala show, a fashion show, and shopping.  It all takes place at the Westin Atlanta Perimeter North.

Sera Solstice
(Photo by TabooMedia)
I learned about Aziza of Montreal years ago from the legendary Atlanta dancer Gina, who had studied with Aziza and saw her as a mentor and inspiration.  I was blown away by the first few videos I saw of Aziza performing, and I've been very excited to see her live!  Charlie and I will be photographing the show, and I can't wait to edit those photos.

New York-based Sera Solstice is a leading light in the East Coast Tribal community and a former member of Bellyqueen.  Sera will be teaching workshops using a deeply spiritual dance vocabulary centered around "Lunar" and "Solar" movements.

To learn more about this event, click hereClick here to buy tickets for the workshops and/or Saturday night's show.  To keep up with all the latest news and connect with other attendees, RSVP to the Facebook event.

I think this video of Aziza will make you want to buy a ticket immediately!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Dragon*Con 2012 Silk Road Track Schedule

Any guess about what's the most popular post of all time on Yalla Y'all?  Why, it's the 2011 Silk Road Track schedule at Dragon*Con, with 764 page views!  Clearly there are lots of people out there who are interested in what's happening in the Asian arts segment of Dragon*Con, which includes Japanese crafts, martial arts, Asian film, and several forms of dance -- as well as a show on Saturday afternoon that usually features a number of belly dancers from metro Atlanta and beyond.

Persian Court Dancer
This year's Silk Road programming will once again include a workshop with a dear friend of mine, Natakiya, who is (among many other talents), a master of creating adorable and tasty bento.  Learn about the history of bento boxes and how to make super-kawai meals Saturday at 2:30!  Meanwhile, check out Natakiya's Bento Anarchy blog for lots of amazing and amusing ideas for vegetarian bento.

Here's this year's schedule.  Everything will take place in the Piedmont room at the Hyatt.  For more details on all these sessions and teachers/panelists, visit the Silk Road Track web site or join the Facebook group.

Friday, August 31
10:00 - 11:00 Beginning the Journey with Origami
11:30 - 2:00 Asian Ball Jointed Dolls
2:30 - 3:30 Eating in the Box: Bento 101
4:00 - 5:00 Iron Chef Japan Retrospective
5:30 - 6:30 Intro to Persian Dance with Jadi Fatima
7:00 - 9:00 Chinese Belly Dance movie

Saturday, September 1 
10:00 - 11:00 Dragon*Con Parade
11:30 - 12:30 Henna with Crimson Art
1:00 - 2:00 Sabutai Musashi: Ninkage-ryu
2:30 - 3:30 Bollywood Dance with Sanam
4:00 - 5:00 Dragon Origami
5:30 - 6:30 Silk Road Expo
7:00pm - 9:30 Bollywood Movie

Sunday, September 2
10:00 - 11:00 Modular Origami
11:30 - 2:00 Far Eastern Braiding
2:30 - 3:30 Sabutai Musashi: Ninkage-ryu
4:00 - 5:00 Sabutai Musashi
5:30 - 6:30 Lolita Fashion
7:00 - 8:00 Asian Film through Western Eyes
8:30 – 11:00 Asian Film - Fan pick

Monday, September 3
11:30 - 2:00 Godzilla
2:30 - 3:30 Eastern Reads
4:00 - 5:00 End of the Road/Open Origami

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Veils in August!

One of the loveliest props we use in belly dance is the veil.  Silk veils, chiffon veils, fan veils, veil poi... rectangles, half-circles, multiple veils... spinning, wrapping, unwrapping... it's amazing how a piece of fabric can enhance a performance.  It's also amazing how easy it is to get tangled up in a veil mid-performance if you don't have your technique down (and sometimes even if you do).  We call it "When Veils Attack!"
Ziah of Awalim

This week, there are two new opportunities to polish up your veil skills and get a great workout too.

Starting this Thursday at 8:00 p.m., Ziah will start a six-week veil choreography course at Dance & Arts Showcase (near Mercer University).  Learn Awalim's dramatic choreography to Turku's "Aman Avci" during the Boot Camp class!  This choreography was developed as an upbeat opening number for Awalim's tour with Turku.  Click here to register!

This Saturday at Atlanta Fusion Belly Dance, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m., join Diana for a VeilRobics and Finger Cymbal WorkshopThe beauty and grace of belly dance meets the aerobic workout of dancing with a veil!  Learn how to get a great low-impact workout using this beautiful prop.  Plus Diana will share tips for improving your finger cymbal skills.  Bring a veil -- or if you need to borrow one, there will be some available.  Advance registration is just $30.  RSVP to the Facebook event for the latest news about this workshop.

As always, check the Yalla Y'all Calendar page for all the upcoming events in metro Atlanta and north Georgia!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Master Class with Amani Jabril this Saturday

Amani Jabril
If you're an experienced dancer and want to learn more about authentic contemporary Egyptian stylization, don't miss your chance to study with a local master of the art, Amani Jabril!

This Saturday from 10 to 12 at Atlanta Fusion Belly Dance, Amani offers "Egyptian Basics for the Advanced Dancer!
Technique & Combinations."  This class will focus on giving the advanced belly dancer insights into the techniques used by Egyptian dancers and creating that silky, yet powerful “Egyptian” styling.

Created from Amani’s own experience performing and studying Raqs Sharqi in the Middle East, the class will focus on detailed aspects of the movements – namely, posture and carriage, timing, footwork and that unique Egyptian use of muscular movement to power the dance.

This workshop is a follow-up to Amani's session in April -- if you attended that workshop, there's a $5 discount on the $35 price of admission to this weekend's class.  Pre-registration is required -- click here to reserve your spot!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

This Weekend's Events -- It's All Happening in Athens!

Christy Fricks (Photo by PixieVision)
As many of us recover from the amazing Crossroads & Origins event last weekend, it's going to be pretty quiet in the metro Atlanta raqs community this weekend.  But there's a lot going on a short drive away in Athens at the Mid-Summer's Dance Party and Workshops, hosted by Sulukele Bellydance and Christy Fricks.

Enjoy dance and music workshops on Saturday at Floorspace Dance (in the very cool warehouse district):
11-1     Drumming with Marcus of Greenville, SC
1:15-3  Romany Style 9/8 with Christy of Sulukule
3:15-5  Basket ATS with Jaki of Jahara 

Single classes are $30, and all three workshops are $75

Saturday evening, GO Bar will host a dance show followed by live drumming beginning at 8 p.m. Performers will include Jahara Phoenix, Marcus, Christy Fricks, Sukari, Evadne, Sulukule, Stephanie Leslie & Co., Jenny Moss, Misty, Miss Mongoose, Sarah, and Mwanabahari!
Show tickets are just $5 in advance, $7 at the door.


Pre-register online here:  Or visit the Facebook event for more info!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

This Weekend's Events

This weekend's metro Atlanta belly dance events include late-breaking workshop at AFBD and an exciting lineup for the second "Night in the Oasis" show in Oakhurst.

(Photo by Jaki Hawthorne Photography)
If you've been wanting to learn more about classic popping and locking -- whether to fuse it with belly dance or to bust some hip-hop moves -- don't miss the "Popping 101: Fundamentals of Popping" workshop at Atlanta Fusion Belly Dance, Saturday at 2:00.  In this workshop, MonTahje will cover the history and origins of popping, and break down how to incorporate muscle isolation, coordination, slides, position, freezing, waving and more into your dance routine. Suitable for all level dancers, in all styles of dance!  Passes are $25 in advance, $30 at the door.  RSVP to the Facebook event or visit AFBD online for more details!

Saturday evening, Kavarna in Oakhurst will be the place to be!  "A Night in Oasis: Fire in the Oasis," produced by Mina of Dalloua and Mariana, will feature an impressive lineup of local and regional raqs talent.  Dancers slated to perform include Amani, Christy, Crystal, Danita, Faaridah, Gretchen, Jendayi Belly Dance, Kira, Lady Morrighan, Miss Mongoose, Moriah, Neyali, Perry Dance, Raja, Samora, Saniyah, Shannon, Stellanura, Sundari, Tamar, and Yasmini.  Get there early, because Kavarna is a small venue and seating is very limited!  Doors open at 7:00, and the show starts at 8:00.  Cover charge is just $5.00, and there will be food, wine, beer, and coffee available.  Kavarna is located at 707B East Lake Drive, Decatur, GA 30030.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Don't Miss the Crossroads & Origins Show!

Rina Orellana (photo
Tickets are still available for what will be an amazing show on Saturday, July 14 in Avondale Estates!  The centerpiece of the Crossroads & Origins weekend intensive will feature performances by all three workshop instructors, as well as some of the most amazing talent from throughout the Southeast.

The show is at Academy Theater in downtown Avondale Estates.  Doors open at 7:00 and the show will start at 8:00.  Click here to get your advance tickets for just $20!

Don't miss your chance to see...

Rina Orellana
If you're a student, teacher, or performer of American Tribal Style®, I seriously expect to see your smiling face in the audience, because we'll have a rare chance to see original FatChance member Rina Orellana perform el baile flamenco.  Admit it -- one of the most awesome things about ATS is that you get to pretend you're a Flamencita during many of the slow moves!

Donna Mejia
Donna Mejia
If you've experienced Donna's workshops, lectures, and performances at TribalCon and other events, you'll know that any and all of the above can be a truly significant moment in your life.  To me, one of the most wonderful things about Donna is that her work as an educator has helped bring belly dance -- and tribal fusion in particular -- into the overall world of dance, and drive respect for the form throughout the dance community.  Oh, and her performance are electrifying!

Lee Ali
A legend of both 1970s and contemporary belly dance who has been performing since her teens, Lee Ali is a unique performer, teacher, musician, lecturer, and community leader who rarely visits our area.  She is an expert in Greek, North African, and trance forms, as well as classic raqs sharqi.  I hear that Lee will present a classic 1970s raqs routine, taking us back to the golden era of the Middle Eastern clubs that had their epicenter in North Beach.

Lee Ali

In addition to these amazing performers, the Crossroads & Origins show will feature some of the most talented dancers from metro Atlanta and throughout the Southeast, including:
  • Awalim Dance Company
  • Banat Almeh (my troupe!)
  • Christy Anandaconda
  • Halleyah
  • Jahara Phoenix Dance Company
  • Jenny Nichols & Holley Avey
  • Maria Palacio (Charlotte, NC)
  • Natalie Brown of Delirium Tribal & Alternacirque (Columbia, SC)
  • Rafiah Dance Company of Atlanta Fusion Belly Dance
  • Teejei Brigham, formerly of Awalim and now teaching and performing in Asheville, NC
See you there!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Raqs Atlanta Anniversary Party & Show This Thursday

Before there was Yalla Y'all, there was a Yahoo! group called Raqs Atlanta. Run by Andye-Andinha Niakan with the help of some friends, Raqs Atlanta is the original source for news and educated opinion about not just belly dance (or whatever you choose to call it), but the metro Atlanta international community as a whole.  Whether it's an annual Persian festival, a South Asian wedding expo and fashion show, a workshop with a world-renowned dance instructor, or a local student showcase, you can often find out about it beforehand at Raqs Atlanta and sometimes even read Andye's informed review of the event after the fact.

This coming Thursday, June 28, metro Atlanta's belly dance community will celebrate the 14th anniversary of Raqs Atlanta and pay tribute to Andye's years of dedication at the Raqs Atlanta Anniversary Party.  The party will be at Tongue & Groove (click for location info) and is schedule to start at 9:00.  Featuring performances by some of the top local talent, this will be an event to remember!

I will have the honor of introducing three of the performers and sharing some of Andye's most memorable experiences from the past 14 years.  Visit the Facebook event or event web site for more information and to request your invitation.  It's free if you're on the guest list.  I hope to see you there!

This event comes at an interesting time for Yalla Y'all.  There's been some vigorous online dialogue this week about best practices for event scheduling, and in particular the best sources of information on upcoming shows and workshops.  I'm honored that this site is now widely considered a compliment to Raqs Atlanta and a leading source of information for the community -- that was my goal, and I believe I've achieved it!  I feel that the conversation that's going on right now will help bring the community together and result in more success for anyone planning an event.  So if you're new to Yalla Y'all, welcome -- and please come back often for a complete calendar of upcoming workshops and shows in metro Atlanta and north Georgia!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Tribal Dance & Drum Jam This Thursday!

Can you tell I love ATS?!?
This Thursday, June 21, Lacy Perry of Beledi Boutique is throwing a Tribal dance hafla at Atlanta Fusion Belly Dance!  This event will kick off a weekend of American Tribal Style®
certification workshops with Megha Gavin and Carolena Nericcio.

Lacy says, "You don't have to know ATS to enjoy watching its magic unfold or dance to the beat of the drums in whatever style moves you. Just come enjoy the vibe! No performances, just a good old-fashioned drum circle & dancing."

The drum circle will be led by master percussionist Danny Stern, and if you haven't seen and heard Danny perform you're in for a treat.  Bring your drum, your finger cymbals, and your fluffy skirts and get ready for an epic ATS throwdown!

Just $5 at the door. Bottled water and snacks will be available for purchase.  Located at Atlanta Fusion Belly Dance, near Ikea & Atlantic Station. RSVP to the Facebook event for more info!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Summer Workshop Preview

The next few weeks will be pretty quiet in the metro Atlanta belly dance world... but there are a few workshops with very prominent dancers coming up this summer!

Megha & Carolena
Photo Courtesy of Devyani
June 21-24
This is it!  ATS® General Skills Certification & Teacher Training with Carolena Nericcio and Megha Gavin, right here in Atlanta! And if you aren't already registered for the workshops, you'll just have to bask in the knowledge that these ladies are actually within driving distance of wherever you are.

However, mere mortals are invited to a Tribal Dance & Drum Jam Thursday night at Atlanta Fusion Belly Dance.  A drum circle led by the uber-talented Danny Stern will provide the backdrop for whatever kind of dancing you want to do (and you know there will be some ATS throwdowns)!  Admission is just $5.  Personally, I can't wait to put on my dancing shoes for this one!

The workshops will take place at Atlanta Fusion Belly Dance, and the whole thing is presented by Lacy Perry and Beledi Boutique.  General Skills is sold out, but passes are still available for Teacher Training.

Donna Mejia
Photo: Steve Balderrama 2011
July 13-15
I heard today that there are only eight spots left for Crossroads & Origins, featuring Donna Mejia, Rina Orellana Rall, and Lee Ali and brought to us by Ziah and the Awalim Dance Company.

Only 35 people will be attending this intensive session with three master fusion artists at Academy Theater in Avondale Estates.  There will also be a show on Saturday night that is sure to be amazing, featuring Donna's uniquely powerful style (which often includes hip-hop influences, as well as elements of West African dance); classic Flamenco from Rina, who is a founding member of FatChance Belly Dance; and a taste of Lee Ali's signature North African or trance styles, of which she is an acknowledged master.  Lee has been performing since she was in her teens, and has done a wonderful job of encouraging dialogue throughout the community.  

This event will be focused on belly dance fusion -- not Tribal Fusion, but dance forms that any belly dancer can use. The instructors are all dancers who fully pursue both belly dance and other dance forms, not just belly dance fusion artists who add accents into their dance. All three artists will be conducting discussions along with movement classes.  Visit the event web site or the Facebook event to learn more!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

This Weekend's Big Event: The Dancer's Intensive

Amani Jabril
The key thing going on in metro Atlanta's belly dance community this weekend is an event brought to us by the fabulous Amani Jabril called "The Dancer's Intensive: Crafting the Art of Dance."

Amani will be joined by former Bellydance Superstar Yasmine of Charlotte and Kitiera of Seattle in bringing instruction, performances, and discussions to several locations in the Roswell area.

This is the first of several Dancer’s Intensive events Amani plans to produce.  The goal of this event is to focus on crafting the art of dance by connecting with the body, the rhythm, and the people.  The weekend will include a series of intermediate/advanced-level movement workshops, two lunchtime discussions led by Amani, a welcome hafla Friday night, and a gala show Saturday night.

It's not too late to get involved!  Click here to learn more.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

This Weekend's Events

Jendayi Belly Dance Company
Photo by Jaki Hawthorne Photography

Saturday 5/19

At 1:00, Egypt meets Brazil in a Samba Fusion Drum Solo Workshop at Nazeem Allayl's Windy Hill Studio with company dancer Mahtaab.

At 6:00, Alchemy Drumming & Dance bring their Annual Bellydance Show to Main Street Market in Gainesville.

At 6:30, Jendayi Dance Company presents their Spring Studio Show at Pera Dance, featuring Jendayi, The Jendayi Dance Company, students, and a special guest.  Tickets are just $10.  Check out the Facebook event for more info.

Finally, at 7:00, catch the Nazeem Allayl Cabaret Belly Dance Show at the Red Light Cafe.

Sunday 5/20
AFBD's Rafiyah Dance Company

At 7:00, don't miss the Atlanta Fusion Belly Dance Anniversary Show at Fanoos Persian Cuisine.  Enjoy a tasty Persian buffet while watching the ladies of AFBD and their students perform in this lovely Sandy Springs restaurant.  Nicola is scheduled to make an appearance at intermission!  Doors open at 6:00 and tickets are $20.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

This Weekend's Events

So what's happening in the metro Atlanta belly dance community this weekend?  Between World Belly Dance Day and Mother's Day, it will be a great weekend to celebrate your love of this art form and its power to not only honor women's bodies and spirits, but also to bring women together with a very special bond.

Shimmy Mob 2011
Saturday at 1:00, Shimmy Mob will occupy Atlantic Station for its second year.  This is a "flash mob" type of event involving dancers from throughout the metro area.  Lacy Perry of Belly Dance by Lacy and Beledi Boutique has been offering free classes in this year's choreography, and will be coordinating the performance.

Proceeds from participation fees will support local women’s and children’s shelters. Look for the dancers in matching T-shirts near California Pizza Kitchen.  Come out and celebrate National Belly Dance Day!

Sunday from 1:00 to 4:00, Nazeem Allayl Studios will host a mother-daughter event at its Peachtree Corners studio.  Bring your daughter or your mom and enjoy a special sale (including kid-sized costumes), a mini-workshop, performances, and more.

Happy National Belly Dance Day and happy Mother's Day from Yalla Y'all!

Friday, May 4, 2012

This Weekend's Events

Jahara Phoenix
What's happening this weekend in the metro Atlanta belly dance community?  Well, Saturday night brings your monthly opportunity to see members of Jahara Phoenix at Messina's Mediterranean Cuisine in Lilburn.

Sunday is a big day (and night) for events throughout the metro Atlanta area!

It'll be a busy weekend for Jahara Phoenix; they'll be appearing again at Duluth's Barefoot in the Park festival.  Look for them on the main stage at 3:15!

Samora & Amoraat
At 4:00 p.m. in Woodstock, Inara and her students and troupes will present their Annual Bellydance Oasis May Day show at Elm Street Cultural Arts Center.  There will also be a special performance by the Adult Beginning Ballet Class from The School at The Georgia Ballet. Lively music, beautiful costumes, and captivating choreography – a show sure to delight the family & friends! A portion of ticket sales will raise money for charity.

And last but not least, Bellydance by Samora will take over Nicola's at 7:00 for their fourth annual Anniversary Show. Current and former students, the Amoraat dance troupe, Samora, special guests, and of course Nicola will raq your world while you enjoy a full Lebanese dinner!  Doors open at 6:15, and tickets are $25 at the door.

Friday, April 27, 2012

This Weekend's Events

This weekend in metro Atlanta and Athens, we'll have several great opportunities to watch and learn!

Nicola & Aya
Saturday night, Âya of Istanbul performs at Nicola's Lebanese Restaurant. Âya and Nicola are an amazing team when it comes to making sure everyone has a great time!

Amani Jabril
Sunday morning, Amani Jabril presents a workshop in contemporary Egyptian technique at Atlanta Fusion Belly Dance.  Don't miss this rare opportunity to learn from one of our most talented performers!  Registration opens at 9:30, and the workshop is 10:00 - 12:00.  Click here to pre-register online!

Tuesday evening (oops, not Sunday!), Athens celebrates the art of belly dance at the legendary 40 Watt Club.  "Rak the 40 Watt" will feature performers from throughout the Athens belly dance scene.  Click here for the Facebook event.

As always, check the Yalla Y'all Calendar page for all the upcoming events in metro Atlanta and north Georgia!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

This Weekend's Events

Saturday, April 21
Isis of Les Raissat
Les Raissat "Art of the Hips" Debut Show, Party & Benefit at Pera
7:00 p.m.
$10 online or at the door
Saniyah of Les Raissat
Les Raissat is a brand-new partnership between Isis and Saniyah, two of metro Atlanta's most talented performers. Their debut event will be a fundraiser for the Christine Marie Hunter Cancer Fund.  

Les Raissat have secured an amazing lineup of some of metro Atlanta's top talent, including Amani Jabril, Kalinka, Galina, Michelle Ortiz, Cairo, Ameera Johari, and more! 

There will be appetizers and beverages and a raffle, as well as performances from the ladies of Les Raissat and special guests.  Click here for more information!

Aziza Nawal
Sunday, April 22 
"Mastering Restaurant Performances" Workshop with Aziza Nawal at Pera
1:00 - 4:00 p.m.
$30 in advance; $40 at the door
Aziza Nawal is one of metro Atlanta's most experienced and accomplished restaurant performers.  You can bet she's encountered every problem a restaurant dancer could possibly experience and handled each situation with her usual aplomb!  Learn the secrets of success in this workshop, designed for experienced dancers.  Click here to reserve your spot!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

April Events

April is shaping up to be a pretty busy month in the metro Atlanta belly dance community!  Here are some of the performances and workshops coming up this month.  Y'all ready for this?!

Saturday, April 14
Jenny Nichols
World Belly Dance Alliance Show at Laura's NYC Pizza in Roswell
Dinner at 7:00 p.m., peformances begin at 7:30
$5 admission
JoinWorld Belly Dance Alliance for performances from teachers & students, including Amani Jabril, Jenny Nichols, Kalinka, Gretchen, Olivia, Aseelah, Jamesha, Tamara, Heleshia, and A'Bar'a! OPEN DANCE FLOOR featuring a mix of world and music you know & love.

Ziah of Awalim
Awalim Performs at S.T.E.A.M. Fest at Academy Theater
Awalim Dance Company will be performing at this celebration of the artistic abilities of those who toy with alternate history and retro-futurism, presented by the Artifice Club.  Awalim will perform at 7:00 p.m.  Click here for festival tickets. (Tip:  this event takes place at the Academy Theater in Avondale Estates -- so you can get a preview of the venue for July's Crossroad & Origins workshops and show with Rina Orellana Rall, Lee Ali, and Donna Mejia!)

Sunday, April 15
This is one of those nights where you're gonna have to make a choice between two outstanding options!  (And remember, if you're planning an event, we do our best to keep the calendar up-to-date as far in advance as possible!)

Banat Almeh
Awalim & Aziza Nawal Student & Apprentice Showcase at Nicola's
Doors open at 6:00, show starts at 7:00
Tickets are $20 and include a full Lebanese dinner and dessert
Join Majda Anwar and Aziza Nawal of Awalim as they present performances by their students, including Awalim's apprentice dancers and Banat Almeh student troupe!  You'll see two styles of Raqs al Assaya, Tribal improvisation, folkloric fusion, glitzy Oriental performances... a little bit everything, plus the incomparable Nicola!  Click here to get your advance tickets.

"ZAFTIG!" Presented by Company Mezza at Red Light Cafe
7:30 p.m., $12 at the door
“ZAFTIG” will celebrate the curvaceous female form through the art of dance by featuring Atlanta’s most beautiful, talented and voluptuous Middle Eastern dancers, featuring the fabulous Amani Jabril.

Saturday, April 21
Les Raissat "Art of the Hips" Debut Show, Party & Benefit at Pera
7:00 p.m.
$10 online or at the door
Les Raissat is a brand-new partnership between Isis and Saniyah, two of metro Atlanta's most talented performers. Their debut event will be a fundraiser for the Christine Marie Hunter Cancer Fund.  There will be appetizers and beverages and a raffle, as well as performances from the ladies of Les Raissat and special guests.  Click here for more information!

Aziza Nawal
Sunday, April 22 
"Mastering Restaurant Performances" Workshop with Aziza Nawal at Pera
1:00 - 4:00 p.m.
$30 in advance; $40 at the door
Aziza Nawal is one of metro Atlanta's most experienced and accomplished restaurant performers.  You can bet she's encountered every problem a restaurant dancer could possibly experience and handled each situation with ablomb!  Learn the secrets of success in this workshop, designed for experienced dancers.  Click here to reserve your spot!

Sunday, April 29
Amani Jabril
Advanced Egyptian Technique Workshop with Amani Jabril at Atlanta Fusion Belly Dance
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (registration opens at 9:30)
$35 in advance, $45 at the door
Register at:
As both a working anthropologist and professional dancer, Amani will offer a practical, street-smart view of both the cultural and technical aspects of contemporary Egyptian belly dance. Learn favored combinations as seen on the contemporary dance scene as well as movement from Amani's own signature style.