Treat yourself in the new year -- try a free belly dance class! Thursday, Jan. 7 in Brooklyn. Registration also open for ongoing class series.
Hi everyone!

And happy new year! 2016 is almost here and it's a good time to make plans and goals. Start the new year with a gift: take a free class in Brooklyn on January 7. Beginner and intermediate classes will also be running in January-February. Details are below.

2015 was an exciting year of dance. I want to thank my workshop hosts including Dance IT and the East Fourth Street Community Garden, all the show organizers who invited me to perform, the teachers who have inspired me this year, and the students in Kensington/Ditmas Park for sharing the joy of Egyptian dance every week.

Looking forward to 2016, I'll be traveling to Toronto April 1-3 for the Bellydance Blossom Festival, where I'll be performing a new experimental choreography. Thanks to Yasmina Ramzy for organizing this festival and choosing my work to be presented. 

Also in 2016: class series in Brooklyn! Here are the details:

Try a free class

Treat yourself in 2016! Belly dance classes are a great way to take some "me time," recharge your creativity, get your body moving, enjoy great music, and meet new people.

Try a class for free on Thursday, January 7, 7:30-8:30 p.m. at Alden Moves Studio 1203, 1203 Church Avenue, Brooklyn. (The cross streets are Westminster and Argyle.) 

Questions? Visit to read some FAQs. You can also contact me at with questions or to let me know you're coming to the session. (Or you can just drop in at the spur of the moment!)


Beginner series
Thursdays, 7:30-8:30 p.m.
Jan. 21, 28, Feb. 4, 11, 18, 25
1203 Church Avenue, Brooklyn

Learn the basics of Egyptian-style belly dance and enjoy moving to beautiful music. These classes will emphasize core strength, posture, and breathing. You will also learn about music and culture from the Middle East.

Sign up by Jan. 14 to hold your spot! We need a minimum number of people to run this class. Payments are non-refundable unless classes are cancelled.

If you have any questions, check out the FAQ page at, and feel free to get in touch with me at

Intermediate series: dancing to baladi music (continued!)
Thursdays, 8:30-9:30 p.m.
Jan. 7, 21, Feb. 4, 11, 18, 25
1203 Church Avenue, Brooklyn

Juicy moves and earthy music! In this series we will focus on some classic baladi songs such as "Taht Il Shibbak" and "Hassan Ya Koulli." The series will help you understand the structure and context of the music, gain skills for improvisation, and interpret the music with an Egyptian-style flavor. The material builds on the fall classes, but there is no ongoing choreography, so it's fine to start now.

Drop-ins for the intermediate class are $20, but I encourage you to sign up for the full series if you can. (It's also a better deal that way.) If you're new to the intermediate class or returning after a break, please RSVP with me at Looking forward to having you in class!

Thursday evening classes take place at Alden Moves Studio 1203, 1203 Church Avenue, Brooklyn. The cross streets are Westminster and Argyle. This studio is convenient to the B/Q stop at Church Avenue, and also accessible from the F/G at Fort Hamilton Parkway or Church Avenue.

Rakkasah East, 2015. Band: Ishtar. Photographer: Carl Sermon.


I'm in the process of updating my web site and would like to add some different voices. If you've taken classes with me and are open to sharing some thoughts about what the classes are like and what you've gotten out of them, I would appreciate it! I would also welcome testimonials about my performances, newsletters (language/music facts), or other aspects of my work. This will help me communicate about what I do and support my ability to keep offering classes.

If you have a few sentences to share, you can send them to and let me know how you'd like your name to be listed (full name, first name, initials only, etc.) Thanks in advance!

This newsletter brought to you
by the Arabic letters



If you've been following this newsletter, you remember that Arabic letters have different shapes in different places in a word. This is similar to uppercase and lowercase letters in English. (You can find older newsletters under "news" at Today's newsletter focuses on two letters at the ends of words.

The letter on the left is pronounced like "e," and the letter on the right is pronounced like "k." At the ends of words, they often (but not always) indicate a person. 

"E" is for first person, talking about one's self. "K" is for second person, talking about you. These letters can do different jobs. Sometimes they make a word possessive: "my" and "your." Sometimes they show an object: "to me," "to you." 

Here are some musical examples. 

Habibi Ya Eyni -- "my sweetheart, my eye"
Why "my eye"? Stay tuned for a future newsletter to learn more. :) 

Ghanilli Shwaye Shwaye -- "sing to me a little"
See Um Kolsoum sing this song in a movie clip.

Inta Omri -- "you are my life"
A clip from a live Um Kolsoum performance with English subtitles.

Fakkarouni -- "they reminded me"
A full hour-and-a-half live Um Kolsoum performance -- lots to drink in and appreciate!

Harramt Ahebbak -- "I give up loving you"
Warda sings her classic pop song for a live audience.

Baed Anak -- "far from you"
Another short segment of Um Kolsoum with English subtitles.

Habbaytak Bil Saif -- "I loved you in the summer"
A performance by the great Lebanese singer Fairouz.

Hobbak Ala Fein -- "where did your love go"
Dancer Naima Akef performs to this song in a clip from the 1952 film "Al Nimr" ("The Tiger").

One of these song titles has an example of a word ending in the "e" or "k" sound that does not show possession or an object. Can you tell which one?

When you watch the clips, enjoy the songs! :) You can also listen for the language elements we've talked about. For another layer of appreciation and study, watch for details like how each singer presents herself, how she interacts with the musicians and audience, and how the singers are similar and different.
Thanks for reading, and happy shimmies!
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