New classes on Thursdays and Saturdays at Namaste Yoga of Kensington; save the date for a show on Sunday, May 31!
Hi everyone!

And welcome to recent subscribers. Thanks for signing up to receive occasional updates on my classes and performances. I'm excited about what's in store for the spring and looking forward to sharing it with you.

New topics are coming up for my Thursday and Saturday classes at Namaste Yoga of Kensington, Brooklyn, during March, April, and May ... building up to a showcase on Sunday, May 31. Read on for details, and get in touch if you're interested in joining the classes in time for this performance opportunity.

Interested in beginner classes? We're planning an eight-week series later in the spring, most likely on Tuesday evenings or Saturday afternoons. Have fun with juicy moves and beautiful music, and build a strong foundation to join the open-level classes. If you'd like to come to beginner classes in Kensington, definitely get in touch -- we'll do our best to take your scheduling needs into account so the series will work for you. E-mail me at or call/text at 917-538-9662.

Beginning with this newsletter, I'll also be sharing useful tidbits about Arabic language and music. I've found that learning this kind of information enriches my enjoyment of the music and my ability to communicate through dance. I am also a big egghead who enjoys technical facts about language, music, and history just for fun. :) So I'm looking forward to sharing that with you.


Classes take place at Namaste Yoga of Kensington, 482 Coney Island Ave., Brooklyn. Drop-in classes are $20; class cards are also available. Coming for the first time? Call/text 917-538-9662 to let me know -- and get info about the first-timers discount.

Thursdays, 7:30-8:45 p.m.
Mahmoud Reda technique & muwashahat choreography

Mahmoud Reda is a dancer and choreographer who played a significant role in bringing Egyptian dance to the stage. We are currently working with Reda-inspired material on Thursday evenings. Come to class to learn what distinguishes the Reda style, gain some useful techniques to apply to your dancing, enjoy the elegant movements, and train your brain with some interesting combinations!

During March-May 2015, we will be learning a choreography to the song "Ya Shadi El Alhan" to perform on Sunday, May 31. If you'd like to perform, join in soon to learn and polish the choreography. You're also welcome to come to class and learn the techniques and combinations without committing to the show.

Performing in the muwashahat style. Photo: BrowsersOnline.

Saturdays, 1:15-2:30 p.m.
Performance skills

Gain skills to perform with confidence! Learn strategies for preparing an improvised Egyptian-style dance performance -- and strategies for getting out of your head and into your body during the show itself. Working with some classic Arabic songs, we will practice making entrances and exits, choosing when to travel and when to stay in place, getting and keeping the audience's attention, and dealing with your nerves before and during the show.

A performance opportunity is available for students who commit to the series, and some class time will be used to develop solo improv pieces. You are welcome to join in even if you can't commit to the series, can't make it to the show on May 31, or feel shy about soloing! You will still gain skills that will help you perform with a group, improvise for fun, and understand Arabic music and dance in more depth.


Save the date for the upcoming Arabian Journey Bellydance Student Showcase presented by Namaste Yoga of Kensington.

The show will take place Sunday, May 31, 2015, 3-6 p.m. The venue will be Lotus Thai, 1924 Coney Island Avenue (at Avenue P), Brooklyn, NY.

Stay tuned for more details about ticketing and guest artists. I can't share just yet, but I'm so excited about the lineup of performers!


This newsletter brought to you
by the Arabic letter ...

When I learned the Arabic alphabet, it was a great revelation to be able to read the writing on my CD cases! It's also very helpful in searching YouTube -- sometimes you can find different material by searching in Arabic. If you're not already an Arabic reader, here's a tidbit to get you started.

When we write in English, we might write this letter as "h." But unlike English, Arabic has two different "h" sounds. One Arabic letter sounds like the "h" that's used in English. But this "h" is pronounced in a breathy way at the back of the throat. (If you're a glasses wearer, like me, picture the way you breathe on your glasses to fog them up before wiping them off.)

Sometimes, when people write Arabic words with the English alphabet, they use the number 7 for this letter. Using "7" shows that it's a different sound from "h," one we don't have in English.

As you know, letters have two different forms in English -- uppercase and lowercase. For example, both "A" and "a" are the same letter. The letter "A" is used to begin a sentence or the name of a person or place, like "Azza Sherif" or "Aswan." In Arabic, letters have different shapes based on their position in a word -- beginning, middle, or end. (Arabic is read from right to left, so the beginning of the word is on the right side.)
This letter is the beginning of an Arabic word most dancers know: habibi (sweetheart).
Here's a list of four Arabic song titles. See how many times you can spot this letter -- and be sure to check for different forms for the beginning, middle, and end of each word.
You'll find the answers in the next newsletter, along with some new language facts.

Thanks for reading, and happy shimmies!
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