Live music show this Wednesday, May 25; Saidi class series starts Thursday, May 26
Hi everyone!

I'll be dancing in a live music show at Byblos this Wednesday, May 25. The next day, a new class series will begin Thursday, May 26 -- read on for details, because there are a few changes. This will be a four-week series and may be the last one for awhile, so if you'd like to get in some dancing, this is your chance. 

Scroll down for class info, show info, and some bonus fun.


Saidi series
Thursdays, 8-9 p.m. (regulars, note the time change!)
May 26, June 2, 9, 16
1203 Church Avenue, Brooklyn
$70 series, $20 drop-in

This series introduces Saidi dance from the ground up. We'll discuss the cultural and performance contexts for the dance and typical characteristics of Saidi music. We'll also work on movement techniques to capture the Saidi flavor and Mahmoud Reda-style combinations. Although Saidi dance is often associated with cane, this series will focus purely on the dance and footwork, without props.

I recommend signing up for the full series if you can, since the combinations will build from week to week, but a drop-in rate is available. If you drop in for one class and decide to take the full series, I'll apply your $20 toward the $70 series rate. 

Dance shoes are a good idea for this series, if you have them. (Please note that street shoes are not allowed in the studio.)

If you have any questions, check out the FAQ page at, and feel free to contact me at

Performing at the Bellydance Blossom Festival in Toronto in April.
Photo: Samira Hafezi

Class location
Thursday evening classes take place at 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.



This Wednesday, May 25, I'll be performing in Kay Kaziyah's School's Out Bellydance Gala. Come enjoy great live music from Maurice Chedid, Nabawy, and Gamal Shafik, a lineup of wonderful dancers, and Lebanese food at Byblos. The show will start right at 7:00, so get there on time or early if you can. Byblos is located at 80 Madison Avenue at 28th Street. Admission is $20, and there is a $25 food/drink minimum.

Hope to see you there!

Link Roundup


Here are some Middle East-related links that I've been geeking out about lately. I hope you enjoy them too!

Beauty and society
First up, 100 Years of Beauty -- Egypt. This short YouTube video shows a time-lapse makeover of one woman through a century of Egyptian styles. The changes highlight the relationship between fashion and politics, history, and culture. I also recommend the making-of video, which gives the background for the stylist's choices. The video offers tributes to stars like Umm Kulthum and activists like Huda Sharawi.

If you like these videos, you're in luck, because there is a whole series that includes Syria, Iran, and other countries from around the world.
Fun and games
If you enjoy trivia, these are for you. The web site Sporcle has many games that will help you test your knowledge of Egypt and the Middle East, and learn some new things. Here are a few suggestions:

Get grounded in Middle Eastern geography and name the countries on a map. When you have the countries down, you can also name the capitals.

Focusing in on Egypt, the country quiz covers facts about Egypt's geography and history. For a deeper layer of challenge, try naming the governorates of Egypt. Dance in Egypt goes far beyond "belly dance;" each region has its own style, and each governorate has its own official dance troupe. (Sahra Saeda offers some information about different regional styles on her Journey Through Egypt web site.) A note about this quiz: although there can be many ways to spell Arabic words and names in English, this particular quiz doesn't accept many spelling variations. So if you think you know a region and the quiz won't take it, try some different spellings.

You can also have some Arabic language fun, including quizzes on famous logos in Arabic and English words borrowed from Arabic.

Sporcle is a treasure trove for the trivia-inclined. Beyond what I've highlighted here, there are quizzes on geography, history, science, sports, music, movies, etc. Have fun!

Science and language
I enjoyed this recent article from, Ancient Arabic Text Shines Light on Massive Supernova. Scientists have recently learned more about a supernova that appeared during the Middle Ages, courtesy of a contemporary Arabic-language text by Ibn Sina. His observations may help scientists understand more about the origins of this supernova.

Thanks for reading, and happy shimmies!
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