Shu Shu Amin (شوشو امين)

Here is a really cute performance by Egyptian belly dancer Shu Shu Amin (شوشو امين).  I wish there were more clips of her online!  I love how her performance here manages to be both high energy and yet subtle.  And I love her beautiful musicality too!

This is bellydancer ShuShu Amin performing in a scene from the 1979 Egyptian film ‘Sa’aktob ismak ala al ramal’ (I’ll Write Your Name in the Sand’ سأكتب اسمك على الرمال ). ShuShu Amin only danced in three movies and if you’re a dancer, you’ll wish they’d spent more time filming ShuShu and less time focusing on the actor Ezzat El Alaili looking shifty and/or murderous. The film also starred Nahed Sherif and Samira Said.

The informative caption is from The CaroVan, where you can always lose yourself and hours of time in amazing belly dance videos!

There is more information about Shu Shu Amin here on the Serpentine website.

A couple reminders: my summer classes started last week but you can still join by calling the SSF Parks and Rec office: 650.829.3800.  There is plenty of time to join the fun.

My next performance will be at Tannourine Restaurant on Friday, July 6th.  Details on my Shows page.

Have a great week!

Summer Belly Dance Classes

Hello Dancers!

Just a quick update this week to let everyone know that the Summer Session of belly dance classes at the South San Francisco Parks and Rec starts next Wednesday, June 20th.

Summer Belly Dance Classes.jpg

Beginning Bellydance is from 7 - 8 and Intermediate is from 8 - 9.  Classes go through Wednesday, July 25th and there is no class July 4th.  You can register online through the SSF Parks and Rec in plenty of time to join us for a fun summer session.  Let me know if you have any questions.

And then for something completely different :).  I got to perform at Al Masri last Sunday with Nazir Latouf and the Al Masri Passion Band and my lovely friend Joumana took a video so I thought I would share it here.  The musicians are Musa Sababa on keyboard, Nazir Latouf on the oud, Reda Darwish on tabla and Linda Grondahl on backup percussion.  The music is incredibly beautiful - we are so lucky to have these musicians in the Bay Area and I encourage everyone who loves belly dance and Arabic music to come out and enjoy one of these nights!

Al Masri Passion Band and Alisa Greer

I hope you all enjoy the music and I wish you a great week!

Hoda Shams El Din (هدى شمس الدين)

A couple weeks ago I was looking at the YouTube page of Sausan's Academy of Egyptian Dance and stumbled across a very cute clip of Egyptian belly dancer Hoda Shams El Din (هدى شمس الدين).  

  Photo of Hoda Shams El Din courtesy of  The Belly Blog

Photo of Hoda Shams El Din courtesy of The Belly Blog

Before I get to the clip, I wanted to mention a really interesting article/interview with Luna of Cairo.  Luna is an American belly dancer who moved to Cairo to study Egyptian dance and to work as a professional belly dancer.  Like many other belly dancers who have not had that opportunity, I have enjoyed her reports from Cairo.  This interview is about her decision to leave Cairo and move back home, and in it she says:

The dance scene is now centered around an Eastern European aesthetic, physically and in terms of dance, and that’s not why I came to Egypt.
— World of Dancers: Exit Interview with Luna of Cairo

This is a very frank and important observation from a dancer who has been deeply involved in the Cairo scene.  I am mentioning it because this is precisely why I like to share vintage or classic Egyptian style belly dance clips on my blog and why I also try to support other artists who share the same respect and love for the roots of the dance.  I feel that someone new to belly dance could go onto YouTube and look for clips and get a completely skewed idea of what the dance is, and perhaps be discouraged from trying it.  Some of the clips out there make the dance look much too gymnastical (is that a word?), technical or impossible for the average person to do, and I fear women could be discouraged from trying.  I always hear the words of my teacher Amina in my head when I would start to get to wrapped up in this kind of thinking.  She says, "It's a folk dance."  That means it is not only for someone with elite training.

Anyway, I highly recommend the whole interview with Luna of Cairo for a great read.  It sounds like she will be teaching workshops now that she is home from Egypt, so here's hoping that San Francisco is on her list.  Follow Luna here to stay up-to-date.

And so back to the clip I started talking about!  Sausan is another artist I admire so much- she is the owner and head chef of Al Masri Egyptian Restaurant (where so many of us in the Bay Area LOVE to dance, watch dance and listen to live Arabic music!) and also runs the Sausan Academy of Egyptian Dance.  She has taken many film clips of dancers and created DVDs of them categorized by dancer- she has translated many of the songs into English and subtitled the DVDs so it's quite valuable - you can see her collection here.

Sausan herself is a beautiful performer and I will share a video of her here when I start my series on American dancers.  For now, here is Hoda Shams El Din, with the caption below from Sausan's research:

©SAED Hoda Shams El Din was born of Armenian parents. Her first appearance on the silver screen was in 1950 as a dancer. She later starred and danced in a movie called Halal Alayk (You Really Deserve It) with Ismael Yaseen in 1951 and continued to appear as a dancer and actress until the mid 1960s.

A charming performance, right??

You can see more of Hoda Shams El Din on the CaroVan Vimeo Page.  And you can learn more about her at this really fascinating article on The Belly Blog.

Lots of news for this week too: first of all I get to be part of not one, but TWO live music and belly dance shows this weekend!  Tomorrow (Fri 6/1) I will be at Tannourine  Restaurant in San Mateo for a live Arabic music and dance with Khalil Abboud and Band.

  Live Music and Belly Dance Show at Tannourine in San Mateo on Friday, June 1st!

Live Music and Belly Dance Show at Tannourine in San Mateo on Friday, June 1st!

And then on Sunday, June 3rd I will join Khalil Abboud and Band again at El Morocco:

  Beautiful Live Music and Belly Dance Show at El Morocco in Pleasant Hill - Sun June 3rd!!

Beautiful Live Music and Belly Dance Show at El Morocco in Pleasant Hill - Sun June 3rd!!

Details for these and other performances are on my Shows page!

And then I will be teaching belly dance for the Summer 2018 session at the South San Francisco Parks and Rec - you can register easily online!

  Belly Dance Classes in South San Francisco!

Belly Dance Classes in South San Francisco!

Complete class information on my Classes page.

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you find a class, clip or show that you will enjoy and I will see you next time :)  Happy Dancing.

Rakkasah Part Two

Today I wanted to share a few of my photos from the Rakkasah West Festival in Concord, CA last month.  Rakkasah is the first of the bellydance festivals in the US and I believe it is still the biggest.  It is always an inspiring and fun day!

This year I was incredibly fortunate to get a slot with one of my favorite bands, Pangia.  They play classic American-style belly dance music, which is really a blend of many traditions- Arabic, Turkish, Greek, Armenian etc.

Here are a few of my photos from this great day:

  Dancing with Pangia:  Pat Olson, Denise Olson, Reda Darwish, Tim Bolling, Shady and Linda Grondahl

Dancing with Pangia:  Pat Olson, Denise Olson, Reda Darwish, Tim Bolling, Shady and Linda Grondahl

  It's always an honor and just so much fun to dance a drum solo with the great Reda Darwish

It's always an honor and just so much fun to dance a drum solo with the great Reda Darwish

  One more at Rakkasah West 2018 with Pangia!

One more at Rakkasah West 2018 with Pangia!

Finally, I also wanted to share a bit of the tribute to Zelina/Elaine that I mentioned in my previous Rakkasah  post.  This is the last minute or so of the show where we all blow are dear friend a kiss.  (The great music is Kuli Banat by Nazir Latouf).  I was so happy I got to be a part of this celebration of our beautiful friend and her love of dance.

The last 1.5 minutes of El Asaab's tribute to Zelina/Elaine Arneson at Rakassah West 2018, where we blow are dearly missed friend a kiss.

I'll just close with a few reminders!  My summer belly dance classes at the South San Francisco Parks and Rec will start on Wednesday, June 20th.  You can register online at the brand new SSF website here.  If there are any problems you can call the office at 650.829.3800.  Complete class information is available on my classes page and you can also always contact me!

And then I will be performing at Tannourine Restaurant in San Mateo to live Arabic music as part of a belly dance show put on by the one and only Khalil Abboud and band on Friday, June 1st.  Complete information about the show is on my Shows page

Samia Gamal

Hello Dancers!

I hope everyone has had a great couple weeks dancing!  I had the opportunity to check the Bay Area Belly Festival last weekend - I arrived in time for the live music set with Tahneen, a favorite local Arabic music band.  It was lovely to see all the dancers perform to their beautiful music.  If you haven't already, be sure to sign up for their mailing list to stay in the loop about next year's festival and other events planned by the amazing Sudeep.

I am thinking of starting a series on American-style belly dance and dancers which, as much as I love Egyptian-style dance, is also a huge source of inspiration for me.  So stay tuned for that and today we'll enjoy the most classic Egyptian style with Golden Era legend Samia Gamal.  I chose this clip because of the song, it's a classic Egyptian song that was popular with early American dancers because it is on a George Abdo album under the title Raks el Gezlan on the album the The Art of Belly Dancingwhich was one of the albums I grew up listening to!  More on all that in the weeks to come, for now let's enjoy the one and only Samia Gamal.

Samia Gamal- Golden Era Bellydancer from Legends of Bellydance DVD

There is another lovely clip of Samia dancing a drum solo here - this is a must see clip for learning about Egyptian style drum solos.

And just a few notes- I will be teaching this summer at SSF Parks and Rec for a 6 week session, I will get my Classes page updated this week with all the info.  Contact me if you have any questions!

And I will be performing at Al Masri on May 20th with Nazir Latouf and Band, at Tannourine on Friday June 1st with Khalil Abboud and Band and at Carnival of Stars Saturday, July 21st.  I will try to get my Shows page updated this week as well with all the details.

Happy Dancing!