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.

Bay Area Belly Dance Events

Happy Wednesday, everyone.  There are so many exciting Bay Area Belly Dance events coming up that I wanted to do a recap of the ones I am involved with before we move back to more vintage clips of the gorgeous Egyptian dancers.

First of all, I want to remind everyone that registration is open for both my Beginning and Intermediate Belly Dance Classes through the South San Francisco Parks and Rec.  Registering online is very easy.  Click this link https://econnect.ssf.net/ and put code 165114 in the box for Beginning and code 165115 for Intermediate.  Please always contact me if you have any questions, I am happy to answer them all!!

Bellydancesummerssf

Next up, the San Francisco International Arts Festival kicks off this weekend and Arabic Dance is well represented thanks to Amina Goodyear's fantastic Magic Carpet ride.  I wrote more about the show here.  

I will be performing with the Aswan Dancers at the San Francisco International Arts Festival this year.

I will be performing with the Aswan Dancers at the San Francisco International Arts Festival this year.

Amina describes the show like this:

The Magic Carpet is a Middle Eastern Dance and Musical Adventure. The musical carpet will transport you to various countries across the deserts of North Africa, through Egypt, the Middle East and onto the Saudi Arabian Peninsula. We want you to sit back and enjoy the ride and let the drums, the music and the dance take you to the Arabian Nights of our dreams when magic and fantasy was foremost and stimulated all the senses. Performed by The Caravan Band, The Aswan Dancers and Joweh Dance Troupe.
— Amina Goodyear

I am in the show for a little bit and so I got a sneak peak of their rehearsals last night.  It is going to be a wonderful expression of music and dance like only Amina can produce.  Tickets are available here: http://www.sfiaf.org/aswan_dancers

After that, coming up June 2nd we do our monthly First Friday party at Tannourine Restaurant.  Live Arabic music and dancing with sensational singer Khalil Abboud.  Reservations are always highly recommended as this show often sells out.  Great music, food and dancing- I look forward to it every month.

Monthly First Friday Party at Tannourine Restaurant presented by Sensational singer Khalil Abboud

Monthly First Friday Party at Tannourine Restaurant presented by Sensational singer Khalil Abboud

Looking ahead a little bit, Carnival of Stars is right on the horizon in July!  I love this event, which is produced by the lovely Pepper Alexandra.  Mark your calendars now for two days of music, dance and bellydance-related SHOPPING :)

AlisaCOS2017

I will be performing on Saturday on both the main stage and the cabaret stage with musical favorites Pangia.  Stay tuned for more details and performance times but there will be gorgeous dancers on two stages no matter what time you are there.

Lastly, I perform at Marrakech Restaurant in downtown San Francisco almost every Sunday night. Come down and dance with me.  Complete details as always on my Shows page.

Alisa Greer and Nader Shahin at gorgeous Marrakech Restaurant

Alisa Greer and Nader Shahin at gorgeous Marrakech Restaurant

Whew!!  Thanks for reading and I wish everyone a fun-filled week.

Happy Dancing, Alisa