Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Favorite Belly Dancers

One of the best ways to learn and grow in any endeavor is through connecting with mentors and seeking out those that inspire you. Here's my list of favorite belly dancers who I've learned from and watched with awe.

My Favorite Locals
These are the dancers that I've worked with directly and who have helped me shape and hone my technique and style.

Dahlia Moon - a local Seattle dancer know for her Modern Egyptian style and superb shimmies. I've done multiple classes with Dahlia, as well as having seen her perform a number of times, and am never disappointed in her crisp technique combined with elegance and a warm welcoming heart. Check out the spectacular shimmies in this live performance.

Mish Mish - legendary local Seattle dancer and the woman I have to thank for my belly dance career. Mish Mish's class was the first belly dance class I ever took and it was because of her coaching and belief in me that I started doing troupe performances and eventually progressed onto becoming a solist. Mish Mish is known for her extensive knowledge of the history of belly dance, as well as other Middle Eastern folkloric dances. Check out an interview with Mish Mish here.

My Favorites Outside Seattle
These are the dancers that I've seen perform live and have done workshops with who never cease to amaze me with their performances. I aspire to one day dance at their level. Truly mind-blowing stuff that these ladies can crank out on the stage.

Aziza - quite possibly my favorite belly dancer of all time, Aziza has it all; technique, stage presence and beauty. A mesmerizing dancer to watch perform and an excellent teacher to study with. But you don't have to take my word for, just watch this amazing drum solo.

Ruby Beh - known for her Turkish style dance, including fabulous floorwork, Ruby Beh was recently the 1st runner-up in the World (yes, that's right, the entire world) Belly Dance compeition. Videos of her performances are up on her website.

The Honorable Mentions
My list is definitely skewed toward dancers that I've met, studied with, and seen perform live. So a few honorable mentions for some other great dancers out there.

Maria - one of my favorite pieces of a belly dancer's repotoire is the drum solo, and 2009 Belly Dancer of the Year, Maria, doesn't disappoint. Executing one of my favorite drum solos of all time, she makes is look effortless and her timing is flawless. Check it out here.

Rachel Brice - a world famous dancer, Rachel Brice is a pioneer in fusion tribal style dance, taking it to new heights with her pops and locks, intermixed with fluidity and fantastic feats of flexibility, strength, and how-did-she-just-do-that?! moments. Check out the back bend to a drop in this clip.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

La Dolce Vita

Last month I returned from an amazing three week vacation in Italy where I savored the sweet life. They say a picture's worth a thousand words. So without further ado, I give you this month's pictorial blog post.