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February '10


Amiranews - February 2010



Amira here, hoping that this letter finds you well and that 2010 is starting off as being rewarding and productive for you.

This is the Year of the Tiger, and I feel like it’s going to be my year. I’m looking forward to great changes, both professionally and personally, and I’m geared towards new successes, much travel, new encounters and lots of surprises.

So far, it seems to be panning out, and it’s been exciting. In a few days, I’ll be in India, a country I’ve dreamed of going to most all of my life. Last year on Facebook, I started chatting very casually with a girl named Shruti. A year later, she has now organized a three week long tour of India for me, teaching and performing belly dance. Interesting how things all fall into place. Anyway, I’ll be sharing my experiences on my Facebook page along the way, and meanwhile there’s more information about this and the wonderful, vibrant and growing belly dance scene in India at

Upcoming Workshops


When I return in March, I’ll be partnering up with Leyla Amir
to hold two workshops on the 21st:
- Leyla Amir’s Egyptian Technique 10-11.30am
- Amira’s WOW veil techniques 11.45-1.15pm
Please Click Here for the flyer and more details.

Karim Nagi Workshop a Success..

Last week, I partnered with Samira and the Las Vegas Bellydance Intensive to bring Karim Nagi to town to teach and perform, which was a huge success. Karim is one of my all time favorite middle-eastern performers and teachers. To read what our community leader Samira had to say about Karim, please Click Here.

I cannot rave enough about what Karim Nagi has to offer this community. I've been dancing nearly 20 years, and my first workshops with Karim completely revolutionized my way of understanding and experiencing Arabic music. It's a rare day when a teacher blows my mind...but Karim always offers that experience. He brings a tremendous amount of knowledge and understanding this dance to his classes and keeps his students mesmerized with his humor and delivery.

New Veils Now Available!

In other news... I’m pleased to be able to pass on that I have made an agreement to sell the most beautiful, highest quality silk veils I have seen, all handmade by Justina. These veils are already selling like hotcakes, and we’re adding new colors all the time. For a look at the available styles, please Click Here. Also, if you don't see what you're looking for or have a specific need, custom work is available by request. Please contact us for more info.

Some specifics on the veils:
All veils are made of Pure 100% A grade Habutai Silk, the best silk available. The size is 45"x108" (114.3 x 274.32 centimeters), with a thread count of 6MM. The edges are professionally finished with an ultra light hem for durability and ultimate movement, dyed to match the veil, making the hem nearly invisible. The dyes are professional silk dyes that bond to the fabric for permanent color.
They are extremely reasonably priced at $29.95, or we also have a “Buy 3, get one FREE” special running for $90.00 !

DVD Recommendation


Lastly, I wanted to tell you about a wonderful new DVD called “American Belly Dance Legends”, produced by Amaya, who is a legend herself.

This DVD takes you on an facinating journey of the belly dance pioneers of America and how it all got started. There is some vintage footage that adds incredible value to this DVD. It takes you back in time and to the places where it all happened. There are some names that I never even knew about before, along with many who I greatly admire, some of who I have the great honor to have met personally. Watching this DVD is a real treat. It made me feel that I’m part of something bigger and more important than what sometimes meets the eye, and that we often take for granted. Watching this DVD makes me want to carry on the torch that those dancers lit for us with pride and dignity. I cannot thank Amaya enough for gathering and putting out this important footage. I can’t even imagine how hard it must have been, and how fun it must have been to make this DVD.

Whether you are professional dancer or just a hobbyist, this DVD is important from many aspects. Knowing the history of the dance you do is much like knowing intimately the canvas that you are painting on.

To read Amaya’s forward from the DVD, please Click Here..

The Golden Era of Belly Dance began when a group of Algerian dancers and a so-called “Little Egypt” danced and shocked the Victorian American public at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.
It flourished in immigrant Greek, Armenian, Lebanese, Turkish and Arabic nightclubs throughout many US coastal cities in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. Homesick families thronged to clubs that featured live music and belly dancers. The demand for dancers was a far cry from the supply. Importing dancers became too expensive for club owners. Many of these American dancers featured in this DVD filled this void and started their careers in these clubs.
Around the early 1970s, they picked up the torch when they noticed nationwide interest in physical fitness, spiritual empowerment, and the attraction to the exotic music, beautiful costuming and fluid body movements. The “hobby dancer” was born.
Theses American icons then introduced terminology, workshops, concert shows, studios, and even merchandise to this fresh mainstream market.
In the 1960s, and 70s, great interest swelled in this American “fad”, most commonly known here as Belly Dance. This art is also called Raks Sharqi, Dance Orientale, Middle Eastern Dance, and Oriental Dance.
Because of this interest, classes, workshops and festivals spread to Europe and many other westernized countries.
To be a serious dancer in our Raks Sharqi arena, it is important to understand where we come from; to know the historical dancers upon whose shoulders we stand. We should know their names and respect their contributions to our quality and standard of dance today.
Certainly, there are a myriad of dancers who carved our path, but these classic American names stand out as the teachers and performers that opened the belly dance doors in America. They created the national and international fads and trends, and had the talent and drive to make our dance what it is today; one without borders, attracting many students and fans globally.
Because if the eclectic nature of vintage photography and film, please accept the mixed quality of many of these older clips from:

Aida Al Adawi
Aisha Ali
Bert Balladine
De Ann
Helena Vlahos
Ibrahim Farrah
Jamila Salimpour
John Compton
Click Here for more info and to purchase, and don't forget, all domestic shipping is ALWAYS FREE!


Finally, I’d like to take a second to sincerely thank all of you, for all your support and interest over the years; you helped me keep going. 2009 was a tough year for all of us, but it seems we’re now on the upswing.

Keep dancing, keep learning… it’s good for the soul. Wishing you all the best in the coming year.

Happy Shimmies!