Any music recommendations for beginners?
Modern: Bellydance Superstars; Desert Rose; The Rough Guide to Bellydance; Amani and Bassem Yazbek - Oriental Belly Dance; Amani & The Badawist; Think Global Bellydance; The Bellydance Album (with Amera Eid); Amir Diab; Hossam Ramzy -Source of Fire, etc!; Amera - Al Ra’kasa we Tabbal; Various - Camel Spotting; Horatio & Beata’s Oriental Fantasy Series; Hassan Abou Seoud; Raquia Hassan’s Wash Ya Wash series and Ahlan Wa Sahlan series
Classical: Jalilah’s Raqs Sharqi Vol 1, 2, 3, 5; Essam Rashad - Big Heart; George Abdo - The Magic of Belly Dance; The Music of Islam - Vol 1 Al Qahirah; Aswan Dances
Folk/Baladi: Mustpha Sax; Suraya Hilal - Spirit of The Heart; Hossam Ramzy - Best of Baladi & Saidi (2CD) and Baladi Plus; Musicians of the Nile; Salamat
Fusion: Noor Shimaal - Where Africa Meets the Orient; Omar Faruk Tekbilek; Natasha Atlas; Dead Can Dance; Lorinna McKennit; Peter Gabriel - Passion; Alabina
Drum: Anything by Uncle Mafufo
Tribal: Gypsy Caravan; Sirrocco; Helm
Instructional/Rhythm: Hossam Ramzy - Rhythms of the Nile (2CD); Jalilah’s Raqs Sharqi Vol 4
Avoid CDs with no artist listed? Bad sign!
Where can I buy music in Canberra?
As a beginner dancer music is your most important investment.
JB HiFI (Woden/Civic) and Abels (Manuka) often have an okay range. Look in the world music section. Community Aid Abroad is also worth a try. Imported CD’s can be mail ordered from Amera’s Palace (Sydney). International sites include Maquam.com (fantastic range and prices), Amazon and Dahlal international.
Check out iTunes too!
What about good beginner videos?
My blog has a number of video reviews.
There are so many out there now - ask me for recommendations! Some that I like:
World Dance New York - Sensual Bellydance with Blanca
World Dance New York - Bellydance Basics and Beyond with Jenna
World Dance New York - Bellydance the Next Level with Jenna
World Dance New York - Bellydance: Beautiful Technique From Step One
Cheekygirls Productions - 1-2-3 Bellydance with Bahaia
Cheekygirls Productions - Bellydance Basics with Michelle Joyce
Cheekygirls Productions - Belly By Sandra Vol 1 and 2
Bellydance with Jrisi Technique Drills and Performances Vol 1
Aziza’s Ultimate Bellydance Practice Companion
Tribal Basics Vol 1 - Fat Chance Belly Dance (Practice right and left sides of move!)
Introduction to Modern Egyptian Technique with Amera
The Dancer’s Toolkit - Baraka
Precision Motion Workout - Suzanna Del Vecchio
Performance videos: Souhair Zaki, Fifi Abdo, Suraya Hilal, Morrocco, Amera, Samia Gamal, Nadia Gamal, Lucy, Dina. Cheekygirls Productions - By Dancers for Dancers series. Ask me for specific recommendations! These can sometimes only be purchased through the dancers website, Amera’s or other Middle Eastern dance stores although some mass market ones are available from Amazon etc.
Where can I find more information?
A great starting point on the internet is Shira’s site. This wonderful lady covers just about every topic you can think of, and she has hundreds of links to other dance related sites.
Check out this most popular discussion board - Bhuz.
What clothes should I wear to class?
Practice clothes should let you move freely and be comfortable. They should also let you see your movements clearly in the mirror (and allow your teacher to check that you are moving correctly and safely) I usually wear a leotard and leggings but a T-shirt and tracksuit pants are fine. Long skirts can make your movements hard to see. If you wear good costumes to class they can get sweaty and worn. I prefer to save them for parties and performances.
What about a hip scarf?
Most dancers like to wear a hip scarf. This emphasises hip movements and allows you to see if you are doing them correctly. Any scarf big enough to tie around your hips will do. Lots of dancers make their own and directions can be found on Shira’s site. You can add coins, bells, beads or fringe for beautiful results. Scarves with coins or beads give you feedback such as sound and movement. This is great when you are trying to learn to shimmy. Pre-made scarves can be purchased from vendors such as Amera’s Palace (Sydney). Places that sell scarves in Canberra tend to be very expensive (Community Aid Abroad, Tree of Life etc) for the quality available. Prices start at about $35 with most scarves $55 to $95. Don’t spend a lot of money on your first scarf!!! You can also check out eBay for cheap scarves - but try to select good quality and reputable sellers where you can. Really cheap scarves may not last you first practice session without falling apart.
Help - This is really HARD!
Be patient. You can’t learn everything at once. You wouldn’t expect to become a ballerina in a few weeks would you? It takes time to build up the muscular strength and coordination to do the moves. Practice will help more than you can believe. We all felt like this when we first started.