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*Note: All "reviews" are strictly my opinion, so caveat emptor and best of luck. Happy hunting, and send links you'd like included!

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Belly Friends

Oasis Dance Camps!
If you've ever wondered where you can go to meet wonderful dancers and form friendships that will last and learn serious bellydance skills at the same time, look no further. Oasis Dance Camps are the high points of my year, and this is where I go to recharge and get my skills updated. This is also the group that has brought many, many world class teachers to Traverse City, MI. The master teacher is, of course, the stunningly talented Cassandra of Minneapolis - if you've had class with me I'm sure you've heard me rave about her - and every year, different guest teachers come to teach a specific folkloric style. The camps are 5 days long and are a brilliant way to study with a variety of excellent teachers without having to go halfway across the world. If you are interested in the exotic, I highly recommend Oasis International's Morocco trip, and also Camp New Zealand... ok, I'm going to stop gushing about this now. But if you're a serious bellydance enthusiast and you've never been to Oasis, you're certainly missing out on a transformative experience. :)

Sarah Mayne
Instructor/Director/Performer, Delkash Dancers
You may have noticed, Sarah's name is all over my website. We started studying bellydance around the same time (we were "belly babies" together) and went off to study with different teachers for a few years. In the interim, we both directed troupes and learned very different skills. Now we're working together again at Sarah's studio, Bellydance Grand Rapids, which is a dance studio dedicated 100% to World Dance; and as co-promoters of haflas and shows in Grand Rapids. It's been my pleasure and honor to rediscover one of my earliest bellydance friends and gain a true sister in dance.

Sabrina is a dancer from South Haven, and we can occasionally be seen as "The Fa bulous Shimmy Sisters" doing cabaret & bellydance comedy. Her dance style is not hing to laugh at, bringing serious sass to cabaret dance. She's a wonderful teac her and a truly enjoyable dancer... I'm glad she's relocated back to Michigan fr om New Orleans! :)

Sahra Saeeda
Sahra C Kent, "Sahra Saeeda," has performed and taught Egyptian style Orientale and Folkloric dance on five continents. She's a beautiful dancer and a warm and gracious person. I have had the honor of studying with her at two weeklong workshops and some day seminars, and I hope to study with her again soon!

Cassandra, Jawaahir, and the Cassandra School
I saved the best for last. Cassandra Shore of Minneapolis is a guru who has completely reshaped not only how my hips work, but also how I view Middle Eastern dance. Studying with her at Oasis Dance Camps and at her incredible Weeklong Intensive has been - well, I hate to reuse this word, but: transformative (see "Oasis Dance Camps", above). I take every chance I can to watch her perform or teach. She's a challenging but sensitive teacher who instructs with humor and intelligence.

Ecole de Danse Marthyna
I met Marthyna and Dominique in Toronto at the International Bellydance Conference of Canada, and they amazed me with their warmth, dance skills, and their willingness to let me practice my execrable high-school French on them. Truly, lovely dancers and people.

More to come!

Articles Online

How To Be A Bellydance Student -- Well-written article with lots of good points. :D

The Gilded Serpent Online magazine with tons and tons of information, articles, and photos. Very up-to-the-minute reviews and articles.

Discover BellyDance Magazine - lots of great articles, links and information. - also lots of fantastic info and links to events, sorted by area in the US

Health Benefits of Bellydance on Discover BellyDance.

Jas's Middle Eastern Rhythms FAQ: Very detailed info for those who really want to understand how the drum is played, the music notated, etc. Quite in-depth! Does have MIDI files so you can listen to the rhythms. It's very important for a dancer to be very familiar with these rhythms - otherwise, what are you dancing to?

The Grand International Bellydance Tour or How We Fled India at Midnight, Eluding Our Captors and Evading our Go-Go-Dance Responsibilities.Not really informational, but funny. Includes mentions of go-go dancing, Ukrainian prostitutes posing as bellydancers, and beauty treatments.

Article on Costume Choices for the Gilded Serpent. Not specific body type advice, but good general information.

The Myopic View of Bellydancing. Interesting article about how our perceptions of ourselves as dancers are molded by the public's view of what "should be" in this dance style... and of how our particular ethnic dance style may tend to hold us to different perceptions of fitness for performance than other ethnic styles.

Middle Eastern Dance: A Cabaret Act or Fine Art?

Dance Resources -- This fabulous site is a compendium of all things bellydance. If you're curious about it and it has to do with our art form, it's most likely here, or you can find a link to it here. I highly recommend sitting down when you have some time to spare, and digging around. Lots to see!

Belly Dance Classes - Free Listing of Teachers Internationally

Ask the Costume Goddess -- this is an indispensible guide when making your own first costumes or practice wear, on, and the Costume Goddess has her own website and series of self-published books (I have some of them, just ask if you'd like to see them). In particular, she has a book called "Easy Costumes" or something like that, which gives some great ideas on how to modify T-shirts and regular clothing items to make bdance costumes for beginner dancers. Great ideas!

L. Rose Designs -- This seamstress does excellent work, and I've linked you directly to her page for "Special Deals" - packages she makes for beginners and troupes. If you have someone who'd like to give you a very special gift, check out her site and her catalog. I've seen a lot of her work and have never been disappointed! Just make sure your measurements are correct, as these really are made to the measurements you send. Also, be aware that because the items are made for you, you should allow 4-6 weeks (as posted on the site) for delivery of your items. :) Also, the list starts with her most comprehensive package and gets simpler towards the bottom, so don't be discouraged if you only look at the top! (lol) -- The Gilded Serpent. An online mag w/ lots of information, reviews, articles, and photos. Also a listing of dance names, in case you need to pick one. -- Unicorn Belly Dance Supplies. Not too expensive, nice selection especially for a beginner or for practice-wear. -- Dahlal Internationale. Bigger selection, plus costume ideas as well as finished costumes, pieces, accessories, and music/videos. -- Morocco and the Casbah Dance Experience. My links list wouldn't be complete without this one. Lots of info. -- International Academy of Middle Eastern Dance. Hosts of the Annual Awards of Bellydance show, this site has many photo galleries, as well as some info on possible origins of bellydance. Worth a gander for photos alone. -- Bellydance NY. If you're going to be in NYC, this site has a LOT of info. Performance, seminars, shopping.

Want to add a link or tell me about a broken one? If you'd like to contact me about anything, you can raise me most easily via e-mail.

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