TALES 1001-Dance Educational Books

Arabic Dance, Belly Dance, Egyptian Dance, Lebanese Dance


Lebanon Vs Egypt

  1. Where does Lebanon fit into the scheme of things?

    Lebanon is one of the roots of the dance. We primarily think of Egypt but this is wrong. Egypt has only recently come into the picture due to the war in lebanon. Badia Masabni was a Lebanese dancer and moved to Egypt. THat is how the dance got promoted there in films. Check your old records, you will see that they were all produced primarily in Lebanon. We will go back for more research in 2012. We will kwwp you posted.

  2. When did we leave for Lebanon in 2011?

    We are on a countdown. We leave on October the 20th and arrive in Beirut on the 21st.  We plan on visiting and checking on things starting the 22nd -25th. On the 25th Amani opens her Oriental Festival that we will be part of. For the next 5 days we will be involved with Amani, teaching and meeting all the famous people she has hired. The 30th through the 6th we will be doing research throughout the area. We are particularly interested in the Baalbak area and the history of the Phoenicians. All will be reported on our return.

    We are back. Lebanon has equally if not more and longer history in the dance that Egypt. Now Egyptian dancers will dispute this. But their history of the dance is too short. Only goes back 30 years. Badia massabni was Lebanese and moved to Egypt to be near the filmmaking center. films were always made in Egypt. When the war broke out artists in droves move from lebanon to Egypt to continue their practice of the art.  Now there is peace they are coming back to Lebanon their original place. According to Amani Egypt has let the dance descend to the lowest place possible. Now we have to fight to raise the art up again.

  3. What will be in store for Lebanon this year 2012?

    We are planning on going back to Lebanonin JUne. The Amani Oeiental Festival is planned fro JUne 19th -24th. Amani has asked me to teach again. Very excited.

    This year we have plans to do way more research. Last year we tried our steps. We now know where to go and whom to contact.  Have peole lined up from Mexico City to Baalbek to help. People who know. The finest educators will be intervired to add to the interviews I got last year. This will cement all ideas.

    Since coming back last Novemember I have spent all my spare time researching in books the Phoenician's their dance. The dance of Crete gets in there too. It is exciting for me to put all the pieces together. Our research this year will culminate with the Bedouins of Lebanaon and Debke from the Bekaa vValley. Stay tuned for more information to come.

  4. 2014 is over What is in store fro 2015 & 2016????

    The amswer to 2015 is that Amani will be in Housotn in 2015. We give thanks to Simon Sarkis for sponsoring this event. The dates are May 1-3rd. Do not mis this momentous occasion.

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Tales 1001 Belly Dance Blog.

  1. A few words as we leave our home of 18 years.

    Just found notes I put together prior to leaving San Diego back in September 2014. I have decided to post them as they were very important to me while I was closing my studio and tearing my house apart and going to an unknown destination. This was written about August 20th, 2014. Things have changed since then.

    Here I am writing with terribly mixed emotions. I am anxuios to get back East  and start a new life.  there with friends and family. Yet, it is with a heavy heart that we leave some very fine people here in the San Diego North County area.and beyond that have been like family to us over the past 18 years.I will miss my students, my friends and my stidio. We have had a very memorable life here but it is time for us to returnto family.Our job here on the west coast is completed. Just a few years ago we were not ready to take the last big step in our lives and careers. 

    We tryly hope we have helped the community here is South Western CAas we have devoted our entire beings into it for 18 years. Please, take the informationwe have shared with you and keep not only the level of the dance high and professional but also keep the culture in "Arabic Dance and Music". We truly believe the dance form and related music are a marriage of the finest kind. Always be proud of what you do and never never let anyone talk youinto lowering your standards.Hold your head high and be the best you can be.

    With a heavey heart we closed the studio Friday night after the last student left. The floors are taken apart and the mirrors are down.All the little things that I loved and what made it special to me are in boxes. As I packed I felt I was burying a piece of myself. I wonder if I will ever be pit back together again? 

    The Studio will continue of that I am sure. There are several people who will carry the torch. Those people are Jamila, Jaimee, Judy and Julie. Each one has a different talent. Jamila and Jaimee will be available to teach beginners. Judy and Julie are equally qualified to teach but at higher levels of the dance. There are others too who will be assisting with the above ladies  to create your own version of a performing group.

    Jaimee and Jamila are fulfilling their obligation to become CID/RAIS Certified. Jusy us planning on opening her studio. She has been with ADA for 10 years , she has an extensive background and is working on being RAIS Certified. Julie has been at the sStudio for 8 years. She teaches in Escondido and started through ADA. All ladies are available for performing. Just keep up your level in mind as you find new dance partners to work with. I will always be at the end of the phone or on line once I get settled again. This should be by Oct 1st. I will stay as main head of ADA. The four people mentioned above will run ADA - West. I will run ADA - East. Classes cn continue here in the west as they always have with performances when available. ADA - East will be totally different, do not think we will be offering classes as such. We will do consilting sessions for individuals and dance companies. I will continue to write and open up more avenues in that area. My performing days are at an end so there will be no more  Raks el Anwar. I will never organize any type of performing group ever again.  This is the first time in over 40 years that that I have not  and will not have a group to choreograph for or rehearse. It has been a large part of my life but I am looking forward to having a stress free existennce.  Take the information you have , keep your minds open, get more educated and carry on.

    We thank you for your dedication and presence. May you all find happinessin the dance but realise you will never know everything and your learning and studying never ends. Every day I learn something new about this dance form I love.

    Luz and Christine remember what I told you!

    Now all of you move forward, learn more and dance.

    Much Love Always,

    Morwenna & Walid 

  2. When the next blog be put up?

    Starting February February 4th 2015 there will be blogs pertaining to belly dance every  week. Might even happen before that. Keep on the lookoit for new material. in 2015

  3. The Mosaic and Magic of Belly Dance: Read This Before You Take a Belly Dance Class!

    Someone told you you should dance, you have a nice body and you look good? You love to dance but do not know where to start. You think you can make money. People say it is easy! You can dance easily without knowledge. Just a little natural talent will take care of it. After all it is only belly dance!!!!! You do not need to know anything. Just a few lessons,a costume and business cards you will be all set. Maybe you are an avid club dancer, maybe you took classes as a kid at the local dance studio and you were considered pretty good. You think you have talent.

    As with everything, take it with a grain of salt. The good news is that everyone is right. You can have fun, dance, make friends and make some money. However, you have learn the rules of the game to succeed.

    The game has a goal. It has rules. As long as you stay within the rules you can achieve your goal. There are also some stakes, you could win or lose. You will be given lots of pieces of the puzzle. These pieces are your rules. You have to fill in the blanks. You will search for treasures that will help you pit this puzzle together. These are your teachers! The first thing they have to do is strengthen your body and your dance skills. This is no easy feat.

    Here are some basic rules:

    1. Find a great belly dance teacher ! How? First buy and read Shiny Beads and Shimmies

    2. You need technique that is razor sharp. A good belly dance teacher can help you here.

    3. You need breath control; This makes your dance come alive.

    4. You need control over all parts of your body. Head to toe.

    5. You need to understand Arabic music. Hello! Yes, it is an ethnic/world dance form. Not just shaking your booty.

    6. You need good interpretation of skills. This is a challenge and takes time. It takes 8 years to train an ethnic/world dancer according to “La Meri” the Grand Lady of ethnic dance .

    7. You need to be able to make good choices. This comes with education and experience.

    8. You must be able to take direction. This before you can give direction.

    9. Have a keen ear for rhythm, instrumentation and be able to transfer that over to the correct body movement.

    10. You also need impeccable timing. You have energy and emotion.

    11. You have to have a strong spirit. This gets you through the crap.

    12. You have to be able to look the part and be able to sell yourself and your skills. If you are overweight start that diet and exercise program. Realize that belly dance classes will help but will only go so far.

    13. You need to be a marketeer. Being just an artist is not enough these days.

    14. Be a people person. You will be dealing with people you dance with, plus you need audience rapport.

    15. Play the game to win but be honest and up front and a little humble too. This is no place for divas.

    16. Expect the unexpected. This is the fun one! Be ready to go and play the social game.

    17. Work hard by practicing and rehearsing. It is a lot of hard, sweaty work to get where you want to get.

    18. Watch your figure. No one wants to watch a fat dancer. Be realistic here!

    19. Find your pleasure in life. Hopefully it will be the dance.

    20. Experiment and enjoy. But always within the rules of the game.

    Own costumes, (they are expensive). Spend your money wisely or you will become like a kid in the candy store. Be versatile there is lots of styles within belly dance to be achieved. Do not be too hard on yourself. Take each day as it comes. But use it to the fullest. Do not rush things. But if you take classes 3x per week you will get where you want to be ( a beginner performer) quicker than taking just 1x per week 3x faster in fact. But remember always, everyone has their own timetable. U took classes for almost 4 years before I performed my first solo piece. I was prepared and it was a great start to a wonderful 40 year career to date. I am still learning. A dancer's education never ends. Thank goodness, as this is why I love what I do.

    Still fascinated and want to learn more? Then start by purchasing Shiny Beads and Shimmies from Create Space or Amazon. You can get it in book version or kindle. It will answer your questions about finding an educated teacher willing to share her wealth of knowledge to you. Enjoy life and “while here we should dance”.

    Morwenna Assaf

    Author and Arabic Dance Educator




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