TALES 1001-Dance Educational Books

Arabic Dance, Belly Dance, Egyptian Dance, Lebanese Dance

FINGER CYMBALS: Play them Correctly! $12.95 

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NEW ITEM! Booklets will be available on different subjects throughout the year. First will be ready January 20th 2016.  The first is called GET REDA EDUCATED! Learn about the man behind todays Egyptian Dance.

Finger Cymbal: Play Them Correctly

Is available through us here on line. Through the Create Space Store, Amazon.com and through Layla's Boutique in El Cajon, CA If local contact www.Layla-Boutiques.com

 *Discover How Easy It Is to Play Zills*

This book helps raise the "barre" by educating Middle Eastern dancers   and students on the playing of zills correctly to Arabic music.

1. Play exactly what the body is accenting when dancing. 2. Play exactly what the drummer is playing, live or on CD. 3. Never get off rhythm again. You will understand the rhythms.

January 21st, 2015
Bells on Your Fingers: Are they necessary?
Back in the ?day? when belly dancers all worked with live music we all knew how to play finger cymbals. It was part of what we did! Today most dancers just work with canned belly dance music. Most belly dancers only do bots of shows. Short pieces in seminar shows, parties and the like. The restaurant shows are primarily done without musicians too. They are longer , usually too long. Even in restaurants where musicians play I have seen the belly dancers dance to canned music. What a shame! The musicians take their breaks and the dancer is a fill in. In our day back in the 70's and up through the 90's we did a show with musicians. It was fun, we did a show together. Yes, it takes work but so satisfying. Dancers today are so full of props that they never really learn how to dance well first. Yet, the prop that should be learned first is often not even contemplated. And, those that do play finger cymbals, do not know how. They just randomly hit them together.

This is a shame for the belly dancer and the art form! Historically, finger cymbals have been use since antiquity as a compliment to the dances of the east and the eastern dancer. Admittedly there is certain music that does not and should not be accompanied by finger cymbals. For example classical Egyptian music used for entrances etc. in belly dance with full orchestration. So if you use this music for part of your show do not add cymbals. So, where should you play finger cymbals? In a follow up piece in the middle of your show like the beledi section or with a popular piece of the day. I loved to enter with finger cymbals as it got the audience's attention and made them sit up and take notice. Another place you do not want to play them is in your drum solo. Here , this part of your show is a duet between you and the drummer. This is the same whether you have a live drummer or are using a CD. This part of your show is a by-play between the drummer and the dancer. So let him be the drummer and you be the dancer. Do not confuse things my making things too busy.

Where ever you use them they need to be played well. Now, I am the first to admit that getting good on finger cymbals is not easy. For me it was the hardest thing I ever had to do in mu belly dance career. It was a very hard road but get them I did! I became very proficient and was known for my excellent playing by dancers and musicians alike. There was times early on when I would finish my show and throw them at the dressing room walls in frustration. But I never gave up. I took a few private lessons and just walked trying to hit the right hand on the count of one. Getting the 1 count right was a beginning. I approached a friend about my qualms with learning them. Everyone in class seemed to get it except me. She gave me advice. She also told the instructor about my fears. Up to this point no one had ever broke things down for me so I really had no where to start. My first teacher just told me to sit by the speaker, listen and play them. That meant nothing to me as I did not know what to listen to. My friend must have said the right thing to the instructor as from that moment on he started giving drills on finger cymbals. All of a sudden everything fell into place. I got it! I was so excited. Finally I learned how to play. It was so simple. I learned the rhythms used in belly dance shows. You do not need a complex system. You need a concise easy system that you can understand.

Learning and playing finger cymbals will help you enormously in your dance. It will add strength to your movements and completes your show. Below are a few reasons why this is so and why you should do it now. This is a start. There is more you will learn later.

  1. 1. Improve your knowledge of the rhythms used in belly dance.

    2. You are guaranteed never to get off rhythm again.

    3. You will accent with your body and cymbals at the same time. There is no other way to play. You will play exactly what your body is doing to the music

    4. You will play exactly what the drummer is playing.

    5. Your dance will appear stronger.

    6. Finger cymbals will add excitement to your show.

    The reasons stated should be enough to spark your interest and make you want to take the challenge. Our our next blog we will take you through the steps and drills I learned and will pass on to you. You do not need to learn 1001 patterns, learn silly ditties or try to remember a series of numbers. You only have two hands. You will learn the basics. Practice them and learn a few more simple things and you will be on your way to zills on fire. Plan on allowing 15 minutes a day to practice. That is all you need. All is well in the belly dance world.

    Morwenna Assaf
    Author and Arabic Dance Educator

ALSO AVAILABLE CD - BASIC RHYTHMS $10- - If purchased with book $15- FOR BOTH. 
Books available in Large print and regular. Shown here the regular print. 
Books also available for KINDLE at Amazon Kindle Store. @$7.99. 
Audio version due February 15th 2016. This available through TeachOutLoud.com & Podio Books. A CD version is due through Kunaki.com.


 $ 19.95

"The Mosaic of Percussion" in collaboration with Walid Assaf a Master Percussionist.
" The Power of Commitment Through Creativity" 

due to be completed mid- summer 2014
By then all books hopefully will be available in Audio books.
FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN PRODUCING THEATER SHOWS. Or actually any event that you might choose. All details are there. Check CreateSpace.com, Amazon.com and Amazon Kindle Books after June 1st 2013 $19.95.


Available at Create Space, Amazon .com and from the Art/Dance Academy Studio
Also available in Kindle version for $9.95 through Amazon.com
Available in USA, Canada, Europe and UK
Audio book to be released by Dec 1st 2014 =$15.00

ZILLS/ ZAGAT: Teaching Syllabus      $  12.95

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Creativity: Power of Commitment

This book is the best tool you can find to keep your spirits up and not get burned out.. Daily thoughts to keep you going and creative in a business that thrives on creativity -- The Arts! $24.94

THE MOSIC of MUSIC: Mystery of Percussion and Dance

A must have for all dancers, teachers and students who perform. Also a must have for any musician or drummers who play for dancers. This book brings it all together. Even singers can benefit from the knowledge. A wonderful book full of information. $22.95- 

Finger Cymbals: 
Play Them Correctly

Thus book is the partner book to ZILLS/ZAGAT but is geared to the student learning how to play finger cymbals. It is a really easy way to learn how to play correctly to Arabic music. To never get off rhythm again. $12.95. 


This book is available and will be released in a variety of venues. Kindle version available for $7.99 in both regular and large print. All teachers need this book to be able to present the playing of zills correctly to Arabic music. There is only one way to do that. We show you the way. Your students will never be off rhythm again.

Book cover Teaching Syllabus

ZILLS-ZAGAT Teaching Syllabus

Available through us here, Create Space Bookstore, Amazon.com, E-Bay.com and locally at www.Layla-Boutiques.com in El Cajon, CA & Chicago area.

ZILLS/ZAGAT Teaching Syllabus

*Present teaching Zills Correctly and Easily*

This book is designed for the teacher of Middle eastern dance. Teach rhythms and zills at the same time. An easy system . Play zills to Arabic music well.




WE ALSO HAVE AN ADVANCED RHYTHMS CD $10- Buy both CDs and book for $20-

Working on the audio version as we speak. Hopefully they will be ready by month end.. Inshallah!  Part 1 and 2 of Finger Cymbals: Play Them Correctly available at this time on both Kunaki and PodioBooks Coming by March 1st 2015. on  Teach Out Loud.     

Shiny Beads and Shimmies

Shiny Beads and Shimmies our newest book out. May 2014. The price is $9.99 through Tales1001, Create Space, and Amazon. The Kindle version is $6.99. Learn how to find a good Middle Eastern dance teacher that is knowing and will share with you. Be wise on how your money is spent. Make sure you are in the know!