Ep 31. Jillina Carlano: How Food Can Influence Your Dance

OMG! This is beyond what you ever dreamt to receive as tips and insights into a artist’s life. Jillina Carlano is back on the podcast and this time she is taking us on a tour across her health and nutrition secrets!

How food can benefit your dance? What to eat before and after shows? Is there a healthy way to pump up your energy level during crazy festival times? Discover what Jillina uses in her daily life as an active dancer and producer! Not only that! She is so awesome that after we finished this interview, she suggested to do a special video for you guys, showing what she keeps in her fridge and pantry store. So don't forget to check the links below, and get all amazing content from fabulous Jillina! I can't thank enough to this brilliant, open and super supportive woman!

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Ep 30. Marina Shishkova: Secrets of Winning Competitions

It's our 30th episode!!! And I have with me such a talented and adorable dancer, Marina Shishkova! She is the winner of the Golden Crown "Rana" 2017, Miss Europe 2016, and a long list of other competitions. This girl has 370 medals and 10 crowns under her shimmy belt! Want to know her "secret sauce" of preparing for contests? Then listen to this episode. You'll definitely get charged up by a load of positivity and inspiration just by listening to Marina's voice. Many laughs guaranteed! :)

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Ep 29. Lebanese Simon: Rising Above Obstacles

Lebanese Simon was born and raised in Northern Lebanon. Currently he resided in Houston, but his passion for oriental dance brings him all across the globe.

Simon reveals his story of falling in love with belly dance in the early years of childhood, and the multiple obstacles that he had to face on the path to his dance dreams. We also discuss what it means to be a male belly dancer, and how the voice in your heart can lead to your destiny. Never let anyone stop you from dancing, and never take the freedom to explore dancing for granted.

Simon also shares insights into the work of his Al Awtar Zaffa Group, and what makes it one of the most successful zaffa groups in the USA. Want to know more about Lebanese weddings and different kinds of Dabke? This is an episode for you!

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Ep 28. Nada El Masriya: How Studying Folklore Can Make You a Better Belly Dancer

This week we are mixing belly dance and folklore worlds, and specifically, explaining why they are so closely connected. 

Nada El Masriya, native Egyptian dancer, explains how much folklore influences belly dance, and why you can't be a successful belly dancer if you don't study traditions and culture. Also, get ready to discover what is wrong with the term "modern beledi", and be impressed with Nada's view on how Western artists influence the art of oriental dance. She also shares thoughts on what is the main disconnection between artistic innovations and traditional canons of belly dance, and gives valuable tips on how to achieve that "Egyptian musicality" that many dancers are aiming for.

This and more in the incredibly deep conversation with amazing Nada El Masriya!

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Ep 27. Meher Malik: Fusion, Confusion and Female Objectification

Wow, wow, wow…. This is a discussion that had to happen a long time ago, and I’m very grateful and happy that we got a chance to talk about all those subjects with amazing Meher Malik. She is such an incredible artist who stands up for her beliefs, choices and rights, as well as inspire many women around the globe and particularly in India to follow their truth too.

Meher was discovered by the majority of this world after her successful participation in the popular TV show “India Got Talent”. However, her activities and contributions started far before this career highlight. In the interview she tells about her resistance and later acceptance of fusing Indian and Arabic cultures, and how many similarities can actually be found between the two. We also talk about how Indian society views dancers and what role TV played in Meher’s dance life. She also shares struggles regarding stereotypical attitudes towards dancers, and how she deals with objectification from the male side… We can be victims and just talk about those problems, or we can actually take some real actions about it.

Open, brave, bold and true to herself… I deeply believe that this conversation will be hugely empowering to everyone who listens.

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Ep 26. Orit Maftsir: Fantasy of the Golden Era Belly Dance

Today we are traveling on a time machine to the times of Golden Era Belly Dance!

Orit Maftsir talks about her dance story and the inspiration she got from old Egyptian movies, and how she transported that Golden Era atmosphere to the modern belly dance scene. We also discuss differences in the trading process of belly dancers and ballet dancers, where there is a fine line between copying and finding your own voice, as well as what is so special about Orit’s Eilat festival.

Here are just a few of my favourite quotes from this interview: “The more I was freeing my spirit with the people, the better my body got”. “The dancer is a visual illustration of the music”. “Songs are made as stories”. Enjoy!

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Ep 25. Oscar Flores: I Needed an Opportunity to Live My Dream

This conversation only gets better and better as it unfolds! Oscar Flores is a world-known belly dancer who teaches and performs all around the globe, but I bet you have no idea even about half of the projects this artist is working on.

Here are only some of the topics that we've discussed in this episode:

- His incredible story on how the transition from a successful 10-year career in banking into a new artistic life looked like.

- Oscar's experience with a popular Chinese TV show, and the balance between artist's persona and real life.

- How he manages to direct five dance troupes all across the world, while travelling and developing his solo career.

AND SO MUCH MORE! I can’t wait for you to dig into this episode, and listen to all the wisdom Oscar has to offer you.

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Ep 24. Best of: How Stars Got Involved into Belly Dance

We always start somewhere! This episode is a compilation of different stories from our guests on how their belly dance journeys began. From going into belly dance with a clear intention of learning dance skills, to a surprising mistakes that led them into this world... Some got inspired by pop-music culture, some by fitness belly dance ads, and some had childhood dreams of wearing a belly dance costume for a Halloween party! All sorts of different stories, lol. A great reminder that at some point we all start our journeys as complete beginners. And what is your belly dance story?

Also, announcing the winner of latest giveaway who receives a special gift from Jillina and Bellydance Evolution! Thank you everyone for participating. More cool surprises are coming up soon!

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Ep 23. How to Price Your Belly Dance Show

This is a truly helpful episode for everyone who struggles with pricing their belly dance show for local gigs.

I so often receive messages from you asking how much you should charge for a dance performance. So here I give my little formula on how I quote, and share some insights into what aspects of belly dance business you need to take into consideration when providing the price rates for different events.

Also, don't forget to participate in the special giveaway from Jillina! A few more days to enroll. :)

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Ep 22. Jillina Carlano: Building Community Around the Globe

Wow!!! I have goosebumps right now! On today's show I'm excited to feature Jillina Carlano, a successful performer, teacher, choreographer, director and producer!

She shares insights into the Bellydance Evolution company, their activities, projects and goals. We also expand our dance discussion into the idea of giving back and serving the global community on different levels. To be honest, I don't even know if I need a description for this episode at all... It's Jillina! Just listen to her. :)

Also, a great surprise to all our listeners from Jillina! It's giveaway time! Find details in the episode.

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Ep 21. Alex DeLora: Every Drum Solo Has Its Own Mood

Alex DeLora on the Belly Dance Life podcast!!! In this episode, we get to know this artist from a completely new perspective that usually is hidden from the audience's eye.

Could you imagine that in the beginning of her dance journey, Alex was told that dance was not for her, and that she never would be able to dance on stage?! Discover what happened next, and how her first experience of a belly dance competition was surprising even for Alex herself! Also, we get a change to glance into the insights of her creative process, how she thinks about training and choreographing, as well as what fascinates her in drum solo compositions. Very remarkable points of view from a remarkable dancer.

Enjoy listening and share with us your favorite take aways!

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Ep 20. Apsara Afsanesara: What Do You Know About Persian Dance?

It's our 20th episode!!! And it's a special one. We deeply explore the topic of Persian dance culture, with all its richness and nuances.

I'm joined by Apsara Afsanesara, a dancer, choreographer, as well as an alternative model based in Poland. She specializes in the dances of the Silk Road (Persian, Afghan, Central Asian, Caucasian, Indian) Her recent project, a dance theatre production called Shirin, got recognition in many European countries and beyond. At the beginning of the episode we learn about Apsara's dance journey, and what exactly captured her attention in the Persian dances. She also gives us a mini-lecture on the variety of Iranian dance styles (at least 10-15 types of dances!!!), and towards the end of the interview we discuss common mistakes and misinterpretations of Persian dance by Western performers, especially Bandari dance when presented at belly dance competitions.

Hope you enjoy listening to this episode that will definitely widen your horizons and understanding of Persian dance culture!

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Ep 19. Jasirah: How to Practice on Your Own. Tips & Tricks

Yay!!! On today's show Jasirah is helping you to improve your dance skills and start practicing with purpose and results!

Jasirah is an international dancer, teacher and judge based in Poland, and her top Youtube video has reached more than 10,000,000 views! Want to know her secrets of daily dance practice? How to find motivation and be consistent even when you don't have a teacher to push you forward? You'll discover this and much more in the epic episode of Belly Dance Life podcast.

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Ep 18. Amar Lammar: Twelve Years of Performing Every Night in the Arab Emirates!

In this episode our featured guest is the amazing Amar Lammar who had a successful 12-year dance career in the Middle East!

Amar explains what are the requirements for a professional dance show in the Arab Emirates, and shares how her dance journey wasn't always smooth and right away successful. You'll find out her top secrets on how to stay engaged and passionate about dance even after performing daily for the last 12 years, as well as how to survive and put together a thrilling 45-minute show. Yes, you've read it correctly: a 45-minute nonstop performance! And she digs really deep into this topic. Also, we'll hear different stories about working together with musicians, as well as why the 1st day of each month is always so challenging. Enjoy!

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Ep 17. Luna of Cairo: Is Belly Dance Life in Cairo Always a "Fairy Tale"?

Curious about living a professional dance "dream" in Egypt? Luna of Cairo takes you behind-the-scenes of her 10-year belly dance experience in Cairo.

In this episode, we talk about the current situation of the Egyptian dance scene, and how foreign dancers bring changes into the style itself. She explains the significant difference between dance managers and agents, and what role each of them plays in the entertainment business. Also, Luna shares how her fluent knowledge of the Arabic language, in some sense, made her professional and everyday communication there more challenging, as well as tells us why after 10 years of an active belly dance career, she decided to leave Cairo and close that page of her life in order to explore something new.

It might be a bit of a heavy talk, but there are lots of interesting and useful insights that every dancer should be aware of before pursuing a career in the Middle East, and specifically Egypt.

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Ep 16. How to Deal With Annoying Clients: Unpaid "Showcase" Offers

Today geeking about business side of belly dance. :)

Have you ever received those annoying calls from people who think that if they provide you big enough audience, you should be happy to present your art for free at their event? And I'm not talking about bridal shows, or event planning conferences, but  about regular private or corporate events where number of guests has nothing to do with the number of your potential clients...

I strongly believe that every work should be paid and compensated, but in this episode I won't focus on trying to prove why belly dance performance should cost this or that much. Instead I'm giving a few tips on how I deal with such clients, and some examples of my replies to their typical questions and offers. Hope you'll find some useful take away to make your business dance life easier!

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Ep 15. Cassandra Fox: Healthy Does Not Have a Face

As I said before, on each episode of the Bellydance Life Podcast I try to bring amazing guests and topics, so here is one more! Please welcome Cassandra Fox to the show, a queen of social media dance videos! :)

Here are only some of the topics that we've discussed in this episode:

- how listening to her first impulse and intuition led Cassandra into the belly dance world of performing and teaching;
- going for it despite all fears and concerns;
- tips on training and self-improvement;
- how to deal with people's feedback on the Internet; where is line between constructive criticism and negative comments;
- what are the stereotypes about being healthy;
- getting motivation from the artistic expression, not perfection, and so much more!

I can’t wait for you to dig into this episode, and listen to the incredible conversation with Cassandra Fox!

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Ep 14. Sadie Marquardt: Before & After Social Media Hit

On today's show Iana is joined by Sadie Marquardt, the most watched belly dancer on YouTube, with over 30 million hits on just one video alone. She was a featured star of the show "America's Got Talent", producer of dozen of bestselling instructional videos, as well as an experienced performer and passionate educator.

Sadie talked about her belly dance experience, and how the field have been changing over the last 20 years since the time she just started her dance journey. It was really impressive to hear how in any circumstances and market realities, she managed to create her own opportunities in order to stay connected to dance, and how it led to discovering her true gift of teaching and supporting other dancers.

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Ep 13. Esmeralda Colabone: Music as Your Guide & Mentor

This is truly a sensational conversation! Esmeralda Colabone talks about her training path, which was different from a regular "go to belly dance school" way, and how she got significant influence from musicians into her dancing. We discuss not only what is an individual dancer's style in general, but also the importance of studying everyday life and behaviour of people for whom this dance is a part of culture.

Also, Esmeralda shares the story of adding turbans to her costumes, one of the signature features of her stage look, as well as her experience of dancing throughout her pregnancy.... and so much more! I literally can’t count all the important points in this episode, and at the same time we went really deep into each topic. I'm extremely excited to release this interview, and looking forward to hearing what are your take aways from it!

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Ep 12. Mr. Ozgen: Turkish Dance on a Big Stage

Today Iana talks to Mr. Ozgen, an internationally successful Turkish belly dancer who travels all around the world teaching, performing and putting together full-length productions in different countries.

Ozgen shares insights into being a part of the Fire of Anatolia dance company in Istanbul (later renamed to Sultans of the Dance), and what it meant to dance from 10 am in the morning to 6 pm in the evening at least five days per week (and sometimes all seven...). He also talks about his transition into a solo dance career, and how he found his artistic voice, combining strong stage presence, passion for different dance styles with storytelling via movement, and Turkish folklore traditions.

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