Ep 79. Anjelica Scannura: From Flamenco to Belly Dance to Stand-Up Comedy

Anjelica Scannura is a highly accomplished dancer, choreographer, actress, and comedian. She has performed and taught flamenco and belly dance all over the world, including the USA, Europe, Caribbean and Middle East.

Anjelica has been the recipient of many dance awards, including The Marty Award for Oustanding dance artist in 2018, Bellydancer of the Universe Winner 2013, Bellydancer of the Universe Hall of Fame Inductee 2014, Paula Citron Fresh Blood Award, Finalist at the Certamen de Coreografia de Danza Espanol y Flamenco in 2013, Eastern Canadian Irish Dance Champion 2006, among others. Anjelica is also the face of ZoomerMedia’s health and fitness channel, ONE Get Fit TV, where she has her own critically acclaimed dance-fitness show “Anjelica’s Dance Workout.”

In this interview you will hear about:

  • Historical connection between flamenco and belly dance

  • Tips for your fusion choreographies

  • Insights into a gigs life and theatre shows of a solo dancer

  • What’s similar and different between stand-up comedy and belly dance show

  • Transitioning from one chapter of creative career to another

Listen HERE

Ep 78. Darya Ryzhkova: Winner of Cairo! Fest Budapest

I’m happy to feature Darya Ryzhkova, the winner of Cairo! Fest Budapest 2019!

Dariya is a professional dancer and teacher. Her awards include dance competitions in Russia, Spain, Kazahistan, France, Israel, Hungary and Greece. She is certified judge by the Russian Liga of Professional Belly Dancers, as well as teacher at Eshta studio, and director of her own dance school Baheya.

Listen HERE

Ep 77. Marta Korzun: How to Become a Dance Teacher

Drum rolls please! We have the fantastic Marta Korzun back on the Belly Dance Life Podcast!

Marta Korzun is internationally recognized as one of Europe’s leading performers and teachers of Oriental dance. She started her career in 2006 by taking part in many competitions in the Ukraine and abroad, including Cairo. She has been titled the Bellydance Champion of the World (2011), European Bellydancer (2011), and 2nd winner at “Nile Group Cairo" (2010), just to name a few. Marta is the artistic director of one the largest Schools of Oriental dance in Eastern Europe, “Tiara” and the ensemble “Tiara Stars”. She is recognized for her unique teaching method and clear and concise explanations, and regularly holds training workshops worldwide.

In this interview you will learn:

  • When are you ready to start teaching,

  • How to help your students develop teaching skills, and how not to be afraid of their transition to the teaching world,

  • What to do if your teacher doesn’t support your teaching dreams,

  • How to get ready for your first class,

  • The importance of business education for dancers, and tips on promoting your classes.

Listen HERE

Ep 76. Joana Saahirah: Egyptian Dance As The Tool For Self-Knowledge And Empowerment.

This is one of those episodes that I have marked as "must listen again"!

Joana Saahirah is a world-renowned dancer, teacher and choreographer specialized in Egyptian Oriental and Folkloric dance, an actress and an author. After almost a decade of life and career in Egypt, presenting shows on a daily basis with her own orchestra, Joana has created a unique style of teaching, choreographing and performing that unites East and West. She has studied and worked as a choreography and teaching assistant with Mahmoud Reda, and studied with legends of Egyptian Oriental Dance, such as Shokry Mohamed, Souhair Zaki, Nagwa Fouad, Azza Sherif, and Mona el Said, just to name a few. She has also written and published two books: ”The Secrets of Egypt – Dance, Life & Beyond” and“Behind the Curtain”, among her other projects.

In this interview you will learn:

  • How Joana quit a promising acting career and became a belly dancer without even realizing it,

  • Why did she leave Egypt at the peak of her performance success,

  • What makes her think that Egyptian dance is a tool to reveal a person’s true dreams,

  • How to have a bigger vision for your dance career,

  • What is the balance between acting and being yourself on stage,

  • AND SO MUCH MORE!

Listen HERE

Ep 75. George Sawa: Digging Deep Into the History of Egyptian Music

Historian and musician Dr. George Sawa is the author of multiple books. He has published over 50 articles on Arabic music in journals and encyclopedias, and is frequently invited to give lectures and concerts worldwide. In 2005, he received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the Egyptian Ministry of Culture for his research in Arabic music history. His CD, The Art of the Early Egyptian Qanun, Vol. 1, was nominated for a JUNO Award in World Music in 2009. His Egyptian Music Appreciation and Practice for Bellydancers has won international acclaim and is an invaluable companion to bellydancers all over the world, having been translated to multiple languages.

In this interview you will learn about:

  • Similarities and differences between Western and Arabic music in 10th century and now,

  • Different meanings of the term "tarab",

  • Why popular interpretation of muwashahat dance is wrong from a historical point of view,

  • What is maqam,

  • How to interpret and dance to different instruments in songs.

Listen HERE

Ep 74. Hassan Khalil: The Roots of Oriental Dance

Prof. Dr. Hassan Khalil lived in the time of the great oriental dancers like Naima Akeef, Samia Gamal, Tahiya Karioka, and even lived in the same neighbourhood with some of them. Later he also worked with Nagua Fuad and Suheir Zaki and many other famous dancers. He is a master teacher and choreographer for many of the most well known Oriental dancers all over the world. Khalil was the director of the Balloon Theatre, the general director of the Oum Kalsoum Theatre in Cairo, as well the general supervisor for folklore in the Ministry of Culture in Egypt. He is also the founder of the famous folk dance group, the National Ensemble of Egypt.

In this interview you will learn about:

  • The nature and roots of dance itself,

  • Differences between Pharaonic and folklore dances of Egypt,

  • Influence of the Turkish Ottoman harems in oriental dance,

  • Behind-the-scene stories of the Golden Era period,

  • How the ancient history of this dance influence current belly dance trends

Listen HERE

Ep 72. Mario Kirlis: I Believe In The Freedom of Art

Mario Kirlis is an Argentinian musician and composer that is known for his extensive work in Arabic Music. He has been a mentor for a number of South American musician and belly dancers to approach the Middle Eastern art, and he has inspired artists all across the world.

In this interview you will learn about:

  • Mario Kirlis’s most memorable music-dance collaboration

  • The story of creating “modern baladi'“, also known as “Mario Kirlis baladi”

  • Most common mistakes dancers do in music interpretation

  • Logistics of directing a music orchestra

  • Why Arabic musicians never play a song the same way twice

Listen HERE

Ep 71. When Are You Ready to Start Teaching

It’s a MINI episode!

This is a medley of ASKianaDANCE show where I answered to following questions:

  • How to check if you are ready to start teaching dance classes for beginners

  • What to do if your dance teacher doesn't really like when students start teaching

Can you relate to this issues? Listen right now to the new episode to find out my tips and suggestions!

Listen HERE

Ep 70. Gigi Dilsah: What Does It Take to Be a Belly Dancer in Turkey

Gigi Dilsah is a passionate dancer and teacher. She began her dance training early in ballet. As she grew up in a conservative family in Istanbul, she also spent a lot of time in the USA where she found freedom and opportunities to explore belly dance. In Istanbul she's known as Dilsah, and in the U.S. she's known as Gigi. Now, combining two names along with extensive training, she shares her knowledge of this dance form via private classes in Istanbul, as well as touring across the USA.

In this interview you will learn about:

  • Belly dance as a part of daily Turkish life

  • Common stereotypes about belly dance in Turkey

  • The role Romani dance plays in the typical Turkish belly dance program

  • Proper costume for Turkish Romani dance

  • Artistic limitations of having a stage name

Listen HERE

Ep 68. Matias Hazrum: Creating & Playing Music for Belly Dancers

Matias Hazrum is a world known arabic percussionist, musician, teacher and composer. He was born in Argentina (Buenos Aires), but his origin comes from Syria. Matias is a high level professional not only in playing the drum, but also in playing keyboard and other instruments of arabic percussion such as mashar, daff, rek and others. He worked on stage with such great names in the bellydance world including Saida (Argentina), Amir Thaleb (Argentina), Virginia Mendes (USA), Jillina (USA), Amar Gamal (USA), Sharon Kihara (USA), Yana Tsehotskaya (Ukraine), Anna Borisova (Russia) and many more.

In this interview you will learn about:

  • Dancer & drummer dynamics on stage: who follows whom?

  • How to communicate your dance ideas to a drummer

  • Finishing a drum solo improvisation in sync with a drummer

  • The process of creating individual custom-order songs

Listen HERE

Ep 67. Oreet: Belly Dance as a Fitness Workout

Inspiring and empowering woman all around the world, Oreet has developed her unique certified fitness program SharQui which is a beautiful blend of fitness workout and belly dance! Oreet has 20+ years of experience as a fitness and dance instructor. She has been featured on NBC, ABC, CBS, and CNN to name a few and have the titles Bellydancer of the Year, Jewel of the Nile, Entertainer of the Year and Middle Eastern Dance Champion of North America.

In this interview you will learn about:

  • The role of belly dance in the culture of Israel

  • How Oreet dealt with the constant feeling of not fitting in

  • Where the idea of belly dance fitness workout came from

  • Differences between teaching a regular belly dance and fitness belly dance class

  • How belly dance can serve as a cardio and strength workout

  • The reaction of belly dance community on her fitness project

  • Genius business tips on how to present and promote your dance class

Listen HERE

Ep 66. Aliah & Vladimir Kluchenkov: About Belly Dance Industry & Working as a Couple

What a treat we have on today’s show! Welcome one of the most creative and successful couples in the belly dance industry, Aliah and Vladimir Kluchenkov! They are constantly travelling all around the world with Aliah being a professional bellydance performer, instructor, judge, and costume designer, and Vladimir being a videographer, photographer and graphics specialist. Also, they put together an international annual dance event “Dance Weekend in Warsaw with stars”.

In this interview you will discover:

  • When to buy costumes at festivals, and how to choose the best outfit

  • Tips on stage lights and event logistics for festival organizers

  • The importance of having a professional photo and video portfolio

  • The value of attending belly dance festivals

  • A bunch of funny stories on how Aliah and Vladimir work and travel together as a couple!

Listen HERE

Ep 65. Tips on Creating Choreographies

It’s a MINI episode with Iana!

Have you ever felt frustration trying to create a dance: “Oh, I don’t know what should I do with this music? How to even start putting a choreo together? This is too complicated, too scary, too stressful….”

Well, here are some of the tips I’m sharing in this new podcast episode:

  • Listen to the song as many times as possible. 

  • Find out the translation of the lyrics. 

  • Start with improvising and listening to your body.

  • Understand that your first draft won’t be perfect.

  • Break down the structure of the song before you start. 

  • Study the work of other dancers.

  • Don’t think only about movements. Think about the audience’s attention.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback.

Want more? Listen right now to the new episode! 

Listen HERE

Ep 64. Nathalie Hatab: How to Organize a Belly Dance Festival

Nathalie is known for her grace, fluidity and precision, as well as for her belly dance event, the Annual Miami Bellydance Convention! Nathalie was featured in many music videos and television shows such as Timberland’s Music Video (Indian Flute), R- Kelly’s Music video (Whine for me), MTV music Award 2005, Opening Act for the Cirque du Soleil “KA” in Las Vegas, Fox Sports awards, and many more. She has also performed for many celebrities like Shaquille O’Neil, Gloria Estefan, Emilio Estefan, Jason Taylor, Method man, and Alonzo Mourning. In the summer of 2008 she brought to South Florida the first Miami Bellydance Convention festival held at the Intercontinental Hotel, bringing performers and instructors from all around the world. More than 2,000 people have attended this event during the past 10 years.

In this episode we discuss:

  • How the Miami Bellydance Convention was born.

  • How Nathalie chooses dates for the event, and coordinates it with the busy schedules of invited artists.

  • How much in advance does she start preparations for the event.

  • Struggles of combining motherhood and festival organization.

  • Visa procedures for artists and participants.

  • How to deal with stress.

  • Best advertising for your event.

  • Nathalie’s advise to starting events.

Listen HERE

Ep 63. Veronika Shulkevich: Young Generation of Dancers

Today we talk with Veronika Shulkevich, a young star of the belly dance world scene. At the age of 16 she is already a teacher at Ahlan Wa Sahlan (Egypt) and Cairo Mirage (Russia) festivals, the founder of Dance School VEROSHDANCE, a certified teacher of the League of Bellydance Masters of Russia, International Belly Dance Union, and International Association of Eastern Dance (IAED), as well as winner of multiple competitions including Ahlan Wa Sahlan, Cairo Mirage, Ah Ya Elbi, Yalla Yalla Festival, El Hana Festival, Cup of the World according to IDF, and many other awards.

In this episode we discuss:

  • How Veronika got involved in belly dance world at the age of 5.

  • What are the differences between teaching classes to kids and adults.

  • Her experience at belly dance competitions.

  • Combining active dance training with school.

  • Teaching Skype classes and creating choreographies for other dancers.

Listen HERE

Ep 62. Kamilia: Dreaming of a Big Supportive Community

Originally from Brazil, Kamilia had made a stunning career as a professional performer in Lebanon, Arab Emirates and Egypt. Today she is a teacher, artist’s producer and event organizer with a big dream of creating a supportive and welcoming community of dance professionals. Her passion for belly dance started at the age of 6, and since then that passion brought her to multiple stages across the Middle East and beyond. She was the youngest dancer at LBC TV, and had guidance of master teacher Caracalla, along with other amazing mentors. At some point in her career, Kamilia was performing with an orchestra of 45 musicians, singers and 6 dancers for her show, being featured at the top 5-star hotels in Cairo along with such stars as Lucy, Mona Said, Fifi, Dina, and Hendeya.

In this episode we discuss:

  • How Kamilia got interested in belly dance.

  • The beginning of her performance career in Lebanon.

  • The importance of understanding Arabic soul in dance, and never stop studying.

  • The concept of Arabic musicality, and her methodology of teaching foreign dancers.

  • Main pillars of successful interpretation of the song.

  • Being a producer, and mentoring other dancers on their career path.

  • The story of her stage name.

  • The Ishtar Congress in Abu Dhabi.

Listen HERE

Ep 61. Donna Carlton: Myths and Scandals Around Little Egypt

What do you know about the historical figure of Little Egypt? Be ready to be shocked after listening to this episode, because Donna Carlton shares her extensive research on this topic, and unveils a lot of misinformation circulating on the Internet!

Donna Carlton established the International Dance Discovery in 1987, selling dance accoutrement. She began teaching group classes at Lynda Mitchell Yoga Studio in 1989. She published the “Middle Eastern Dance Video Sourcebook” annually from 1989-2005. In 1995, she published her book “Looking for Little Egypt” about the history and perceptions of Middle Eastern Dance in USA.

In this episode we discuss:

  • How did Donna get involved in the research project about Little Egypt?

  • What was significance of the 1893 Colombian Exposition in Chicago?

  • Scandalous performances of Little Egypt.

  • Was Little Egypt a real person?

  • The origins of Hoochy Kootchy melody.

  • Does Little Egypt have anything to do with original Middle-Eastern dancers?

  • The origins of the term “belly dance” in English language.

  • The influence of Little Egypt on the modern belly dance scene.

Listen HERE

Ep 60. Wael Mansour: About Ballet Training & Music Production

In this episode we are featuring Egyptian master teacher Wael Mansour, who studied Egyptian dance and ballet at the National Academy of Folklore and Theatre, as well as worked with a number of companies, including the Elkawmeia and Hassan Hafifi Group. In this interview we discussed such questions and topics:

  • The importance of ballet training for belly dancers: what to do, what not to do, is there an age limit to start practicing ballet, and more.

  • Different stages of his dance career, and why he left the Balloon theatre in Cairo.

  • The process of music production: from an idea to the CD release.

Listen HERE