Exclusive with Cassandra Fox and Summer Offers
View this email in your browser
Cassandra Fox Exclusive!!
Ahlan! Marhaba! Welcome
to June's edition of Zameena. We are excited and honoured to welcome internet sensation
Cassandra Fox! 
 (here on the left)   
Cassandra is a Canadian dancer who, with her fantastic bellydance and Caribbean fusion style videos, has become a much loved star on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.
We'll be having an interview and getting to know what drives this passionate dancer.
In addition to this we also have great offers on our Abayas for Ramadan and invite you to check out other goodies on the Zara's Zouk website.
We hope you enjoy!!

Exclusive Interview With Internet Sensation Cassandra Fox

by Zara Dance

Hey Cassandra! Thank you for doing this feature in Zameena and welcome!

Thank you very much for your interest and wanting to talk to me! 

I have to say I have fallen in love with all your videos on Instagram and social media....

Thank you again! It's probably because of my cat Butters, but he has a busy lounging schedule and doesn't do interviews ... 

Lucky Butters!!

What made you start with all the social media and Instagram videos?

Impulsiveness mainly! I really fell in love with belly dance when I was in University. YouTube had just come out a couple of years earlier, and I had high speed internet access finally for the first time (I'm from a rural area, at the time we still only had dial up out there) and I saw a video of the Russian dancer Natalia Fadda (at the time she went by Natalia Strelchenko). I guess that started the YouTube obsession. Her videos were such a source of inspiration for me, and I always got so excited when I saw a new one posted. And I found other dancers that I loved watching and were big inspirations, like the Brazilian dancer Kahina, and made friends as well with fellow aspiring dancers. It was such a pool of visual inspiration and in a way, a sense of community.
The first video I ever posted, I posted on a whim, and it was really well received, luckily, and then a year or so later, there was a thread about it and Caribbean fusion on a belly dance forum. It was not so positive, but it was great food for thought and it helped me figure out which direction to go, so in hindsight I am very happy that it happened. So, I just kept going with it. INTERNET FOREVER!!!


You now have over 19k followers on Instagram and the same again for followers on YouTube. Did it take you a long time to build up all these followers?  

Yes. Nothing happens completely overnight, although the internet is strange and viral "rushes" can happen, where you can wake up, or look at your account randomly and all of a sudden there are these new followers or views. I've been fortunate and "gone viral" a couple of times, and that can really cause a big jump in followers quickly. But as with anything, you then have to work to maintain the new found followers and I like the challenge. I feel like Zoidberg from Futurama when that happens, "Hooray! I'm useful, I'm having a wonderful time."

How often do your videos go viral on YouTube?

Actually, more often my videos go viral on Facebook, not YouTube. My "Ragga Ragga" video was re-posted from YouTube onto a Caribbean Facebook page and it got over 1 million hits! In some ways I feel Facebook is the new YouTube. I have over 190K followers on Facebook. 

Cassandra's Ragga Ragga Video which went viral on Facebook

How do you feel with all this attention on social media, going viral and being so popular?

It's incredible to know that you have been a source of inspiration for someone, or entertained them, or brightened their day. That's the best part, knowing you were either a source of happiness or maybe you've encouraged someone to try dancing, or maybe even inspired them to be more comfortable with who they are. It's wonderful to know that people respect your skills and talents, and like your work.
This is one of Cassandra's many practice videos which she films herself. This is a great drum solo performed in a costume she made! 
Has it all been good or have there been bad responses? You have already mentioned negative feedback from forums, how do you deal with it all?

I think anyone putting their art and work on social media has to have a thick skin because in a way, it's like having your heart on your sleeve for potentially the whole world. You have to understand and respect that there is a difference between constructive criticism, opinion, and hate. You have to be open to the first two, and learn to ignore the hate. People are entitled to not like your costume, or your dancing, or your musicality or whatever, and in my opinion it's important to keep it an open forum where people can freely express their opinions, good, bad and otherwise. Expecting only positive feedback is unrealistic. The world is not your cheerleader. I don't screen comments and I leave negative ones that I see, and ones with different opinions from my own. You think I'm fat? So what? You think I'm awesome? Thanks, rock on!  If I actually see a comment that I think warrants a response or needs addressing and I have the time at the time, I will respond.
However, if I see a comment that is inciting racism, bigotry, sexism, or just plain hatred, I will remove it, as those can result in the conversation being swayed from the actual topic at hand, and I don't want that sort of discussion on my videos. It's shocking and disappointing to see comments that dehumanize entire groups of people on a dance video, of all things, but that is a downside of the anonymity of the internet.
If I was to average it out though, the positivity versus negativity, I feel very fortunate and lucky, because it has been so overwhelmingly positive. 

I'm not surprised it's been mostly positive! Your videos have a real feel good energy about them; you look like you really enjoy making them. Where do you film them?

 Thanks.  I always enjoy dancing. I truly love it! Even when I think I feel like I don't want to dance, once I start, I get right into it! I love the music and it just gives me this sense of freedom.  I used to be able to find someone to come to the occasional performance with me and film it, so I would just post those. However, time goes by, people get busier and have their own responsibilities and commitments and it is so hard to find someone and expect them to give up their free time to watch you work and film it. So, with gigging alone, most of my posted videos are filmed at my home, in my dance space.
I am a big believer in filming your dance practices. It's a great way to see what is actually going right, what is actually going wrong, what needs cleaning up, and tracking your progress and evolution. I guess I have a distrust of mirrors. 

I have to say I especially love your Caribbean / Dance Hall videos and also how you fuse the style with belly dance. I wish I could move like that!  I read that you're of Caribbean heritage ….

Thank you again. My parents are Jamaican, my grandparents and so on. I was born and raised in Canada, but my family always kept the Jamaican culture alive in the home. There is a lot of similarity in aspects of technique and movement vocabulary in Caribbean and belly dance, but the details are different, which makes it natural to fuse, musically and movement wise they just work together, to me anyway. 

Do you ever feel that you have to justify or explain why you do Caribbean / Dance Hall style?  (How does that make you feel? )

 I don't feel like I have to, but I sometimes choose to as it can get a little tiresome seeing or hearing, "She must have a black boyfriend!" or "She thinks she is black,"  blah blah blah. Some people seem to forget that Jamaica was colonized, and that the national motto of the island is, "Out of Many, One People."  
I do run into the issue even when the video is CLEARLY labelled and tagged, with someone saying, "This isn't belly dance!" as if they are telling you something that you don't already know, and you're trying to figure out who even said it was belly dance in the first place!  Occasionally people seem to neglect reading the details provided on the internet and there is this love of labeling and classifying. If people were first exposed to me as a belly dancer, it's seen as, "The belly dancer does dance-hall!"  If they were first exposed to me doing fusion or Caribbean, and then they see me belly dance the attitude is more along the lines of, "Oh, she belly dances too!" 

Often your videos are posted with a dance tip or feel good message, some quite empowering…. I have seen a lot of posts referring to not worrying about age, size and every other feature. What inspiration / experiences led you to make these feel good comments?

Talking to other dancers, overhearing comments from an audience member, comments I've seen on the videos of other dancers or my own, or just thoughts that I have been mulling around in my own head, particularly related to pressures and expectations that come with being female regardless of career choice or path taken. I never signed up for my job to be "being pretty"  or "being attractive to the male sex." I signed up to be a dancer. Hopefully, a good one. I think dance (and even society as a whole) would benefit from more emphasis on skill and less on a narrow beauty ideal. Everyone likes to look at something that they think is beautiful, everyone likes to feel beautiful to themselves and someone else. That's not the issue. The issue is expecting people to meet YOUR beauty ideals or society's imposed beauty ideals in order for you to respect their skills or humanity.  What could be better for dance, than more emphasis on the actual dancing? 


That is so true! Well, we at Zameena love all your videos and are great fans of yours on Instagram too! Have you got any tips to share with fellow dancers wanting to “make it” on social media?

Thank you so much. I guess tips would be to start with the "Don'ts" -

Don't feed the trolls.
Don't take it too seriously.
Don't post anything you wouldn't be comfortable with the whole world seeing or knowing because the internet, in it's own way, is forever.
Don't let it go to your head, or heart.
Don't dismiss everything that isn't positive as "jealousy" or "a hater".
Don't post anything that you don't actually want to post.
As for the " Do's" -
Do Be patient.
Do Keep it real.
Do Have fun with it.
Do Be thoughtful and mindful of your posts.
Do have a sense of humour.
Do remember you're only human, and so is everyone else.  
Do be gracious for the compliments.
Do know who you are and what you stand for.
Do do it for the dance :) 

On that inspirational note, I would love to say a BIG thank you for taking the time out to talk to us today Cassandra! You have certainly given us lots of advice and ideas.  Make sure you stay in touch with us and the Zameena readers, we'll be following you on instagram! x x x
Want to learn from Cassandra?
She offers private classes via Skype.
You can book these classes by contacting her via emailfacebook or instagram.

Also watch this spot - Cassandra is opening an Online Studio on PowHow at the end of June with pre-recorded classes on various topics.

Check out Cassandra and her videos: 
On her YouTube channel
On her Facebook Page
Time to Update your Summer Dance Wardrobe?
Whether you are looking for a full costume, separates or some colourful accessories, you can shop with confidence online at Zara's Zouk with our no quibble money back guarantee.

Alternatively, you can make an appointment to shop at your leisure, with absolutely no pressure to buy,  at our home in NE London by calling or texting us on: 078 5402 3948

We also go mobile so why not invite us to your event or ...........
Come and meet Zara's Zouk at the Hathor Hafla on Saturday 11 June at Exeter Hall, Kidlington, Oxford. You can book your tickets now! There will be a raffle in support of the charity,  Style Acre.  We  will be there with sparkling goodies so please come along and say, "Hi!"    If there is anything in particular which you would like us to bring just ask here.   
Hope to see you there!!
Zara Dance is back in England ..... But not for long!!!
Hi Everybody, I am back from dancing in Kenya for the last 3 months. It was the most amazing and magical journey. I want to say a BIG BIG thank you to everyone for all the supportive messages on facebook throughout my trip. THEY REALLY DID HELP TO BOOST ME!
Also, a big thank you to my Mum, Sandra, who has been running Zara's Zouk (and will continue to do; as always,she's a life saver!) 

But, I am away again on the 13th June! I am off to Egypt for ONE MONTH. Mainly to spend Ramadan with my family there but also to get stock for Zara's Zouk, so if you have any specific items you would like brought back or to source, with no obligation to buy, I'll do my best, please just:
Happy Ramadan!
We at Zameena we would like to send all our love to our readers for Ramadan, which, depending on the moon should start on the 7th of June. 

If you would like to know more about this holy month and also some food for thought on bellydancing during this time check out one of Zara's past Blogs on the topic:
Front Opening Abayas!   Ramadan Specials from £25.99!!
Check out the different styles and sizes (36" - 50") at
Zara's Zouk

Ideal dance cover ups; hide your costume to maintain the mystery until you are ready to perform - perfect for before and after you dance!

Won't mess up your hair!

Keep covered - keep warm!

Easily move from one gig to the next!

Ideal Ramadan/Eid presents too!
Thank you for taking a look at our e-zine! And another big THANK YOU to Cassandra for such an interesting interview! 
We hope you enjoyed the read.
If your dance classes are not running during the summer break why not try a Skype class with Cassandra?
Until next month, stay safe, and dance happy.  Wishing you a super, sizzling June.
Yours  Zara and Sandra xxx

PS. A picture of us both enjoying the spa at a festival we attended with the Zara's Zouk stall - Ahhhh relaxing, sunny, summer days - here's hoping for many more!! 
Copyright © 2016 Zara's Zouk, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp