The best tips for zills! Plus 25% off of EVERYTHING
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Ahlan! Marhaba!
Welcome to this month's Zameena! 
 This month our newsletter is jam- packed with bellydance goodies! We are especially delighted to have  a brilliant article by the lovely Anna K Dance on playing the SAGAT. Lots of thanks to Anna!
We are also giving all readers 25% off of EVERYTHING in Zara's Zouk online bellydance store - WHY NOT GET SOME XMAS GIFTS  (for yourself as well as for friends!?)
We also give you details of where the souk will be this month and Zara Dance's
so please, sit back and enjoy!
25% off of everything Make sure you are displaying images
This November (all month) we are offering you

25% off of EVERYTHING 

Yes everything at Zara's Zouk online bellydance shop: That includes all the costumes, kaftans, jewellery, books and belts.......  A great time to treat yourself or someone special for Christmas or the New Year

Just use code: NOV25 
when checking out.  (valid 05/11/2015-30/11/2015)



a guest article by Anna K Dance 

Anna Kemper is a beautiful dancer and sagat player based in London. She is the resident sagat player at Arabic Night, one of London's biggest monthly haflas and also runs regular courses and classes in Brixton, sharing her deep knowledge of dance and this percussion instrument.
She gives us a little insight into this bellydance passion. 

A little history .....

Did you know?: Finger cymbals, called Sagat in Egypt and Zills in Turkey, are 4 brass discs worn on both middle fingers and thumbs which belly dancers play as an accompaniment to their dancing. These ancient instruments, named after the Goddess Cybele, have a very long history that can be dated back to 1500 BC for the brass kind and all the way back to 3300 BC for wooden and ivory “clappers”. Traditionally finger cymbals were played by all belly dancers as an important part of the small band she danced with. This enabled the dancer to contribute her own percussive interpretation of the music, similar to flamenco dancers with their castanets (which are in fact “cousins” of the finger cymbals). 

Up until very recently dancers were judged by their ability to play finger cymbals. If a dancer danced well but could not play her finger cymbals she was regarded as someone who “did not pay her dues” or as someone who was cheating.

 In the Middle East dancers played cymbals as a regular part of their set all the way up until around the 1970’s. There is plenty film footage of Naima Akef, Samia Gamal, Tahia Carioca and other great dancers of the Golden Age playing finger cymbals though the actual sound recording has been edited out most of the time. At some point around the 1970’s the idea of a dancer playing finger cymbals began to be seen as “provincial” and they started being used only in the folkloric tableaux and during the audience participation section of the dancer’s show. I credit this partly to the custom of the time where the most famous and successful dancers hired their own orchestra and if they had enough money they could hire somebody to play the finger cymbals for them. It was a status symbol.
A modern Western Influence..... In the USA though the story was different. By the 1960’s Middle Eastern nightclubs and dancers had been around and going strong for over 20 years. These dancers took the finger cymbals and, as my teacher Sabriye Tekbilek says, “Nerded Out” with them. They created patterns and sequences that enabled dancers to play finger cymbals with a huge amount of skill and control. This kind of enthusiasm for organization and codification for teaching and learning finger cymbals is an American contribution to our art form. Jamila Salimpour in particular is credited with creating and cataloguing a vast amount of cymbal patterns that are the foundation for most dancers today.
A video of Anna with her sagats performing at Arabic Night
Why you should have a go at learning to play.....

There is no feeling in the world that compares to playing cymbals while you dance. You become part of the music!

It is a difficult skill to learn and requires practise, as does any other musical instrument, but the rewards are so great. As belly dancers, finger cymbals are a part of our culture and heritage and it is up to us to preserve and develop them. A dancer friend of mine said to me recently, “They’re too hard. Nobody in the Middle East plays finger cymbals anymore so why should we?” and this broke my heart. If flamenco dancers stopped playing castanets because it was just “too hard” I think everyone would agree that it would be a travesty and a huge loss to the art form.

Yet despite hearing this kind of disheartening statement on more than one occasion, I have seen a recent surge of interest in finger cymbals here in London over the last couple years and I am excited! There is a new generation of dancers here who are ready to take on the challenge and excel. I now incorporate finger cymbals into most of my weekly lessons and because of the enthusiastic response of dancers I have started running special finger cymbal courses at my studio in Brixton. 

Get Playing......
My goal is to get dancers playing cymbals and loving it!

If you are a belly dancer who has never learned how to play cymbals - don’t wait any longer

If you started playing cymbals in the past but weren’t able to keep it up or find friends to practise with, this is your opportunity to start again and thrive.

Let the Cymbal Renaissance begin!

Anna's 4 top tips for getting you started with your sagat:
1. Dust off those zills and get practising - just do it, if you haven't even adjusted your elastic on your zills yet just loop hair bands through them... no excuses.
2. Find a dance friend as determined as you and organise regular practice together.
3. When you loose motivation, watch a video of one of your favorite golden age dancers  with their sagats.
4. Find a class or mentor, or ask a dancer you know who plays them - I am sure they will be more than happy to help!
For more info on Anna and to check out her classes in Brixton check out her website:

Also, she is currently teaching a SAGAT COURSE in London for details on that
follow this LINK 

What a fab read! I have learnt so much and I am sure you have inspired many of us to dust down our finger cymbals!  Thank you so much Anna for sharing your love of sagat with us all!

Sagats from Zara's Zouk

buy sagats
Feeling inspired? We have lovely sagats for sale at Zara's Zouk. This set is only £12.99 and if you use this month's discount code NOV25 you get 25% off making:

ONLY £9.75!

check them out HERE
Other events to look out for: 
This month I will be teaching a workshop that is very dear to my heart.  Bellydance is an all powerful dance that can make you FEEL GREAT. It is the ultimate tool in expressing and learning about one's self! I truly believe we can all get more out of our dance! 

(Just a few) Topics we'll be covering include:
How to get the most out of your belly dance moves and how they are designed to make u feel good. ... This will result in better technique and more powerful execution of moves. 

We look at insecurities and other factors that may be preventing you from fully enjoying your belly dance - especially performances and how they may be holding you back. 

We'll also be looking at and discussing being and feeling sexy in your dance - expression of yourself as a woman and your femininity

ALL THESE THINGS ARE REALLY EXCITING TO EXPLORE THROUGH YOUR DANCE and really exciting topics to discuss and think about,  so COME ALONG and you might get a completely different outlook on your dance!!
Click here for more info and to book
13th and 14th November We're in CARDIFF  Yaay!
Zara's Zouk stall will be in CARDIFF on the
13th-14th of November
at the International Welsh Cabaret Festival 
Check out all the amazing events going on
Including a FREE workshop from Zara Dance! 
Don't miss out and if you are in the area come and say hi! 
Then on Saturday evening we are excited to be in Abingdon, Oxford for this charity fundraiser!
November 27th Hope to see you at this Hafla in Sutton in Ashfield, Notts! Can't wait!


Hope you had a fun and safe Samhain, Halloween, Dia de Muertos and/or Guy Fawkes Night, if you were/are celebrating. 

Also, hope my photo didn't scare you! I had an amazing Halloween down in Cornwall, performing with fellow London dancers Tara and Sabrynah, on the Feast of Fools stage, at the Masked Ball, in Penzance. Words can't describe the fun and fab atmosphere there so I'll just say, "It was WICKED!!!" Hope your autumn festival was/is just as awesome!

Best wishes and Happy Shimmies from Zara and Sandra xx

PS: We hope you enjoyed this month's edition of  Zameena; if so please share the BELLYDANCE LOVE: 

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