Saidi dresses and Catherine Taylor 
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Ahlan! Wishing you a wonderful April from us at Zameena, the ezine/newsletter from Zara's Zouk!!

This month we are happy to welcome
Catherine Taylor (above) as our guest writer. Yaaay! Catherine is a well qualified, bubbly, London-based dancer and teacher specialising in Tribal Fusion Bellydance. 
Catherine is director of the ITS troupe Sigma, is a founding member of Tribal Fusion group Curious Verses,  and co-produces the biannual cabaret show The Honeysuckle Revue.

She shares with us the whys and ways to cross train and encourages us all to try a class in a different style of dance. We also have the winners of and answers to last month's competition and more, so please, enjoy the read! 
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On “Cross Training”
by Catherine Taylor
Dance is the reason we all started this journey. Ok, maybe we liked the costumes, too! But when I think about all the hours we spend in the studio training and rehearsing, all the blood, sweat and tears, all the hard-earned money spent on workshops, travel, accommodation... well, there’s no way we put ourselves through that just so we can prance around on stage in a sparkly outfit. Nope, we do this because there is no feeling like the one we get when we dance. This is why we’re here.
But it can be really easy to lose sight of that. I think we all get stuck in a rut from time to time. There are times when I just cannot summon the energy or will to practise, and I get frustrated at myself, “If you love dance so much, why aren’t you doing it?! Why are you procrastinating?!” but getting annoyed at ourselves doesn’t help. I think in those times that we’re feeling stuck, what we need is inspiration.
Now inspiration can come from many different places (art, nature, friends...), but a great way to get an injection of it is to turn up at a dance class you’ve never done before. It doesn’t matter if you only go to that one class, and then never go back again.
It will breathe life into your dance.

This isn’t about saying belly dance isn’t enough.  Not at all. I’m a fusion dancer by nature, but I have a lot of respect for people who devote themselves to becoming the best they can in just one dance style. I think that’s wonderful. But doing that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun taking a class in another style – it’s ok, you’re not cheating on belly dance!
Cross training (defined as ‘the action or practice of engaging in two or more sports or types of exercise in order to improve fitness or performance in one's main sport’) won’t pollute your dance, it will strengthen it. A runner who swims twice a week isn’t going to start trying to do backstroke while running a race! At the end of the day, you are an artist who gets to choose which influences she will put into her dance, and which she will leave out. I choose to fuse a lot of things I’ve studied, you might prefer not to. It’s all good! Cross training won’t change that.

What it will do, though, is strengthen your overall dance skills.
Take a Hip Hop or House dance class and just look at how your feet will be so much more present, strong and graceful. Take a ballet class and see the difference it will make to your core strength, improving your posture, spins and undulations.

After a month training intensively in Silvestre Technique in Brazil, without a shimmy in sight, I got home and found that my glute shimmies were stronger and sharper than ever before - Because my glutes were stronger - And that really was a pleasant side effect. I went there with no intention of fusing the style with what I do, but just to give myself to dance. Not to a technique or an image of what I could become, but to Dance.
By all means, focus your training. Heaven knows, I am a slave to my own caprice when it comes to dance. I wanna do everything! And I know I could benefit from more direction sometimes. But, you know what? I’m having a bloody brilliant time. And you can do both – have direction and have fun, too.

I really want to encourage people to take dance classes for FUN, as well as for our development. If you’re getting that just from your belly dance classes, then great, that’s wonderful. But there’s no shame in having a little fun on the side ;)

Let’s stop taking classes as a means to an end. Either to become a great belly dancer, or to fuse that style with belly dance.
I want to encourage people to take a break from future tripping:
Dance for dance’s sake!
Dance for now!
And dance for you!
A lovely read - THANK YOU Catherine for inspiring us in our dance!
You can follow
Catherine on Facebook
and check out her website here
Answers to Last Month's Competition, "Guess Who"

Thank you to everyone who took part. It seems this competition was a little tricky as, for the first time ever, we didn't need to put names in a hat.
 There was only one entrant who managed to correctly identify all 12 dancers and that was Jane who lives in Jersey and she chose the tribal style belt as her prize. 
Second prize, the Egyptian belt, went to Denise in the West Midlands, the only entrant who correctly identified 11 of the dancers. Hope you both enjoy your prizes.

Massive CONGRATULATIONS to both of you - Kudos! 

All other entrants had more than one wrong answer but a truly deserved well done and thanks for entering to each and everyone of you too!  
 For all of us who were wondering, here are the names and some more details:
1) Fifi Abdou - Famous Cairo born dancer known as "Bint al Balad" and "Queen of Oriental Dance". Everyone who entered the competition knew Fifi!
2) Didem Kinali - Turkish Bellydancer famous for her tv appearances on the "Ibo Show". Most knew Didem!
3) Amie Sultan - Was a ballet dancer before embracing bellydance. There's some info. about her here. Not many correctly identified this rising star!
4) Dina Talaat Sayed - Egyptian belly dancer has been called, "The Last Egyptian Dancer". If you wonder about the front of her costume it's here. Most recognised Dina.
5) Randa Kamel - internationally known Egyptian dancer and host of dance festivals like Raqs of Course  Everyone who entered the comp. knew Randa!
6)  Sofinar Grigoryan (Stage name Safinaz) - Armenian dancer living in Cairo is very popular in Egypt where she has appeared in several films. Most recognised her.
7) Alla Kushnir - Ukrainian dancer who won "Al Raqisa, The Belly Dancer"  contest in 2014 organized by Dina Talaat. Most entrants recognised Alla.
8) Helena Vlahos - Greek born dancer and sagat player, Helena is now based in USA. She is well known for her muscle and coin control see here. Most entrants recognised Helena.
9) Taheya Carioca - Golden Age Egyptian dancer who appeared in many films.  Here she is in I Can't Do It with singer Farid Atrache. Love her smile, arms and hands! Most entrants recognised Taheya.
10) Naima Akef - Golden Age Egyptian dancer who appeared in many films. Here she is in Tamra Henna. Love her sagat playing and turns! Some competition entrants recognised Naima.
11) Rachel Brice - Tribal Fusion Dancer from USA toured with the Bellydance Superstars. Her home studio is Datura where you can find out more. Everyone who entered got Rachel.
12) Carolena Nericcio - Founder of American Tribal Style®Dance which has steadily gained world-wide popularity with its distinctive moves and costuming. Read more about Carolena and FCBD® here. Most recognised Carolena.
Where to meet Zara's Zouk
Come, have fun and meet Zara's Zouk at the Anwaar Hafla
22nd April, Harlow, Essex
Click on the picture for full details
Sunday 14th May
We will be at
The Arab Quarterly, Hoxton, London 
 With, Melanie, Hassan, The AQ Band, Bina Danse and more! Don't Miss Out!
Click on the picture for ticket info. etc:
Thank you for taking time out to read this month's Zameena.
Also, thanks again to Catherine for the interesting and inspiring article.  

See you next month!

Till then - Best wishes - From
Zara (Cairo) and Sandra (London) xx

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