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Welcome to July's Zameena!

(Zameena, from Zara's Zouk, aims to share the empowerment, love and knowledge of belly dance)

Hope you are having an amazing dance filled summer!

We aim to bring you more sunshine with our amazingly experienced guest: 
percussionist, dancer and record producer, 
Guy Schalom (in photo above)
We have an interview and he gives us 5 top tips on how to perform at our best!

Plus Music Corner has the latest offering from the
unstoppable Mohamed Ramadan
and in
Info spot last year's resident writer, Farah Haraf, talks bling

As always, there are lots of Zara's Zouk goodies to be found, plus the events where you can find Zara's Zouk live
and an update from Zara.

We hope you enjoy and if you do, be sure to share and tell friends about Zameena  - spread the bellydance LOVE ❤️  
If reading from an external link SUBSCRIBE HERE for free

Guy Schalom
 an interview with Zara Dance


Guy Schalom, is one of the world’s foremost experts in Arabic music and dance.

Guy runs workshops for dancers and musicians around the world and is a leader in his field, teaching and empowering his students to be the best they can in their art form whether it is for personal pleasure or for their professional work as a teacher or dance performer.

Guy’s unique and much sought-after teaching methods, along with his in-depth knowledge and experience of Arabic music allow his students to gain great confidence in their technical knowledge of the music and the dance. With this confidence comes deeper creativity and freedom of expression.

Although I have known Guy since I was a beginner dancer, we have never actually worked together, so I'm exceptionally happy to catch up with him now to ask him our set of quick fire questions, and more. It was a delight.
I'm sure you will think so too - ENJOY!

Guy, thanks for making time for this interview, much appreciated!  
It's a pleasure.

Oh thanks Guy. Shall we dive straight in? 
Yes. Let's!

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Ok, so, what star sign are you?

Have you ever been married?
Yes! Best decision I ever made.

Can you drive?
Yes. On both sides of the pond…

Can you swim?
Yup.  And I’m a Master Scuba Diver qualified to 40m / 130ft

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What's your favourite food to indulge in?  
I have a (spicy) variant on mother’s schnitzel recipe with steamed broccoli.  
Oh and Branston Pickle!

Do you have any phobias?
No.  I was afraid of the dark as a child, I guess my imagination has always been active!

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Are you superstitious? Do you have a good luck talisman?
I make my own luck through hard work, building long-term working relationships and seizing opportunities. 

What fired your initial interest in Arabic music?

Growing up, Arabic music wasn’t particularly special to me over other kinds of music.  My dad is Egyptian and his parents too, so it was just one of many musics I was exposed to at home which went to form my musical tastes (for better or worse!) :-) I got seriously into Egyptian music when, after years of rock drumming, my dad bought me a darabuka and I realised I couldn’t play the thing!  

So, I went to Egypt to study and was hooked for life. 

Can you recall a funny moment in your early tabla/music career?

I was resident drummer for many years at Blackpool Tower Ballroom, where they filmed the TV show Strictly. We played all the ballroom dances: Waltzes, Quick Steps, Foxtrot etc.

I had two breaks per night and I was so in love with the tabla I used to climb to the top of the tower to practice, but with the Victorian acoustics, everyone in the ballroom heard me and laughed at me when I came back.  Didn’t stop me though.  They got used to it eventually. 

You have travelled to many cities and countries. Do you have a favourite? 

Having been all over I can honestly say, there is no place like home. London is the melting pot of cultures, dance, music, art, theatre, cuisine and so much more. It’s my all-time favourite. 

Who inspired you musically?

The old school.  I am very lucky to have had the greatest musical mentors.  Egyptians Sheik Taha and Ibrahim El Minyawi as well as jazz drumming legends like Jim Blackley from Canada and my Indian drumming guru Sanju Sahai and others.  They all helped me reach the next level.  They played with taste and finesse and they always, always put the dancer first. 

Nowadays, most music is really loud and one-dimensional - so many musicians have forgotten why they are on stage.  I suppose my musical philosophy is about support and interaction and that is thanks to my mentors. 

What’s your favourite music? 

I love all music which is spontaneous, interactive and danceable.  So while rock, jazz and world music all fit the bill, you could say Egyptian Baladi is the music which I am most at home with. 

What's your favourite song?

Favourite song?  Too many favourites but the contender for Arabic song is Kan Ya Makan (Mayada)  English song: Romeo and Juliet (Dire Straits) although I’m really into Badman’s Song (Tears for Fears) at the moment and can’t get enough of it. 

So, Guy, do you have some top tips to share with us that will help our readers?

Yes, these are my five tips for dancers, artists and musicians.
1.  For a smooth and successful performance it's important to understand the language of the music. For example, recognising drum cues for rhythmic changes or key melodic phrases used to signal a new section of music.
  • Listen to high quality Arabic music to become familiar and confident with it.
  • Attend as many live concerts and workshops as you can.
  • Take some lessons on tabla or another instrument.
  • Absorb as much as you can of the music.
2. Have faith in your own ability. Negative self-talk can get in the way of a fun and uplifting experience. A humble self-assurance can go a long way to calming nerves and engendering trust in one’s audience and colleagues.
  • Notice when your mind creates doubt, allow it to be there but pay it no attention.
  • Let the doubt dissolve and allow yourself to be swept into your love for the dance, the music and the movement.
  • Apply this in your everyday life too.
3. Baladi (sometimes called Taxim Baladi, Baladi Progression or Tet Baladi) is the structured three-way improvisation between melody player, drummer and dancer. The improvisation is made up of short musical motifs (snippets of music) from Egyptian folk and classical music. These motifs act as ‘road signs’ to orientate the artists around each section of music and act as a basis for their improvisation. Following the dancer’s lead, each artist not only influences the pace and energy of the music but also when and if a particular section of music is played.
  • Learn what you can about Egyptian Baladi, the music and it’s culture. 
  • It’s the roots of your dance!
4. Tarab doesn’t have an exact equivalent term in Western language. It is probably best described as musical ecstasy or bliss. In Arab culture, the concept of tarab is the merge between music and emotional transformation. This is the aim of high Arabic music and dance - to create an experience of touching the source of the music and the source of the emotion. To dance from the source of life is to be free and brings more of your own expression to your dance.
  • Allow yourself to be taken over by the music, hear the music deeply, relax, trust yourself and open to the emotion that arises. This is your energy.
  • Allow the music and your emotion to become one and your dance will follow.
  • Do not resist, describe in your mind or think about the experience, just be quiet inside and allow only the music to move you.
5. One of the biggest problems most dancers face is how to connect with the band on the stage and the audience at the same time. 

When dancing to a live band it is important that dancers and musicians connect, that they are willing to adapt to each other and sometimes compromise. Priorities may conflict, such as the speed at which the music is played or its volume, so clear and open communication on and off the stage is vital. You are working closely together to connect with and inspire the audience.
  • Choose well known music so you will feel more secure and free to focus on musical details. 
  • Communicate clearly on and off stage - the better you know the music and trust your band the better the communication will work.
  • Connect with the audience & the musicians to create an unforgettable performance.

Really helpful - Thank you for your time Guy and for your top tips. That was great!
My pleasure, Thank you Zara.
  We've heard Guy talk about working with dancers.
Now let's watch as he drums 
live for a Aida!
Have we whetted your appetite for more?
Want to study and dance with

here for all his events worldwide
And this fab opportunity,
LondonLive, is coming in September 
click on the pic to book and full info + read about it below:

Guy is constantly in demand around the world with his teachings and has now established the Real Music Academy to bring his methods into a powerful and cohesive approach to dance. As well as the international Real Music Academy training courses, every year in September Guy organizes London’s popular and busy LondonLive weekend. This year this takes place from 6th-8th September at various venues across London


LondonLive 2019 is all about love. You can immerse in love during an entire weekend of live music and dance and remember how to fall in love once more. Learn the stories of Egypt’s greatest legends – presented by Guy and accompanied throughout by authentic Egyptian music from the Baladi Blues Ensemble.


You will be inspired by the enduring romance of big-screen legends Samia Gamal and Farid Al Atrash and discover how love stirred Egypt’s most enduring singer/composer couple Warda and Baligh Hamdi to new creative heights and the melodies and magic they created. Reconnect with the source and creative inspiration of Egypt’s 1960s heart throb Abdel Halim Hafez and his own love of art and music.

Photo below: At LondonLive 2017

The LondonLive experience, for many, is profound.
Here is some feedback from previous years:

“I was of course a little nervous even though I find it very natural to dance to live music, and have had many years of experience. My nerves melted away however as I entered the stage to a warm, electric atmosphere, where I felt I was on wings, carried by the beautiful music. This is one of the most fabulous experiences I have ever had, I really felt I has been transported back to the time of the Golden Era. Led by the enigmatic Guy Schalom on table, Tarek Bitar, playing beautiful oud, Elgamal Alkordy on fabulous accordion and Haasan Revis, the duff/frame drum player.”

Oona Leppington

“On Sunday, the live music practice session was the last workshop of the weekend. For me this workshop was the ‘cherry on the top of the cake. For me and many other dancers it is a rare thing to be able to dance to high class musicians playing Egyptian music.

Hopefully these experiences will help us dance at a higher level and give us the confidence to dance with live music when the opportunity arises. I will certainly be signing up for next year!”

 Chrissy Warwick

“What made this weekend special and such a privilege for me to be part of, was the focus on the live interaction between dancers, artists and musicians – so often neglected in the teaching of belly dance, yet so fundamental to what it is as an art form – a living creation which emerges from the unique relationship between dancer and musicians, unfolding before the audience’s very eyes. Yet, certainly in the UK where truly skilled and experienced musicians of Egyptian music are in limited supply, such opportunities to learn and practice this art are rare indeed.”

Jane Hayward

Connect with Guy

Guy Schalom Official Facebook Page
Guy Schalom on Facebook

Guy Schalom Website
Real Music Academy Website
Cologne Live 2020 Website
Your Body, Your Rules, 
Your Online Bellydance Shop

We also go mobile &
you can make an appointment to visit us in London UK

Call or text: 07854023948
Enhance your Dance and Confidence in a Glamorous New Dress
Click on the pics above for more info and more dresses
Shop Dresses Here
Still need convincing that a dress from Zara's Zouk will set you on the way to a show stopping performance?  Check out Hannah Newton looking stunning in her dress from us...  
Music Corner
With Zara Dance

Read Music Corner every month? Took my advice in my blog on music? Then this guy needs no introduction. It seems every other month I am featuring him! YOU ASK WHO? MOHAMED RAMADAN!  His fame keeps going from strength to strength, and how can we forget the last song of his that I shared, Mafia?  It was a song that many a dancer, in Cairo, got a 'controversial' viral video from. Mostly because its signature dance move was - wait for it - a pelvic thrust!

Personally, I've tried to avoid dancing to Mafia whilst on stage. Not because it is controversial but because, if I'm honest although fun, the rhythms didn't really seem to be bellydance related to me, not even in a shaabi sense.

However, Mohamed's new song, BABA, definitely has a beat you can hip drop to and a nice mizmar riff.
There is no need for me to give you a translation as the video has subtitles. Don't we wish all artists would include them? You'll notice even though the most repeated word is "zilzal" (earthquake) the song is called  Baba (dad). This may be due to Mahmoud El Lithy having had a MASSIVE hit called Zilzal in 2014, where the earthquake he refers to is a shimmy, demonstrated beautifully by the lovely dancer Sofinar in the music clip included below. (I just love spoiling you with music!) 
It's a great song for dancing to, especially for getting people up to dance. 

Like Mafia, Baba has its signature moves: a little shoulder shrug and a knee up kind of kick... see if you can spot them in the music video and also enjoy Mohamed's pelvic "wiggles" shall we say LOL 
Mahmoud El Lithey's 2014 hit, Zilzal 
Info Section
Our former resident writer 
Farah Haraf,
(who we love to bits at Zameena)
has opened a new business venture!
Bling Mafia!

Bling Mafia is a whole bling affair, from home decoration , personalization and large scale decor! 

So, for anything you want to bling up -  Check out Farah!

We are so happy for this lady boss and we love seeing and supporting women thriving!

We can’t wait to see all her exciting new projects in the coming months with a huge revelation dropping soon!
So ... ... ...  Don't miss out! 
Get on in and ...  ...  ...

CLICK HERE  and follow Farah's new business page on Instagram:  @bling_mafia

Check out this message from Farah herself IN DUBAI:
Come and meet Sandra with Zara's Zouk
at these summer events:


Jawahir Bellydance SUMMER SPECTACULAR 2019
Saturday, July 13th 1-5pm (Doors open 12.30pm)

3Sixty at Reading University. Shinfield Road, Reading, RG6 6UR

Raqs Sharqi Festival, London 19th - 21st July

Dance shows featuring top dancers including Randa and Assala 

From Guy's Top Tips:  attend as many live concerts as you can!

Well I agree, listening to live Arabic music and watching top dancers
is important for our dance development.

It's all happening at RICH MIX and you can 
buy tickets for the shows here

Don't forget to pop by Zara's Zouk!
NORWAY 18-20th October: 
Zara will be teaching 3 workshops and performing  at  Zamila Orientalske Danseforening 20 år - Magedansfestival! Click for more details

TORQUAY 25-27th October: 
Zara will be teaching 3 workshops and performing at
Celebrating Dance Festival! Click for more details

Or if you are in Cairo between now and October why not watch Zara at one of her shows? Message her for up to the minute info on where she is dancing in Cairo
Thank you for reading!

A big Zameena THANK YOU to Guy for his informative and helpful interview.

Looking forward to meeting you here again next month or seeing you live at an event or show.
❤️ & Shimmies from
Zara and Sandra

(the mother daughter team at 
Zara's Zouk)

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Can't wait for next month? Then why not take a read of one of our past issues from the archive.........
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