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Dear Dancers and Dance Friends
Welcome to August's Zameena!

(Zameenaby Zara's Zoukaims to share empowerment, knowledge and LOVE, of bellydance)


Hope that you are keeping well and still enjoying your dance!


When the lock-downs started, who would ever have believed it would only be now that we start to slowly and warily come out from them? 
Lots of events and classes have moved Online and Zoom has emerged as the new favourite software platform for us dancers!  There have been many changes over the last few months and we wonder, how will the dance world look as we cautiously shimmy forward, out of lock-down? We wait to see.
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SHAHRZAD and CASSANDRA FOX INTENSIVE WEEKENDS UPDATE:
The world is still in a crazy state and the Shahrzad and the Cassandra Fox Intensive Weekends, we had booked for later this year, are not going ahead as planneddue to travel restrictions, quarantine requirements and the second Covid wave being experienced in several places.
We can't express how sad we feel about this and everyone who booked should have received an email from us. If not, please get in touch.


Shahrzad Intensive Weekend: which we had re-scheduled for September 12/13th, has been put back to the start of Ramadan 2021. 
YOU SHOULD RECEIVE AN EMAIL IN NEXT WEEK OR SO
 with updated info

The Cassandra Fox Intensive Weekend:
 has very sadly been cancelled and everyone should be receiving their refund.
Again - if you have booked but not received an email by end of August please get in touch.

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SERENA, OUR RESIDENT WRITER:
On a very happy and  positive note,  we are extremely lucky to have the amazing and generous Serena Dances  (in photo above) with us this month. She is sharing so much dance information and inspiration with us that her passion for dance is palpable.  We will all, surely, be taking away many gems of wisdom and ways to improve our dance!

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REGULAR FEATURES:
Info Spot:  A Tribute to Mahmoud Reda 
Music Corner:  Maharagan  music video + how it was written and made!
Plus the latest song to take Cairo by storm.... ... 


There's a lot to enjoy, so please sit back, relax with your favourite beverage as we hand over to Serenaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa ... ... ... ... 

Bellydance A World of Insperation
with Serena  
Hey All!!

It is my Zameena time again!
These days are flying, and the world changing so much…but I hope that you are doing well and keeping strong!

It is certainly a good time to be creative and work on a brighter future. We are lucky to have our art to keep us sane and elevated!
 We are lucky to have inspiration to keep us going and hopefully we can be the inspiration for others too sometimes😊

There is so much we can talk about so I think I will not stick to one point only but actually have a  chat with you - although it is one way only, feel free to talk back as you read 😊 or message me your thoughts!
So here we go….

I have been doing some interviews recently and they got me to think about points I had in mind but never really voiced. Questions like what advice I would give to my students and the new generation of dancers? How do you create longevity in the dance? How do you choreograph? etc

Well, it is all about inspiration!

But you may ask, is that it? It is so broad, and not specific…
Be inspired? How do you do it?
Well, YES!  This is it!  Our soul’s fuel.
It may come in many shapes or forms, odd times, and different directions, but nevertheless it is the essence of why we create. A dancer you watch and makes you want to dance too; something you don’t like and think you should create something to change or counter balance  or improve; a goal you want to achieve; a routine you want to make for an event …endless amounts of sources of inspirations are available, if one just looks for them.
 
Photo below: Samia Gamal drawing of her movement to music

You probably know already about the never-ending inspiration that I get from the Golden Era Artists, that never fails to get me started and creative.
This may not be the fuel for every dancer, however there is something that I know is for EVERYONE
( well there may be the odd one out where this may not apply, but I cannot even think with it, so…moving on) and that is:
MUSIC.
Music is the universal inspiration for dancers. It is what prompts us to get up and create, in motion, how we feel about a sound, words, culture or simply a vibe!
“Of course!!! We know this, it’s so obvious! “ – one might say.
But do we really? Do we know it to the point that we stop to listen to what the music gives us and asks of us, instead of getting trapped on doing what is impressive for the sake of being impressive and will make us better than bla bla bla? Or to the point that can we leave aside the competitive form of inspiration, to just go with our own truth as artists?
If yes, great! If not, then … listen.
Listen to the music and listen to yourself.

 I have a saying that I have been telling my students for many years:
‘You will always dance as good as you hear the music.’
“You will be as good as you can hear” and many other variations of the same concept.
And I stand by this.

Serena Ramzy Golden Era Belly Dance

Of course, the technical, cultural, and physical aspects are super valuable too, but they do not rank first. So many examples of this are available on social media and video platforms, some went viral because it’s so good!
The simplicity of Dancing to the music is so ridiculously beautiful. It cannot be denied.

No more, no less. Just the sound you hear. How you hear it and how it makes you feel. That for me ranks first in all the important things involved with dancing. And that my friends, is inspiration in its purest form.

‘The act of being led to create something yourself because you were moved emotionally.’
Music has that power, you can have that ability and that combined is pure magic.
Dance is not a sub-product of music, but a visual form of the music. YOUR visual version of the music.
So, listen.
Listen well, listen clearly, listen with your ears, heart, and your soul.
I recall recently posting a quote by the inspiring and legendary
Mr. Mahmoud Reda, may he rest in peace, that said:


“True quality in this dance comes from your ear, from the ability to understand the music…and from your heart.” MR
He, an exceptional creator himself and an inspiration for so many of us, worked with that concept and created a world of beauty within the art form that was not done before him.
His vision, which created a future with a solid understanding of what preceded him, is a vision that will last for many generations to come.
A point I would love to add, he did not do that alone. He was the sparkle. The collaboration with another like minded legend like Farida Fahmy gave strength to the vision: it may even have been altered a bit from its very original form ( as this is the nature of collaboration) but it became the valuable art that it is today and will remain so.
One might ask, what if I am not Egyptian and I don’t understand the music? or I am not a musician… and so on…

Well, if you are a dancer you are making part of the music, the part that is seen and not heard.  It does not matter where you are from, but where you are and where you are going with it.

You do need to understand what you are making visual, otherwise it’s pretty tricky!

You do not need to know in supreme detail musical theory, but you need to know what that sound means. How long do I move with that note? What does this phrase represent? What part of the culture does this melody or rhythm denote? What shape is this instrument creating? How does this rhythm affect the melody? How does this rhythm set the mood of the music? How is this rhythm counted so you can phrase the music precisely? ...…
And that kind of thing. 

This is the knowledge that gives you the freedom and power of creation without insecurities, the fear of not doing it right.
The rest is subjective to taste and physical abilities.

 
So, if you:
Hear a Flute: FLOAT
Hear a Beat: GROOVE
Hear an Accent: MARK IT
Hear a Long Note: GO LONG
Hear a Quanun: SHIMMY IT
Hear a Pause: PAUSE!!! BREATH!!!  and so on…

The above can be learned, drilled, and mastered.
How to feel it?
Now that is your personal journey.
During your journey many inspirations will come and lead you, help you, join you but these are guides and company on the trip, the journey is still only yours.
Sit back and enjoy the ride 😊

Belly Dance - Baladi by Serena Ramzy
- El Malek Farouk By H. Ramzy

Now, to answer some of the questions I mentioned at the beginning. My best advice for students and new generations are:
  • Be honest about who you are as an artist. Integrity is everything.
  • Do the hard work necessary and have fun during it.
  • Value, acknowledge, honour and respect the ones that laid the foundation there for you.
  • Learn and teach what you learn, you will learn even more and gain certainty.
  • Concentrate in creating newly, but never forgetting where it all comes from.
     
As for longevity in the dance…

A creative and inspired mind is productive, which leads to physical action, which keeps you fit, which leads to more energy, which then leads to creating more, which will then inspire other people, who  will then validate your efforts, that will in turn motivate you to do more and keeps going till you have created something stable and valuable that will last for as long as you keep creating it yourself or through others that you have inspired to carry on your legacy.

Was that clear? hahaha

And about how to choreograph… I listen. I understand. I imagine. Then I move, simply.
Then I listen some more (about 10k times
Then I understand a bit more, imagine a bit more, then move a bit more, maybe not so simply.
And so on, till I can be more daring and try out new ideas and I feel in the same place as the music. 
Then, honestly, I video it so I can stop creating and changing all the time and finally settle for something!
There has to be a moment that you say: “That’s it. That is good now.” 
Try out and let me know if it works for you!

 
Photo below: Serena Golden Era inspiration
I hope you have enjoyed the read so far. 

You, audience, dancers, and friends have certainly inspired me to share my views here and to continue to be active in the dance community, just as the chain of actions I mentioned above. 

So.. Thank you very much for the inspiration.

 
I will end the chat today by saying that:
The number one inspiration is so obvious that it can be taken for granted. 

The Music and dance relationship is one based in love, understanding, dedication, and companionship. Much like a marriage!

So for those of us married to music, let us celebrate every moment that it brings the best out of us, pushes us to be better and shows us the beauty in this crazy world.


With much love always
Serena xxx


Stay connected 😊
Website 
YouTube
Instagram
Facebook Profile
Facebook Page

Keep Dancing with Serena Group 

For Online Classes and Workshops please visit website.

and don’t forget the FreeFunFriday

Check Keep Dancing Group for more info.

Email Serena:  hello@serenadances.com
*******
A great big Zameena
❤️ ❤️❤️ THANK YOU, SERENA! ❤️ ❤️❤️
That was wonderful   
such an inspirational read full of gems of dance wisdom, and action we can all take! 

xxx Perfect xxx

Serena will be back in November's Zameena!
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Zara's Next Online ZOOM Hafla
Book Workshop Here
DOWNLOAD ZARA'S PAST ONLINE WORKSHOPS
Did you miss any of Zara's Online Workshops
Don't worry, all are available to download from here,
Note: profits of any sales of the Saidi Workshop will be shared between Zara and Osman 
!!-----OFFER-----!!
£15 each or get all 3 for £40 (over 8hrs of training)
Just enter promo code: "3work" at the check-out
Offer for August Only
NEXT ONLINE ZOOM HAFLA!!!
We are happy to announce that the next Online Zoom Hafla will be on:
Saturday - 26th September - 7.30pm

Acts will be confirmed in following weeks but you know it's going to be AMAZING
BOOK TICKETS HERE
We have been delighted by the response to
Our Online Zoom  Haflas - THE FIRST ANYWHERE - to come live from Cairo providing much needed PAID work for artists in Cairo affected by the Covid lock-downs and supported by International dancers who generously gave freely of their time to entertain us and support  struggling artists in Egypt, the source of our much loved dance.

To keep up-to-date with our up-coming plans and events please join our 
Online Zoom Hafla Group Here

To support artists in Cairo you can donate by buying them a Koffi here
All monies are shared between Cairo artists
-
And just so you know you can't miss the next hafla below is a reminder of our past Cairo Online Zoom Haflas and how amazing they have been!!
!!!Veils, Veils, Veils!!!
Looking for a new prop to try?  or a replacement veil?
Lots of Amazing New Arrival Veils to Check Out
Thanks to the lovely Natalia for showing one of our scrunch dye veils
❤️  #weloveourcustomers ❤️ 

The amazing Rossella looking stunning in her blue costume and lovely Linda absolutely sparkling in her beaded folkloric galabaya.
A great big THANK YOU to both of you for being great sports and for sharing these photos of you enjoying your  
Zara's Zouk goodies!  

Check out costumes and dresses here
Music Corner
by Zara Dance

Welcome to this month's Music Corner and I am back with a BANG!
 WHY??

Because this month's main feature is MY OWN SONG!
Yesssss, I am so excited to share with you my newest song, 
Wala3 with Mohamed Mashakel  (Link above)

How did this come about?
Well, if you have been keeping up-to-date with me you will know I have been doing a series of Online
Zoom haflas with my amazing co host, Anna Chandler.  These haflas have been helping to support me and other Egyptian Artists during the Corona Lock-downs. I asked Mohamed (the cousin of my Tannoura friend and dance colleague Osman) who is a Shaabi/Mahragran singer and Rapper if he would come and perform at our June Hafla. He agreed, and even said he would make a song especially for me! I said ok, never thinking the song would actually come about, but within less than 10 days Mohamed had gone to his home-made bedroom studio with  friends and, from the streets of Giza he made me a Maharagan song: WALA3!
-  I LOVED IT!  REALLY LOVED IT!  -
It was fresh and fun, said my name a lot and had a sound bite from a really old Egyptian film which said,
"The most important thing about dance is the feeling" 


I knew we had do do more than just have it performed at the hafla: I also thought the song was perfect for a
CRAZY MOBILE PHONE BASED MUSIC CLIP.
It was an idea I had been playing around with, a "
TikTok" style music clip.  I had seen adverts done in this style but never a full-on music video. I presented the song and my "TikTok" styling idea to my good friend, Rami from Tera Media, who helps make my Youtube series, Yalla Nor2os.  
Rami was as excited as me about this idea .....
but how were we going to make it?
We were all SKINT!


Rami offered a solution ...... He had been employed to do a documentary, filming  interviews, in a studio over two days..... We could slip in and film over night between the two shoots. It would mean the Tera Media crew would be on set more than 50hrs straight but they were all up for it.

On  15th July I finished the first dance work I had had on the boat in 4 months and went straight to the studio. We filmed for 12hrs non stop. The small crew  (
Rami, Opt, Estar and Moody) took it in turns to take naps. Our only outgoings were to rent some neon light bulbs for the background. Everything else was done for free, out of love and friendship.  Rami's wife and best friend, Reem, came to do the make up and Osman and his friend came to be backing dancers.
I felt overwhelmed with friendship and love! How the team went on to film another full day of documentary interviews I don't know!
I went home and died!!! 


Our aim was to get the clip out by EID and HERE IT IS!!
I hope you enjoy!!!
Rami and his team expressed my "TikTok" idea perfectly. They are amazing!  Please have  a listen to it, and a dance. Please like it and share it and subscribe to my
YouTube channel.

You can
buy the song here and profits will be shared between the team!
Also, I taught a short choreography to this song in my Maharagan Workshop which you can
download a copy of here. 
 
********

In other news.... just days before we were set to release this song we found out that the massive star,
Mohamed Ramadan, had release a song called "TikTok" AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH  Rami and I ran to YouTube to watch his music video. We were praying that Ramadan hadn't beaten us to the finish line with a new TikTok music clip video idea. We didn't want anybody to think we had copied them.
BUT THANK GOD the song only mentions TikTok and the music clip basically makes no reference to the application at all. If you ask me his artistic team ARE NOT AS COOL AND CRAZY AS MINE lol
But, as expected, this song is a massive hit in Egypt right now. The song also features Los Angeles based /Armenian RapperSuper Sako.
A link to their song is below. 


********

I have also put links to my other songs. Wala3 is the 3rd song I have co-produced since being in Egypt; the first being my Magency and then another song with my good friend and singer, Hamdy, who you can also see singing at our Online Zoom Haflas.

Enjoy!

Mohamed Ramadan & Super Sako - Tik Tok 

ZARA - MEGENCY  

 ZARA - Dancing  &  HAMDY - Singing

Info Spot
by Sandra (Mum)
A TRIBUTE to MAHMOUD REDA 
18th March 1930 - 10th July 2020
 (Photo above: Mahmoud Reda and Farida Fahmy

A sad loss, Egyptian Folkloric Dance Legend Mahmoud Reda, passed away last month aged 90.  RIP

Mahmoud Reda was always a keen dancer as well as a gymnast.  His dance was influenced by the films he watched, starring Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire, as well as by his older brother, Ali.


He toured Europe dancing in an Argentinian dance troupe and on return to Egypt he met Farida Fahmy, who became his dance partner. They performed together in Russia (1957).  Enthused by the proliferation and success of Russian folk dance troupes, Mahmoud started to research Egyptian Folk Dance and formed, along with his brother Ali and Farida Fahmy, the dance troupe, Ferkeit Reda, (Reda Troupe) in 1959. He mixed Egyptian dances with Western influences to create a Folkloric stage style.

The nationalistic feelings, aroused by Egypt's Independence from Britain (1953) led to a cultural environment that cried out for respectable Egyptian (folkloric) dance  (unlike dis-respectable Raqs Sharqi) for stage performance which Egyptian families could enjoy. President Nasser's government gave financial support to the Reda Troupe which met the cultural needs of that time. 

The Reda Troupe made three films (1961, 1967, 1970) which added to their success and popularity. To this day, Mahmoud Reda's style of dance and teaching is popular worldwide amongst Raqs Sharqi dancers.

 Farida recorded the history of the Reda Troupe  which you can read here.


We invite you to indulge and enjoy Mahmoud and Farida's dancing:

غرام فى الكرنك - Gharam Fi El Karnak - Love at Karnak (1967)


Enjoy the dancing and surroundings in this film, set in Karnak Temple. Romantic misunderstandings occur when Mahmoud's character thinks his love crush, Farida's character, is interested in someone else. This causes havoc in the dance team and threatens to spoil the opening night of their show.
Hope you enjoyed! Thank you for reading  Your support is really  appreciated!

Many thanks again to Serena


Till Next Month
Best wishes
xx Zara and Sandra xx

(the mother /daughter team behind Zameena)
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Can't wait until next month? Why not read these past issues from the archives....
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