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Dear Dancers and Dance Friends
Welcome to November's Zameena
(Zameenaby Zara's Zoukaims to share empowerment, knowledge and LOVE, of bellydance)

 
No No No November - No words
Another lockdown here in the UK

Stay safe, be kind, stay positive, 
Sending love and hugs to you!
 
November is a good time to reflect on the closing year, the lessons learned, to count our blessings and to be the blessing other people count on.
 
Reflection and togetherness set the theme for this Zameena:

In her last article, as our amazing Resident Writer, Serena Dances shares her retrospective and her greatest love. 

In Info Spot our past Resident Writers let us take a peek into how they have fared this past year. 
AND we have a competition for you to guess next year's Resident Writer!!!
So have a go - YOU might WIN a beautiful, Christmassy veil!

In Music Corner we have a celebration of togetherness and collaboration as we hear of new releases from some interesting duos.

On a celebratory note you are invited to secure your ticket and get together with the bellydance community at the Spooky Traditions Online Zoom Hafla starring, direct from CairoDandash! 
 
There's lots more too, so......
Without further ado it's over to
Serena - enjoy! 
REFLECTIONS ON LIFE, FAMILY, DANCE AND 2020
By Serena
Hello again dance lovers!
I am here with you one last time this year as this is my final piece as 2020's resident writer for Zameena!
It has been a real pleasure and I hope you have enjoyed the articles I have shared. I want to thank you, dear readers,  Zara and Sandra for welcoming me to the Zameena family - you are incredible! 


Photo : (Hossam Ramzy with Serena and their son Amir - bellydance course in Brazil)
Ok, so what can one write after a year of articles apart from a retrospective?

Well, it could be many things but I will stick with the retrospective as I feel it is well worth it!

I think the word that comes to mind for 2020 is not one I can publish, to which many of you I'm sure would agree! However, call me an annoyingly positive person if you will, but 2020 has brought me many great challenges that have led me to great and positive changes.

We all miss performing live, don’t we? And being on stage or in the studio;  warmed by dancing bodies and filled with the most amazing energy of people that love the same thing as you - I certain do!

But I learned to make the best out of every situation early in life, so I embraced the online madness and moved my classes to the open gates of the internet, and I LOVE IT now! I can reach all my international students and teach all over the world, maximizing my time, and for that I am grateful the 2020 craziness pushed me to make this change.

Does this mean I am now willing to drop the extensive touring and the live classes? NO! 
I still want to be in a room with you and hug you after class, laugh leaning on your shoulder at some silly joke during class… and there is no reason why we cannot have both!

I was supposed to be touring Australia for 4-5 weeks this October and November, but it was not possible, of course. Did that stop me? No, I now hold a class every Tuesday for Australian dancers, (it’s open for everyone though 😊)
I have students from India, Egypt, Panama, USA, Europe, Mexico, Brazil and many other countries….  How can I complain?
I can’t! 
So, as much as there are unspeakable words for 2020, there are many that should be spoken for the hope and opportunities it has also brought.

Another thing that 2020 brought for me, as for many of you too I am sure, is some unexpected connections. So many of us in our community started collaborating; uniting under the mantra: 
“ together we are stronger!"
That really changed my point of view about the scene.

Am I the only one that has sometimes been frustrated with the Belly Dance Scene for one reason or another?

Annoyed at some fellow dancers’ behaviour or an unreasonable attitude? 
Well I doubt I am the only one. I don’t say this from a point of view of criticism, but as from a point of honesty. It would also be fair to point out that maybe others have felt the same about me?

I don’t know as it has not been brought to my attention, but it is not unrealistic to me that if I get annoyed with others, so others get annoyed with me!
Such is life!

However, in 2020 I have realised that by connecting and being more in communication with the community (as lock down allowed us more time for what we did not have time for before), I developed my relationship the wider dance community and understanding of others,  granting ‘beingness’ to people without judging them.

I feel this has been my own personal improvement through this year:
judge less and contribute more to the best of the ability. I believe I have 😊

I was certainly not alone in this development. I observed so many fellow dancers contributing and bringing the best of themselves to the community - supporting dance studios, event organisers, musicians... Zara is a perfect example of this with her Haflas, bringing dancers and musicians from all over the world together in a most uplifting and harmonious collaboration, and for that surge of good will in the community I am grateful.


Photo: Serena and Amir 18th birthday
On a personal level, I was grateful to spend more time with my family. In recent times, my son Amir and I lived some pretty intense life changing moments, especially for him. And while that brought us closer than ever, the actual time locked together made it 10 x more!
As many mums out there can agree, motherhood is one hell of a life lesson! My boy had been one of the best teachers of the deep subject:
“What really matters in life.”

I thought to share a little about Amir, as I have been sharing so much about what I love, and if there is anything in this world that I love more than dancing, is Amir.

I might be biased, but isn’t this a great combination?
Brazilian/Egyptian, drummer & composer, producer, counsellor at the age of 18.
I certainly think so! 
                                                                                  
 Photo: Amir
From the moment he was born, so many already pointed that he would follow his father’s foot-steps, especially because he was already humming songs of his own a few hrs after he was born (the nurse nicknamed him Trumpet).

One of Hossam’s compositions on the Album Flamenco Arabe, called Trumpetta is actually based on a melody sung by Amir when he was a day old. 
But I knew from the tenacity he had as a new-born, as well as the sweetness and calmness he brought to his surroundings, there is much more to this one than following anyone’s foot-step, however great those steps may be.

As a mixed-race child, he benefited from inheriting 2 quite different and rich cultures. But also had to deal with the differences of lifestyle and mentality.

As a mother, I ensured he was aware of those differences and how to deal with them.


Photo: Amir, Workshops, Budapest
I recall him once telling me, he must have been 6 or 7, that he wanted me to be a normal mum, like the ones that work in school or office, or just at home.  Bearing in mind that this kid had toured to 5 continents with his parents since he was in my womb, even performed on stage by then too.
I have to say, that question choked me! But before answering, I tried to see his point of view and what it was that he was really asking.

He was asking to fit in in his group and find something in common with them. So, I gave that to him. I said,
"Darling I do work in schools, but they are dance schools. I do work in the office; remember how I spend hours in front of the computer working? And I also work at home, I cook, clean, wash… I even do that when we are touring!" 

He took a moment to think, remember… and he gave me the biggest smile and said:
“That is right, you do all that and dance, so you do more than other mums!”
and hugged me. He made me happy, but I did explain to him that most mums do a ton of things that most people don’t see!
He was never embarrassed about me being a Belly Dancer or by being surrounded by Belly Dancers.

In fact, much like his dad, he really enjoyed it! 😉
Photo: Amir making a speech
But I recall one comment he once made as we were driving together on our way to school:
“Mum… when I grow up, I will learn to drive and take you and dad on your tours. But I will need to make your car bullet proof.”
“Why bullet proof Amir?”
“In case one day a dancer decides to shoot you guys and scream: DON’T TELL ME TO INTERPRET THE MUSIC EVER AGAIN!!!! “

So, I guess he was a bit over run on the bellydance theme!

But better than me telling you about it, why not let Amir show you:
Hossam, Amir & Serena Ramzy in Budapest,  2008
 Hope you enjoyed this clip!
And here are the links to Amir's music: 
Dabatramzy music on
Spotify   and    iTunes
Also available on Amazon Music 


Photo: Serena and Amir in Paris
And with this, I end my last message as a Resident Writer for Zameena.
As I said, it has been a tremendous pleasure and I hope to contribute more in the future. A huge thank you once again to Zara and Sandra for inviting me, to everyone who sent suggestions for the articles, to Bonita Dance for proofreading every article and making sure I did not make myself misunderstood, and to all of you who took the time to read my thoughts.
If you enjoyed my articles so far, stay tuned as I am launching a brand new and more interactive website and blog.
Be sure to check it out
www.serenadances.com and join my mailing list to receive updates on dance classes and events, courses and promotions just sign here: Mailing list

You can also stay tuned on my social media platforms. I have started a new series on YouTube where I am sharing with you my Golden Era Collection - all the amazing clips that helped me study the greatest Belly Dancers of all times. Subscribe here

Till next time much love to you all and stay safe, stay uplifted and carry on uplifting!
Serena xxx
PS. Stay in touch!
Follow me, Serena, on:
Instagram
@serenaramzy
Facebook Serena Ramzy  😊

Online Classes:
Beginners, Open Level and Int/Adv  and FreeFunFriday click here
https://www.serenadances.com/online-classes/   
For Baladi Course part II : click the link and I will send you the info very soon 
And because we just love to watch her 

Serena dances on Ana Fintizarak by Hossam Ramzy 

Enjoy!
A big heartfelt THANK YOU to Serena for sharing so much with us and for being a wonderful Resident Writer

Shimmies Forever 
From,
Each and Every Zameena Reader, Zara and Sandra

 Thank you! xxx
This Christmas, more than ever, it is the time to spread a little bit of Bellydance Magic so let us help you find that special something! 
Here are just a few of our suggestions for gifts. For even more check out the shop: www.ZarasZouk.com
Why shop with us this Christmas?
TRAINING SETS: Know a bellydance hobbyist? Then you can’t go wrong with a COIN BELT. Another idea, a TRAINING SET. We have a great range starting from £28.50!  The best thing is many of them are stretchy or tied so you don’t need to know anybody’s exact size. Great for online classes and can be layered over our CIRCLE SKIRTS to make a simple, yet stunning, performance costume!

Left: Plum Fringe Practice Set £40

SHOP TRAINING SETS HERE
ACCESSORIES: You cannot go wrong with ACCESSORIES, dancer or not! Have you seen our new CRYSTAL RANGE? They match and look great with ANY costume. We also have TRADITIONAL EGYPTIAN RANGE of coined jewellery and for the Fusion dancers out there, beautiful KUCHI and natural stone pieces. We especially love the LAPIS
Right: Ultimate Crystal Set £16

SHOP ACCESSORIES HERE
COSTUMES: Let’s be honest 2020 hasn’t been great, so why not make it better and treat someone you really love (maybe yourself) to a beautiful new BELLYDANCE COSTUME / BRA & BELT SET? After all it’s Christmas! We have a great range of styles, sizes & prices.
Model wears; Navy Costume £240, Arm/Head/Ankle Band £8.80, Pair Of Cuffs £10,
Leaf Necklaces and Earring Set £12.60
PROPS: More time than ever to practice!
A great gift: VEILS, SHAMADANS, CANES, ZILLS and more…..
props in pic: Cane £13, Zills £10.99, Shamadan £99, Straight Stick £15
KAFTANS
: Better than PJs: a great gift for anyone and so comfy!
Syrian Kaftan £27.50

Online ZOOM Hafla 

Saturday 14th November - Let's Party!
We are sooo happy to announce that we will be hosting Bellydance Legend DANDASH!
Live from Egypt 
Also from Egypt we will have Sudanease Henna Singer MANAHIL

Plus other amazing acts, Sunny Snake Boy from UK, Leena from India. Cele from South America, DiThe Metal Maidens, of course the lovely Anna and Arabellas from UK and Zara from Egypt!
Get your tickets HERE
Dates for Your Diaries - Future Haflas 
19th December 2020,  6th February 2021,  27th March 2021
Don't Miss Zara Dance and Osman's up and coming Advanced Saidi Workshop

In this workshop you will be taking your stick skills to another level!

Osman and Zara will break down how to flip, twist, throw and catch your stick in this intense 2hr technique workshop.

Don't miss it! 
Saidi Workshop Tickets
SPECIAL WORKSHOP + HAFLA OFFER!! 
Book This Saidi Workshop (Sun 6th Dec + recording) and DECEMBER's Online ZOOM Hafla (Sat 19th Dec)  for only £20!!
Yes hafla and workshop only £20
Treat yourself, or maybe a friend, to this lovely package and guarantee some FUN in December no matter what!

Need help with ZOOM?  Free Sessions with Anna
Full details scroll down to the Other Events section (Just after the competition) 
Workshop + Hafla £20 December Special Package
 ❤️  #weloveourcustomers ❤️  
 
The gorgeous Linda with her pink shimmer veil and the lovely Rikki looking amazing 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 veils here and folkloric dresses here
MUSIC CORNER 
(Duo Fusion Special) 

By Zara Dance

Mahragan-Rap Fusion

Selkah

By Hassan Shakosh & Wegz (video above)

Been reading music corner for a while now? I HOPE so, and if so, you should know the name Hassan Shakosh, (I seem to be featuring him as much as Mohamed Ramadann now!)
His rise to fame since "Bent el Gran" has been phenomenal.

How better to show off this rise to fame, despite the government's public ban on Mahragran, than a new music video with arguably Egypt's currently most famous dancer: Joharah? 
But that isn’t the song I am going to feature this month.  (He’s releasing what seems like a new song every week.) It’s a nice song and I recommend you
check it out HERE, 
It's his first music video with a bellydancer.

The song I am featuring is his other new release “Selka”. It is a collaboration with Egyptian Rapper Wegz.  A name you probably know less BUT I have featured before in Zameena's music corner.


This duo is interesting because it brings up the question: Where does Mahragan stop and Egyptian Rap start?
And, what are the differences?

Mahragan and Rap are undeniably very similar in essence, but not sound. If you listen to Wegz’s songs you can hear it lacks the synthetic sound loops associated with that “home/street made” feel of Mahragan.
There are some Arab beats, but sounds closer to Western rap. This is not to say that mahragan doesn’t pull influence from Western rap, but it’s a lot more subtle and almost a subconscious influence.
Most Mahragran singers aren’t that interested in listening to Western rap. Whereas Wegz has obviously studied it!


This duo have brought the two together and I LIKE IT!

I defiantly like it more than Wegz’s plain rap! The mahragan elements make it more danceable.  Also, it is something fresh from Hassan Shakhosh, whose last few releases sounded the same to me!
Wigz’s parts of the song are reminiscent of WizKid, one of my favourite rappers from “Western” music, but who is actually from Nigeria hence heavily Afrobeat rooted and his approach to rap is more that of London/British style than American (to me a lot cooler – but maybe I am biased)!

Selkah means Clear as in the road was selkah, Meaning the road or path was clear. They talk of how they are breezing through their life their road (of life) being Selkah, dodging problems almost care free. 

In other Mahragan News: 
The ridiculously famous duo Oka & Ortega have come to an end!
Apparently Ortega just wanted to take a step back from the lime-light.
The two, after 10yrs singing together, insist they are still friends.
Oka has released his first solo since the split, on his relatively new YouTube channel, getting 4M views in less than 4 weeks impressive but personally I think the song is ok but lacks depth:
check it out here 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Libyan-Egyptian Folkloric Fusion

El Dinya Dowarraa

By Hamid El Shaeri & Yousef (video below)

Ok soooo not into Mahragan and Rap? – I get it!
Well I have a brilliant song for you!
Again a fusion Duo.  The song is called “El Dinya Dowarraa” which translates literally to the “The World is Round”.

No its not a fight against the flat world conspiracists LOL!

It is an expression that is similar to: “there are ups and downs” and “what goes around comes around” and  "the world keeps turning".

It is a song about travelling and learning wisdom about life.  The lyrics are a little bit sad as it talks about the hardships of life - but damn - the tune is so happy! 


It is sung by quite well know Hamid El Shaeri  a mixed race Libyan/Egyptian singer and a relatively new Egyptian singer Yousef! The song is of the style that I can only describe as fusion of Egyptian pop and Bedouin sounds

Western Desert Bedouins inhabit the area around Siwa Oasis and towards the Libyan border. National borders blur. 
The sound should not be confused with Nubian


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Greek-Egyptian Pop Fusion 
 
EL Donia Dawara

By Hamid El Shaeri & Yousef  (video below)


Finally my last song is a pop song!
And can you get any more
Egyptian pop than Amr Diab? 

You know, before moving to Egypt, I wasn't a big fan of Amr Diab (scandalous) but if you are in Egypt you cannot help but be overwhelmed by Amr Diab hysteria!

If you follow me on Insta you will see I was recently in Gouna, the Red Sea paradise for the upper-classes, and home to the Gouna Film Festival, a week long red carpet festival of Arab film, with the biggest Arab celebrities attending.
They even released a song for the festival featuring various singers and actors/actresses in the video
(I  think the song is boring but you can 
check it out here).
Many flock to Gouna during this time for all the amazing after parties and 24hr pool parties that go on. Celebrities are seen everywhere.

This year Amr Diab did the closing concert. 

I had hoped to get in, I knew people on the organising team who, most years, can get friends in but unfortunately this year, due to strict Corona virus rules, the number of guests were limited with no sneak ins allowed.
It's ok though as I had an AMAZING time partying in Gouna all week at various glamorous parties!
A lot of these parties were actually HOUSE MUSIC! Yes! You rarely find good pure House Music in Cario but Gouna, is the place to go for  HOUSE PARTY!  


 Back to the song:
Like the last two songs I have featured, this is also a fusion and duo song!

In this song Amr Diab teams up with Eirini Papadopoulou a
Kazakh-Greek singer who participated in the first series of
Greece’s X Factor finishing 11
th

I don’t know how this duo came about but I LOVE IT!

She singes in Greek first and then Amr Diab comes in!
“Ahe Ahe” means along the lines or "there we go, there we go".
The lyrics basically go on to say:
"Ahe Ahe she is the joy of my life,
this girl when she walks by everyone looks!"

Typical Amr Diab song. 

----------------------------------------
Enjoy Music corner? Get something from it? Then please spread the love and SHARE: TELL FELLOW BELLYDANCERS, as this is a labour of love,
❤️ I would like to have more readers ❤️
Share Share
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Forward Forward
Hamid El Shaeri & Yousef - EL Donia Dawara

Amr Diab & Eirini Papadopoulou - Ahe Ahe

INFO SPOT
Updates from our past Resident Writers as they review their 2020
Cassandra Fox (2019)
"Cassandra is vacillating between existential crisis, wondering if she has actually become one of her cats, and walking the fields in search of meaning whilst trying to figure out how to pay her vet bills."
😂🤣😂🤣😅



Many, Many Thanks and Good Luck Cassandra  to you and your wonderful pets! xx

Connect with Cassandra here
Farah Haraf (2018)
(In the voice of Matthew McConaughey) "Alright alright alright!"
Well, it has been the most minute in history of minutes !!! How are you all doing? I hope life has been treating you well and that you have been gentle on yourself in these challenging times.
Unpopular opinion : I am very grateful for 2020. Yes, yes... I know.... but this year so far really showed me that we got this. And by that I don’t mean that I under value the lives lost and struggles but I mean, damn aren’t we strong!?
I learnt about myself that I can convert my business (my lovely Bling Mafia) from portraits and home murals to masks in order to keep afloat.
I learned that I can lose 10 kg during quarantine instead of binge eating in front of tv, and most of all I learned that I’m oh so grateful to God and all the people I love - and the Internet!
It’s a year to remember surely, and it’s one that dissected all our priorities and put them back together as a new puzzle. And I’m barely back to dancing after missing it so much.
Over all I want to remain positive towards the rest of the year and well, make the most of it despite all the changes. One day at a time, one shimmy at a beat.

Sending you all love and wishes of health and prosperity. I been saying to eat your greens but please more than ever, treat your body like a temple and eat your greens, wear your masks, love thy neighbor and dance in your pjs if you have to! (we all know those are the best vibes while our pet just stares at the crazy lady)
With love and sand from Dubai FARAH
Thank you Farah and Loving the Masks - Fantastic!!!  

Connect with Farah here
Sophia Furber (2017)
Bellydance has gone on the back burner a bit this year as I've been more focused on my writing, but there have been a few dance-related highlights. The biggest one was performing a solo at the legendary Rouh Arabi in February this year. It's my favourite hafla in London and, like many student dancers, I dreamed of performing there. I was a bit nervous about performing but was really glad I took the plunge and did it because it was a great experience and also turned out to be probably my last chance in a long time to perform in public (thanks for that, Covid.....)
I continue to learn bellydance remotely with Charlotte Desorgher as part of her Undeniables Online  programme and have taken the opportunity to connect with bellydancers around the world on Zoom for workshops, including those hosted by our very own Zara.
 Many thanks Sophia and Good Luck with the writing and hope to see you at more Zoom events soon! xx
Connect with Sophia here
Kamna Kay Dance (2016)
This year has been testing to say the least but I hope Zameena, Zara’s wonderful workshops and her amazing online haflas (alongside gorgeous Anna Chandler from Arabella) have been keeping you in good spirits! Thanks to her fantastic events I (virtually) met Allegra Aleya Pena who is not only a fantastic dancer but is also an author! I just finished her first of several books called Cairo Stories and it was such a wonderful glimpse into life in Egypt
She made me laugh so much and very successfully transported me from my humble home in Datchet, Berkshire to the night scene in Cairo – it was great!
I also came across Vanessa of Cairo! I LOVED her Zameena article which if you haven’t read yet you definitely should. Her voice and humour shone through and her performance at one of Zara's online haflas was mesmerising! So I decided to invest in some 121 training with her which I would highly recommend.
Also during lockdown I have managed to purchase and watch ‘In Our Own Words’ part 1part 2 and part 3 a documentary by Yasmina of Cairo & Sara Farouk. It was so lovely to see Zara, Farah Nasri & so many other familiar faces sharing their opinions and experiences of life in Cairo. I especially loved listening to the Egyptian dancers whom I was swooning over! Great to understand the ‘real’ side of being a dancer so if you haven’t watched this please make sure you do!
Obviously as it’s been lockdown it’s given lots of time for reflection. I think about how Zara and I met many years ago and how we have both grown. In case you haven’t seen the video of me interviewing Zara at the end of last year please take a look.
The way the Online Haflahs have brought people together across the world during this Pandemic is amazing. This is one of the incredible magical powers of Bellydancing – the way it unites women from all walks of life across the world with one shared love.
Wishing you all a safe, healthy & shimmytastic festive season! 
Lots of love always, Kay Dance
Kamna/Kay Thank you so much! You have really used this year to read and watch so much about bellydance.  Truly Inspirational - Go Girl! xx
Connect with Kay Dance here
!!Competition Time!!
WHO will be our Resident Writer for 2021?

Delighted and excited to be working with this dancer next year. 
Can you guess who it is?
Enter the competition  
Prize is this red, 3 yard, half moon, chiffon veil trimmed in silver 

So Christmassy!  WIN IT!



Clue1) This dancer lives in New York, USA
Clue 2) Has 
a large following in Iraq and Saudi Arabia
Clue 3) Re-arrange these letters to find the dancer's name: 
 **Abraham Kaadil**

Email answers to us (hit reply) by Sunday 29th November.
All correct answers put in a pot. One will be pulled out on Monday 30th November on Zara's Zouk Facebook-LIVE  and notified by email of their win.


GOOD LUCK! 
Other Fun Events and Announcements! 
Learn Zoom 
Don't spend this 2nd lockdown wave missing all the fun events going on on Zoom. Message Anna for more details or email her: bristolbellydance@yahoo.co.uk
ALSO! check out Anna (also know as Arabella Belly Dance) and her new website: Anna teaches regular classes on Zoom and co hosts our Zoom Haflas her next course starts 9th Nov and she's teaching a CHRISTMAS CHOREOGRAPHY that u can perform at the Dec Zoom Hafla 
TARA is one of the most AMAZING fitness and dance experts we know.

Over the next few weeks she is holding a mini fitness festival and
Zara will be teaching bellydance classes for only £5 on Tuesday 10th & 17th at 6pm GMT

To find out more and all the other great people Tara has giving taster classes over the next weeks check out her website here  
If you read our music corner you will kinow Zara is passionate about Mahragan music!

Zara is starting an EXCLUSIVE  MAHRAGAN COURSE for Charlotte Desorgher and the Undeniables

To get acess to this exclusive course of videos you have to sign up to the Undeniables - Details Here 
Thank YOU for being here!
Hope you enjoyed!

Don't forget to have a go at the competition! 

A big THANK YOU to Serena for being amazingly positive throughout 2020 and to all our Resident Writers

Love and Shimmies!

 xx Zara and Sandra xx
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