Kiyaana's Blog

Shamadan and Saidi Workshops with Kiyaana and Blythe

Kiyaana of Fredericksburg, VA performs Egyptian Dance with a ShamadanBlythe Egyptian Folkloric Dancer with AssayaSaturday, April 162016 in Fredericksburg, VA 

Want to expand your dance repetoire? Interested in Egyptian folkloric styles? Join Blythe and Kiyaana, experienced instructors and dedicated students of Faten Salama, to learn to dance with a shamadan, the dramatic candelabra used to lead wedding processions, and the assaya (cane), the women's prop for Saidi.
12 noon - 2 pm Shamadan with Kiyaana
2:30 pm - 4:30 pm Saidi with Blythe
Kiyaana will present the basics of dancing with a shamadan, including leading a zeffa as well as performing on stage. (No shamadan required! Skills can be used with other balancing props, too.) After a short break, Blythe will teach a sassy Saidi-style cane choreography. (No previous cane experience necessary. Extra canes will be available to borrow.)

(At least six months of dance experience is recommended for these workshops.)

Time: 12 noon-4:30 pm  (30 min. break between workshops)  
Location: Bodyworks, Fredericksburg, VA    
Cost: $40 each or $70 for both        

Payable through PayPal. Or pay at the door via check/cash. Click here for form.

Shamadan with Kiyaana
12 noon - 2:00 pm
Saidi with Blythe
2:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Both Workshops
12 noon - 4:30 pm

Our workshop location is Bodyworks in downtown Fredericksburg, VA, approx. 10 minutes from exit 130A off of I-95. Find more details here about driving and parkingPark in the lot behind Bodyworks, off of Sophia (one-way street) and Amelia (also a one-way). **Use the parking lot entrance to get inside.** OR park in one of the visitor lots off of Sophia St. or the downtown parking garage (and walk several blocks to Bodyworks).

More about the instructors:
Blythe discovered her love of orientale dance in 2000 and found her mentor in master instructor, Faten, in 2007.  She is a company director and instructor at Saffron Dance, and is a member of Faten's two dance companies at Saffron. Blythe is also a member of Al Massraweya, a folkloric troupe dedicated to presenting Faten Salama's choreographies, with Eleni, Kiyaana, Sama, and Zaira.  Blythe is also a costumer who makes many folkloric and orientale costumes for groups and soloists.

Kiyaana has been a lifelong dancer, but discovered her true love in Raqs Sharqi, the "Dance of the East", or bellydance. She began studying bellydance over ten years ago and has warmly embraced the music, culture, and history of this Middle Eastern dance form. Kiyaana has been teaching weekly classes in Fredericksburg for over six years and is the director of her student group, Sameeha Bellydance Collective. Like Blythe, she is also a member of Faten's "Fellahi" performance company at Saffron Dance and a member of Al Massraweya.

Watch a performance showing Blythe and Kiyaana using shamadan and assaya here.

If you are not able to attend, the workshop fee(s) are not refundable. However, you may transfer your workshop(s) to another dancer. If the workshop(s) are cancelled, you will receive a full refund.

12 Days of Bellydance (Insert Holiday Here) Gifts

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Have a festive Saturnalia! Happy Holidays! As we well know, bellydancers come from all walks of life, variety of religions, etc. One thing we have in common - we love sparkly things! Well, maybe not quite as much sparkle for tribal dancers, but my list includes gift ideas for those ladies and gents, too.

1. The name says it all! I recommend the square sequin hip scarves, ruffle lace hip wrap, Saroyan Arabesque finger cymbals, Aziza's veil & hands/arms/poses DVDs, Masters of Egyptian Choreography DVDs, and Fan Veils DVDs (Mahsati or Sedona). Steer clear of the tops/bras and anything else fitted; it is really challenging to pick the correct sizes of such items for someone else. Feel free to contact me if you want a specific recommendation.

2. "I Bellydance. What's Your Superpower?" shirts. These are my own design. Dancers love the fitted style for wearing to class! 

3. Barefoot Sandals. Many of these are marketed towards beach weddings, so may be a bit overpriced, but if your dancer performs barefoot, some may be just her style.

4. Embroidered Kiss-Lock Coin Purse. Perfect for holding a pair of finger cymbals, some jewelry, or, of course, cash. And really pretty, too!

5. Colorful, High-quality Yoga Mat. Chances are, if she's any kind of serious dancer, she's stretching regularly and a beautiful yoga mat will enhance her experience. (Just make sure she doesn't think you're telling her she needs to exercise!!!)

6. Belly Dance Journal. Does your dancer like to take notes? Perhaps reflect on the happenings of the day? This journal is perfect, offering "practice pages" and "guided practices."

7. Portable Speaker. This one is waterproof and wireless, ideal for bluetooth capability and practicing in a big studio space.

8. Makeup Brushes. Your dancer likely has a whole set of brushed, blushes, eyeliners, shadows, lipsticks, etc. This sweet little travel set can go along to a gig for last-minute touch-ups. Or, give a gift certificate to a local cosmetics store, such as Ulta, Sephora, or MAC.

9. Jewelry. Hmmm. This can be tricky, depending on the dance style. My money's on these earrings for versatility; oriental and tribal dancers could make these work. You may want to opt for a Charming Charlie gift card if you have a store in your area. For sparkly dangle earrings, these are great and you can pick her favorite color. 

10. Gift Certificates for Classes or Private Lessons. If your dancer takes weekly classes or regular private lessons, contact the studio or instructor to find out about gift certificates. Or, if s/he has been talking about wanting to go to a workshop, make your own certificate that says you're paying for the workshop and hotel costs. I am forever grateful for the Christmas cash that helped me further my dance education!

11. Yoga Sandals. Okay, these look kind of strange, but I love them for two reasons. Number one, they really work for keeping my toes apart for pedicures. Two, when I've been dancing quite a bit or even just on my feet, the toe-separation and cushy footbed feel really great. If you aren't too sure about the sandals, go for the YogaToes Gems.

12. Relaxation. Dancers' bodies work hard! Encourage relaxation and recovery with a gift certificate to a local massage therapist or spa.

Bellydance Life Ups and Downs

I've been so lucky as a working dancer and dance teacher! And very fortunate as a dance student, too. For the past seven years, I have been able to gig consistently at Middle Eastern restaurants and for over six years, teach weekly classes in Fredericksburg, and attend classes and workshops with internationally known instructors. In that time, four restaurants have had to close (or relocate, fingers crossed), a usual November workshop weekend no longer exists (thanks for the memories, Women of Selket!), and I had to temporarily cancel my beginner class due to low enrollment (we're back on for Nov/Dec, yay!) But, it's all good. The optimistic restaurant owners have moved on to other locations or opportunities, new workshops and shows have popped up this November (Shem's presents KIN Nov 21 and Katayoun is hosting a Belly Dance Convention and Festival on Nov 22), and my classes continue to grow or at least hold steady.

Sometimes I have to pause to reassess and evaluate what's next for me in my dance life. Starting classes with Faten at Saffron two years ago continues to be one of the best decisions I've made. This past summer, I took classes with Yasmina Ramzy in Toronto and am about to return for her Advanced Artistry session. I am seeking out richer learning and performance opportunities than in the past, tapping into a deeper connection with the music and movement. As I continue to learn and evolve, what I want to share with my students grows, too, which I find exciting as an instructor.

So, what's next? I'm excited to find out. I'm keeping my mind and heart open to the possibilities.


Monday vs. Tuesday Classes

I was recently asked, "What are the differences between your Dance Fxbg and Bodyworks classes?" Good question! If you've been wondering the same, this was my reply: 

Here's how they are the same: basic technique and combinations appropriate for beginners, I bring hipscarves for students to borrow, and students wear basic workout clothing (yoga pants, close-fitting top, dance slippers or barefoot).

How are they different? 
My classes at Dance Fxbg also include basic performance tips, as well as cultural & historical information. The 8 pm class has beginners and advanced beginners. When we are drilling movements, I will often go student-to-student to observe posture and make corrections, where needed. I have structured these classes to focus for two months (Sept/Oct) on a specific topic or skill, then two months (Nov/Dec) on a simple choreography, then back to a skill (Jan/Feb), etc. In the course of a year, I cover what I (and most other bellydance teachers) think students should know at the Beginner/Adv. Beginner level. Almost every week, I send an email message to the class with reminders about what to practice, links to music to use, links to video clips I make for students, and info about bellydance related topics and events. I also provide occasional performance opportunities for students in these classes.
Tuesdays at Bodyworks are bellydance fitness. Since it's at a gym, I am aiming for a work-out format with a constant pace for the whole hour. The class has beginners as well as experienced dancers. I generally don't make individual corrections unless someone is doing something that will hurt her, then I would go over & help fix it. Every month there is a new routine, so every class that month uses the same combinations. We switch up the last 10 minutes of the class with a prop (which I provide if students don't have their own) such as veil, cane, finger cymbals, or sometimes fan veil. 

In summary, if performing appeals to you and you like to move at a slower pace when learning, then start with the Monday night class. Otherwise, either night will get you started with learning to bellydance.
Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.