“belly” dancing…think about it…

During a moment of, once again, explaining, nagging, cajoling, and harassing my students to keep their knees soft and keep their “butts tucked under” in a neutral position, I had a tiny epiphany….

“It’s called belly dancing for a reason, it’s core-centric!” , I said with a bit of a maniacal look in my eyes.

“It’s not burlesque, it’s not hip hop, it’s not jazz, it’s “Belly” dance! Use your abs to keep your butt in!”,  I uttered, possibly with a light red glow to my eyes at that point.

I did not want to go too far into how even the term “Bellydance” bothers some folk and the actual terms of Raks Sharky, Baladi , etc are technically more appropriate… I teach in a community centre to women who enjoy the moves and the friendships, baby steps are good!

So back to this whole ” not sticking your butt out” thing… I have a sway back, I lock my knees when standing around, I don’t always engage my core muscles all the time , but every time I remember, I feel taller, stronger and more aware of what my body is doing.

I hope that little glimmer of the concept of “belly” dancing will settle like fairy dust onto my students and help remind them to engage the centre of their body and being so that they can dance with strength and good technique!

Link back here if you like this poster!

Sweet 16 and counting…

1998. The year of The Ice Storm in Ottawa. The year I began teaching beginner Bellydance classes. The year I married my best friend.

16 years ago tonight, I was spending the night here in this apartment- we had not moved in yet, but had been living next door, so that was where Tom was staying.

I had my Maid of Honour, Sherrie, keeping me company and we had spent the evening making our 2 bouquets and boutonnieres and corsages for the rest of the crew.
My hair was tied up in rags- yes, strips of fabric to create pretty curls for the next morning.

My 2 piece dress, made by me from pieces of gift fabrics in silk and velvet was ready to go. My cape, made during my years in design school, was also ready, along with a velvet muff.

Sherrie also wore velvet, a dress that doubled as her Delenn costume for The Halloween we attended as characters from Babylon 5.

So here it is , 16 years later, and I am equally looking forward to taking tomorrow to celebrate being with my best friend.



Hoping to snare some tradition tomorrow in the form of Black Forest cake! Might make due with cupcakes!!

I’ve already got a hidden stash of cinnamon hearts with which I can surprise hubby!

Thanks for the feedback and Congrats Mirka!

I had requested feedback for the January 24th Open Belly/Bollywood Dance Night held at Ottawa’s Mercury Lounge, hosted by me along with Bollywood For Fun.

And I promised a gift certificate to one winner of those who submitted their feedback…

Congrats Mirka – you won!

I’ve sent you an email too!

You are still welcome to head over to that page and send your feedback so that other organizers and myself will get  abetter idea  of what Ottawa’s bellydance amateurs and pros are looking for!

Can’t wait to see what the next event will be like!


The Ottawa Dancers’ News – New for 2014

Revisions, additions, send in your stuff!

After our Pros meeting last weekend, and a quick chat about trying to establish a visual guide for upcoming local [and a bit beyond] events and classes etc. I decided to give Google calendar another try as an open way to have people see the events coming up at a glance.

I’ve populated the new Ottawa Dancers’ News Calendar with most of the classes and events I’ve been sent, and invited the teachers who regularly send me their information to have behind the scenes access so that they can update their own events in the calendar, if they so choose. You would have received an email invitation to join the google calendar.

Because I don’t want to miss anything with the weekly email update I sent out, I am asking folks to still submit their text information by email or go to this handy submission page and fill out the info and send it in.

The co-ordinator of each event will also be given backdoor access to their event so that they can update it as new information comes in, and usually I will receive an automatic email from google telling me there’s been a change, but we will be keeping an eye on that functionality to make sure I don’t miss anything!

The other listings I offer will remain online in text form as usual – you can click through to each of them by the cute colourful boxes beneath the calendar!

And you can still sign up to receive the weekly updates so that you don’t miss anything!


Simply send an email to news-subscribe@bellydancingforfun.com and within a minute you should get an email asking for you to confirm that you want to sign up to the mailing list. Just click reply and then send! Thats it!


Send your text only information to: newsletter@bellydancingforfun.com with “Belly Dance news” in the subject line [or something equally creative!].

…And then the party started…More about Jan 24, Open Dance Night

Where did I leave off?

Oh, yes, we’ve got BFF Crew arriving at the Mercury Lounge to set up and get ready an hour before the event  doors open to the public.

The Mercury Lounge staff, featuring the lovely Kate and the equally lovely Bartender, that I missed her name, were there nice and early to help us by setting out chairs, candles, and a water station upstairs for the performers.  Kate also got me set up with the music along with a quick reassurance from Lance that I could pop back and forth between the iPod and laptop without any problem.

I exploded upstairs and with Kalyani and Laksha, Farasha and Eric helping, we set up all of the stuff that we needed:

An aside – thank you to Kalyani for calling me as she was heading over in her Golf and offering me a ride, it made it much easier to carry all of the things I wanted to have with us, plus her circling the Metro parking lot as I bought the food!


  • Rack for costumes and coats upstairs for the performers. This is a super helpful thing to have and not every location has extra ones for you to borrow, so I always pack my own if I can.
  • Printed out: roster,the door list for advanced purchased tickets,extra posters to put up on the outer door to direct people,extra paper- just in case.
  • Markers, masking tape, pens
  • Cash floats – 1 for the door that I brought with clearly marked amounts to keep the numbers straight later; 1 that Farasha brought for the fake mehndi that Kalyani and Suhani were taking care of.
  • Drum – for the live drumming segment
  • Costumes for my performances including footwear since this is a bar after all.
  • food

So we got the items set up – I had also brought sari to decorate, but the club looks great the way it is, and I had a sign for Belly Dancing Fof Fun, since that’s my “company” name that was co-hosting, but since we don’t have a BFF sign, I decided to not bother.

Kalyani and Suhani set up their quick dry mehndi station upstairs and I was their first customer!

Eric, husband of Farasha, very kindly sat and listened to me as I explained the door list and what we needed done as people came in.  Sadly, since he was stuck at the door, he did not get to see his lovely wife perform and next time we’ll rectify that!

Meanwhile, Tom, husband of me, arrived and decided where he would set up and then helped me with some of the audio stuff – not having received all of the advanced music in advance led to some last minute juggling.

It all worked out, but I really do find it so much easier to have the music in advance digitally. But the cd’s played just fine when I got them from dancers as they arrived, it just took a few seconds for them to load up.

And a word on volume. I will ALWAYS want the music less loud than any musician in the room. I bring earplugs with me to protect my hearing.  So when I started the first number and was asked to turn it up, I said no, but then I did ask the audience if they wanted it louder.

A few folks said yes, so I acquiesced and then was told by the folks in front of the speakers that it was too loud – eventually we settled on a spot that seemed to work without making me deaf.

My apologies to the people who like it loud !

Okay, so we started the show later than originally planned as one dancer had to make a quick trip back out in the cold to get her iPod, but we were quickly back on track as we had no one sign up that night to dance last minute.

The roster then shifted and flowed as we had some  on the spot adjusting based on timing needed, arrival of the performers etc., but we skipped ahead and back and forth as needed without any major problems. We did have another dancer who arrived later than expected, but again, it was easy to shift and move the times as needed!

Other things to note – our BFF Crew tag teaming worked ok, but if we do it again, we’ll take more time before the event to make sure that not one person is in charge of any one thing for the entire night.

I am a self-admitted control freak, and when I do ask for help, I usually try to let the person helping choose the best way that they feel they can help, so that I don’t bug them while they are doing their thing { my friends who volunteer with me are also very capable of telling me to go away, they got it!} .  So I was  once again so happy to be surrounded by capable people { Suhani being thrown into using my laptop was my bad  - I thought she was a mac user !  But she did great!}

And the party went great. Supportive audience, great dancers, some folks enjoying the bar aspect, the kids who were in attendance did great as far as I know, and a good time was had by all as far as I could tell!

I feel like I could go on more, but I think you get the gist of it and if you were there, and took photos, please add them to our semi private Flickr group:


You will need to request permission to join, so if I don’t know you, I may ask you who you are before granting permission -= just trying to keep things respectful of our dancers.

And if you feel like offering some feedback so that future events can better serve the interests of our community, please go here and fill in the feedback form!