Boy it’s been a long road for me this last year.
It all began with me innocently deciding one day that I wanted to make a video that would allow me to share some of the things I’ve learned, about something I love very much. Nearly a year later, here we are with a multi-language DVD being distributed worldwide, an ever-evolving and growing website, and a growing family of students, teachers, and friends. Who knew?? The amount of work it has taken, and the amount of things learned along the way makes my head spin sometimes, but it is truly becoming a dream come true for me. And for that I’d like to thank all of you for your encouragement and support.
Both Middle-Eastern Dance and Flamenco are the biggest passions of my life. I’m so excited to finally have the opportunitry to begin sharing some of my thoughts on it, along with some of the relevant news of what is happening in the industry, both locally and globally. I also hope to share lots of information on resources available to us, further the awareness, and maybe even quell some of the misconceptions surrounding this beautiful artform!
The recent show with Fiesta Flamenca and Antonio Vargas is now over, so I’ll take this chance to sit down and write my very first newsletter as the heat and tension of its preparation has cooled off a bit.
First, on behalf of everyone involved in the show I’d like to thank all of you who did attend, because without your support it wouldn’t be possible to pull this together and bring such great artists like Antonio Vargas and Vanessa Alvarado to town. Thank You Coral Citron, fearless leader of “Fiesta Flamenca” for organizing this event and giving us, your students, this great opportunity to be onstage with yourself and these wonderful artists!
Las Vegas can be a tough city, where the arts are not always appreciated as much as some of us would like. It can be risky business to take the chance promoting an event like this here and that is why we need to acknowledge these efforts even more. It takes guts, patience, and lotsa love and passion for the arts to do these things. Again, thank you Coral!
In case you don’t know who Antonio Vargas is... Remember Baz Luhrmann’s wonderful film Strictly Ballroom? Antonio played the father’s role in that movie, and choreographed the flamenco part for Mission Impossible 2. He is a very interesting guy! Besides being a great dancer and a warm and caring person, he's got a great sense of humor and is also an absolutely awesome cook. Imagine, on the same day before one of our performances he took the time to cook a big dinner for us all to have at the end of the show! We all went to RJ’s (the guitarist) house after the performance and had a great dinner that he had prepared for us. What a great gesture!
And then there’s Vanessa, our dear friend Vanessa, who also came back to town to sing for the show. We miss her so much and it still seems like the Las Vegas Flamenco scene is just not the same since she left town and moved to Miami. But we’re very happy that she’s able to come back occasionally for shows and to visit, and also happy she has established herself there in Florida with some great Flamencos. (There’s a rumor she may be able to return with her newly formed troupe; stay tuned) She brings so much joy with her voice, her dance, and her prescence, and you bet... her old Las Vegas fan club was there en force to see her again, and there was a long line of fans waiting for her to come out after the show. We miss her and dearly hope to be able to bring her back for more very soon.
I was very honored to be able to perform a solo bellydance in the show as well. I had been waiting for this opportunity and was looking forward to it because I got to wear my new yellow saidi dress, and perform to Hossam Ramzy’s “Hobbik Feyya” music from his album, Source of Fire. I absolutely love this piece of music! I was inspired to choreograph and do this piece after watching one of my latest mentors, Ashtalea. She has become one of my favorite teachers and performers, and after seeing her dance to this music, I fell in love with both of them – the music and her performance. I’m looking forward to performing it again and again! She was there in audience as well and I felt her supportive presence.
My next performance in my yellow dress is in fact in Miami next week as I’m flying there to perform in Johara’s show at her Hafla, and take a workshop with Aziza. Another busy week coming up!
Of course I’m staying with Vanessa and will also get to go and see their flamenco performance. And take a walk in South Beach maybe...... ?
With a brief break after the show on Wednesday I attended master teacher Suhaila Salimpour's workshop in Las Vegas on Saturday 11/12. It was a 5 hour intense workshop where she literally kicked our collective butt. No kidding! She did some awesome glute isolations, lots of imortant technique variations and introduced us to her philosophy of dance. This workshop was so worthwhile and beneficial! Just awesome! (My butt is still sore!)
The day after that, I was teaching my second Dance Your Belly!™ 2 hour workshop at the Las Vegas Athletic Club! What a great week - lots of exercise, endorphines, great people, wonderful ambience, positive energy...
In other news... stay tuned for the upcoming "Amira's Bellydance Music" CD. We're compiling a great selection of music which will be available soon. Some of it includes work from Phil Thornton and Hossam Ramzy, who composed much of the music on my "Bellydance 101" DVD .
I am so glad and thankful to have the opportunity to do what I love so much for a living, I couldn’t ask for any more than to wake up every morning knowing that I can do what makes me happy! My mission is to spread the word about bellydance as far and wide as I can. It has transformed my life, and I want to pass that experience on to all that care to know of it. If you’ve received this letter, you have already crossed my life in one way or another.
I think you meet the people you are meant to in life, for a reason, and I think we all complement each others lives and fulfill them.
I hope you join me in my journey for better living, for a better self and for a better world!
Please stay tuned for a listing of upcoming workshops
Find out more about the workshops HERE
I would like to share some thoughts on the Middle Eastern Dance (the dance) with you. In May of 2004, you first introduced the dance to me at the Las Vegas Athletic Club (LVAC). I was a beginner, over fifty, and had been experiencing some low back pain after I competed in rodeo (barrel racing).
I loved the dance and the way you teach because you make sure everyone gets the basics. I then began taking lessons from Yolanda, at the other LVAC and from Donna at UNLV for two semesters. I have improved a little in the dance but the side effects have been extremely beneficial. Since last year, with the dance, yoga, and one chiropractic visit, I now have no back pain. Also, I believe the dance has taught me much about balance and grace. It has improved my riding so that I was able to win the American West Nevada State Barrel Racing Championship for the senior class. (The saddle is in my office.) I am currently the average winner in the Las Vegas Beauty and the Beast Series Rodeo.
Thank you for sharing this wonderful art with me.
- Lauren Dean
Director, Communication Services
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
I want to tell you how much I enjoyed your teaching workshop. I've been dabbling in belly dance for about a year, but still consider myself very much a beginner. Not only did I learn more in your class than some I have attended, but your sweet spirit and love for women and dance made all us beginners feel beautiful and graceful! I would not want to miss any opportunity to take a class from you in the future.
Also, my sister came for her very first class that day, and although you taught us so much in 2 hours, she said she didn't want the class to end! (Maybe we've hooked her!)
Please keep me on your email list, and I wish you all the luck and happiness in the world!
- Tracey McCullough
First of all let me thank you so much for all your hard work, your enthusiasm and a strong desire you possess to help ordinary women (like me) discover this mysterious and beautiful dance!
I am a beginner to a bellydance. Ever since I remember myself I always wanted to learn it, but never had a chance. Right now at the age 24, when I started taking bellydance classes, I surely had doubts about being able to "reproduce” all those moves. With you I learned that there's no prerequisites to start other than desire.
Besides that you are a beautiful dancer and a wonderful teacher, you have a great personality: u r a very warm and friendly person. During your workshop or classes you make everybody feel comfortable and confident about themselves. You are also very inspiring! I think so much more about myself now and the capabilities of my body.
I wish you good luck with your DVD and looking forward for new workshops!
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