Greetings to all my students and companions in the dance!
Because I meet so many people in this pursuit, in so many places, I find myself making the same set of
announcements and observations over and over again. The announcements I would just as soon make once
and be done with them, whereas some of the observations are worth saving for future use or at least
contemplation… hence, this newsletter.
Your observations, musings and opinions are also of great interest to me. There is a whole bellydance
community out there; even those of you who are beginning students are part of it, as are the many
enthusiastic supporters of this dance form. Some of you may become the ‘keepers of the tradition’ in
any of its current incarnations. Some of you may even become the next big innovators.
It seemed to me that since we are all in this together, we needed to get in touch and keep in touch-
this is why I circulated a questionnaire recently; it was meant to be the basis for starting this
forum.
Please feel free to contribute your own thoughts on bellydance and related topics to this newsletter.
I would gratefully accept news on upcoming events such as haflas, workshops, drum circles, music/
dance shows worth seeing, anything that would benefit or complement our dance experience or spark our
creativity. You may submit writing or suggestions to me in class (please write it down!) or by e-mail
at hanan@smallstudiocostume.com.
First steps
Resources- the good stuff
I’ve compiled a resource list, which I hand out with class outline material. It’s useful, but updating
it can be a challenge. Internet concerns come and go. Local sources are not easy to find. The range of
prices asked for an identical item from differing vendors can be surprising. I suggest we share our
sleuthing. If you have a favorite source to share, just submit it to me, and I will publish it here
for the benefit of all of us. I’ll start:
As many of you may know, I make my own costumes as well as costuming other
dancers. I like unusual fabrics, generally natural fibers like cotton and
silk, the richer the better. I also love a bargain (who doesn’t?)! A
favorite fabric source:

TEXTILE DISCOUNT OUTLET
2121 W. 21ST   STREET
CHICAGO IL 60608
(773) 847-0572

Call to check their hours, which vary by the day. It’s vast, and crammed,
and just about overwhelming. You could find anything, including amazing
trim. Plan to get there early- parking is a challenge- and spend some
time. I visit a couple of times a year when I am looking for inspiration.
Upcoming
March 24, Hafla in the Square
The No Friction Café
2023 N. California Avenue
Chicago
6-8pm ($5 donation)

March 25, Kimahri’s Student Showcase
The Anderson Theater
2pm (tickets, advance prices are $8 Adults/Seniors, $5children 12 and under. Tickets at the door (if
available) are $15, cash only.
The Anderson Theater is located inside the Oakbrook Terrace Park District Heritage Center, 1S325
ArdmoreAve., Oakbrook Terrace, IL. The theater is located 2 stop signs south of the Roosevelt Rd.
/Ardmore Ave. intersection. Sunday afternoon show starts at 2:00pm (call at 1:30). Tickets can be
purchased online at www.shimmychicago.com until March 19.

April 13-14, Smoke at the Buzz Café
905 S. Lombard
Oak Park
Shows at 7 and 8 pm

Just added: April 21, Hafla in the Square (same details as above). Happy Earth Day!
Checking in
A year ago I began working towards forming my own troupe, Smoke, a goal that was realized as we began
performing in public recently. In thinking over what I wished to accomplish and how I meant to go
about it, I came up with the following statement:

It is my aim to foster the ‘tribe’ in tribal bellydance; we have much to teach each other as we grow
into being the best performance group we can be. We will work from a cooperative model on the basis of
trust; the ATS improv method will be our way of developing these qualities to their greatest extent.
I will continue to learn and improve my own dance skills, not only for my own satisfaction, but also
as a matter of responsibility to my students and fellow dancers, who I hope will do the same.
We will stay close to the ‘street’ folkloric roots of this composite contemporary dance form, adopting
only those trends that fit our tribe, recognizing that no one style is uniquely ‘authentic’; there are
only branches of the same tree.
We welcome people of all sizes, shapes, ages and backgrounds to join us in this dance as a source of
delight.

In looking over the questionnaires so many of you graciously returned to me, I noticed that quite a
few of us came to bellydance for the same two reasons: curiosity and a wish to be more fit. Those are
exactly the same reasons that brought me to my first bellydance class, and I have never looked back!
Let me offer you both assurance and a caveat about bellydance and fitness; yes, it does a great job of
building strength, flexibility and muscle tone/control… but it takes time and dedication. Most of us
need daily practice, if possible, to maintain and improve our skills and strength. There just aren’t
any short cuts, even for the naturally gifted.
If you lack the time or means to take class more than once a week, practice on your own. If you have
trouble getting motivated, dvd help is out there… I use Rachel Brice’s Tribal Fusion Belly Dance:
Yoga, Isolations and Drills when I am not teaching, so I won’t lose my hard-won abilities. One thing I
love about this particular dvd is that it is geared towards daily practice, with segments for a 15-
minute, a 30-minute, and a 45-minute workout.
When you find this style of dance infiltrating whatever other type of dance you have previously
enjoyed, you’ll know it’s coming right along. I find that any dance music with a 4/4 beat (and that’s
most of it), if the tempo is not too fast, will soon find me dropping into a shimmy, often without
being aware that I am doing it!
I’m thrilled to be working with all of you. If bellydance is bringing something good into your lives,
I am happy to have been a part of that change.
Keep shimmying, keep up the good work, and a big zaghareet to all of you-