This page is an ongoing project, ***update***and I've just added a few videos as we close out December 2017.  I'm trying to add some of the things I talk about in class so that you have a quick reference if you want to see what/ who I'm talking about. If you have suggestions for this page, please send me an email! These are some of my (Sherihan's) favorite videos along with my favorite dancers and some excellent educational material to further your overall understanding of the modern style of Middle Eastern Dance and its origins.

(Video) Tahia Carioca, Bellydance Legend

Tahia Carioca (Egypt) danced during the golden age of bellydance in cinema. A fabulous dancer who's shows were unique by all accounts, Tahia has a very different flavor than her contemporaries. One of my favorite dancers in one of the most fabulous costumes ever. Enjoy!

(Video) Aziza of Cairo

I am just getting acquainted with Aziza of Cairo through her videos but I wanted to post one because she's incredible!

(Video) Tito Seif of Egypt

I am continually asked about whether or not there are male bellydancers. The answer is an emphatic "YES!" Here's one of the best in the business, Tito Seif of Egypt. I'll post a few more for good measure.

(Video) Mohammed El Hosseny Simsimiyya (group)

The Simsimiyya is a dance originally done by sailors in Port Said, Ismailiyya, and Suez, so you will notice that the dancers do movements related to things sailors would do on a ship: rowing, pulling ropes, etc.

Mohammed El Hosseny is a dancer and choreographer that I've had the pleasure of studying with on two separate occasions. He's from Egypt but is based out of Helsinki. He was originally a musician but became part of Mahmoud Reda's National dance troupe of Egypt. Now he has his own troupe in Finland. This video is a choreography of his and he is a master of Simsimiyya so this is a fabulous example of the dance.

(Video) Lee Na Moo

Lee Na Moo is one of the most well known male bellydancers based out of Chicago. He performs at Alhambra Palace but has danced and taught in many other places in the world and is involved in various dance productions. He is crazy talented and a name to know.

(Video) Fat Chance Belly Dance (ATS)

This is quintessential American Tribal Style belly dance otherwise known as ATS. Fat Chance Belly Dance is a very well known group throughout the ATS community and this video is an excellent example of the art form. Notice that the dancers are always in a triangle formation, the dancer who takes the point of the triangle is the leader, and the dancers behind her watch her for cues so they know what she is going to do next and can follow. ATS is all improvisation, but the "tribes" who have been dancing together for a long time get to a point where there is no visible lag time between the lead dancer and the dancers following her. These three are practically seamless. This style has very little to do with traditional Egyptian dance, but I compare various movements that we do in class to the ATS versions of the movements, so I figured I'd find a good example for you!

(Video) Rachel Brice, American Tribal

I periodically talk about Tribal Bellydance in class and specifically, I mention dancer Rachel Brice. She is a name to know because she brought about a revolution of sorts in the tribal dance scene. She is VERY often imitated, but never duplicated. While this is not a good example of ATS (American Tribal Style) her style does fall under the heading of Tribal, and it is American, as is she. This video of her is older, and was filmed while she was still with the group "Belly Dance Superstars", but it is a classic example of what she is so well known for.

(Video) Founder of the Egyptian National Troupe, Mahmoud Reda and Farida Fahmy

Mahmoud Reda is credited with bringing middle eastern dance as we know it from the streets and towns to the stage. His importance and contribution to this art form can not be underestimated. This is a name you need to know. His biography and interviews with him can be found all over the internet, so I won't include them here, but if you have time, google it for sure!

Sherihan's dance fairy godmother (so to speak) and one of her biggest influences, Samara, teaches classes in Manhattan. She is a wonderful dancer, instructor, and inspiration! She is the protegee of the late Ibrihim "Bobby" Farrah, a Middle Eastern Dance Legend. Her classical style is fluid, authentic and emotional. If you're ever in NYC, you definitely need to take a class with her!

Randa Kamel of Egypt is the dancer that brought Erika, Sherihan, Shahrzad, and Cristina (other dancers featured on this page) all together in one ballroom in Miami many years ago. That was her first workshop in the USA, and she's come back to teach many, many times since. She started her dancing career with the renowned Reda Troupe in Egypt.  She is arguably one of the most influential dancers currently working despite not being very popular in her home country of Egypt because her style is so strong and powerful. It wasn't considered very feminine. American dancers (as well as many others around the world) LOVED her and continue to love her.

One of the Founders of Yallah! Dance Chicago, Zahra Gamal is the protegee of Samara of NYC and is now in the Grand Rapids, MI area dance scene. If you're visiting that area, email her for information on classes and performances.

Sherihan's very first bellydance teacher, Erika Ochoa, is the owner of Pineapple Dance Studio in Forest Park and an amazing folkloric dance instructor. She performs all over Chicago and also teaches classes at the Old Town School of Folk Music here in Chicago.

Shahrzad is a dancer that Sherihan met in Miami and again in DC many moons ago. She is now dancing overseas, but is scheduled to come in to teach a drum solo intensive in June 2017. She does things other dancers just can't duplicate.

Sherihan met the fabulous Cristina through Erika Ochoa in NYC many years ago. Cristina is now dancing overseas, but posts great videos on her Youtube channel. She is an incredible talent! The song she is dancing to, "Daret al Ayam" is a classical song that every good bellydancer knows by heart.

We all want to dance like Samia Gamal! Here's a video montage of one of the many movies she danced in. There are a TON of clips of her on Youtube, don't fight the feeling to do a little surfing.

Egyptian Dancer, actress, and living legend Nagwa Fouad is ubiquitous in the Belly Dance Community. Sherihan had the distinct pleasure of of taking a master class with her in Miami many years ago. Watch her arms and expressions, find a mirror, try and duplicate! (Clip from "A woman with a bad reputation" 1973)

(Video) Samara's Mosaic Theatre Dance Company Zaar Dance

The Zaar is an Egyptian dance which mimics the actual ritual of exorcism. Spirits or Djinn (pronounced: jinn. "Genie" in English comes from the word Djinn) are removed from some of the participants while others are there to facilitate the process, i.e. play drums, dance, wave incense, and help the possessed through the ritual. Sometimes animals are sacrificed during actual Zaar ceremonies, though not on stage.

It is performed to a 2/4 rhythm called "Ayoob" and participants generally wear white galabeyas (on stage at least).

Egyptian Saidi dance is most times done with a cane, it is a must for every Egyptian Style bellydancer. This style originates from the farmers of upper Egypt. A link to a great article by Ashraf Hassan on the origins of Saidi can be found at the very bottom of the References page.

This video is a lovely example of a Khaleegy.. (pronounced: Cha-lee-gee) by dancer Katerina Shereen. The Persian Gulf, Arabic Penninsula, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and Bahrain are the areas this dance comes from. This dance is done by women, and part of this dance is showing off wealth. You will see many delicate movements with wrists and hands, as well as neck slides which are done to imitate hunting falcons.

The Iraqi Hair dance or Kawleeya, is starting to become really popular in the bellydance community right now. You can see some of it's similarities to the Persian Gulf-style Khaleegy, but the costumes are different, and the movements are much more high energy. There are multiple articles that relate this dance to the Iraqi Gypsies.

Commonly referred to in the dance community as "Nubian Dance" though that is a bit of a catch-all term as there are many different styles out of this area, this is an excellent example of a few of the dance styles of the Sudan.

Every area has its own unique folk dance which has had an influence on Middle Eastern Dance as we know it today. This video is a great example of Traditional folk dance from Tunisia. Note the scarves worn at the hips and all of the "twist shimmies". Many times vessels are balanced on the heads of the dancers.

Want to learn about anything and everything music, costumes and history? Visit this site for some well researched and thoughtful articles.

A fantastic and very educational read if you have 10 minutes!

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