Greenstone Belly Dance is delighted to be hosting Asiyah in Rotterdam on Saturday the 29th of June to teach an advanced veil workshop. Want to get to know Asiyah better? Here are 6 quick questions that we asked her! 

Lees hier de Nederlandse versie.

Why did you start belly dancing? Belly Dance Championship 2019

As a teenager, the whole idea of “1001 nights” was really appealing to me. During a holiday to Egypt I saw a a belly dancer performing and really felt this was something for me! When I read in the newspaper that Majidah was going to teach in my region, I didn’t hesitate for a second and signed up for a trial lesson. My whole life I have been busy with dance: jazz ballet, street dance, ballroom dancing and salsa; but I found my real passion in belly dance.

How would you describe your style?

Cheerful, energetic, and referencing the original style of belly dance. I personally try not to include too many modern influences in my choreos.

You’ve competed in (and won!) several competitions. Why do you enter competitions? 

In order to continue to develop my dance and to keep pushing myself. It’s a great way to see where you stand, and where you could grow further. I registered for this year’s competition as a way to come back to dance after pregnancy. It was like a challenge to get back to my previous level – and I succeeded!

What is your preparation process like when you’re getting ready for a competition?

Greenstone Belly Dance presenteert Flowing Veil - Sluierworkshop voor gevorderden met Asiyah Suad in RotterdamI spend a lot of time looking for the perfect music. When I’ve found the right song, I start creating the choreography by improvising and filming myself, then picking out my favourite bits. For me, just listening and “feeling” the music helps me to improvise and create movements that fit the rhythm nicely. As soon as the choreo is finished, it’s time to perfect it and practice, practice, practice!

What is your favourite belly dance prop to dance with?

Veil and assaya (stick/cane). I started dancing with veil very early on in my belly dance journey, and it’s my favourite because I love the way it flows. It’s a nice way to begin a dance piece. You can really follow and accentuate the different accents and changes in the music. I also like to dance raqs al assaya / saidi, so the cane is my second favourite!

What has been your biggest challenge in dancing with veil, or what has made the biggest difference to your veilwork?

The biggest challenge is to make big movements when dancing with a veil; if you think your movements are big they have to be even bigger for the “wow” effect! My greatest leap in progress in dancing with a veil has been working on my arms, breath, and the concept of rising and falling. These are exactly the topics that will be discussed in my workshop on June 29 in Rotterdam!

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Asiyah is uitgenodigd door Greenstone Bellydance in Rotterdam om op  zaterdag 29 juni een workshop sluierdans te komen geven. Wil je Asiyah beter leren kennen? Hier zijn 6 korte vragen die we haar hebben gesteld!

Want to learn about Asiyah Suad, 2019 Dutch Dance Sports Belly Dance Champion and special guest at our Summer Workshops & Hafla? Click here to read the English version!

Waarom buikdans?

Als tiener trok de hele sfeer van 1001 nacht mij heel erg. Tijdens een vakantie naar Belly Dance Championship 2019Egypte zag ik een optreden van een buikdanseres en vond dit helemaal bij mij passen. Toen ik in het regionale dagblad las dat Majidah les ging geven in de regio twijfelde ik geen seconde en gaf mij op voor de proefles. Ik ben mijn hele leven al bezig met dans, jazzballet, streetdance, stijldansen en salsa dansen.  Maar mijn echte passie had ik gevonden in buikdans.

Hoe beschrijf je jouw style?

Vrolijk, energiek en met oog op de originele dansstijl. Ik probeer niet te veel moderne invloeden in mijn choreo’s op te nemen.

Je hebt aan verschillende wedstrijden meegedaan en gewonnen. Om welke redenen doe je mee aan wedstrijden?

Om mijzelf te blijven ontwikkelen en te blijven pushen doe ik mee aan wedstrijden. Waar sta je, waar zit nog een stukje ontwikkeling. De afgelopen wedstrijd heb ik mij ingeschreven als come back na mijn zwangerschap. De wedstrijd was een stok achter de deur om weer terug op niveau te komen en dat is gelukt.

Hoe bereid je je voor op een wedstrijd?

Er gaat bij mij heel veel tijd zitten in het zoeken naar de perfecte muziek. Als ik het juiste nummer heb gevonden begint het maken van de choreo waarbij ik ga improviseren en dit film, zo kan ik de leuke stukjes eruit pikken. Door goed naar de muziek te luisteren en aan te voelen en vervolgens te improviseren passen de bewegingen mooi op het ritme. Zodra de choreo klaar is, is het tijd om te perfectioneren en oefenen oefenen oefenen.

Wat is je favoriete prop bij het dansen?

Sluier en asaya stok. Sluier ben ik heel vroeg al mee in contact gekomen en is favoriet Greenstone Belly Dance presenteert Flowing Veil - Sluierworkshop voor gevorderden met Asiyah Suad in Rotterdamomdat ik de flow heel mooi vind van een sluier. Het is een mooie manier van intro voor een dansstuk. Met een sluier kan je mooi de accenten en hoogte verschillen van de muziek volgen en accentueren. Ik vind het ook heel leuk om raqs asaya/ saidi te dansen vandaar de stok als tweede favoriet.

Wat is je grootste uitdaging geweest bij het dansen met een sluier, of wat heeft de grootste ontwikkeling gebracht?

De grootste uitdaging is grote bewegingen maken bij het dansen met een sluier, als je denkt dat je bewegingen groot zijn moeten ze nog groter voor het wauw effect. Mijn grootste sprong in vooruitgang in het dansen met sluier zijn mijn armen geweest, ademhaling en het rijzen en dalen. Dit zijn ook precies de topics die aan bod zullen komen in mijn workshop 29 juni in Rotterdam!

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Wow, I’m only just getting my breath back after a busy weekend of training and performing in Paris last week! I had a great time sharing my fusion performance, “Epilogue” on stage, and it was fantastic to spend more time training with Michelle Sorensen again.

However, there are so many more fantastic performances coming up in the next few weeks! Want to catch me dancing? Here’s my current schedule for June. Still a few spaces here and there if you’re looking to book a belly dancer in the Benelux region! 

Saturday June 1: Shabaka: Bellydance Festival 2019
Saturday June 8: Werelds Delfshaven Festival 2019
Sunday June 9: Talent Carnival 2019
Saturday June 15: CologneLive “Climax” Theater Show | “La Noche Oriental”
Saturday June 29: Summer Workshops and Hafla feat. Asiyah Suad!


June Performance Schedule

Wilt u een professionele buikdanseres inhuren voor uw bruiloft of vrijgezellenfeest? Neem dan nu contact op met Greenstone Belly Dance om de perfecte voorstelling voor uw evenement te organiseren!

Do you want to hire a professional belly dancer for your wedding or bachelorette party? Contact Greenstone Belly Dance now to organise the perfect performance for your event!

Siobhan is a professional belly dancer, and the director of Greenstone Belly Dance. She specialises in Egyptian and Modern Fusion styles of belly dance.The first time I performed this piece, I came off stage disappointed with myself.

This piece, “Epilogue,” was meant to be about moving on from the past.

About – one of my favourite phrases, but one that is hard to put into practice – “gently letting go of things not meant for you.” I wasn’t disappointed by my technique, or even by my expression of feeling and emotion on stage. I was disappointed that I finished the piece with a feeling of great sadness and longing, instead of the calm, accepting sort of resolve I had intended and hoped for with the finale.

But then, catharsis and processing was the reason for the creation of this piece in the first place. Not to force emotion or show emotion that isn’t there. But to get to a place where I’m ready to leave some of this behind, on and off the stage.

I know I’m getting there now, after my most recent performance of this piece.

After spending time with this music and contemplating the subject matter and the meaning, I’m feeling it.
Tomorrow night I will be performing “Epilogue” in Paris for one of the last times before I put it in the archives (Ticket information here. Netherlands, you’ll get two more chances to see it live in Rotterdam in June – thanks for the invitation to perform, Shimmy Shake ❤️). And I am grateful for dance, for music, for self-awareness, for support and understanding, and for time, all of which have allowed me to get to a place where I can put this piece in the archives and move on, without forgetting or blocking out all that is in my past.

We are very excited to announce that Siobhan Camille was named the winner of the 7th edition of the Datura Online Belly Dance with her entry for Zaina!

Watch the video of Siobhan’s entry here:

This choreography was created by Henna, a dancer based in Portland, Oregon, who Siobhan has also been lucky enough to study with in person in the past.

Siobhan is delighted to have been able to take part in this competition, and ecstatic to have been selected as the grand prize winner for “Zaina”!

A special thank you to Darin Young Photography for all his work on filming and editing this piece.

It’s that time of year again; the Spring session of belly dance classes are about to start with Greenstone Belly Dance! In the week of May 6, 2019, we’re offering not one, not two, but THREE free chances to come belly dance with us! Will you be joining us?

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Join us in Delft on Monday May 6 at 19:00, and Hillegersberg on Wednesday May 8 at 18:00. We are also offering a very special free class in Crooswijk on Friday May 10 at 19:00, Belly Dance & Prosecco! It’s exactly what it sounds like… Turn up, belly dance, then drink Prosecco – what more could a woman want!? A free glass (or two!) of Prosecco is included for each guest.

Register here, or just turn up on the night! All the details are available on our classes page.

Stride6ft8 Belly Dance and Prosecco hosted by Greenstone Belly Dance. Vrijdag 1 mei 2019, Crooswijk Rotterdam

If you’re a belly dancer, chances are you’ve heard about “Golden Era” style belly dance. But what exactly does “Golden Era” mean? What characterises “Golden Era” Belly Dance, and is it really any different to modern belly dance? Why do so many dancers adore the Golden Era style? It looks so… simple when compared to the modern belly dance stars, right? Well, here’s your chance to learn more about what Golden Era belly dance is, and why there’s so much hype surrounding it!

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When was the Golden Era of Belly Dance?

In our belly dance bubble, we might think of the term Golden Era as referring only to dance. In actual fact, the Golden Era (or Golden Age) refers to a time in the mid 1900’s (around 1940-1960) when Egyptian cinema was booming, with the Egyptian film industry being the third largest in the world in the 1950s.1 However, many movies featured Egyptian dancers who became very popular, in part as a result of their film appearances.  When talking specifically about the dance, we often refer to the Golden Era as being in the 1900s-1960s.

What does Golden Era style belly dance look like?

How long is a piece of string? The truth is, many of the Golden Age belly dancers shared similarities in the way they moved, or the types of music they danced to, but each of these stars of the Golden Age were individuals with their own dance (and life!) histories, and therefore different ways of performing.

Tahia Carioca (like many Egyptian dancer stars at the time) danced in Badia Masabni’s troupe at the Casino Opera,2,3 and reportedly earned her name thanks to practising the Brazilian dance, the karioka, and incorporated latin footwork into her performances.4,5 Naima Akef, on the other hand, came from a circus family, previously working as an acrobat before making her way onto the belly dance scene!5 Undoubtedly, this would have had an influence on the way she performed.

More generally, Golden Era belly dance may be characterised as being “softer” and “rounder” than current belly dance styles – it was rare to see a drum solo performance from these dancers . Although, as Badriyah told me in our recent live Q&A, they did exist! Check out this drum solo performance from Samia Gamal:

Notice; it’s really not performed in the same way we see a modern belly dance drum solo performed! What differences do you see personally?

When watching Golden Era style in general, I also see a difference in the dance posture, with shoulders and arms often far behind the hips to frame the front of the body, and sometimes a posture that almost leans back in contrast to the upright balletic postures that are so often prized now.

During a workshop I took with the lovely Scottish dancer Jen, she also pointed out this tendency by some Golden Era dancers to dance with their hands framing their hips, but instead of their hands and arms being beside the body, they really contracted their shoulder blades and danced with their hands right behind their bodies. You see this really briefly in this video of Tahia Carioca around 0:37 and 0:49 as she is moving with some horizontal hip circles.

In the same video, around 0:20 (as the drum accent hits), she takes an arm position (one arm in front, one above, almost Flamenco-like, which could tie into her Latin dance training!) where you see a rigidity in her upper body. This upper-body rigidity is something I’ve also noticed in videos of Samia Gamal’s dancing (like here). The arms and lower torso are fluid, but there is a tension around the upper part of the torso and shoulders. Again, I think this may be coming from a strong contraction of the muscles between the shoulder blades, which could be also part of what contributes to this feel of an almost backward lean in some of the Golden Era dancers.

Why is my teacher so crazy about Golden Era belly dance?

Well, maybe you should ask her! But I too remember being a baby belly dancer and wondering what the big fuss about Samia Gamal was. I was much more impressed by snappy drum solos, fluid veil work, big Khaleegi hair flips, and dexterous cane handling!

I’ll be honest; after being in belly dance for almost a decade, now is when Golden Era style dance is really speaking to me. I personally have been noticing this total freedom and fluidity in dancers from this era; what baby belly dancer Siobhan used to see as “just the same movements repeated” I’m now seeing as hips with total freedom, the ability to roll and undulate so smoothly in all directions, and this total control around their waists that looks so effortless.

While Golden Era belly dancers still showcased sharp, snappy technique (see Soheri Zaki’s downward diagonal hip drops, or Samia Gamal’s drum solo above, or some of the crazy backbends incorporated by some of the dancers), I believe this feeling of “roundness” that I mentioned earlier comes from the fact that these dancers had just mastered this art form. They really had such control over their hips and bellies and backs (and everything!) that the moved they performed looked like second nature.

I stumbled across this video of Soheir Zaki just a few days ago and was taken away by her hip movements:

I think as we grow on our dance journey, our appreciation for difference branches, ages, and styles of the dance evolves. As we begin to master or understand one area of the dance or our of own technique, we realise there’s another piece of the puzzle we’re missing or another aspect we need to improve on. The more we learn, the more we realise how much we don’t know… 😉

How can I learn more about Golden Era style dance?’

How lucky you are that we live in the age of the internet! There are so many resources out there for us!

TheClassicCaroVan is a Vimeo channel with over a thousand videos of vintage dancers.

Here are a couple of blogs and websites I’ve found useful in my own searches to learn more about Golden Era:

But of course, learning is best put into practice. Seek out good teachers who specialise in this era of Oriental Dance. If there are none in your area, look into online learning, or take workshops or private lessons when you can. Greenstone Belly Dance is very fortunate to be bringing the wonderful Badriyah to Rotterdam, the Netherlands to teach a 3 hour workshop on Golden Era Belly Dance on Saturday the 23rd of March – you can register here to join us!


By Siobhan Camille, Director of Greenstone Belly Dance, a belly dance company currently based in the Netherlands.