Belly Dance Summer School is sold out in Delft and all finished online! However, we’re fundraising for two important causes this August: Movement 4 Black Lives and Vanessa of Cairo’s Artist Relief Fund.

We are offering an open 30 minute fundraiser class on Instagram Live on Wednesday August 26 at 17:00 CEST (5pm Amsterdam/Berlin/Paris). The class will be focused on shimmies, and we’ll dance a short combination!

We welcome you to join us, and consider making a donation to one of the above links. We are also happy to donate on your behalf, and 100% of all proceeds from the fundraiser class will go to the causes (10% of all proceeds from the regular Belly Dance Summer School classes go to the causes).

Join us online via the Greenstone Belly Dance Instagram Page on Wednesday August 26!

Want to hear about future special series and workshops from Siobhan Camille and Greenstone Belly Dance? Subscribe to our (maximum once-monthly) informative newsletter to stay up to date.

This article was originally written for Greenstone Belly Dance Newsletter recipients in June 2019. Want to receive nerdy new belly dance articles as soon as they’re published? Sign up to our semi-regular newsletter!

As belly dancers, it’s important we work on our musicality so we can better understand and interpret the music that we dance to. If we are not from Middle Eastern or North African countries, this can mean spending a bit of extra time getting used to new sounds! Let’s spend some time learning about some rhythms you’ll often hear in belly dance music. 

Masmoudi Saghir (also known as baladi)

4/4 Rhythm: DD TD T

Listen to a sample of this rhythm below:

I prefer to call this rhythm “masmoudi saghir” (“saghir” means “little.” This rhythm is the little masmoudi; there is another rhythm called “masmoudi kabir”, which is the “big” masmoudi, and sounds a bit different). I prefer to use this name instead of ‘baladi,’ because the word baladi actually evokes the image of a particular style of dance.

Baladi means “of the country/land” in Arabic, and there is a music style that is usually improvised called a baladi progression. For belly dancers, the performance style that goes along with this progression is also usually improvisied. A baladi progression may or may not have the masmoudi saghir/baladi rhythm in it. Just hearing the masmoudi saghir/baladi rhythm does not indicate that the song you are listening to is a baladi progression, or that the song is suitable for a baladi-style performance.

Masmoudi saghir is a super common rhythm, so you’ll hear it in a range of styles of music, not just in ‘baladi’ style music. Here’s an example of the masmoudi saghir rhythm in a song, starting at 2:50:

Looking for more resources Maqam world is a great place to learn more about Middle Eastern music! Check out the Maqam World Reference on the masmoudi saghir / baladi rhythm.

Want to learn more about Middle Eastern rhythms? Join our upcoming online Belly Dance Summer School class for our Middle Eastern Rhythm study!

Join us on Wednesday August 5 and 12, 2020, from 18:30-20:00 CEST (Amsterdam timezone; around lunchtime for most of our North American students) for a deep dive into Middle Eastern musical rhythms, and some fun combinations to dance on them! We’ll be covering some of the basic rhythms, as well as some special tricky ones! This mini-series is suitable for belly dancers of all levels. Register and find all the details here.

Learn more about the Malfouf rhythm in another blog post here.

Hi everyone, Greenstone Belly Dance director, Siobhan Camille, here!

I am delighted to share that I came 3rd in the Professional category of the Hamilton International Bellydance Competition 2020, and also received a special Judge’s Designation for Excellence in Stage Presence!

“Backstage” in my home studio waiting to perform at the HIBC Online Results & Celebration Show on Saturday night! #assuitallday

I had a fab time dancing at 1am at the results show on Sunday morning !😂 I stayed up until 3:30am Netherlands time enjoying the other dancers’ performances (and a particular shoutout to some of my Montréal dance friends, Leyana and Layal, I was so happy to see you dance again), and by the time I got into bed here at 4:30 the sun was waking up!

A huge thank you to the judges for their considered, constructive feedback. I highly recommend entering the HIBC to anyone seeking thoughtful advice to further their dance journey. And a big, big thank you to Aziza for encouraging me to enter. 

A massive thanks to Eshe Yildiz. What an amazing, hardworking and caring woman this competition organiser is. I have a new favourite (paraphrased) quote thanks to Eshe: Don’t be afraid to sing your own praises, because every time you do, you’re sticking it to the patriarchy! 

You can find the full video of my award-winning performance on the Greenstone Belly Dance YouTube channel. If you’d like to see my performance from last night (and epic 50 second costume change) head over to the Hamilton International Bellydance Competition Facebook page to watch the recording. It won’t be up for too long!

An extra special thank you to my friends in New Zealand, Germany, the United Stated, and Canada who tuned in to watch me perform live at the results show. I truly appreciate your support.

Siobhan Camille and Greenstone Belly Dance are thrilled to announce that Siobhan Camille is a finalist in the Hamilton International Bellydance Competition 2020!

Siobhan Camille had wanted to enter previously as Aziza highly recommended this particular competition due to the fact that the judges provide constructive, helpful feedback. However, it was always a bit much to enter a competition in Canada while working in Europe! Of course, things had to change this year with COVID-19 and Siobhan Camille finally got her chance to enter their online edition. She was certainly not disappointed and is very grateful for the opportunity to receive tips and pointers from dancers she admires.

Siobhan Camille will be performing at the Results & Celebration Online Ceremony this coming weekend at 7pm EST on Saturday the 27th of June (that’s 1am for us in the Netherlands, CEST!). If you’d like to attend the event and see Siobhan Camille (and all the other finalists!) perform, you can find the information on Facebook here.

You can watch Siobhan Camille’s finalist placing original choreography and performance below!

Dance, like sport, like everything in life, is political. Dabke, the line dance of the Levant, is not only danced in celebratory settings, but also danced in protests. Women who choose to perform raqs sharqi in Egypt are often doing so at the expense of being cut off from their families due to the stigma of being a female performer. Some women in Egypt who are belly dancing for their income do it because they have no other choice, and like most people, don’t have the option to ‘decide’ their social or class status. Many foreign working dancers in Egypt deal with the uncomfortable reality that Egyptians want to hire foreign (read: often white) dancers for their weddings and upscale events. If we are to be informed, responsible oriental dancers, we understand that this dance form is political, and brings different stigmas and rewards in different contexts, countries, and for different people.

I remind you this as a preface to what I’m about to say once again: As dancers and artists participating in an art form that is created and performed by people of colour, I believe it’s especially important for us to show up and condemn racist sentiment of any kind. It’s not enough to be “not racist.” We have to strive to be anti-racist. And as a white dancer like myself, that sometimes means getting uncomfortable, examining our privilege, educating ourselves, and doing whatever we can to support anti-racist organisations and the people who are hurting (money talks, so I’ve got some donation links below if you want to skip there).

All that being said, the black community is hurting right now. I think a lot of us are hurting for them right now. We should be hurting to see others in pain, whether we know and identify with those people or not. If you participated in #blackouttuesday, that’s great. But we’ve got to take action too. You’ll feel better for taking action, as well. It feels good to be kind, I promise.

Here are some ways I’m acting from afar in Europe, and some ways you might choose to act too:

1) Donate

Money talks. If you are based in Netherlands and don’t have a credit card, here are some of the organisations and non-profits I’ve supported this week, so I know you can donate to them with PayPal and/or iDeal

⚫Black Lives Matter:
⚫Detroit Branch NAACP:
⚫Official George Floyd Memorial Fund: (edit; this is indeed one of the ones that requires a credit card, but the other three don’t)
⚫Afrodisiac, The Black Belly Dance Show: If you specifically want to show your support for some of the black dancers in our global community (help them get paid for the art they work hard to bring us!) AND support the charities Movement 4 Black Lives and Live Pura Vida!, treat yourself by watching some of Afrodisiac, The Black Belly Dance Show over on YouTube (only available for 3 more days!) and send a donation their way. Sadira Ladyliquid gives all the donation details in this video aaaaaand you’ll see the opening sha’abi performance from the lovely Basinah!

There are scores more, so feel free to drop links for causes you’re supporting in the comments.

2) Educate Yourself

The big thing here to start with is to listen. It’s pretty much impossible to not learn something about how marginalised people feel right now. I personally have ordered myself a copy of Robin Diangelo’s White Fragility, which has been recommended several times over the years, plus Why I’m no Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge.

3) Speak Out

I haven’t posted heaps on social media this week. I feel like social media ‘activism’ is usually more performative than it is truly activist. I sometimes feel we share things because it feels good to look like good people, rather than because we are actually acting. I know there are a lot of people who have already made their minds up, and it can be frustrating to feel like some people will never act for minorities, or will never care. But share links to donate. If you’re white, have those uncomfortable discussions with your friends and family who don’t understand what’s going on.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I think it’s important that we take the time to educate ourselves on how to be a better, more supportive dance community, and that we stand up for those around us who are subject to racism and prejudice. Sometimes our actions may hurt others unintentionally, but that’s no excuse. We must educate ourselves so that we learn from our mistakes, and we must listen when dancers or people tell us they are being hurt, targeted or misrepresented. And then we have to take responsibility and do our best to grow and become more informed.

Once again: Let’s do what we can to build more compassionate, understanding and empathetic communities