Friday, December 11, 2009

All the Pretty Snakes & Belly Dancers 2010 Calendar

Have you seen the “All the Pretty Snakes & Belly Dancers” 2010 Calendar yet?

It’s awesome – but if you’re at all familiar with Lee Corkett’s excellent photography or Tribal Bazaar’s awesome garments (or any of the gorgeous model/dancers), that will not come as a surprise to you.

And something that looks this good, doesn’t just happen overnight. Lee Corkett, who most of you know operates Weathervane Arts with his wife, Gigi, says work began back in September, when he and Gigi sat down with Paul and Yasemin of Tribal Bazaar to create the twelve scenes. He spent the next three months building the sets.

Meanwhile, Yasemin was working with the models to design the costumes and some of the props. She and Paul also supplied the snakes that appear in the photographs, and contributed the expertise in that area.

“We worked with several different snakes and species, including pythons, anacondas and several kinds of boa constrictors, and coaxed them into the roles they may have played in the portrayed figures’ lives,” Lee says.

There are scenes that represent Medusa, the Garden of Eden, Cleopatra, a market bazaar, a snake charmer, a South American serpent goddess, a Victorian explorer in the South American jungle, and others.

Though many of the scenes look like they were photographed on location, each was built on a set, says Lee, who shot all the photography for the project as well. “None of the scenes are as they look in real life,” he says.

The jungles and gardens were created from a variety of plants and cuttings. The interiors of tents and rooms are sets Lee designed and built. “The bazaar wall, for instance, is an 8-by-16-foot plywood set in my backyard,” he says. “And the ‘statues’ in the Medusa scene are hand-painted, human models with specially hardened and painted clothes on!”

Each shoot took between two and six hours to complete, and the sets took anywhere from four hours to several days to build.

And a great aspect of this calendar is that it promotes the dancers who participated. The calendar includes a bio and contact information for each dancer. Some of the dancers who served as models include Sherri, Khani Zulu, Georgina, Yasemin, Ayse Cerami, Marguerite, Paul Petrescu, Jessica, Olu and Paulina.

Each dancer also will be featured at the Release Hafla set for January 16. “We’re hoping they will channel their calendar character into their performance,” Lee says.

The calendars will be making their debut this weekend at Tribal Fusion Faire in San Luis Obispo. They’ll also make an appearance at a Renaissance Faire next weekend, then at a party in Hollywood sponsored by Khani Zulu of Zulu Tattoo, and the Reptile Supershow on January 9-10.

The calendars, which are $22, also are currently available at these online locations: (including a small slideshow)

And there's even more information here:

The Facebook Fan Page
The Official Blog (where Gigi is posting videos and all kinds of things, keeping the project up to date)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Pics from Sunday's World March for Peace and Non-violence at Merry's

Sarah al Nour organized United We Shimmy, a great belly dance showcase and fundraiser to support the World March for Peace and Non-violence cause, on Sunday at Merry's in Long Beach. I love going to the events at Merry's (very stroller friendly!) and they just get better and better.

In addition to the silent auction and raffle, there was an amazing lineup of dancers and musicians who donated their time and energy to the cause.

Here's a peek at some of them:

Merry welcomes the crowd

Sarah al Nour says hello

The awesome musicians, from left: Craig, Austin Cameron,
Donavon Lerman, Ed Lee, Marc Cornelius

Camille started off the dancing

Mandala Dance Works' first tribal fusion number

Mandala Dance Works' second tribal fusion number
IrinaXara performed an exciting gypsy number
Sooz (who was an excellent mistress of ceremonies
throughout the event) performed with her amazing
ATS troupe, Azuluna

Edenia proved once again she is the pop and lock queen

The awesome Katerina dancing to live music

The Om Sisters join Katerina (or Katerina joins the Om Sisters)
for some tribal improv

JJ and the Habibis raq it out

Rene performed a beautiful Egyptian number

The Om Sisters did themselves up hippy style to close the event
with a tribal fusion piece set to a 1960s medley.
Yes, they are just that awesome.
There were more wonderful dancers, but I didn't get a chance to snap their picture cuz I was starting my Christmas shopping early, buying raffle tickets, getting a henna tattoo (see below) and just generally socializing while trying to keep a sleepy baby quiet.
For more (and better!) pics, though, you should check out what Richard Lowe has over here.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My henna tattoo

At the World Peace March event at Merry's on Sunday, I treated myself to a henna tattoo. Isn't it awesomely amazing? Thank you, I thought so, too :-)

It was done by magnificent mehndi artist Monica. She's crazy good, so you should check out her Web site:

I'll post my pics of some of the dancers and musicians who performed at the fundraising event (and, yes, there were many wonderful performers!) a little later in the week.

I know, it's taking me forever to get anything on this blog lately. I'm still getting about five hours of sleep a night -- and those are not even consecutive hours. It's so much fun being a new mom...

More later -- I promise...

Monday, November 30, 2009

Winter Bellydance Benefit Concert

Don't miss an amazing belly dance concert presented by Tina Enheduanna tomorrow night to benefit my favorite charity -- Women for Women International.

(You can read why it's my favorite charity here)

These concerts will feature Tina and many of her students, along with special guests Miranda & Mirror for Moonlight, Lilla Varese and the Lilla Varese Dance Company, and Deniz of London. There will be two showings: 6 to 7:30 p.m. and 8 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 at the door, and are good for both performances. The event will be held at the Laguna Hills Community Center, 25555 Alicia Parkway, Laguna Hills.

Click on the flier to see a magnified version, or call 949-842-5989 for more information.

I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Photos from Merry's Halloween Hafla

What a great, great event at Merry's on Saturday. So many wonderful dancers, so much wonderful music. And I think the crowd that gathered on the street to watch the festivities might've set a record for Merry's.

Thank you, Katerina and Merry, for putting together such a terrific Halloween Hafla.

The musicians, from left, Austin Cameron and Ed Lee, and from Kara Nomadica Brett Bowman and Marc Cornelius

The coordinator of the evening, Katerina, led the lineup of dancers.

Ra'eesa (otherwise known as science fiction/fantasy author Leslie Ann Moore) performed a rousing cane dance.

The Om Sisters added some Halloween flair to their tribal fusion.

The members of Troupe Bastet sparkled during their cabaret number.

Tehani performed a belly dance / hula / hip hop fusion piece.

Stasiah lit up the crowd with her balancing act, followed by an energetic Gypsy piece.
We got to see Katerina perform again with her Kabuki Dolls tribal fusion group.

And the star attraction for the night was master instructor and internationally acclaimed performer Fahtiem -- what an amazing opportunity to see this amazing dancer in such a fun and intimate setting.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Update on the Halloween Hafla at Merry's

You aren't going to miss tomorrow's Halloween Hafla at Merry's Fashion with Passion boutique in Long Beach, are you? I didn't think so :-)

And the lineup has grown since my last post (as lineups tend to do...)

Here's the latest:

Sarah al Nour
Om Sisters
Troupe Bastet
Kabuki Dolls
and very special guest Fahtiem

And you won't want to miss the Middle Eastern music by Marc Cornelius and Brett Bowan of Kara Nomadica, along with guest musicians Ed Lee and my husband, Austin.

The event will take place from about 5 to about 8, at Merry's (2747 E. Broadway, Long Beach). The music and dancing will get underway about 5:30, and you can bet they'll be drawing a crowd. You should plan to arrive early to avoid the parking crunch and to be sure to get a good spot to see the entertainment...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Where are the O.C. belly dance events?

I've been bad, I know... It's been way, way, WAY too long since I've updated the events calendar. I've finally gotten around to it, though, but I can't find any Orange County events!?

Only out of county stuff...

So if you know of something in O.C., please let me know either by leaving a message in the comments section or dropping me a note at deanna AT deannacameron DOT com.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Merry's Halloween Hafla on Oct. 24

Mark your calendar: Merry's Fashion with Passion boutique in Long Beach will be hosting a Halloween Hafla on Saturday, Oct. 24.

Coordinated by Katerina, the event will feature live Middle Eastern music by Marc Cornelius and Brett Bowan of Kara Nomadica, along with other special guests.

And, of course there will be some outstanding dancing. Here's the lineup:

*Om Sisters
*Sarah al Nour
*Ra'eesa (who in her other life is the talented writer Leslie Ann Moore, author of the Griffin's Daughter Trilogy)
*Katerina and the Kabuki Dolls

... and (drum roll, please)

* a special guest performance by master performer and instructor Fahtiem.

The event will take place from about 5 to about 8, and you can find Merry's at 2747 E. Broadway, Long Beach. (You can't miss it -- Henry the camel is always out front.)

Yeah, you can't miss this one. I know I won't.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Dark Fusion Bellydance -- The Ascend Tribal Dance Format with Sashi DVD

Okay, I'm going to confess something: While I've been spending much of my time lately talking about bellly dancing and celebrating belly dancing because of my novel, I haven't actually belly danced since, well, before my daughter was born in May. Scandalous, isn't it?

This is one of the few times in the past 20 years when I'm not in a class, I'm not part of a troupe, and I haven't even watched one of the dozen or so belly dance DVDs I own.

Until last night, that is.

"Dark Fusion Bellydance -- The Ascend Tribal Dance Format, with Sashi" has been sitting on my desk since July. Every time I looked at it, I've made a silent promise to myself to give it a go when I'm not feeling so tired (with an infant in the house, sleep is scarce) or when I'm not feeling so out of shape.

Well, last night I finaly stopped procrastinating and slid it into the DVD player.

Instantly, I remembered all over again why I love this lady's classes.

Not only is the production quality top-notch (great sets, perfect sound levels, professional camera work), Sashi has organized the material to make it all very easy to use and access quickly. The DVD begins with her warm-up sequence, including dynamic stretches and yoga, to get your muscles ready for a work out.

Next up is a segment explaining the terms common to tribal fusion belly dance, and I had to smile when she covered her method for keeping her students in proper posture because it was one of my favorite parts of the class I took from her awhile back. She calls out "knees," students respond "bent"; she calls out "pelvis," students respond "tucked"; she calls out "shoulders," students respond "rolled"; she calls out "chest," students respond "lifted"; she calls out "Lookin'," and students respond "hot" -- now, how could that not make you smile?

Then Sashi proceeds with moves that will be familiar to most belly dancers -- hip drops, hip slides, pelvic tucks, vertical figure eights, hip rotations, three-quarter shimmies, chest slides, chest lifts, chest drops, shoulder rolls, chest circles, camels -- yet she imbues each with an attitude that is uniquely her own. Then she moves on to moves that are signatures of the Ascend Tribal Bellydance Format. Moves with names like Lolita Arms, Ophelia Arms, the Tribal Sigh, Predator Arms, Invocation Arms, Embracing Arms, Enticing Arms, Conjuring Arms, Kitty Foot, Pinup Foot, the Raven, the Seraphim, Chest Triad, and the Industrial.

After each move is described and broken down (and Sashi is very good at articulating exactly what the body should be doing), she demonstrates it to music, making it very easy for a dancer at home to pause, rewind and watch again and again until the move is mastered before moving on to the next.

Then she presents four Ascend Signature Combos: the Mean Carrie (I'm guessing at the spelling here...), the Nice Carrie, Wishful Thinking (I love the name of this one), and the Lolita Combo.

That wraps up the instructional portion of the DVD, but there's still more. Viewers are treated to a dramatic performance by Sashi in her full Gothic Tribal Bellydance regalia, and you'll be able to identify many -- if not all -- of the moves she's covered in her instruction and see how wonderful and expressive they are when executed well.

And then there is a great interview with Sashi that really shouldn't be missed. Not only will you have an opportunity to hear from Sashi about how she became a dancer, and specifically a belly dancer, as well as her philosophy on the dance, you might be amazed to learn that when she was a teen, Sashi experienced a medical condition that left her temporarily comatose and then paralyzed from the neck down for two and a half months. I know I was.

"I wasn't expected live, let alone walk," she says. "I had to learn to walk again." This revelation left me dumbfounded. I can only imagine the determination and hard work it took to get from learning to walk again to the wonderful, exquisite dancer she is today. And it turns out, dancing actually helped her rehabilitation. "It taught me how to reeducate my body," she says. "I found a different way to get my brain to figure out how to make my body move."

I found that to be such an incredible and inspiring message. Humbling, too. How embarrassed I suddenly was for all the times I told myself I couldn't dance because I was tired and still had too many pregnancy pounds... Sashi's story really helped me put that in perspective.

For that, I owe you a big thank you, my friend :-)

Here's a peek at "Dark Fusion Bellydance -- The Ascend Tribal Dance Format with Sashi":

For more information, including how to order, visit Sashi's Web site at

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Another great review...

This time from the lovely Bonita Oteri at Gilded Serpent.

Here's an excerpt:

" DeAnna Cameron deftly peels back the layers of Gay Nineties society and affords a richly descriptive and fascinating glimpse into the life, times and giddy excitement of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. ... The overall carnival excitement, curiosity and wonder of the Chicago Fair visitors is infectious. The pages teem with the unbridled enthusiasm and hope of our still young, shiny and new pioneer nation."

To read the full review, click here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

More photos from the Laguna Beach book signing and belly dance showcase

The O.C. Register photographer who attended the book signing and belly dance showcase at Laguna Beach Books on Sept. 4 put 17 of her photos together in a slideshow on the newspaper's Web site.

You can check them out here:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Giving THE BELLY DANCER away...

If you'd like to toss your name in the hat for one of a few free signed books, head over to Goodreads. The contest closes on Oct. 8.

Here's the link:

The books are arranged by contest close date, so scroll down till you see October 8.

The Belly DancerThe Belly Dancer
reviews: 10
ratings: 63 (avg rating 3.83)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Recap of Friday's belly dance showcase and booksigning

Friday was one of the hottest (and most humid!) days of the year here in Orange County, but the Cameron clan had a very cool time at the booksigning and belly dance showcase that Laguna Beach Books hosted for us.

The event took place on The Old Pottery Place's brick terrace overlooking Coast Highway and the beautiful Pacific Ocean, with the lovely Danielle Bauter starting things off. After her introduction, I gave a short reading of THE BELLY DANCER and then the real fun began with live Middle Eastern drumming and lots and lots of belly dancing.

I was thrilled that so many friends came out for the event, especially Diane and Mara (who also danced!) who took great care of my little belly dancer while I manned the microphone and signed books, and my multi-tasking husband managed the sound system and drummed.

Here's a peek at the evening:

The darling Taide was our first dancer for the evening

Irma Garcia followed with a great tribal fusion pieceThen it was IrinaXara, who adds a touch of Gothic flair to her tribal fusion performanceAnd then the always spectacular Sooz and troupe Azuluna, with special guest Soy, performed traditional American Tribal Style as the sun started to set Sherrie followed with a sassy tribal fusion solo
Then Mara dazzled the crowd with her awesome Egyptian cabaret style
And Shanna, who came all the way from L.A., followed with another awesome Egyptian cabaret number
And Ninyshenka wowed us with her graceful dancing Next up was Tivka, who danced to a lively Middle Eastern number
And then JJ & the Habibis, a local Laguna Beach favorite, ended the night with a big troupe number

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Belly Dance Showcase and Booksigning at Laguna Beach Books on Friday

Oh, I'm getting excited about tomorrow's belly dance showcase and booksigning at Laguna Beach Books! This is going to be a great way to kick off Labor Day Weekend!

Here's the lineup so far:

Sooz & troupe Azuluna
JJ & the Habibis

and I'm *thisclose* to adding even more special guests!

We're also very happy that drummer Ed Lee will be joining us, along with his drumming friends (including my darling husband, Austin Cameron -- who will also be running the sound system for us. Yay!)

So, if you're planning to be in Laguna on Friday evening and would like to check out some great belly dancing, come by! We'll be on the brick terrace between the Laguna Beach Books and Sapphire Laguna restaurant. Come early to grab a seat on one of the benches or at the bistro tables, or just to enjoy the beautiful ocean view!

Here are the details:

WHAT: Belly Dance Showcase & Booksigning for THE BELLY DANCER, by me (DeAnna Cameron)
WHERE: Laguna Beach Books, 1200 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach. In The Old Pottery Place shopping center.
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4
COST: It's free!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My new project: a listing for national belly dance festivals

One of my projects over the next few months will be putting together a list of belly dance festivals that take place across the United States. I'm focusing on events that happen annually and which include performances, vending and workshops.

You can see the beginnings of the list here:

I've already contacted many belly dancers to try to make the listing as complete as possible, and I have many, many events still to include.

If you want to be sure your festival is included, please leave information in the comments section or email me directly at deanna AT deannacameron DOT com.