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.