Tuesday, November 30, 2010

And the November Contest winner is...

Are you in the holiday spirit yet? The weather here has been cold and windy, just perfect for cozying up with the laptop. It's been great for writing, which is a good thing since my book deadline is coming up fast.

It's always fun, though, to take some time out of the writing day to pick a contest winner. This time we're giving away the awesome THE ART OF BELLYDANCE CD from Bellydance Superstars. We had about 65 entries this time around, and thank you to everyone who took time to play along. This winner was chosen, as usual, by my ever-helpful assistant. She was so excited to pick the winner, she nearly jumped out of the frame altogether. See:

And the winner is:

Taliba Lafleur


Taliba, I'll be sending you an email message in the next couple of minutes to get your mailing address.

To everyone else, thank you for playing! I'll be posting a new contest soon, so please check back to http://www.deannacameron.com/ to see what's up for grabs.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, November 1, 2010

November Giveaway

The holidays are coming, isn't that a great reason for a contest? I thought so, too! To get in the spirit of the season, I'm giving away the "The Art of Bellydance" CD. It features some amazing musicians, including master drummer Issam Houshan, Oojami, Beats Antique, Galactic Caravan, and many more.

To enter the contest, click over to http://www.deannacameron.com/. I'll select a winner at random at noon (PT) on Tuesday, November 30.

Good luck!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Belly Dancer Spotlight: Mia Sha'uri

Few dancers have made a mark on the belly dance world as quickly as Mia Sha’uri. The vivacious 22-year-old dancer who was born, raised and lives in Puerto Rico’s capital city, San Juan, was named Belly Dancer of the Year on May 30 at the San Ramon Performing Arts, but that is just the latest in a string of honors that includes the People’s Choice Award for solo cabaret professional in 2008 and 2009, and Belly Dancer of the Universe for 2008.

In addition to majoring in chemistry at the University of Puerto Rico’ Rio Piedras campus, Sha’uri is busy these days performing and teaching workshops worldwide, but she took some time out of her hectic schedule to answer a few questions to let us get to know her a little better.

How did you first get introduced to belly dancing?
In 2002, my uncle and his wife came to visit from California, and we all went to an Arabic restaurant here called El Cairo. There was a belly dancer there, and in the middle of her show she asked me to dance with her. I enjoyed it so much! After her show she gave me her business card, and that was that!

Who have your belly dance teachers been?
I've had the pleasure of taking lessons from quite a few teachers, and I've been able to get at least one solid lesson from each of them, but here are the ones that have truly inspired my growth as a dancer:
Yashira Yamilet: My first teacher, she gave me history, music and very good basic technique to work with.
Mohammed Kazafy: Beautiful orientale and folkloric moves and a clear and generous, yet firm teaching style. He shared plenty of advice and life experiences with me. His conversations have been enlightening and his classes and performances quite inspiring!
Karen Barbee & Horacio and Beata Cifuentes: They are amazing technicians, and I want to be just like them! I love the detail and complexity!
Helena Vlahos: I always admired her excellent zill work. I just could not keep up with her! (Not to mention her belly rolls!) Sahra Saeeda: She is like an encyclopedia! I love to talk to her and learn about everything! I hope to someday reach her level of expertise.
Aziza: Ethics and what to carry in your dance bag. Also, she taught me to flutter my tummy, which is awesome.

When and where was your first belly dance performance?
Officially, the first was my Arabian Fantasy graduation. However, my first completely public performance was in Pasha restaurant sometime in the second half of 2002, before Christmastime. I remember running back and forth, through the kitchen, between the restaurant and the basement. It was a completely new and exciting experience that I'll never forget.

What is your practice regimen?
During the semester, I study and work full time, so it's not so easy to take time to practice. I have two ballet classes a week, and I practice with Arabian Fantasy (the dance company I belong to) on Sundays for five hours or so.

What has been your most memorable performance so far?
I think it was the finals at Belly Dancer of the Universe in 2008. I was so nervous right before going on, but at the same time, I felt so incredibly happy to be able to do what I love (and with live musicians!). The combination of nerves and live music made it the most memorable experience I've had so far.

What is your favorite style of belly dance?
Honestly, I like them all, though I do tend to use styles that have captured my attention most recently. My tastes are quite capricious. What really excites me is to borrow a little from a variety of styles and see what I can come up with. I am happy to say that some people whose talents and opinions I greatly respect seemed to have noticed what I try to do. Watch sometime and you decide!

Do you have favorite belly dance music?
I can't say that I do. I try to select different kinds of music to match whatever style I might fancy in the given moment, so I guess it depends on that.

Who are your belly dance heroes?
I still have to find out more about many dancers' personal history. There are a few dancers I admire and hold in high esteem, but a hero, my hero, I've yet to encounter. I do greatly admire Jamilah Salimpour for all she's done for the bellydancing community, such as the structured classes with different classifications, as well as the fact that she continued dancing although she had to hide her performances for many years because of social pressures.

What is it about belly dance that continues to attract you?
You can express so much through this dance. The music, costume, range of movement, and facial expressions give a belly dance performance such a texture that can hardly be reproduced in any other form. For me it is the ultimate vehicle in self-expression, and that's what makes it so enthralling. It is never a stoic art; it changes and matures as you do. It's a life-long relationship.

Do you teach?
I teach a few classes a week at School for the Performing Arts in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. I've been blessed enough to be sought after for some workshop instruction throughout the United States, Central America and Europe. I also give private lessons in my local area.

If you could give one piece of advice to a new dancer, what would you tell her?
Patience and humility in dealing with people, be they potential clients, teachers, or peers. Practice, practice, practice. Obsess over every movement. Give thought to every detail. If it was all easy, it wouldn't be worth it. Finally, know that you never stop learning. The worst belly dancers are the ones that think they know it all.

What’s in your belly dance future?
I hope to continue dancing for the rest of my life. I would like to at least keep it as a hobby, but if I'm able to make a career out of what I love most I would consider myself blessed. All I know is that I cannot imagine a life in which belly dance does not play a large part.

For more about Mia Sha’uri, or to get updates on her workshops and performances, visit http://www.stellaradvantage.com/miashauri.html.

Photo information:
First photo via Belly Dancer of the Year
Second photo via Isis and the Star Dancers
Third photo via Isis and the Star Dancers

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I love Chasing Mummies

Have you been watching this show on History Channel? A Hollywood film crew follows Dr. Zahi Hawass, Egypt's chief of antiquities, and his team of college interns (fellow, whatever). Sure, the coeds and the production crew -- which ends up on screen and part of the narrative more than any other reality show I've seen -- often come off as naive and oblivious to the profound opportunity they have been given. And Hawass, well, he has a hot temper, a short fuse and will not hesistate to tear into someone who has irritated him. But you know what? When he lashes out at people, for the most part, they deserve it. (A girl relieved herself in the Great Pyramid. C'mon, who wouldn't go ballistic?) Frankly, I'm happy to know the antiquities have such a fierce defender on their side.
So, already this season, the group has journeyed into the Great Pyramid and the Step Pyramid, found what Hawass believes to be the remains of Queen Sesheshet, and been rescued by Bedouins in the White Desert. Whew! This week they'll be focusing on raising a piece of a shrine to Cleopatra in the Alexandrian harbor. Awesome!

Check out the show's website here: http://www.history.com/shows/chasing-mummies

And here's the official show promo:

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Katerina's BDay Bash at Merry's

A great crowd gathered at Merry's Fashion with Passion boutique to help Katerina celebrate her birthday. Here are a few pics of the scene:

Saf Mavi (from right, Marc Cornelius, Roy, Ed Lee and Craig) with guest musician, master drummer Donavon Lerman
Reina started things off with her fun cabaret number

Hiromi performed a lovely gypsy routine

Hatari Uzuri (gorgeous dancer and gorgeous Melodia dance pants!)

And our hostess, Katerina, with her Kabuki Dolls.

Here's a video of their performance:

Katerina and the Kabuki Dolls from DeAnna Cameron on Vimeo.

That's it for now...
gotta get to belly dance class :-)

Friday, July 30, 2010

And the July contest winner is ...

This has been such a fun contest. First, I'd like to say I really appreciate all the kind notes people sent along with their entries, both from those who have read "The Belly Dancer" and others who plan to. And it's no surprise there were a lot of entries -- 102, in fact. Those lovely dancers from Bellydance Superstars draw a crowd wherever they go, don't they? I admire these ladies so much for elevating the dance form and helping it break into the mainstream. I'm thrilled to be giving away their Solos from Monte Carlo DVD, along with the belly dance starter pack.

Anyway, let's get down to business. The winner, as usual, was selected by my charming assistant. It's such a pretty day outside, she even dressed up in her summertime best for the occasion. See:

And the winner is:

Melissa Loomis

(Congrats, congrats!!!)

Melissa, I'll be sending you an email message in the next couple of minutes to get your mailing address.

To everyone else, thank you for playing! I'll be posting a new contest soon, so please check back to http://www.deannacameron.com/ to see what's up for grabs.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Anniversary Giveaway

Can you believe it's been a year since The Belly Dancer hit bookstore shelves? Me, neither! But what an amazing year it has been!

To celebrate the big day, I'm giving away the "Bellydance Superstars Solos from Monte Carlo," which is one of my favorite performance videos. It features some terrifically talented dancers, including Rachel Brice, Jillina, and Sonia (posing on the cover), as well as Adore, Bozenka, Amar Gamal, Petite Jamilla, Sharon Kihara and Saida. Of course there are great musicians, too: Issam Houshan on drum and Nabil Khalidi on the oud.

And, as an added bonus, I'm also including the cute little Art of Belly Dancing starter pack. It includes a pair of finger cymbals, adhesive jewels, and a 32-page primer.

To enter the contest, click over to http://www.deannacameron.com/. I'll select a winner at random at noon (PDT) on Friday, July 30.

Good luck!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Belly Dancing Duo on America's Got Talent

Belly dancers Kaya and Sadie did an awesome synchronized drum solo on "America's Got Talent" on Wednesday night and are moving on to the finals in Vegas.

Go, ladies, go!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Heading to Morocco, virtually ...

I just discovered this amazing blog: The House in Marrakesh

The photos are so beautiful, and I'm finding myself returning again and again. If you're like me and don't have any exotic travels on the horizon, they might satisfy your travel bug, too.

Monday, June 21, 2010

And the June Contest winner is...

Thank you to the 200-plus people who entered the contest for the new, jingly yellow hip scarf. As always, the winner was selected by my highly official and incorruptable assistant. It was tricky this time -- Sesame Street was on and she just can't get enough of Elmo.

And the winner is:

Dana Packer


Congratulations, Dana! I'll be sending you an email message in the next couple of minutes to get your mailing address.

To everyone else, thank you for playing! I'll be posting a new contest soon, so please check back to http://www.deannacameron.com/ to see what's up for grabs.

Happy Monday!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Introducing: Orange County Tribal Bellydance Jams in Fullerton

One of the beautiful things about American Tribal Style dance is that once you learn the moves, you can dance with anyone else who knows the moves. It's a terrific concept, but in reality the opportunities to come together and dance with others outside of a classroom have been pretty limited in Orange County.

But local dancers IrinaXara and Tribal Cyn have a solution. They're holding Orange County Tribal Bellydance Jams for ATS dancers from 8:45 to 10 every Monday night at American Martial Arts Academy (says "Karate and Fitness Academy" on the sign and it's at 1027 N. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton).

"It's different from a class because although there is something of a 'movement review' for the first 15-20 minutes of each jam, the objective here is to simply dance ATS and to bring together tribal style dancers from different areas, not to teach or drill moves, necessarily," says IrinaXara. "It's also to expand the O.C. tribal scene. We do hope to at some point offer full classes, but right now we are more interested in establishing a space for formative tribal dancers to get some more dance experience, network, interact with each other and just get extra practice."

Anyone who has completed at least one session of Level 1 FCBD ATS is invited, and the price is just $10 per jam, per student.

Here's what they say about clothing: "Please wear comfortable dance pants and a form-fitting top or choli. Ethnic skirts and tassel belts are encouraged but please steer clear of hipwear that may shed or drop beads/coins on the floor. Please, no coin scarves. Dance shoes are optional. Water and energy bars are ok, but please no messy food items. Bring your zills/sagat/finger cymbals!"

For more information, email IrinaXara at irinaxara@gmail.com or Tribal Cyn at wildrose908@aol.com.

Photo: Azuluna's set at the O.C. Belly Dance Festival in October 2008.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Cairo Caravan 2010 Recap

Oh, Saturday at Cairo Caravan was awesome. So much shopping, so many great performances. Wow. There were so many stairs, too -- but there's no getting around that when you have an event in the three-story event space at the Queen Mary in Long Beach. Here were some of the highlights for me:

The main floor

Oh-so pretty costumes at the Turquoise International table

This year MECDA introduced this film & lecture space. I wish I could've spent more time here -- it's such great idea.

The lovely lady in red is Joni and she runs An Added Touch, a belly dancing supplies company based in San Diego. I found some pretty-pretties here. :-)

The Left Coast Trading booth -- found a great pair of pants here (same ones worn by the hanging mannequin)

And here's Alane buying her own pair of pants (yes, we'll match!) from Herb of Left Coast Trading.

Aren't these gloves from Calamitous Costuming pretty? I'm saving up for a pair.

How cool is this outfit? It's from Firefly (see the banner in the background?)

A very cool sign at the Melodia booth.

And another one.

And another one.

Tribal Bazar -- oh I've spent so much time browsing (and buying) from this wonderful retailer.

The young dancerd and drummers from Roz & Dancing Sands of Ontario.

Tracy opened the Mandala Danceworks set with a solo that was amazing.
The 11 dancers who performed for Mandala Danceworks are a very talented bunch. They really rocked the whole Gothic fusion belly dance thing.

Sabrina of La Habra always puts on a great show.
And speaking of show -- this was how Valentina and the Hoop Unit's performance began.
And this is why they're called the "hoop" unit!
It was such a great show and a very tough act to follow, but then...
Troupe Zaghareet came out to perform this crazy good belly dance adaptation of "Through the Looking Glass." The belly dancing was really good, but judging by the roar of the crowd, the street dancing by the Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum (the guys in purple and black striped shirts) stole the show.
The lovely Leela with Alane, who is modeling her new purchase -- the fabulous fairy Leela tank.
And let me tell you, Leela knows how to entertain a crowd. Check this out: She and her troupe -- Salome Jihad -- started with this Bollywood-inspired number, did a quick costume change for...
this fun-fun-fun version Michael Jackson's "Thriller." Did another costume change for...
This snazzy number to Black Eyed Peas "Boom Boom Pow" (I think that's the name of it anyway...)
Then, another costume change for ...
This number set to "Chicago's" thoroughly entertaining "He Had It Coming."
And then, yup, another costume change for ...
this number from the Chorus Line. Wow. How did they end, you ask? By pouring bubbly into Dixie cups for the audience. I think the bubbly was sparkling apple cider, but I didn't have any so you can think what you like ;)
So that would be a very tough act to follow, wouldn't it? But these ladies -- Troupe Amara of Midnight Mirage from Farmington Utah -- did an excellent job. But then, would you expect anything less from this award-winning group?
And then, as if you needed more proof that these performances were hot, they set off the fire alarm! Everyone had to evacuate so officials could figure out what set off the fire alarm. Crazy huh?
Some of my lovely finds...
And one more. I love this necklace! I even wore it to dance class the next day.
For much better event photos, check out these sites.

(They aren't up yet, but they will be soon!)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Cairo Caravan 2010

Oooooh, it's almost here.... :-)

For more info, visit www.mecda.org/cairo.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Celebrating 117 years of American belly dance with a giveaway

The summer of 1893 was an important one for American belly dance. While the Egyptian belly dancers were scandalizing the crowds at the Chicago World's Fair with their shimmies and hip drops, they were also introducing a generation of women to this exciting dance form.

And it seems belly dance has never been more popular than it is today. Not only can you find festivals dedicated to its art, history and practice in most major cities, belly dance classes can now be found alongside ballet, tap and jazz in many colleges and community dance programs. Imagine what those prim and proper Board of Lady Managers would say about that!

So, in honor of that momentous occasion 117 years ago, I'm giving away a cheery yellow hip scarf that's perfect for summertime!

To enter the contest, visit my website at http://www.deannacameron.com/ and follow the contest link.

I'll be choosing a name at random on Monday, June 21. There are more details on the contest page.

Good luck!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Belly dancing invades the Scottish games...

This weekend at ScotsFest -- the annual Scottish games event at the Orange County fairgrounds in Costa Mesa -- there were no less than three vendors selling belly dance hip scarves. Celtic belly dancers -- how awesome is that!