Archive for February 20, 2015

Feb 2015 – All About the Love

“Dare to love yourself as if you were a rainbow with gold at both ends.” – Aberjhani


Thanks to all who came out to dance and support dancers this past Saturday at the Anti-Valentine Hafla, hosted by the wonderful Angie Mitchell.  This Hafla (belly dance party) was anything but “Anti-“, filled with captivating, original performances by students and professionals alike, and a fantastic, responsive audience sharing our love of the dance.  I was thrilled to finally perform my “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Firiend” piece before so many friendly faces, and it was a big hit.  (If you haven’t gotten a chance yet, you can find my special “Making of…” article here.

Looking for something fun to do for Valentine’s Day tomorrow night?  I will be performing at Tamarind Savoring India, 2101 Greentree Road, 15220 Saturday Feb 14 6:30-9:30 p.m. Enjoy live middle eastern music by Rich Ermlick and Harvey, and bellydance by Husna, Amythest and myself while sampling delicious Indian food.  No reservations needed!  Bring a date, a friend, or your family.

Cold weather have you down?  Research has shown that regular exercise and spending time with friends can help ease those winter blues.  Do both by grabbing a friend and joining me on Tuesdays at 4:45 for belly dance fitness at CMU’s University Center.   If toning muscle is more your goal, my Fox Chapel body sculpt classes are starting again soon, as well.  Register at, or for more info.

Notice something NEW this month?  I spent some time getting to know your names a little better, editing your profile in my list so that I could address you a little more personally.  If I spelled your first name wrong,  your greeting still says, “friend” or you have a different preference, you can edit your Subscriber Preferences by clicking the Mail Chimp link below.

Hope to see you dancing soon!


The Making of “Diamonds…”

Morgiana dancing with finished fans

Finished piece! Performed  Feb 7, 2015 (photo thanks to Robert Metil)

I’m very excited to be presenting a new piece at the upcoming Anti-Valentine Hafla, Feb. 7 2015, to Marilyn Monroe’s iconic “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend”.  Other than dancing to a great song, what thrills me most is getting the chance to not just perform, but really design the piece from scratch. Here’s a sneak preview of what has been going on:

The Music
I listened to a LOT of different versions of the song; from Marilyn to Eartha Kitt, from Moulin Rouge and Burlesque to a lesser known bollywood remix.  I wanted something with a good rhythm, upbeat but sensual, and a really memorable ending.  I ended up choosing the original Marilyn version, from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.  It had two out of three, and so the challenge of practicing with music that had no real “backbeat” began.

The Dance
I started playing with the song about a month ago, using practice fans.  There was a lot of figuring out how best to use them, when to snap them open or closed, and working in a variety of moves without the fans distracting from the actual dancing.  I looked at clips from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, as well as work of other belly dancers for inspiration.  I wanted to not just dance to the music, but really capture the lyrics and heart of the song.

The Fans
Like most performers who make their livings performing, I didn’t have a lot to spend on props for this. So I put my propping skills to the test.  I found a pair of cheap fan veils on Amazon, and made one of them into a left hand fan by switching the ribs around.  Then I trimmed off the excess veil (some of which I would later use as a hip wrap) and added some lovely silver lame that I found in the scrap bins at work.

pink fan with silver detail

Cheated, using painter’s tape to secure the silver fabric before sewing. Lame is very hard to pin to chiffon!

Then I blinged them out, using some pretty chandelier beads to hide my seams, and adding in some gems. I had to be careful not to go overboard or use too much glue, as that effects the flutter of the fan as well as how well it opens and closes.  I finished with a dry brush of silver on the ribbing.

Pink and silver fans with gems.

Finished fans, ready for dance.

The Jewels
As gems go, I must admit I am much more of a pearl girl than a diamond diva.  To paraphrase Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, “Oh, I think diamonds are devine, on older women, but not so much for me…don’t you agree?”  As such, I didn’t have much in the outright bling department, and again, didn’t have a whole lot to spend.  Back to prop skills.  I found a great pair of earrings on clearance at Target and married the posts with a broken pair I already had.  Then I took the leftover bits and worked them into a choker with a few pearls and a little gold.  Perfect!IMG_20150201_160314


Now, back to practicing!