Something new this Friday at Joolz: Learn to Bellydance!

Poster for First Friday Lesson at JoolzKamilia Bellydance will be offering a mini-lesson during the January 6, First Friday Art Walk in downtown Bend.

Join us at Joolz starting at 4 PM for a half-hour lesson, followed by nibbles and a drink for $40.

Call 541.388.5094 to reserve your spot.  Space is limited!

Put your new dance moves into practice after the lesson or just enjoy the show as Kamilia Bellydance performs to live music as part of the First Friday artwalk festivities!

What makes you an artist?

Artist StatementI came across this on the web the other day and it gave me pause.  What makes an artist an artist?  By definition (Webster’s) an artist is someone who ‘professes and practices an imaginative art’ or ‘a skilled performer.’   It can also mean ‘one who is adept at something.’  These definitions deserve consideration.  As dancers, are we artists because we are imaginative and creative beings, or does it take more…the honing of skills over time, combined with our creativity, before we are truly artists?  We are all creative beings.  Does that make us all artists?

In some respects, I would say yes.  There is an artist in each of us and that part of us deserves to be nurtured and expressed.  But to publicly call and market oneself as an artist requires more (which is why I am considering this question to begin with.) Do I qualify as an artist?  Creative type, yes.  Experienced, indeed.  Professional…ARTIST…maybe.  Let’s just say I’m working on it.

You see, I think a professional artist is someone who connects to others emotionally through their art.  You catch their attention, through sound, shape, form, color, words, rhythm, or movement and touch an emotion within them.  You connect with that emotion inside of them and draw it to the surface.  Not everyone can do this.  I’m not sure it can even be learned.  But I’m exploring.  Hoping.  And continuing to grow both technically and emotionally.  Growing and evolving into what I hope will one day be called “artist.”

Belly Dance fun in Bend’s Summer Sun

Raksafara at the 2010 HDBG Summer Showcase. Photo: Nils Eddy

Looking for something fun to do this weekend?  Join the High Desert Bellydance Guild on Sunday, July 31st for their annual Summer Showcase.

The High Desert Bellydance Guild is putting on its annual Summer Showcase at Riverfront Plaza (aka Mirror Pond Plaza), Drake Park. The event is free and open to the public. Drum lessons with Dave Goodman from 4:00-5:00 p.m. Live belly dancing with members of the High Desert Bellydance Guild starts at 5:30 p.m.

Bring your blankets or low-back chairs to Riverfront Plaza on Brooks Street to enjoy this free evening of dancing and drumming.

What: Free and open to the public, the HDBG Quarterly Showcase features local


Drum workshop at Riverfront Plaza. Photo: Nils Eddy

performers representing a variety of belly dance styles — from classical Egyptian and Cabaret, to American Tribal Style and modern Tribal Fusion performances. The Summer Showcase features a free drum lesson by HDBG Board member, Dave Goodman.

When: Sunday, July 31, 2011. Free drum lessons from 4:00-5:00 p.m. Belly Dance Showcase starts at 5:30 p.m.

Where: Riverfront Plaza, Bend OR  [map]

Road Trip: PDX for Bellydance Uncorked on May 28!

Speaking of upcoming performances…this monthly show in Portland is not to be missed!  Hosted by Elise, Endymienne, & Jen of Narcissa Productions, Bellydance Uncorked is a unique evening showcase of varied talents! Every last Saturday at Vino Vixens, the Bellydance Uncorked show is an opportunity for the entire community to mingle, sip wine in a luscious, intimate wine lounge, and be enthralled by the myriad of burlesque, fusion, dancehall, hoop, tribal, fan, belly dancers and musicians the region has to offer.  The Bijou Project is very excited to be joining the all the lovely and talented dancers this month.  Why not make a road trip and join us for the show?  Who needs more than one reason to visit Portland?

Bellydance Uncorked May 2011

Join us in PDX for a great show!

Learn more about the show here!

Sink or Swim?

The last couple of weeks have been stressful.  Between college mid-terms, deadlines at work, preparing for the Belly Dancer USA competition and  upcoming gigs at Saqra’s Showcase, the HDBG Spring Gala, Blush, etc. , there were times when I felt like I couldn’t even breath.  (Doesn’t everyone feel like this sometimes?) But the load has lifted somewhat and summer approaches!  5 more weeks until school lets out and my dance competition is over.  But what a five weeks it is!  The question is, will I sink or swim?

In retrospective, here are a couple of videos from of couple of performances over the past two weekends.  The first is from the High Desert Belly Dance Guild Spring Gala featuring Samantha Riggs and Portico.  Sam and her daughter taught two great workshops on Bhangra and Bollywood dance.  There has always been something about the dances of India and Indian culture that inspires me.  I love the color, the mythology, the history, the art–all of it!  So learning some new Hasta Mudras and poses to infuse into my dance was a treat!

The previous weekend I went up to perform with my most favorite-tist dance co-conspiritor, Mz. Samara from the Bijou Project.   Saqra’s is always a great way to kick off the “belly dance season.”  It’s great to see friends again after a long, isolated winter on the snowy side of the mountains.  Sam and I have performances at Bellydance Uncorked at Vino Vixens in PDX on May 28th, a performance on Friday, July 8th, at the Oregon Country Fair–on the Gypsy Stage!

In between, there is lots of solo stuff to prepare for, but I’ll save that post for another day (tomorrow, maybe?).  In the meantime, here is my solo from Saqra’s Showcase.  I ♥ belly dance!

Bollywood, Bhangra and Bellydance in Bend, May 7th

This is made of awesome! Join the High Desert Bellydance Guild as they host Samantha Riggs for two amazing Bollywood & Bhangra workshops and an exciting Gala evening show!  Workshop and Gala show details are below. High Desert Bollywood Poster

Workshops & Gala on Saturday, May 7th @ the Performing Arts Center
1155 SW Division Street, Bend

10am-noon: Temple Bollywood – Train your body to project emotion through the use of Indian postures and classical hand positions. Learn to perform a “Bollyasana” that can be used as either a warm-up or as a performance piece. Great for all types of dance styles and levels.

1:30-3:30pm: Bollywood via Punjab – Learn a spirited new choreography by Samantha, specifically geared to give a taste of both styles. Learn steps, hand positions and poses from the Bollywood style and how to transition into the athletic exuberance of Bhangra.

7:00pm: Gala Evening Show: “High Desert Bollywood” featuring Samantha Riggs & Portico

Workshop fees: Pre-register for $35 per workshop or $60 for both – Drop-in /day of workshop $40 each or $70 for both
Gala Evening Show tickets: Pre-pay: $10 for members, $12 non-members online: (service fee) or $15 at the door.

Please contact Rasha to pre-register or for more information.



A Magpie is the peacock of the Crow Family. Members of this family of birds are fond of bright, shiny objects, and will steal rings and other jewelry.

I’ve heard belly dancers compared to Magpies (my favorite desert bird, btw.) since we share a love of shiny, sparkly things.  With that in mind, I thought I’d share some of the things am excited about today–my sparkles, so to speak.

The High Desert Belly Dance Guild’s Spring Showcase is this Sunday, downtown at Common Table.  I haven’t missed one of these showcases yet because they are always so much fun!  I usually perform, but this time I’ll be enjoying the show as a spectator.  Looking for something fun to do on a Sunday night?  I highly recommend attending!

Last night I started choreographing a song for Saqra’s Showcase at the end of this month.  I’m a last minute sort of gal when it comes to choreography, but I’m getting better about giving myself more time.  I’ve got something new up my sleeve for Mezdulene’s Belly Dancer USA competition in June, and I’ll need to do some shopping at Saqra’s event.  The vending there is always excellent!  Can’t wait to watch hours of performances and catch up with friends at the event!

Tax refunds!  I got a refund this year so I’ll be able to register for JamBallah Northwest this week.  I’m so excited to have an event like this in Portland again.  Yay!  Yay!  Yay!  What’s not to love about a “wild weekend of bellydance and fusion?”

Students can be such a joy and inspiration!  The video below is a group of my most recent students performing a fan choreography at the High Desert Bellydance Guild’s Student Showcase at the end of February.  I am such a proud bellydance mama!

In February I got to see my dance partner, Samara, at Reigning Down on Oregon, hosted by the fabulous Zephyr ladies in Salem.  We reunited for our first performance in almost 9 months, since she had her daughter and moved from Oregon to Washington.  It was such a joy to dance together again!

First Friday Art Walks have been lots of fun lately with a variety of musicians and dancers collaborating at Azura’ Studio 22nd Century Self Healing Center.  The event is organized by Kathy Stahlman, Director of Tribal Moon, and features a different theme every month.  The musical backbone has been Imzadi Tribal Music, but we’ve had special performances by Julie Southwell, and Fiesta Flamenco as well.  You can see photos by Nils Eddy here.

And last, but not least, I’m loving my Daily Bellydance Quickies (DBQ’s) with Mahin.  If you haven’t signed up to receive yours, check them out, then sign up!  I’m always getting new ideas for drills and practice techniques from these.