Beats Antique is Coming to Bend!

I’m beyond excited that Beats Antique is coming to perform in Bend this Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012.  As a dancer, I love their music, and as a belly dancer, I love that they have some of my favorite belly dancers performing during their show!  Hello?  Zoe Jakes and Kami Liddle?  If you don’t know who they are, who cares?  Just check out the show–you won’t be disappointed!

Here’s a recent performance of mine from the High Desert Bellydance Guild’s Winter Showcase at Joolz Restaurant.  Both of the songs I’m dancing to are by Beats Antique.  The first song is Alto from their Elektrafone album and the 2nd is Waisted, from The Trunk Archives.  Don’t forget to check out their show on Saturday night!


Inspiration and Aspiration

The sunset that inspired me on my walk home in January.

The sunset that inspired me on my walk home in mid-January.

“The supreme prayer of my heart is not to be learned, rich, famous, powerful, or good, but simply to be radiant. I desire to radiate health, cheerfulness, calm courage, and good will. I wish to live without hate, whim, jealousy, envy, fear. I wish to be simple, honest, frank, natural, clean in mind and clean in body, unaffected, as ready to say I do not know, if it be so, and to meet all men on an absolute equality, to face any obstacle and meet every difficulty unabashed and unafraid. I wish others to live their lives, too – up to their highest, fullest, and best. To that end I pray that I may never meddle, interfere, dictate, give advice that is not wanted, or assist when my services are not needed. If I can help people, I’ll do it by giving them a chance to help themselves; and if I can uplift or inspire, let it be by example, inference, and suggestion, rather than by injunction and dictation. That is to say, I desire to be radiant – to radiate life.”

Elbert Hubbard

*And to that I would add, amen.*

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.”

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.

Event: Mosaic: A Day of Music and DAnce

Mosaic Logo

To view more information about this event, please click this link.

Mosaic: A Day of Dance and Music
Event date: Sept. 25th
Venue Name: Community Music Center
3350 Southeast Francis Street, Portland

Workshop is at 1pm for those who have a workshop ticket.
Concert is at 8pm

Brothers of the Baladi are pleased to announce a day of music and dance workshops and an evening concert focusing on the appreciation of Middle Eastern music. This event, Mosaic, is funded in part by the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC) that works to integrate arts and culture in all aspects of community life. RACC has served the Portland tri-county area since its inception in 1995, when the city’s Metropolitan Arts Commission transitioned into a separate not-for-profit organization based upon the recommendation of ArtsPlan 2000+.
The day will begin with afternoon workshops by Michael Beach, Ishmael, Bobak Selehi and Amel Tafsout. There will be a panel discussion and a Middle Eastern style souk (market) with food from Hoda’s and a wide variety of CD’s provided by Music Millennium. There will be afternoon showcases sets by local Middle Eastern groups: Arabesque Ensemble, David Rheihs and Friends, Negara and the Rhythm Keepers. The award winning film, Belly, by Cecilia & Chad Rinn will be shown as well. An evening concert will feature the Middle Eastern/World Music of the Brothers of the Baladi and will feature dance performance by Jane Archer.

Michael Beach: Vocalist, multi-ethnic drummer/percussionist and founder of Brothers of the Baladi & Arabesque.  Beach and his bands have been bringing their music to festival, college, concert and Belly Dance audiences all over the world for three decades. Allegro Media distributes their 11 recordings nationally as well as Beach’s 2002 solo CD, Hands of a Thousand Dances.  Michael’s 1991 Basic Middle Eastern Rhythms DVD was the first Middle Eastern Drum instructional video ever marketed and he continues to be one of the most sought after clinicians – from Basic Beginner to Advanced levels.

Amel Tafsout: An accomplished, international dancer and choreographer of North African Maghreb Dance, a story teller, a singer, a language instructor and a dance anthropologist. Fascinated by dance since childhood, Tafsout is versed in dances both new and old from her native Algeria as well as the multitude of ethnic/tribal/folk dances from neighboring countries. Her work draws on ritual and traditional dances from the Maghreb and the Middle East. In her early twenties she emigrated to Germany founding the successful Pan Arabic dance group: Banat As-Sahra (Daughters of the Sahara Desert), a company which was instrumental in dismissing Western prejudices about Arab women, bringing Arabic dance culture to Europe.

Ishmael: An acclaimed and well-respected professional master of the kanoun, 72 string zither of the Middle East. Born to Assyrian parents from Northern Iran, Ishmael studied Middle Eastern Maqam theory with Turkish kanoun master, Ismail Sheshalar in Istanbul and with oudist Harant Effeni in Los Angeles. As well as being fine pianist, Ishmael performed as a timpanist in the Santa Clara Philharmonic Orchestra. Known for his unique improvisational style, he performs the many varieties of Arabic music (Egyptian, Saudi, Lebanese and North African) as well as Turkish, Armenian, Persian, Greek, Hebrew and American music.

Bobak Salehi, MBA: Multi instrumentalist, Bobak was born in Tehran, Iran. He ventured into the music world when he was eight years old under the direction of his father maestro Hossein Salehi. He expanded his training into Western classical music by studying with classical violinists Anita Jones and Eileen Dies. In 1999 the Oregon Historical Society recognized him as master artist on Setar (Persian Long-necked Lute). In the same year, he founded the Damâm Ensemble, focusing on the classical and folk music of Iran. In 2003 he co-founded râz where he focused on blending the popular music of Latin America and the Middle East.
Bobak will demonstrate detailed examples of the Persian modes on Kamancheh, Setar, Tar, Oud, Daf, Tombak, Violin, Guitar and Voice.  Students will have the opportunity to try out some of the instruments, and ask hands-on questions about the scales, rhythms, or general materials.  The workshop will conclude with a small ensemble demo.  Students who play an instrument (any instrument) are encouraged to bring their respective instruments to the session.  Sheet music will be provided.


WHEN: Saturday, September 25th, 2010—begins at 1pm
WHERE: Community Music Center
3350 Southeast Francis Street, Portland
(503) 823-3177
ADMISSION: Workshops: $15
Concert: $12
Workshop/Concert: $20
Music Millennium
Timbuktunes on Hawthorne