The Joy of Giving Back

One of the fun aspects of teaching students at Happy Hips Belly Dance is the chance for us to have a reason to perform together. We find ourselves practicing as a “troupe” and have a goal we are all aiming for. While there are festival and community events we perform at, one of our favourite (and least nerve racking!) performances is when we provide entertainment at a local nursing home. By donating our time and dance, we feel good at that we are bringing something a bit different to the schedule of entertainment, as well as giving us performance practice.

I am so proud of the Happy Hips Troupe for giving back to the community and doing a great job at the same time!

Here is a link to one of the dances we did recently – it was actually the debut of a new dance we had learnt with a new style and new prop! Go girls!

What skills or abilities have you got to give back to your community? Then go do it! It feels great!

Winter Showcase for OMEDA this Saturday!

Devi will be performing at OMEDA's Winter Showcase

Devi Mamak will be performing at OMEDA’s Winter Showcase 2012.

I am most excited about the annual OMEDA Winter Showcase this time held at the lovely Thornbury Theatre, with special guest from Sydney Devi Mamak from Ghawazi Caravan and affiliated with Fat Chance Belly Dance and live music from ME Musicians “Alwan”. Yours truly will be performing too. So many different styles of belly dance; Classical Egyptian, ATS, Oriental, Modern, drum dances, veil dances, a sword dance and shaabi. It’s gonna be great!! Get your tickets quick!

Winter showcase poster 2012

PERFORMERS: Bellydance Kizmet, Studio Samba Students, Red Belly Black Troupe, Andrea Makris-Underbelly, Charni Happy Hips Belly Dance, Jewels of Temzik, Jewel & Kaylah, Melusina, Devi Mamak, Aya & Students – Jewel Bellydance, Red Earth Ghwazee, Hayley, Bellydance Sabiha, Aya, Lia –Studio Samba, Lady Serpentine – Cindy Hyde, Nicole – Blue Fire Bellydance, Bellique, Michelle, Dantilla troupe, Alazarin Tribal Dance Troupe, Nikki Sterel, Rita, Zabelle

Here is a sneak peek of the beautiful Devi performing. See you Saturday!

Can you perform a classical Egyptian bellydance to Modern Western Music?

That is the question I am asking today. I think you can, but I will let you decide. Let me know whether you think it fits or not!

Here is a video of me performing a Classical Egyptian choreography to a modern Western song “Forever Young” by Fruit.

You asked for it! Charni performs!

I have just uploaded a video of me performing last weekend, so you can stop nagging me! Seriously, the main videos I have on YouTube have been to benefit students with choreographies, so as requested, here is one of some highlights of me performing.

It was a fun gig, for a birthday celebration at the beautiful Glendower Kartoffel House in Upper Beaconsfield, and one of the hosts kindly filmed it for me. She was standing behind me and the audience was in a u shape, so it’s not the best angle, however, any professional dancer worth her mettle knows how to accommodate!

So enjoy! The audience and I did!

The Joy of Performing Belly Dance

I was very lucky to be given the opportunity to perform in a concert after learning belly dance for only 6 months. It was petrifying and exciting and I worked very hard at the parts I was in so that I could feel proud of myself. I still have a video of the concert, and although some of it is quite cringe-worthy, I still feel a great sense of pride (plus it is a great record of some choreographies I was taught).

Charni of Happy Hips Belly Dance

Charni loves performing belly dance and teaching at

Since then, I’ve been bitten by the performance bug! I perform Raqs Sharqi whenever I can and love seeing how the crowd gets into it. I especially love it when they clap along in time.

I have had people ask “how do you deal with the sleazes?”. Occasionally I have had an uncomfortable feeling and notice that it is not a cheerful gleam in the eye but a sleazy one instead. I don’t see belly dancing as sexy, I see it as celebrating how the body can move in amazing ways and the joy which comes up from the soles of your feet and pours out of every part, so it always surprises me when somebody sees it as a sexual dance. How do I deal with it? Easy, I smile straight at them and pull a bit of a face in time with the music in appropriate parts, such as at a strong percussive beat I will lift a hip and an eyebrow at the same time. Very soon, they are smiling too hard and their whole attitude changes.

I love sharing my love of belly dance with others, and consider it a very special privilege to do so. I love the feeling of being connected to the earth, feeling the rhythm go right through my body. I do set choreographies as well, but I love improvisation where I have to let the music take over my body and just go with it. My thoughts and worries melt away, I feel powerful, in control, beautiful and all woman!