Recommended Sites

These are a few of my favourite sites and blogs, which I have personally found interesting, informative or entertaining. Enjoy!

Discussion groups

There are hundreds of bellydance groups on Facebook, and many of them are sadly abandoned, or just full of the same old advertisements and event postings. However, there are a few which are fantastic resources for advice, information or discussion & debate. Here are a few of the best …

Bellydancers’ Music Discussion Group – OK, I am biased because I created this one! It’s a place for bellydancers to discuss all aspects of Middle Eastern music, from your favourite songs and musical styles, to discussion of history and cultural background, or the nuts and bolts of maqamat and rhythms. We’ve got some amazingly knowledgeable contributors from around the world, so this is a great place to come with your music-related questions.

Biz of Bellydance – If you are even thinking of going professional as a dancer, this is the place to be. It’s a supportive forum for dancers and others in the field to discuss the business of dance: Marketing, performance opportunities, tips, ethics, standards, community and more.

BELLY DANCE MATTERS – A very active group for general bellydance discussion. You’ll get everything here, from heated debate on the big bellydance issues of the moment, to relaxed chats about favourite costumes or dance videos. Any question is welcome here as long as it’s about Middle Eastern dance, so it’s a good resource for dance students looking to learn more outside of class.

Bellydance Articles & Reference

All About Bellydancing, by Shira – This is the first place to look for answers to any of your bellydance questions. Shira’s site contains hundreds of articles on every aspect of bellydance, and lots of wise advice for dancers from beginners to professionals. There’s also an extensive library of Arabic song lyrics translations.

Oriental Dancer – Bellydance Library – There are a wide range of articles here, including some useful tips for aspiring professional dancers, bellydance history, and advice on musical interpretation.

Habibi Magazine ArchivesHabibi-A Journal for Lovers of Middle Eastern Dance & Arts was published by Shareen El Safy from 1992 to 2002. All issues of the magazine are now available for free online, and it is a wonderful resource for curious dancers.

Non-bellydance sites that I love

Nutritious Movement – I’m a huge fan of the work of biomechanist Katy Bowman. For dancers, her advice on how to keep your body strong, supple, functional and pain-free is invaluable – and her ideas on making movement a part of daily life will surely appeal to anyone who’d rather be dancing than sitting at a desk 😉

The Bulletproof Musician – Performance psychology for musicians, by violinist & Juillard professor Noa Kageyama. Every bit of advice here, whether about overcoming anxiety, developing stage presence, or practicing effectively, is just as valuable for dancers as it is for musicians. So if you’ve ever struggled to find the motivation to practice, been a bundle of nerves backstage, or felt like your dancing was never going to be good enough, pop over here and have a read!

Bellydance Blogs

Zara’s Blog – Zara is a British/Egyptian dancer currently working in Cairo. Check out her blog for lively stories from the Cairo entertainment world and more!

BellyLorna – The journal of Lorna, a Scottish dancer who lived in Cairo as a professional dancer for a decade. Fascinating reading for anyone wanting to know more about life as a professional dancer in the Middle East.

BellyDanceGeek – Nadira Jamal’s website for geeky bellydancers who love learning about all aspects of the dance. She has a great blog, and also makes free video podcasts. It is also worth checking out her online courses, including “How to Create a Sustainable Practice Habit”, which I have done & found very helpful.

Princess Farhana – Princess Farhana of Hollywood posts about her weird and wonderful, glitter-covered existence… There are some great posts on makeup and costuming, and an excellent series of posts on ‘going pro’.

Atisheh – detailed, thoughtful reviews of dance and fitness DVDs (including a lot of bellydance videos).

Emma Chapman – Emma is a British dancer based in Cambridge, and one of the top modern Egyptian style dancers in the UK. She is very knowledgeable about bellydance, and her blog contains a mixture of posts about her own dance activities, and articles on dance, music, teaching and more.

Bellydance Paladin – The blog of Tribal Fusion dancer Asharah. Although I don’t perform Tribal bellydance myself, I enjoy Asharah’s insights on bellydance in general.

Ask Ananke – Reviews, advice for dance students, tips for professional dancers and much more by American dancer Ananke.

Sophia Ravenna – Regularly updated blog with advice for dance students, book reviews, makeup reviews, and more.

Bellydance At Any Size – A wonderful resource for promoting positive body image among bellydancers of all sizes, which includes articles, interviews, costuming tips and much more.

Kitty Kohl – Kitty is a Tribal Fusion dancer based in Reading, and it’s probably fair to say she’s a bellydance geek. Her blog is well written and thought-provoking, and although she mainly performs Tribal Fusion, she knows a lot about traditional bellydance and the issues that affect the wider dance community too.

The Occidental Dancer – The entertainingly eccentric blog of a bellydancing Kiwi in London. Features posts on up-and-coming dancers, and a lot of vintage hollywood ‘harem dancing’ clips, as well as an occasional agony-aunt column written by a bellydancing colossal squid named Jilly. Yes, really. Sadly no longer updated, but still funny.