In this blog I telly you about my new YouTube series aimed at inspiering the next generation of EGYPTIAN bellydance and to level the playing ground between foreign and Egyptian bellydancers.
I have launched a new YouTube Series teaching bellydance called, Yalla Nor2os Bel Arabi, which means, Come on Let's Dance in Arabic. And, yes, as the name says it is all done in Arabic... well my version of Arabic! You can find it HERE on my website
A Dream Come True - Inspiring the next generation of dancers This series is something that I have dreamed of doing for a long time:
I wanted to do something to support the next generation of dancers FROM EGYPT. I saw, and have experienced, that the playing ground for Egyptian dancers versus foreign dancers is very unfair, favoring foreign dancers. This is having a direct effect on the industry here in Egypt. Foreign dancers are found in abundance in the top highest paying venues in Cairo, often being favored than Egyptians.
Just one example of how the the playing ground is unfair (there are many - some due to culture, some due to club managers, some due to the bellydance community) is the training resources available for dancers. Yes, you may think there are lots of famous dancers teaching here in Cairo but they are EXPENSIVE! Foreign dancers have driven up the price. Workshops with these dancers are around $40 and private classes start at $100, up and coming Egyptian dancers have no way to afford to train with these teachers. Bellydance festival have no interest or time to advertise to Egyptian dancers, pro or hobbyist. The best Egyptian dancers are only teaching foreigners ...
Also, regarding training, there are nowhere near the number of free resources on the Internet in Arabic as there are for English speaking dancers. You can find hundreds of how to learn bellydance in English, but basically nothing in Arabic.
Empowering Women from their Living Rooms
I also wanted to empower women from their living rooms, regardless of if they want to be professional dancers or not. A chance to enjoy themselves and get active no matter their circumstances, doing what they almost certainly love: BELLY DANCE!! A lot of Egyptian women, especially in lower classes, are very much bound to their roles as house wives and mothers, rarely taking time out for themselves - but times and attitudes are changing. Women in Egypt are wanting better and I want Bellydance to be involved in the movement.
THE FEAR To be honest I was (and still am) scared at first of launching the series. Dancers in Egypt can get arrested for anything and you never know, they may arrest me for encouraging young girls to be dancers!! Possibly classed as an immoral act - something you can actually get arrested for in Egypt. I went ahead anyway.
Amazing Team - Tera Media
I was only able to make this dream come true because of meeting a great director/editor: Rami, through my other projects. READ THIS BLOG ON HOW I MET RAMI When I told him of my idea his eyes lit up we made a deal to invest in it together and go forward!! He put us a team together
There is a main team of 6 of us who work on every episode and I am happy to say that 4 of us are women! In addition to me, there's Amie and Reem who do my make up and pick out my outfits and Istart, the main camera woman. The men: Rami and Moody, work on the editing. There are addition team members such as Opt and Ehab that help with editing but don't feature in every series
A MASSIVE Success The series has actually become a massive success! This week, we launch the 2nd season. And due to the success of the first series, able to get a gym to sponsor and help with the filming costs. I have been overwhelmed by the AMAZING response to the videos! Loads of Egyptian and other Arab women have been contacting me and commenting, non stop, on my videos. It has given me a drive to do the best I can in the new series.
Also the series has started a craze on YouTube of spin off videos by other Arab girls who like the idea and have copied. They are making basically copies of my videos for their own channels. This at first REALLY PISSED ME OFF - how dare they copy me! However, I have to remind myself that I didn't do this series for my own vanity I did it so to empower Arab women. If these Arab women think they can teach it better than me or reach more women with their videos: THEN I AM ACHIEVING MY GOAL - Arab women are claiming bellydance back from themselves!
We also had some coverage in the Egyptian media!! This is a big honor to me!
For Everyone Although I made these videos primarily for Egyptian women, I like to think they are for EVERYONE. Well, everyone who loves to bellydance! Even if you don't speak Arabic, the videos are easy to follow along to and, dance is a universal language. I have managed to add English subtitles to most of episode of the first and second series SO ENJOY - you never know you may pick up some Arabic!! You can watch all the other episodes on my YouTube channel and please subscribe so you don't miss the up and coming episodes. We will be learning chest, shoulder, arm and hand movements this season!