And So the Story Goes…

And So the Story Goes... - Leyla Najma's Belly Dance BlogSkeletons, ghosts and names on tombstones greeted us at the Haunted Hips workshop in Abilene. We arrived in Abilene after driving the long way around to get there and thankfully settled into comfy beds at the hotel. Even our 3 legged blue heeler, Mr. Zippy was out like a light, snoring away and dreaming of that unreachable rabbit. Saturday morning was upon us in what seemed to me to be only ten minutes of sleep but I know I am exaggerating a bit.

The Haunted Hips workshop was finally happening and I was ready and anxious not only to get started but to meet all the wonderful women who travelled to the workshop from out of town. The Magic Lamp Studio director Jami Chance is about the nicest and most gracious hostess I have had the pleasure to work with. Jami and I met through my online videos a few years ago and we have been dance friends ever since.

Saturday was a day full of opposition hip combinations that is based on the Hip Phylosophy curriculum. It was a day of laughing and dancing which is always the best way to learn dance. Everyone who came to the workshop came through the 4 hours of instruction with flying colors. There were different levels of dancers so it was an interesting mix of beginner dancers to professional. Sunday was a mini choreography on Continual Soft movement and group participation. It was my favorite class of the weekend because the girls took combinations apart and put them back together in various ways and then performed the combinations for each other. I think in the Sunday class the girls were able to see that putting combinations together can be fun and both groups came up with wonderful variations on the combinations. They could actually see that what they came up with not only worked but looked beautiful all at the same time!

The Saturday evening show was full of great energy and I must say that Jami did a wonderful job training her girls. Each performance was full of high energy and the evening flowed effortlessly and easily. It was just one of those shows that was a joy to be in. At the end of the evening Jami brought me roses and we all danced to live music by a wonderful drummer named John. It was the perfect ending to a perfect evening!!

When the end of the workshop came it was sad to leave. Jami’s family is just as gracious as she is and we feel so fortunate to have met Jami’s husband Steve, daughters Brittany and Bekah. Thank you so much for making our stay wonderful and memorable. And thank you Jami for letting me off the hook for forgetting the lights!!

Leyla’s Updates

Hip Mastery Connects The Dots ! Leyla Najma's Belly Dance Blog

Hip Mastery 6 Video Series

This morning I was thinking about what I would write in my blog and I thought I would bring the subject up of my Hip Mastery videos only because I haven’t really mentioned them much. I tend to create videos and edit them, give them to Daniel and then move on to the next project. The funny thing is that if Daniel asks me a question regarding a video I usually have to go back and look at it because I have made so many besides my curriculum classes that I am not sure how to answer him sometimes.

There are 6 videos in the Hip Mastery series that focus just on the hips. But the best part is that each video connects to the next one. So I didn’t want students trying to figure out how to work in movement and combinations without a guide. It just seemed to me that most women who are passionate about this dance want instruction that will help them get results.

I realized that living the life style of a belly dancer day in and day out means that there is no rest for the choreographer. I constantly think of combinations and different choreographies to share with dancers, it’s almost like a calling. I would rather make videos for dancers or teach workshops then perform because seeing women in the glory of their movement is where the spirit of belly dance lives for me. It’s in the learning process of moving within our bodies where I see the epiphanies come alive for women. To me the stage is the end result of a beautiful journey but it is so much fun watching women learn and grow along their path before they achieve their goals.

Hip Mastery is my answer to the questions that women have asked me about thrusts, mayas and shimmies. Add in soft moves, traveling steps and you can see why this is a 6 video series. To me they make “Belly Dance sense”.

Here’s the website in case you want to check them out.

Drum Solo Choreography”Jibber Jam”

The drum solo choreography “Jibber Jam” is coming along and I am almost finished with it. My daughters first day of school is coming up so I will be able to finish the choreography and get it videotaped. I have to laugh though because I put together what I thought was a simple drum solo choreography and it’s not as simple as I thought. I am excited to offer music never heard before, text and a step by step choreographed video in a way that will make it easy to learn. This will be so cool once I get it done but as with all my projects it is taking a little longer then I thought. Hopefully within the next two weeks it will be done and I can blare my bugle and sing a song but only in the shower!

Leyla’s Commentary for Dancers

Emails, Live Classes, and Sedona - Leyla Najma's Belly Dance Blog

Workshop in Sedona Arizona

I am teaching a workshop along with another friend of mine Rozana al Jinan sponsored by Shimmy magazine/Holly Luky Saturday, June 26th with the evening show happening Friday the 25th .

The show will be at: (Reservations only)

Relics Restaurant 3235 West Highway 89A Sedona, Arizona.

Telephone (928) 282-1593 – Online www.relicsrestaurant. Read more

The Heart of Selena

The Heart of Selena- Floralia Workshop, Leyla Najma's Belly Dance BlogWhere do I begin, it’s like this past weekend was a blur; my life passing before my eyes. Life as a belly dancer is really amazing because each workshop presents new adventures, friendships and opportunities. It’s almost like dance is a flower that opens up unfolding her pedals, fragrance and beauty with each of us. The more experiences we have, the more layers are shared becoming visible for the first time. Imagine being with Isis in all her glory and women becoming empowered in their own femininity meaning to remember ourselves and to know what it’s like to be in the company of women! Workshops help us remember what it was like to be amongst our own gender and relish within the synergy we create by only being together; this is unique and rare now, it is called magic.

The Goddess herself was apart of our celebration this my daughter and I experienced on the way to Floralia by way of 70 mile hour gusts of wind while driving there!! The Goddess came riding on Mother Natures winds so she could be apart of Floralia. She made her presence known! Such is the life of a belly dancer and why as dancers we can live no other life. Read more

Floralia Workshop Sneak Peek: Restaurant Dancing Tips and Secrets

Restaurant Dancing Tips and Secrets - Leyla Najma's Belly Dance Blog

Here is the  Floralia Workshop info for those of you who are interested in coming out to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico April 29th-May 2, 2010. Daniel wanted me to put in more detail in regards to what I will be teaching and I thought it was a good idea. I will blog again and give you all some hotel information so you will know where to stay and keep up with the busy schedule Selena Kareena has in store for everybody. I can’t wait!! Read more