The Golden Era of belly dance began in 1926, when a well-known Syrian dancer named Badia Masabni opened the Casino Opera, the first European style cabaret on the banks of the Nile in Egypt. This hard headed businesswoman single handedly transformed the art form as we know it today. The famous dancers of her club were each fabulous and unique cabaret artists of the last century. I, Kandice Grossman, designed and taught curriculum that engaged in a deep study of this era and its legends. Students were assigned a particular Egyptian dancer from this era to work on a detailed character project. These studies involved history, character, film and movement and evolved into a series of solo choreographies. The photos below are photos from their performances this January 2019. I am so proud!
In 1949 at age 25, Samia Gamal was made the National Dancer of Egypt by King Farouk. Her relationship with her public could possibly be considered her greatest true love — and they reciprocated wholeheartedly. As a belly dancer Samia embodied joyful femininity executed through soft, fluid dance moves. Her alluring dance style, iconic smile, and sincere connection with her audiences will forever hold the hearts of Egypt and the world.
By Lori Ann
A teenage Lori Ann Yanis accompanied family on a vacation to India, where she began belly dancing with a beautiful Greek instructor. Once back home her experience in the art form included occasional training in Missouri and a costuming career in California that connected her with the dazzling belly dancers of the region. Lori also spent several years traveling the Middle East, where the music and organic belly dance celebrations of the women furthered her adoration of the dance. In 2013, Lori started dancing with Moon Belly Dance Studio and never left, lovingly referring to it as her “sanctuary”. 🙂
Leila Jamal’s story is intertwined with her sister Lamia Jamal (together called the Jamal Twins) that took the Helmieh Palace nightclub by storm, becoming a favorite of King Farouk. They were known for matching the choreography to the musical repertoire and moving in harmony with each other while in sync with the music. Their extraordinary performances at the Helmieh Palace nightclub led to movies and international stardom. Their peak was in Singapore and India in the 50s.
By Belinda Fox
I started dancing in April of 2018. Learning to belly dance had always been on my bucket list and I decided it was finally time to cross it off the list. What started as a simple goal to accomplish and a way to de-stress from work turn out to be so much more. I discovered a warm, welcoming, and empowering group of ladies guided by our amazing teacher Kandice Grossman. Where women not only learn how to dance but are encouraged to grow in all aspects of their lives. I’ve come to love the beauty and strength of belly dance and will continue to pursue belly dance to experience the wonderful journey it will take me on.
Katy was born in Alexandria, Egypt. She had a Greek father and Egyptian mother and spent time in both Egypt and Greece. She acted and danced in Egyptian film from the 1950’s through the mid 60’s. She had to leave Egypt in the mid 60’s and return to Athens after being implicated in a spy plot involving a double agent Refaat el Gammal. When in Athens, she continued to act and sing in films. Katy brought a lot joy through her dancing especially with her fun and flirty stage presence.
By Layla Padgett
I am originally from Southeastern Kentucky, but have lived as far away as Micronesia in the Pacific. I have always loved to dance, from the time I was a child. I find dancing to be an empowering act for women to connect with confidence and resiliency. I am also a social worker and I find joy in painting, hiking and traveling.
This blog is designed to provide information about Moon Belly and MOON dance company happenings. At times, it becomes an open journal of our various theatrical explorations. At other times, it serves as a source of education on belly dance culture and history.