I must have been living under a rock! When I was requested to write a Holiday blog about the Rockettes for Bella Ballroom Dance Studio in Orange County, I had no real idea what this iconic dance company was. After some research I quickly discovered that the Rockettes make up an impressive precision dance company dating back to the 1920s and are very much alive and high kicking today. Performing in bigger productions and working with the Sahlala Dancers has given me a huge appreciation for the work and talent that goes into creating a uniform look in a dance group. As a soloing bellydancer, we have the liberty to show off our individual strengths and can express ourselves freely and independently. As a troupe dancer, we are only as strong as our compadres, and the shows strength relies on the unity of the group. It can be a truly beautiful thing! Read on as I share what I discovered about one of the world’s beloved and top precision dance companies.
The Rockettes Rise to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular
Glamour, patriotism, precision, commercialism, entertainment, and joy; these are just a few of the words that can be used to describe The Rockettes. Created in the 1920’s, this dance company has persevered well into present day and generated an American legacy... READ MORE.
As an entertainer, I often feel like a one-woman show. Continually venturing and expanding my knowledge of dance and the performance arts has shaped my life. It’s fascinating to take a moment to look at the lives of the artists who played foundational roles in what we understand as dance today. Surprisingly one of the dances currently embraced by the world started with a man whose beginnings were rooted very close to home. From Southern California to San Francisco, vaudeville actor Henry Fox got his start before heading to New York to influence what would become embraced as Foxtrot. Read on…
Fox's Start in Southern California
While social dance is very popular in Southern California, most may not know that Foxtrot beginning’s stemmed out of Pomona, California. Wait, what? The Foxtrot is from Los Angeles?! Well, not quite; but the dance’s... READ MORE.
Grab your partner and do-si-do! November 29th is America’s Square Dance Day!
What is Square Dancing?
This folk form of entertainment is for a group of dancers. Square dancing is typically done with four couples arranged in a square with one couple on each side facing in towards the middle of the square. In most American forms of square dance, a directed caller cues the dancers to do movements... READ MORE
To this day, one of my favorite Halloween’s involved an army of zombiefied women and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” In 2013 I had the privilege of organizing a flash mob for the streets of Oakland via the one and only Hipline dance studio. Stopping traffic, playing tribute to Mr. MJ, and being joined by an amazing group of dancing women on ghouls night was epic. “Thriller” now holds a place in my heart. Here is why it holds a place in the worlds:
…cause this is THRILLER!
By Ziva Emtiyaz
With Halloween around the corner, the festivities are brewing and Michael Jackson’s 1983 hit “Thriller” can be heard blaring in dance studios worldwide. The horror themed pop song was used to produce one of the most influential music videos of all time... ...let’s dig up some of its lesser-known details and shine some light on its dark and chilling dance! READ MORE
Dance and tradition go hand in hand like a bride and groom. As a dance instructor at Bella Ballroom in Orange County, I get to work with wedding couples in preparation for their first dance nearly every day. Now more than ever I see that the value of preparing a first dance goes way beyond just the dancing. As the big day approaches, wedding plans and work often crowd a couple’s schedule. Preparing a first dance gives the marrying duo a chance to connect before the wedding. It’s also an opportunity for a bride and groom to learn something new and create something together. They gain social dance skills they will use the rest of their lives as a married couple and will prepare something for their friends and family to enjoy. (Or at the very least they’ll feel more comfortable on the dance floor in front of all of their guests!)
While these values make valid sense in today’s world, I wonder how and why the first dance tradition began. After a little research, here is what I found out:
The First First Dance
By Ziva Emtiyaz
While the first dance between a bride and groom is commonly accepted as a modern European and American wedding tradition, it is uncommonly known why. There are various theories to how this ritual began. One explanation comes from the Eastern European idea of a formal ball... READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE
They say the heart is fickle. If you really love someone, you will feel it in your gut. In the West, we often think of the heart as the body’s center of romance. In several Middle Eastern countries, it is the liver that is believed to be passion’s organ. The Roman physician Galen developed the notion that the heart and the liver are sources of love over 1,000 years ago. One of the first great Arab-Muslim scientists, Al Razi, perpetuated Galen’s theory about the liver, and it spread across the Middle East into Egypt.
The Arabic word for liver is pronounced “kabed”. It is frequently used in Egyptian poetry and song lyrics to express love. The classic song “Eina Ellayali” shares a good example of how the liver embodies emotion. Translated into English, the lyrics say, “An eye’s glance sent a spear to my liver and created pain.”
Often you will see a performing Egyptian dancer gesture her hands as if she were holding onto her liver. She is expressing that she feels the song or the lyrics from this organ of passion. It’s just as if an American dancer were to hold onto her heart.
In this month of love, why not dance from your liver ladies? Share your deepest passions on the dance floor and feel it from you gut. Tap in, and be moved. What is your “kabed” telling you today?
Ziva holds Arabic Dance in her liver and can’t wait to share her passion for the art form with you! Join her on the dance floor in Shimmy Pop, Shimmy Pop Toning, and Arabic Dance II. You can find out more about Ziva and Arabic Dance at www.zivadancer.com
Ziva Emtiyaz is an award winning International Dance Artist excited to share her knowledge and life experiences about the big world of dance!