Ahlan Wa Sahlan

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

My name is Nadira, and welcome to this blog, the home of Taktaba, my upcoming video podcast on dance composition for belly dancers. Taktaba means "she writes", or more aptly, "she composes" in Arabic.

About me:

I am a threshold-professional belly dancer. This means that I dance at student nights at better venues, and dance professionally at less prestigious venues and at festivals, bellygrams, etc. Sometimes we're called "baby bellies". :)

I specialize in American traditional style belly dance. This is a natural fusion style that arose when dancers and musicians from all over the world performed together in ethnic clubs (primarily in the northeast USA) for mixed American and Middle Eastern audiences. Forged in this "melting pot", American style belly dance mixes Arabic, Turkish, and Greek dance movements with ballet and jazz influences, evolved it's own set of conventions, shows a distinctly American flair for dramatic staging, and uses an eclectic mix of middle eastern music. It tends to be energetic, joyful, and very entertaining.

What We'll Be Covering:

Rudolf Nureyev once said that the elements of choreography are:

  • space
  • shape
  • time
  • energy

Whether you plan your choreography in advance or improvise it, the way you use these elements defines your dance.

Over the next weeks and months, I'll be exploring these elements through several themes. In each episode of this podcast, I'll:

  • introduce a theme
  • lead some simple exercises for exploring that theme
  • then present a few combinations that demonstrate it.

Whenever possible, I'll also refer you to dancers and videos that demonstrate these themes in the show notes on this site.

A Note on Styles and Prerequisites:

I intend for this program to be useful to belly dancers in all styles and at all levels. To that end, I will be gearing most of my exercises and combinations to an advanced-beginner and intermediate audience. More advanced dancers can add layering and additional complexity, and use these concepts to create more complex and difficult combinations.

Also, the combinations and styling will reflect my own personal style, and may or may not suit yours, particularly if you were trained in Arabic or Tribal Style. If that's the case, I'd encourage you to try them anyway, and adapt the material and concepts to your own style.


This podcast is not a substitute for a live instructor. I won't be covering technique, musical interpretation, or any number of things you'd learn in a good class. Shira has international teacher listings.

Even for choreography, this isn't formal instruction. I will be sharing concepts and ideas and presenting exercises, but remember that I am not the font of all knowledge on this topic. I'm embarking on this program in order improve my own dance and inviting you to learn along with me.

How You Can Help:

Give me your feedback! Let me know what you find helpful, tell me what you'd like to learn about, and share your own ideas. You can leave a comment, send me an email, or, even better, post your own video to show us all what you did with these ideas.

The Fine Print:

This podcast and blog are made available to you for free under a Creative Commons License (see the link in the sidebar for terms). In short, you're welcome and encouraged to download it and share it, as long as you:
* share it in it's entirety and without modification
* use it for non-commercial purposes only
* attribute it to me

If you'd like to use it in a way not covered by the CC license, please ask me first. Most of the time, I expect to say yes.

Feel free to use my combinations in performance (paid or not) without attribution, to teach them in classes or workshops with attribution (it's okay even if you're being paid), but please do NOT teach them on a commercial video without my permission.

Thanks for reading, and keep an eye on this site. I'll have the promo posted in a few days, and will be filming the first episode over Columbus Day weekend.

Dance On,


Anonymous said...

Wow...I'm incredibly impressed and excited to watch your project unfold! Your dancing is lovely...too bad your on the opposite coast! Best wishes in your endeavor!
Sahara in Oregon

Jess said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Nadira said...

Hi Sahara. Thanks for watching, and for my very first comment!

Anonymous said...


farid said...
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Leyla Najma said...

Hello Nadira,

You are a gem and the dance community is so lucky to have you!! With your talent, beauty and knowledge, your dreams will come true and the best part is we all get to watch your success unfold!!

Leyla Najma

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