Sunday, April 15, 2007

Amar Gamal

Habibi Dancer's Present
Amar Gamal
Annual Belly Dance Workshop
East Lansing, MI

Amar was awarded first place in the Mondo Melodia Bellydance Breakbeats competition held in LA, May 14th 2002. In 1996 Amar Gamal won the double crown title of Ms. America and Ms. World of the Bellydance.
She was recently selected to perform on the "Bellydance Superstars" CD release tour organized through Ark 21 Records. (Click here for larger image of CD cover.) The CD was released Nov. 12th 2002 and features some of the best music chosen by some of the country's most established & respected bellydancers. These dancers include Tamalyn Dallal from Miami, and from the west coast-Suhaila Salimpour, Jillina, Ansuya, Rania, Sonia, Neena and Veena.

Amar's international appearences include Trinidad, Haiti and Costa Rica, she has also performed as well as taught in Miami, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City and Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Amar Gamal was the featured dancer in Gianni Versace's Fashion show in 1997 and 1998 and in the Oriental Dance Production in Lexington, Kentucky. She has also performed for the Superbowl XXIX Half Time Show in Florida and has appeared in the book "Bellylaughs" by Rod Long.

Check out the Bellyqueen class schedule to find out when Amar is teaching bellydance.

Amar Gamal is an AFAA (Aerobics and Fitness Association of America) certified instructor. Amar Gamal, who was born in Cuba, began bellydancing at the age of thirteen at the Mid-Eastern Dance Exchange, Inc. under the direction of Tamalyn Dallal of Miami Beach. Her other teachers include Jihan Jamal and Ylsa, also from Miami Beach, as well as Yousry Sharif from NYC.
She was the first and only student to audition with Oriental dance (bellydance) and get accepted to the reputable New World School of the Arts, Performing Arts High School. Here she pursued her extensive dance training in Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Tap, and Afro-Cuban.
Amar Gamal has been a prominent dancer for the Blau Rhino Dance Ensemble Bridgewater College Dance Company, Mideastern Dance Exchange Performing Company, Dance Express Contemporary Company, and the Jamal Dancers Mideastern Performing Company.
Amar graduated from Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts with a degree in Psychology.

You can e-mail her at
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The Amazing Amar Gamal

I was so fortunate to be able to go to the Habibi Dancer's annual Workshop!!! This year, it was headlined by my favorite dancer in the whole world...Amar Gamal! Not to sound like a complete groupie but she is more beautiful in person than in any of the videos. She is also as amazing a dancer as I expected. First of all, she is a native Spanish speaker (from Cuba) so we immediatelly made a connection. She is very down to earth and we instantly fell into a banter as if we had known each other for years.

She taught us 2 great routines with lots of foot work, amazing hip work and graceful arm movements. The cool thing about her choreography is that she not only uses classical belly dance moves (like Egyptian) but she also mixes just the right infusion of Afro-Cuban, Latin, Jazz and Ballet. This recipe turns belly dancing into a sensually delicious experience.

I haven't really belly danced full out in about 6-8 months because I was loosing the belly dancing demoness. You know...the one that posses normal, every day women and causes them to unenhibidatelly expose their stretch mark riddled bellies and compulsively shake their cottage cheese hips and thighs to exotic Middle Eastern Beledi drums. Yeah...that one. I signed up to this workshop as a last resort. I figured, if Amar cannot bring it back...I will have to put my hips to sleep forever. Well, I am happy to say that its all good and that I cannot wait to improve my game so that I can learn the world famous Amar Gamal shimmy!

Amar, you are an inspiration and the Isis wings just frame the Queen that you are!!
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Monday, November 06, 2006

New Blood

Many new girls have joined our group this year. Anna puts them through the paces every week and teaches them new stuff. These girls are really committed since the new practice hours are on Fridays!!

2 Minutes to Myself

Yoga has become a really neat way to wind down after a practice. We lead such busy and stressful lives with very little time to give to ourselves. Unlike sports or other after school activities, belly dancing is a very personal and yoga just fits...


Between in and out is a place I want to go.

So I listen and breathe,

feel the air ripple and shimmer till I pause,

and a space opens, and I open too,

like a flower,

knowing where it roots, how its branches spread,

why its petals smell like lavender.

The I flow past, rippling again, whin only scent of lavender to hold me true.

Poem by Lenora Horowitz, 2005

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Our Garba Videos

You can see videos of the girls dancing at the Gujarati Festival our youtube .


Tonight Zeebah dancers went to the Haslett Hindu Temple to celebrate the Festival of Navarati with our Indian friends. It started around 6:30 and we stayed until midnight.

Garba is an Indian form of dance that originated in the Gujarat region of India. Unlike other famous types of Indian dance, Garba is much more similar to Western social dancing than the presentational style of the others. The greatest difference between Garba and western social dancing is that it is circular and is religious in origin. The name Garba comes from the Sanskrit term Garba Dip. Garba, when translated, most closely resembles the English preposition inside, and Dip is a small earthenware lamp. For this reason, many traditional Garbas are performed around a central lit lamp. Traditionally, it is performed during a 9 day festival called Navarātrī (Nava = 9, rātrī = nights). Navarātrī celebrates the Goddess Amba as well as other popular Hindu gods and goddesses. This festival, most commonly celebrated by women, that celebrates the Hindu Goddess Amba, the Mother Goddess. Traditionally, either the lamp (the Garba Dip), or an image of Amba is placed in the middle of the concentric rings deliniating the dance, as an object of veneration. People dance around the deity clapping rhythmically. At every step they gracefully bend sideways, the arms coming together in beautiful sweeping gestures, up and down, left and right, each movement ending in clap. Modern Garba is also heavily influenced by Dandiya, a dance traditionally performed by men, and from which the sticks originate. These sticks, which can vary from 1.5 to 2 feet in length, and is meant to represent the sword of the avenging Goddess Durga . The merger of these two dances has formed the high-energy, exciting dance that is seen today. I found this dance to be the highlight of the night even though I was dead tired because it was easy to get lost in the amazing drums and the rhythmic sounds of the sticks. (info from Wikipedia) Posted by Picasa

All Garbed for Garba!

I was so proud of my girls this night. Not only did they look like bells at the ball but they shone even brighter because they hand make all of their Zeebah clothes. My eyes filled with tears of pride as I took this picture just thinking that each managed to enter proudly into a room full of very expensive Indian Saris knowing that they were wearing less than $20 dollars worth of fabric. Don't they look amazing? Posted by Picasa

Getting Ready To Dance

Pilar, Alex, Anna and Bri watch the Garba begin. They watch the dancers for a few minutes, made mental notes of each step and joined in. I and many others thought they did great. They were the first westeners to join in. I think our dance background and our open minds made it a breeze to get the dance right away. Posted by Picasa

Handsome Twosome

It was very cool having Christy (brand new addition) and her handsome prince join us. It was brave of them since we always end up in crazy places doing equally . They had a great time and Christy's costume was great and most original. Posted by Picasa

So Tired...

This picture was taken at almost midnight at the very end of the Garba Dandiya stick dance (Garba songs are like 25 minutes each!!). We were so very tired that it hurt to smile. The beautiful temple and the wonderful culture of India had us buzzing all the way home. Posted by Picasa

Making New Friends

Everyone was so friendly and so helpful. A couple of the women came to our aid with safety pins and helped us adjust our dresses. Here, Bri, Alex and Pilar make friends... Posted by Picasa

Pilar and Anna

We got a lot of complements for our attempts to come dressed apropriately. Pilar and Ana looked beautiful and enjoyed the intense dancing intensly. Posted by Picasa

Africans in India

In this picture, my African cousin Ana and I in our best Sari veils take a little rest from soooo much dancing. I think I sweated off about 12 pounds just in the first hour! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Tribal Tattoos

Once again, we practice the time honored tradition of applying our tribal hennah tattoos before an important occasion as countless South Asian women through history. In this picture, Alex and Kenzie apply our "Hennah" tattoos before the big parade. Posted by Picasa


We were elated to have Anna back. Anna graduated last year and she was our premier dancer and instructor. We cannot wait till she begins teaching again. Posted by Picasa

Gypsy Caravan

Meet Doc (right) and Taco (left) our beautiful and very obedient Gypsy Mules. Together with Mr. Shulz (owner/driver), they made Zeebah look awesome for our Fall debut. An extremely original float!! Posted by Picasa

Homecoming Parade 2006

Zeebah's first outing for the school year was the GLHS Fall Homecoming Parade. The parade theme was Legends in Time. Zeebah came out as Gypsies Caravan girls. In this picture, Pilar and Bri lead the right flank of our Caravan wagon. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Looking on

The audience was very surprised to see us perform. Very few people her in the mid-west have heard of tribal belly dancing. Hey, there is Nina on the very right (beautiful Persian student from Okemos HS and amazing Tombek player) Posted by Picasa


We got to teach 2 workshops at Haslett. After we performed a few combinations, we talked to the students about belly dance and then invited them to take their shoes off and join us. Posted by Picasa

The Basics

In the second Workshop, there were about 40 students. We taught them belly dancing basics and then challenged them to a dance off. Everyone participated and had fun... even the manly types! Posted by Picasa

Oh, Victor!

Victor, the Diablo Master wowed us with his neon Chinese yo-yo uber skills and his so fabulous Euro-techno beatz. Victor is a German born student from Okemos HS Posted by Picasa

Making Friends

We ate lunch in the Haslett HS cafeteria and everyone was very friendly. Here we are making friends. Posted by Picasa

Dancing Outside

If it is warm outside, the shoes must come off... Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Queen of the Ball

Gasp! I love this picture of Bri workin' her Cottilion ball gown. The ball was last Saturday! She looks like a real princess. What do you think? Posted by Picasa

Monday, March 27, 2006

The Vision That is Amelia

I am blown away by how much everyone has improved. I am particularly mezmerized by Amelia's ability to make it look so easy, so graceful and so beautiful... Posted by Picasa

Zeebah Times Two

Sara and Amelia are a model lesson in quiet beauty and enviable grace...Really, really Zeebah! Posted by Picasa