Archive for the Articles Category

Quick Catch Up Chat With Gorgeous You!

August 12th, 2016

Hi everyone,

It seems we have a lot of catching up to do! (and I mean a LOT!) I’ll keep it brief for now since at time of writing you it’s already gone midnight but I just wanted to reach out, RIGHT NOW, hold your hands and say a shiny happy hello GORGEOUS to YOU!

Things have grown so much for us in this past year or two! I say “us” in full knowledge that you may not yet even be aware of what growth I refer to. If that’s you, just know that we’ve got you and the universe’s got us – supported, held. I believe this to be true for one very simple reason: Over the last year I have released everything to the wind and been rewarded threefold in many, often indescribable, ways. We’re talking real epiphany moments here! I can’t even begin to explain how deeply things are aligning right now and how alive that makes me feel for both myself individually and for us collectively – our sisterhood and community. “What is she on about?” I hear your eyes squeak as they roll. Humour me, if you will, let me explain for you in the coming days, weeks, months, years…

I’ve been on this wonderful journey with literally thousands of you by now, for over a decade. Paths joining and rejoining and at whatever moment our paths converge, whatever energy exchange and time we share, for me, it’s never a moment too soon!

Our most exciting journey to date, everyone, is starting NOW. How do I know this? Well, because I’m currently creating the path for us to travel. I’m designing our future. Setting our intentions to help manifest our dreams. There are a few spaces currently remaining on our little rocketship blasting off very soon!

However you show up today let that be as valid a state as any other, equal in value and just know that if you seek more from your human experience there are opportunities for you right here.

Let life be the dancer and simply become the dance.

With every part of my being,

Lindsey Marie Silver

Closing After 7 Years!

March 6th, 2015

Marrakech-holidays_980x300

Some of you have been following the story of Bellydancingbarbie since the very beginning. For the benefit of those who haven’t here’s a short story for you. It’s a love story.

Once upon a time I was a “beginner” of bellydance, I progressed through “intermediate” and “advanced” pretty quickly as I was a “natural” I fell into teaching lunchtime classes for colleagues in the offices of the civil service after volunteering a demonstration at health at work day.

As my skill grew steadily alongside my love of the art form, I was invited to perform for local Moroccan restaurants. I learnt more and performed more and then I was fortunate enough to do a lot of travelling and live abroad. Can you believe that was over a decade ago?!!

On returning to the UK I worked for a youth charity, was again invited to perform at restaurants and asked if I would set up and teach regular classes. In 2008, after I found myself in Turkey for a week performing and teaching Turkish women, I took the insane decision to leave the legal world & youth charity scene and retrain so that I could share the joy and benefits of this dance with friends and the public to the best of my ability, accurately and safely. I invested several years in academic and practical study in order to become a fully qualified professional bellydancer, fitness instructor, personal trainer and massage therapist. I taught Bellydance in offices, high end yoga studios, Universities and I managed the Edinburgh College gym. I also hired the best of Edinburgh’s private studios and delivered classes and sessions there. All of those studios were grossly overpriced, freezing cold and to my mind dancing in them had the sophistication of dancing within your neighbours rusty old camper van with a mismatched door!

I worked my ass off for the next 9 or so years, building things up, developing, reinvesting, strengthening our little community and working to achieve my goal of one day creating a space that honours the art form and the community of women who enjoy it. I met many challenges along the way and made some sacrifices. Some you may know of, others untold.

In October 2013 I opened Little Egypt.

Whilst things have grown over the years so has the work load which is never finished even when consistently working 90 hours per week. So I took on an Admin and Projects Assistant to help me out a few hours a week. After much consideration the person I took on was Janis, who also happens to be my mother. Here’s the article Introducing Janis.

Now, Janis had a hard time getting her head around the fact that I would be paying her regardless of her wishes otherwise. Why would I agree not to pay her? She’s a devoted team member who gives of herself like any other team member! I believe it’s very important everyone feels appreciated and rewarded in life.

What I wasn’t prepared for however and had no clue about was that Janis has been saving up her wages…

For the first time in 7 years, I’ve just switched on my out of office auto reply. It seems I’m going on holiday! To Morocco!!!

We will be officially closed from 7th March to the 16th March with team members around at Little Egypt in my absence. All enquiries will be answered on my return. I will have internet access just enough to check any urgent enquiries, class booking numbers, do a few live tweets @BDBarbie and @LittleEgyptUK and post images of myself eating multiple tagines, hotdogs or legs, haggling and “doing a camel with a camel” If there’s anything you would like me to source in Morocco let me know on social media, I’m taking a ridiculous amount of extra luggage and if that’s not enough I can post things back to us! Yes, of course I will send Little Egypt a postcard!

I can’t believe it. I’m overwhelmed. It’s like a dream.

Thank you mum for your endless, selfless kindness and thank YOU to every single woman and man in our community who has believed in my crazy dreams for us.

You are what I live for and I love you very much.

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March 1st, 2015

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The Little Egypt Team

October 28th, 2014

THE LITTLE EGYPT TEAM – A TIMELINE

APRIL 2013 – 1 TEAM MEMBER
When we took on 11c Murieston Lane last April there was just one team member, Lindsey.

JUNE 2013 – 4 TEAM MEMBERS
From June to October Lindsey was joined by three interns – “Team BDB” – Amy, Lisa & Marysia. They got involved with a range of things like admin, steering projects & offering creative input. It was a very exciting time with indoor picnics and ideas galore!

NOVEMBER 2013 – 1 TEAM MEMBER
Then there was one again, Lindsey.

FEBRUARY 2014 – 2 TEAM MEMBERS
Then in February of this year Tigerlily joined the Little Egypt team sharing her expertise of Tribal Fusion Style Bellydance in regular weekly classes. During term time, Monday nights are always full of awesome! Mysterious music plays and giggles and fun echo though the studio.

OCTOBER 2014 – 3 TEAM MEMBERS
We welcomed a new team member this week!!! This lady joins us with a wealth of experience in many fields and is someone whom I cannot wait to work with. Check back to find out who it is!

Belly Dancing in 2014

January 19th, 2014

Little Egypt Bellydance & Holistic Health Studio Pre Launch2013 was a year of growth for our little tribe, it was the year we moved and a year that moved us. For me it was a year of dreaming, joyful tears and love, of transition, preservation, hard work, resolve and at times sheer adrenaline and determination. Most of all it was a year of your faith driving my courage. Together as a sisterhood we’ve propelled ourselves into our future.

 In January last year I wrote this: Belly Dancing In 2013

I feel I’ve delivered on all of my hopes, dreams and aspirations for us in 2013, including my burning desire to give us our own place to call home. A bellydance studio. Somewhere as unique as we are, worthy of our soul and soles, somewhere we could be proud to dance and long to spend our time. Our own little bellydance haven. We achieved it! Little Egypt opened in October 2013 and your feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. You can read about it here: Introducing… Little Egypt

Into 2014, we take forward with us a powerful guiding strength, a radiant warmth and a vibrant sisterhood. We draw on previous knowledge and build new experience. We are the sun, the moon and the stars. We are a choreographed improvisation.

2014 – I have only one aspiration, to give you your true self.

 

Meanings, Origins & Stories Surrounding Props | Veil & Zills

August 29th, 2013

Various props have been used by bellydancers to enhance their dance and give it new quality through decades. I investigated two of the most popular ones, veil and zills. The meanings, origins & stories surrounding props are completely different, yet all colourful, fascinating and giving lots of field for discussion.

Veils and zills

Swirl, swoosh and wrap around a colourful silk veil!

It’s fascinating how different, sometimes conflicting, stories about veil in bellydancing and it’s history I found online! I completely sank while digging into stories and discussion and the question “Is the veil dance actually ancient or contemporary?” still can’t be answered with one sure and simple sentence.

From Elizabeth Artemis Mourat’s article “Veil Dancing In North Africa and Middle East” I found out that in ancient Greek and Roman periods women used to dance with a beautiful piece of fabric which at that time wasn’t known as a veil as we use this term referring to a bellydancing prop nowadays. It could be various sizes shawls and scarves, or one or two handkerchiefs, used to introduce some elements of storytelling and make the dance more interesting. Various scarves and veils were used in old dances among some North African, Caucasian and Gypsy tribes. For example flamenco dancers are still using large scarves called “mantons”

However, what Artemis Mourat emphasizes is that there’s no documentation on veil dance after ancient Greek and Roman period until late 1800′s. This might be connected with veil being worn by Muslim women for modesty and/ or with a culture not allowing usual women to be photographed. In late 1800′s with the Orientalist movement pictures depicting Arabic women using veils to emphasizes their beauty came to Europe. However, nowadays we know that these photos were rather creation of French Orientalists than a documentation of real Arabic world.

In contemporary veil dance history I have to mention Oscar Wilde and his play “Salomé”, in which the title character is performing the infamous seven veil dance, and also Samia Gamal, an Egyptian dancer walking on the stage with a veil to hold beautiful arms posture. Samia was trained by Russian ballet instructor Anna Ivanova in 1940′s who introduced this prop to make dancer’s arms stronger and posture more elegant.

Wilde’s play however brings some controversy and provokes lots of discussion around veil dancing. The main character, Salomé is performing there a very sensual dance, wearing nothing but the seven veils which she removes one after another. And here it comes, a veil worn for modesty can be used for striptease! Although the Bible, where the story about Salomé and John the Baptist comes from, doesn’t specify the dance she performed, nor even mentions the girl’s name, the play and its adaptations created quite a controversial context for veil dance.

In addition to this in discussion with Lindsey, she has found through her research that “there appears to be a correlation between the advent of air travel and the fascination of golden era hollywood with the middle east. Early Hollywood movies indulged audiences with the idea of the exotic veiled woman, in parallel with the two piece costume set, the west in part influenced the east. Audiences then expected to see a flowing veil as a belly dance prop and early tourism sought to please”

Colourful, beautiful and mysterious veils have become very popular in the West, in particular in American Cabaret, but not only. Belly dancers around the world enjoy swirling and swooshing a beautiful piece of silk or chiffon and whatever the stories are I can just say that a veil dance is so pretty and so fun!

Let’s grab zills and play the rhythm while dancing!

“Zills” in Turkish and “Sagats” in Arabic are the names for finger cymbals used by bellydancers around the world. They have ancient origin. Similarly to other percussion instruments have been used as an extension of stomping feet and clapping hands to express the rhythm and became popularised in the advent of the Bronze Age. The name “cymbal” comes from the Greek word “kymbala”

In ancient times, it is believed that, finger cymbals were used by dancers mainly in ritual and religious ceremonies. They could play rhythms to express the atmosphere of both celebration and mourning.

An important figure in zills history is undoubtedly Avedis Zildjan, an Armenian alchemist from 17th century, who while trying to create gold out of base metals, discovered that an alloy of copper, tin, and traces of silver had unique sound qualities. And that’s how he started making zills and other percussion instruments, which shortly became very popular in Turkey. The Zildjan cymbals were first used in Turkish military bands in Ottoman times and nowadays are very popular among modern rock bands. Zildjan Company is now based in America and is one of the family businesses with the oldest tradition.

Another famous contemporary zills producer is Harry Saroyan, so popular within bellydancers communities around the world. Very recently, in January 2013 sad news arrived to the Bellydance Community – Harry Saroyan is going to retire and his company won’t continue. Dancers started searching for distributors to grab the last sets of Saroyans. Luckily, Harry Saroyan announced that after 50 years of serving Bellydance Communinty he’s planning to sell his business and in the meantime will continue on a smaller scale.

Although there’s not so much controversy around zills comparing to veil, there are still news and stories like the one above bringing zills as a topic of discussion. And zills themselves are such a beautiful and expressive addition to bellydance!

Love and shimmies

x

Marysia

Meet The BDB Team | Introducing …Lindsey!

July 12th, 2013

The fourth member of the Bellydancingbarbie team is me, Lindsey!

You may know me from such programmes as Taggart, Rebus & River City… (just kidding, that’s Shaun’s opening line!)  Seriously though, you probably know me already but for anyone who doesn’t know me so well, hey, I’m Lindsey! I’ve been bellydancing now for somewhere over the rainbow between 10 and 13 years. I’m unsure as to whether bellydance devoured me or if I devoured bellydance, either way it was delicious and has continued to be the single most positive thing I feel anyone can do for themselves.

In the olden days I used to work within the Scottish crown courts system, I had a “good job” Well, let me tell you, as a left-handed  leo, born the year of the rooster, I needed something more creative in my life! I discovered Bellydance, met someone who showed me adventure and I travelled round the world. On my return I worked for a youth charity whilst training my mum to be in the best possible health for a major challenge she then faced. All the while I was bellydancing. Family asked for demos, friends asked to be shown some moves, they told their friends and soon I held sessions for women’s groups and danced in restaurants. I then put myself through several years of health, fitness and exercise education in persuit of excellence. It was during this time that I conducted the world’s first research study into Bellydance and motor skill acquisition which some of you ladies actually took part in! :) I emerged from my studies a sought after fitness and dance professional,  managing the gym at Edinburgh College, teaching bellydance at Heriot Watt University and performing at many high profile events.

Being me has led to many adventures, for example, a few years back I baffled medial scientists at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge and this bizarrely led to eating dinner across the table from Stephen Hawking (long story!)

What else? I have an irrational dislike of napkins. Just the paper ones, others are fine. I have this thing for Evan Davis, the economist presenter, it’s not really a “thing” it’s just a thing. He is so lovely!

You may know me as “Lindsey, Linders, Linderella, Liny, Liny Bin, Binny Bops, Dolly, Dollface, Little Doll, Barbie, Bellydancingbarbie, BDB” ..although I have also been referred to by friends as “An Entrepreneurial Wizard” and my personal favourite “The World’s Smallest Big Shot” :D :D :D  Lol.

Today bellydance is my life. My passion, my full time career. It is my whole heart & soul and the moon & the stars. What I do today is make it my job to share that powerful enlightened energy with the world, fresh and optimistic, as the day I discovered it.

LXx.

So there you have it, the BDB team: Amy, Marysia, Lisa and Lindsey.

…but wait! There’s something missing here, there’s one more introduction still to come…

Edinburgh’s Most Exclusive Belly Dancing Classes

March 28th, 2013

If you’re yet to join a BDB class here are some of the reasons they’re considered by many as Edinburgh’s most exclusive belly dancing classes…

  • Ideal class sizes for your maximum progression and personal experience
  • Facilitated by Edinburgh’s only full-time bellydance performer, teacher and health & fitness professional. Fully trained and qualified with over 12 years of experience and fresh, fun, innovative methods
  • Level of every class is adapted to ensure all participants are both comfortable & continuing to progress
  • All moves broken down in both layman terms and underpinning anatomical, physiological and biomechanical technique, explaining the movement pattern and individual muscle actions – not only how to produce the movement but also how an individual can improve its quality.
  • Body alignment, posture, tension and breathing technique covered in all teachings
  • Effective warm up & cool down provided in each session – crucial for physical maintenance & progression
  • All styles & aspects of “bellydancing” and middle eastern dance covered in depth, according to group interests, including for example:

~ Oriental Bellydance; Classical & cabaret – Egyptian, Turkish, Lebanese, Greek & American
~ Fusion Bellydance; American Tribal Style, Tribal Fusion and Industrial Tribal Fusion.
~ Traditional & folk; Baladi, Saidi, Sha’abi, Zaar etc and various gypsy & goddess ritual dances
~ Dancing with props such as; veils, canes and finger cymbals
~ Musicality with drumming patterns, rhythm knowledge and identification
~ Historical and cultural significance
~ Choreography & improvisation; taught pieces and how to improve & create your own
~ Developing performance skills

  • Access to after class learning materials
  • Stylish & unique new studio space located on Edinburgh’s famous park “The Meadows”
  • Reception staff to sign in and assist you – ensuring you receive a full 1 hour lesson
  • Underfloor heating and high quality Sonos wireless sound system
  • Spacious changing area with shower facilities
  • Health and wellbeing shop to browse with after class refreshments available
  • Instant group of like minded new friends, community with invitations to social events
  • Opportunities to join an amateur performing troupe or progress beyond
  • Exciting & glamorous high profile performance opportunities for those who seek them

BDB is a well known and admired identity, of growing influence in the bellydance world

There are currently only 4 spaces remaining on our spring term which starts Tuesday 9th April. If you’d like to join us you can book your space over on the Learn page while there’s still space!

If you’ve missed out this term check back for news of our summer term and be ready to book quickly as spaces are now quite sought after!

Belly Dancing in 2013

January 13th, 2013

belly dancing classes in edinburgh city centre

2012 was a tremendous year for us BDB girls! We shared many, many moments of bellydance fun, fitness & friendship and I’m delighted to say that our belly dancing in 2013 is going to be even more fabulous!

I know this to be the case based on a few things:

Firstly, my transition into this year.. My first belly dancer hire gig of 2013 was only 15mins into the year! Booked at 11.20pm on new years eve for a performance at 12.15am. I could have just turned it down and carried on with my planned evening at Edinburgh Castle. I didn’t of course, these were repeat clients, I’d performed at their Come Dine With Me evening a while back and they’re a particularly lovely couple. I’d met Turkish girl, Rose, at Stevenson College as few years previously and knowing the cultural significance of a Bellydancer bringing good luck, how could I turn them down? It would be an honour! So I grabbed my kit, jumped in a taxi and arrived on the other side of town at 11.55pm. I caught a glimpse of fireworks on Portobello beach before heading indoors to prep. I gave a fabulous and sparkling performance set for the audience which was made up of their family and friends. I danced a little longer since it was literally new year and well, why not! Everyone enjoyed participating and the clapping & cheering reached a crescendo for my final performance piece. I was dancing very well, even by my own self critical standards and then, for the first time in my career, the clasp on my bra BURST OPEN and I swiftly grabbed hold of my modesty! Very successfully and unbelievably gracefully! Even I was impressed! 2013 -“unlucky for some” I thought but not for me, I was wearing “the ladybird of good luck” No, this could mean only one thing… Belly Dancing in 2013 was going to be crazy, wild and fabulous!!

Secondly, vision. I have a clear vision for our future, as both a dance school and an empowering women’s group and I know exactly what it’ll take to realise that vision. If you’ve been with Bellydancingbarbie for a while now you’ll understand that we share something unique, more than just a dance class. We have a positive mindset, a lifestyle and a way of being. It’s difficult to pin down in words, even for me but I know it’s something that has the potential to make a very real, positive impact in people’s lives. It already has. Just as it did for women thousands of years ago. Yes, there have been times in the past when I’ve spent my savings to cover costs of low attended classes, times I’ve worked 24hrs straight on content, admin, advertising, book keeping, buying, customer service etc etc and even now I rarely take a day off. I have no payday, no luxury of sick days and I claim no grants or assistance from the government. This is a one woman social enterprise business, what I have is passion, love, purpose and vision. I’m on a mission. I found my calling, or rather it found me! I didn’t choose my stage name, it chose me! Behind the pretty pink chiffon and sparkling gem stones, Bellydancingbarbie has an ambitious vision.

“Your aim should not be to live forever, your aim should be to create something which does”

Thirdly, things like these; Bellydancingbarbie has been nominated for an award, I’m organising us fresh new events and researching new projects. There are more high profile gigs in the pipeline. Our class troupe will be performing at lots of community events. I’m continually working to create new opportunities. If there’s something you’d like to see us BDB girls do this year, let me know, I’ll set my heart on it for you and together we can make it happen.

…finally, I know this will be an even more fabulous year for us because I’m launching 3 new concept classes. BellyMummas, BellyBubbas and BellyStretch.

2013  - Let’s fill the new year with fabulousness!

ps. Towera, I had to photoshop your cardigan a little bit to fit these 2 pics together, hope you don’t mind! Also, I thought of you on new years, ha! :D