• Nawal

"Ya Masrya"- taking a 'Detour' to my place at the table

Updated: Jan 3

Over my time in the greater "Belly dance scene" I have been very lucky to meet the right teachers at the right time, who were there to give me a pearl of wisdom when I needed it....or clearly point out something I was completely missing because they chose to share their wisdom and experience with me...... Thankyou.

I recently shared Karim Nagi's "Lauren of Arabia" lecture. leading up to my Accidental Appropriation post....

Just because you are sharing "woke " info on belly dance doesn't mean you are excluded from taking deep look at yourself changing your appropriative practices.....

It was circulating on some other bellydancers pages..... and I would roll my eyes because the dancers that shared it are doing what he is addressing...lol... Just because you are sharing "woke " info on bellydance doesn't mean you are excluded from changing your appropriative practices..... As 2020 has given us all time to think, I like many, bellydancers and teachers of dance looked at the why how and if we could continue with our livelihoods...... I have been tortured over the quarantine having international tours and performances that have taken me decades of work to achieve crumble before my eyes. How would I pivot in this new world.

Solstice 2020 Headshot- its a whole Mood

Go online, like everything. 'Compete' with the everyone in the world? ......... it all seemed very daunting and stressy, but I realized I will never be in competition with anyone because I have spent my entire life dedicated to my own heart path and uniqueness and 2020 has revealed to me how I can best be of service and stay uniquely myself......Is to just keep doing what I have been doing. :)

This year I have taken my sweet time and instead of "pivoting" or trying to outsmart covid-19 Ive been just hunkering down and waiting, watching and learning.....

I'm digging deep on topics I have avoided for decades and truly "doing the work" as they say....

I'm digging deep on topics I have avoided for decades and truly "doing the work" as they say....

Do you know may times this year and in the last decade I have seriously considered

"quitting Bellydance"....... ahahaha,...right?!?! Its not that simple, I have realized and truly believe my life path and purpose are intertwined with this art form and everything it means to embody the Archetype of the bellydancer weather I like at at all times or not..... Check out my upcoming Glamour Alchemy Workshop- Where we learn to work with Archetype and our own presence. REGISTER HERE!

In my blog YOU'RE SOO LUCKY I mentioned how hurtful being Egyptian was for me, but through growing as a woman and artist I have begun the work of reconciling these wounds and internal conflicts. Becoming ok with being made from a a person I could never agree with.I realized that despite the abuse the were many lessons that came from having a parent from the "Old World" and it indeed a power and because of my unique lessons and life I occupy a very interesting cross section of not only the belly dance world but also may different intersecting artistic, healing and occult scenes.

1) In addition to my 1000's hour of personal practice in both dance and yoga as well as taking workshops, performing and teaching full time for over a decade I have trained extensively and assisted living legend Suhaila Salimpour, Including performing with BAL ANAT for their 50th Anniversary. The Power of that belly dance legacy is STRONG and I find myself well prepared for every situation bellydance has thrown at me.

2) I have had many collaborations and cool side gigs with several alternative bands. And have toured the European Doom Metal scene as a "fusion dancer" /"Sword dancer". Most Recently as a Doom Witch Sorceress in Zaum. where I am a netherworld being summoned by the wall of sound that is the Band. I "bellydance" or even play cymbals in these projects...... but I don't call what I do belly dance.... I call it performance art.......

With Zaum at Aalborg Metal Fest 2019 Denmark

3) I'm Egyptian- It was never something that I relied on or tried to use a a flex as a bellydancer, I relied on working hard,my love of the art and forming respectful relationships. I guess being Egyptian gave me that exotic look, that people are always sure to remind me about.... with a "no, where are you REALLY from?" when I say Im from Atlantic Canada..... When I began to work with some professional level dancers they asked me WHY I wasn't putting I was Egyptian in my Bio...... I would learn later as I matured why stepping in to this responsibility would become important. And that my voice was necessary to developing this art form that I'm so in love with.

My father was traditional in some of the more "old School" ways or Egyptian culture and culture generally towards women,

The rage, narcissism and mysoginy.A lot of these were my dad's own personal touches of course and not directly created from the culture but also very intertwined.

He never taught us the language, and didn't really tell us a whole lot about him self or his family.(In fact he lied to us all for years about his age and it came out when one of my older sisters visited Egypt.) He was from an era where the man of the house is the provider.... not what we think of as a 'father'. As I have been digging deep in to myself over this year I am asking questions and getting answers on the people I am made from.

Living in Atlantic Canada it is expensive and difficult to travel.... so all my training became focused on Salimpour School, my work there slowly gave me confidence in exploring a culture that had never been gifted to me. A culture that I was expected to understand without being taught... I was an Outlier to both the North American Culture I live in and the Arab culture I was from. I needed to take some more music classes and get deeper I thought...then I saw Jocelyn Khan, in Ottawa was hosting Egyptian Percussion master Karim Nagi. I had a strong urge to attend because not a lot come through Atlantic Canada... but I had my hesitations.....

It's time to confront this I though to my self, being around Egyptian men was very triggering for me. I had many friends assure me Karim was very progressive and modern, I mean, his career is based around Education of Egyptian culture and has spent much time educating the 'belly dance scene'. I would be going with a friend. and so I got my workshops and flights and even signed up to dance in the Show at the Shenkman arts centre.

The workshops went fine Karim was charismatic and friendly I think I scored some points when I asked him if he could help me understand Nawarri rhythm ;) .......

Saturday night of the weekend was performance night ......... someone asked me back stage if I ever got asked by bellydancers if I used a stage name ..... I told them the accidental appropriation story......

Here Is a photo from the Arab Dance Seminar- Karim's Annual event. I was the "Heritage Scholar" for 2017 and met many amazing people.

We talked about how there wasn't that many Egyptians generally in Arab Dance. How sometime we feel like outliers of our own heritage. I explained to Karim that I was still working on my identity as a representative of Middle Eastern art, I mean, my dad didn't teach us the language..... and it just kinda happened to me in a way........."Lauren of Arabia's dad didn't teach her the language either.... he said. He was right.

Representing EGYPT

Monochromatic Galabeya for Karim's Saidi and Cymbals

Head to to assuit Dress for my Finger Cymbals piece.....

Karim said Nawal Ya Masrya...... :) lets take a selfie...... Im so glad he asked...... I stole this from his Facebook, and he cheeky had written as a caption: Two Egyptians in Ottawa, These are our real names ;) ... Karim uses a concept that I love and think about in my presentation of "Egyptian Dance" called "Future Folklore" homage to the roots and the reason while evolving and innovating within a modern landscape.

I performed to Min Al aswan that night my own finger cymbal choreography.... I was the only person who played cymbals in that show.... I could see sheer delight on Karim face, he invited me to be the heritage scholar of the Arab dance Seminar in Dearborn Michigan in 2017. Where Here explained what a small percentage of ACTUAL ARABS are represented in this dance form. Its sat with me for many years..... and finally Here's that performance Thanyou to Jocelyn Khan for Bringing Karim to Canada....nearly 5 years ago!

Learn some basic finger cymbal essentials through my Patreon for patrons $10/Month. Sign up HERE

In addition to buying all his DVD's because I always try to but touring artists merch because the money goes 100% them Karim also gifted me his passion project...his "Detour Guide" CD. He told me that I am Masrya, and to claim my place. And that work of finding out where you are from is always worthwhile. Thankyou for seeing that in me Karim

Check and support his work. He is doing the real cultural outreach and making a difference using the beauty and timelessness of Egyptian culture as bridge to unite worlds.

Shukran Karim- you will never know how much you have and continue influenc my journey in this art form......

Karim's Detour Guide


Support Karims work! I recently took his finger cymbals workshop via Zoom in early December and it was so fun to groove with the little faces in the squares dancing and playing cymbals.....

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