Photo of Shira



PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

For Shira's Weekly Students

Fall 2010


This page is intended for the students who attend Shira's belly dance classes in Iowa City, IA.


Belly Dance by Shira

Table of Contents



Belly Dance by Shira

Recommended Items

The most important items you'll need for class include:

  • Appropriate dance class attire.
    • I personally wear a snug tank top with yoga pants and recommend that my students do the same.
    • Other options could include leotard, sports bra, snug T-shirt, sweat pants, and unitard.
    • On your feet, I recommend wearing socks.
  • Finger cymbals
  • A copy of the music we use

Optional items you could also get if you want to, but are not required:

  • Dance shoes
  • Hip scarf
  • Veil (used in "Belly Dance for Exercise" class)
  • Cane (used in "Belly Dance for Exercise" class)
  • Something to balance on your head (used in "Belly Dance for Exercise" class)


Belly Dance by Shira

Where to Get Things

Set of Finger Cymbals

These are strongly recommended for all students, regardless of which class you take. I do bring loaners to class with me, but I don't have enough loaner sets for everybody.

These come in sets of four. After getting your set, follow the "Preparing Your Cymbals for Use" instructions on my "Introduction to Finger Cymbals" article. Recommended sources:

  • Demizo's Dance Supply. Located in the Clock Tower Plaza shopping center on the Coralville Strip. 1801 2nd Street, Coralville, IA 52241. Recommend calling ahead to find out store hours and make sure they have them in stock. Phone number is 319-358-7191.
  • Other Sources:
    • Nefertiti made by Harry Saroyan. Nice quality.
    • "Student Zills" sold by Mid-East Manufacturing. Lower price, but the quality and sound aren't as nice as the Nefertiti zills.


  • For Level 1 class:
    • In Fall 2011 the choreography I teach in class will be to the song Nibtidi Mneen al-Hikaya. The track appears on the CD Gems of the Middle East, Volume 1, performed by Mary Ellen Donald and Mimi Spencer. I strongly recommend buying a copy for practicing at home between classes. I also sometimes teach choreographies to two other songs on this CD, Hibbena and Al Ataba Ghazzaz. So if you continue to take classes from me, you'll be able to keep using it.
    • I also recommend using a CD of drum rhythms to help with practicing at home. The one I use in class is Middle Eastern Rhythms for Beginners (slow version) or Middle Eastern Rhythms for Intermediate/Advanced (faster version) by Mary Ellen Donald
  • For Level 3 class:
    • In Fall 2011, I plan to focus on the track "Raqs Mustapha" from the CD Joy of Belly Dancing by George Abdo.It also has a nice version of "A Nedda', the song we use for the debke choreography.
    • Jalilah's Raks Sharki 5: Stars of Casino Opera. Music download for the 15-minute version of "Nibtidi Mneen al-Hikaya" - we use a segment of it in our class choreography.
    • Sabah Favorites. Contains the full-length version of "A Nedda", the debke that we are using a cut version of for class choreography.
    • Ahsan Nas. The cut version used by Mahmoud Reda for his choreography, slowed for practice purposes. This is the version with the timing references in the choreography notes handout.


The veils we use in class are rectangles 3 yards long and 45 inches wide.

  • Make Your Own. Click this link to a page with instructions.
  • Purchase One Already Made. This link goes to the L. Rose Designs web site, and any of the veil choices offered at this link is acceptable for class.


Belly Dance by Shira

Interesting Links

  • Nibtidi Mneen al-Hikaya. Video clip showing the legendary Egyptian dancer Soheir Zaki performing to this song. Probably from 1970's or 1980's.
  • Nibtidi Mneen al-Hikaya. Playlist of several video clips showing the legendary singer Abdel Halim Hafez performing this song in 1975.
  • A Nedda. Series of still photos of people dancing debke to Sabah's full-length recording of this song.
  • Nauli Kriya. This youtube clip shows a yoga practice that builds strength and control in abdominal muscles. I use a very small part of this in class to help build the muscles needed for abdominal rolls. This is not belly dance, it's yoga. I simply find the exercise useful for building muscle tone.




Copyright Notice

This entire web site is copyrighted. All rights reserved.

All articles, images, forms, scripts, directories, and product reviews on this web site are the property of Shira unless a different author/artist is identified. Material from this web site may not be posted on any other web site unless permission is first obtained from Shira.

Academic papers for school purposes may use information from this site only if the paper properly identifies the original article on using appropriate citations (footnotes, end notes, etc.) and bibliography. Consult your instructor for instructions on how to do this.

If you wish to translate articles from into a language other than English, Shira will be happy to post your translation here on along with a note identifying you as the translator. This could include your photo and biography if you want it to. Contact Shira for more information. You may not post translations of Shira's articles on anybody else's web site, not even your own.

If you are a teacher, performer, or student of Middle Eastern dance, you may link directly to any page on this web site from either your blog or your own web site without first obtaining Shira's permission. Click here for link buttons and other information on how to link.



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