Pay What You Can Beginner Folk Dance

Today at Mahasti (1 West Ave S, Suite 300, Hamilton, Ontario) we are holding Pay What You Can Beginner Folk Dance!

11-12 Roman Dans (Turkish Gypsy Dance)

12-1 Debke (Social Dance from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq)

1-2 Saiidi / Assaya (Egyptian Folkloric Dance with stick)

Join 1 or all 3! No donation is too small! All money raised will go to Cystic Fibrosis Canada.

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is the most common fatal genetic disease affecting Canadian children and young adults. At present, there is no cure.
It is estimated that one in every 3,600 children born in Canada has CF.
Approximately, one in 25 Canadians carry one defective copy of the CF gene. Carriers do not have CF, nor do they exhibit any of the related symptoms. – See more at:


June Bellydance Classes in Hamilton

We have some great new classes coming to you from our new session June 4th!

Star Bellydancer of Canada 2015, Peggy, will be sharing a Basics class featuring mini combinations on Tuesdays at 6:20.  Perfect for the total beginner.  This is a bridge class, gently leading you towards learning a choreography.  Peggy will expertly breakdown all the necessary technique to help you master these beginner steps.

Peggy will be leading a brand new “Kitchen Sink” class at 7:30  on Tuesdays.  Want to learn how to use veil or the difference between Lebanese & Egyptian? This class will have rotating topics nightly! Drop in anytime! Or come every week & learn something different. Tuesdays at 7:30.

Saturdays at 11 we’re going to start offering a “Freestyling 101” class.  Learn how to string the moves together during improvisation.  This class will have a shifting focus each week (folklore, props, rhythms) but the core goal is helping you find your own voice in dance.  Eshe will provide you with a framework of the basics & we’ll work within those limits to create each week.  This class is also great for those who don’t want to learn a choreography.  It is drop in friendly as well.

Saturdays at 12:10 we’ll be learning Egyptian bellydance choreography.  Each week we review the steps from the top &, if ready, we add a little more.  The dance changes with each new moon (every 4-5 weeks).  We’ll learn both bellydance & folkloric styles in this class as well as exploring the “outside dance”  (entertaining dances like the drum solo, pop songs, mejance – grand entrance) and the “inside dance” (emotive & improvisational styles like taxim).

Saturdays at 1:20 we’ll be exploring Modern Bellydance – Eshe’s take on new offshoots of this living & vibrant dance.  This class will feature fusion & modern music.  Like the Egyptian class it’s choreography will rotate with the moon.  It’s always ideal to join a choreography class at it’s onset but as long as you keep an open heart & are realistic about your ability you are welcome to join at any point.

Thursdays at 7PM we are going to start playing with American Tribal Style & Improvisational Tribal Style.  This is group work. Using a turn of the head, gesture with the hand, level change or other body language the “leader” cues the rest of the group about the upcoming combination.  It’s a great way to stay in the moment.  We move across the dance floor like a flock of birds or school of fish.  This dance has it’s roots in various Egyptian & Indian folkoric dances as well flamenco & dashes of fusion. Another offering on our schedule that is friendly to beginners.

Thursday at 8:15 we are going to start exploring the use of finger cymbals. This is a wonderful way to enhance your dance& play with musicality.  We’ll explore patterns as well as rhythms over top of bellydance movement. You’ll flex both your body & mind in this class. We have finger cymbals at the studio available for purchase (4 cymbals = $10 including taxes).

Is there a class you’d like to see that we’re not offering?

Contact us at or come down to the studio.  We’re located right in the heart of Hamilton at 1 West Ave South, Suite 300 (remember this is Hamilton – you’ve got to enter the whole address including “Ave S” to your GPS or you’ll end up in another city!)


Turkish Roman Dans (Turkish folkloric)

Some of you in our Untamed Turkish class have been asking about costuming, performance and other aspects of Turkish Bellydance & Turkish Folkloric dance.  Roman Dans is the mother or Turkish Oriental (Bellydance) so we will start there. In our Untamed Turkish class we rotate month to month between Roman & Oriental. May is Oriental. June will be Roman.

My main Roman Dans teacher is Reyhan Tuzsuz.  She is a gift.  This is the “real deal” Roman straight from Istanbul.

You can see her foot-work because of the length of the skirt.  You can also see there is no flapping of the skirt around – which is beautiful and dramatic but is not a feature of Roman Dans.  Check out her bouncy hip-work layered on top of intricate foot patterns, garnished with colourful gestures.  This is a very playful yet powerful & nuanced style.

You can heart her students & fans calling to her because she is the sweetest & most giving teachers.  She shares all of her latest moves.  She holds nothing back for herself.  She is so encouraging & kind in her instruction.  She does teach through “lead/follow” method which can be challenging at first but ultimately is the best way to learn the true essence of this art.  Her work is simply unparalleled.  If you name almost anyone sharing Roman Dans today they have studied with Reyhan.  She is just the best. She has a great instructional DVD “Raw Roman” that I highly recommend if you can’t get to Turkey.

And in pants.  All of her performances (and indeed the style – similar to Baladi or taxim in Egyptian dance) are improvised.  This is a great example of not giving it all away in the first 30 seconds.  There is a build-up in the performance.

Sophie Armoza is another gifted performer.  She is taking Roman to the stage in beautiful & dramatic ways.  Here she does a little tableau of men’s & women’s style.  Her footwork is so clean you could eat off of it.

Ahmet Luleci was my first Roman Dans teacher.  I studied with him in Tokyo at Mishaal’s Devadasi studio.  She has been a long-time Turkish dance enthusiast & supporter.  I love this natural, emotive performance.  He shares not only Roman but many other Turkish folkloric dances.  He is such an important & knowledgeable figure.

Next up is legendary Sema Yildiz.  I first studied with her, too, in Tokyo at Mishaal’s Devadasi Studio before following her to Istanbul.  (She gave me the name “Yildiz” which means “star” after I performed there in the Gar Casino.)  I love this clip because it shows the social nature of this dance.  Like Oriental it is often performed at celebrations like weddings & is meant for everyone – men & women.

Elizabeth Strong is an American dancer I have studied with. Her breakdown & understanding is very rich & detailed. She is a joyous & charming performer well-suited to this playful dance. She was Reyhan’s first student. The landscape of Turkish Roman is better for her support & sharing. Her DVD is phenomenal.

Pay What You Can Beginner Bellydance Class in Hamilton

This Sunday, May 8th & Sunday May 22nd at Mahasti – The Bellydance Emporium we’re raising money for Cystic Fibrosis Canada.
Take one workshop or all 5! Suitable for total beginners. No donation is too small.
1 West Ave S, Suite 300, Hamilton, ON
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is the most common fatal genetic disease affecting Canadian children and young adults. There is no cure.
Cystic fibrosis causes various effects on the body, but mainly affects the digestive system and lungs.
It is estimated that one in every 3,600 children born in Canada has cystic fibrosis. More than 4,000 Canadian children, adolescents, and adults with cystic fibrosis attend specialized CF clinics.
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that occurs when a child inherits two abnormal genes, one from each parent. Approximately, one in 25 Canadians carry an abnormal version of the gene responsible for cystic fibrosis. Carriers do not have cystic fibrosis, nor do they exhibit any of the symptoms of the disease.

Audra of Lavish in Hamilton – Bellydance Workshops

We are delighted to be hosting Audra of Lavish & The Dark Side Studio in Hamilton

Sunday, June 5th

11AM-1PM Dark Side Technique

2-4PM Dark Side Choreography

$65 in advance for both (including HST)

$75 at the door for both (including HST)

$45 for a single workshop (including HST)


1 West Ave S, Suite 300, Hamilton, ON

Sign up for one or both of the workshops at
We can also accept interac payments. Credit card or cash payments are available at the studio.
After online purchase please contact & specify you’d like to dance with Audra

Dark Side Technique
Join Audra as we take a look at basic belly dance technique, and playfully turn it on its head, Dark Side style.

Universal belly dance movements and isolations will be examined and drilled as we work to deconstruct and separate the pieces. With this deconstruction, you’ll gain a deeper understanding and begin the path to moving with unrivalled versatility.

Arms, undulations and feet will be addressed, and if time permits we will visit the hip figure 8 family and hip circles.

Please bring water, and a sense of humor. Laughing and sweating may occur.

This workshop is open to all styles and levels of dancers with some previous experience with belly dance. Not recommended for absolute beginners.
No previous experience with Dark Side technique is required.

Dark Side Choreography
Come and learn an original choreography by Audra that embodies belly dance and beyond.

Performed to a beautiful electronic song, you’ll learn the basic movements phrases, and then integrate concepts such as weight, breath, and suspension as we bring them to life.

This workshop is open to all styles and levels of dancers with some previous experience with belly dance. Not recommended for absolute beginners.

Taking the Dark Side Technique workshop is highly recommended, but not required.

Souk in the City 2

By demand, we’re offering Souk in the City 2! Right after Iana’s Persian Dance Intensive we’ll be holding our 2nd FREE Bellydance Market at 1 West Ave S, Suite 300, Hamilton, ON.  Email to reserve your vendor spot.  Please arrive no earlier than 4 if you’re only coming for the sale as we’ll be getting our Persian Dance on with international champion & star Iana.

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