D's Blog

July 4, 2010   ♦   Comments Off on Power Belly Show: Update, July 2010

We began producing the Power Belly Show Online Class in May 2009.

Delilah leads the Power Belly Show

Delilah leads the Power Belly Show

We have been referring to it as our eStudio because it’s a electronic part of our studio community. We consider and encourage the students out there in belly dance world to become a part of our studio. They are welcome to join our yahoo group and stay a breast of new developments, projects and opportunities.


Our goal as a belly dance company:

We are dedicated to the art of belly dance. Our mission is to serve those who love belly dance. When you look at our long track record of involvement (over 30 years) you see we do this by teaching and hosting classes and workshops in our studio in Seattle, by annual retreats and occasional adventure tours to Egypt . . . We have a produced all sorts of instructional, documentary and performance DVD’s and music CDs for . . .

VDP Studio is in service to all belly dancers no mater the skill level, age or the style. We cannot do this every week in one hour, but, by and by we touch on a little of everything by hosting dancers of all perspectives from week to week. Our duty is to stay interested and supportive of all belly dance. Connect with us!

The Power Belly Project:

This past year we have been keeping the “Power Belly Show” as current in time as possible by filming 6 out of 8 weeks. We  completed 40 episodes by May 2010. During this year we offered 5 episodes for only a penny as introductory samples and we produced a Limited Edition Double Disk DVD “Power Belly Show, Summer 2009” for those who could not download the show or simply wanted to own a hard copy (still some available). The DVD features 1 full episode and 2 half episodes and Guest Star tutorials by Dahlia , Delilah and Tayissa Blue. Another DVD of “Winter 2010” is underway.

Please buy one if you can!

It helps us maintain the Power Belly as a project that has so far, not been cost effective. We think that online classrooms are the wave of the future but they are certainly not caught on yet. It costs us a lot of cash to but this up as a small company.

Please help us spread the word:

Tell your dance friends about our Power Belly Show On-line Belly Dance Class..

Power Belly Extended Workout Spoof

As a funny, creative little promotional gimmick, We came up with a spoof video parody. The idea was to spoof  the famous Late Night TV Extenze Commercials promoting Male Enhancement. Our script promoted POWER BELLY as Female Belly Dance Enhancement. We have it up on Youtube. Most people got it and thought it was hysterical but if you don’t know what we are paradizing (is that a word?), I suppose it might seem random. Ha! We had a great time making it and thats why we do all our work. We love acting and dancing. And I think when you see it you will agree we do not take our selves so seriously. We are pretty silly.

At this moment in time:

Due to our busy project schedule (example of most recent ; Parade) and a lagging economy we can’t keep all pots boiling at once so we are backing off filming every week for the summer months and will produce a show every 4 weeks or so . We have at least 3 re-run shows up at any one time and leave a relatively new one up a little longer. I think there is plenty of redeeming value to our workouts and I hope they increase your daily enjoyment of belly dance. We have dancer in very remote places tuning in as well we have dancers down the street. The world is changing in major ways. It is becoming more of a realization that we are no longer limited or defined by our location anymore. We are enjoined by our common interests.

Reminder: the workout is not aimed at replacing your LIVE instructor. It’s just giving you more support to learn, grow and enjoy the art of belly dance. Thanks for tuning in.

Over view credits for the record.

May 2009- May 2010

Weekly Cast:

VDP Dance Instruction:

Delilah, Dahlia, Tayissa Blue, Ruby, Bella Jovan, Laura Rose

Filmed and edited By Laura Rose

Music by Erik Brown; Drums, base, chimbus, guitar, other percussion

Special Features Guests on different episodes

“House of Tarab”

A 6 piece traditional music ensemble; Sallah, Andy, David, Stephen, Erik, Jane,

Unmata and Amy Sigil Sacremento CA,

Freya Los Angeles CA,

Princess Farhana Los Angeles CA,

Salah Ali on Violin

Stephen Elaimy on Oud.

Rich Hawkins voice work .

Filmed primarily in VDP Studio in Seattle.

However, we did film in Delilah’s back yard when the weather got very hot.

We dedicated one episode to a beautiful Labyrinth dance happening in the studio on Winter Solstice. Halloween had a fun costume theme as well.

We look forward to another year!

June 29, 2010   ♦   Comments Off on EGYPT 2011

Delilahabydos2Join me in Egypt for the Trip of a Life Time next Spring 2011.

We are registering people early because it insures us all the best accommodations. We have a payment plan for budgeting. I am not going to do this again so now is the time. There are other places I want to go in my life. I really rather go to Egypt with my dancing sisters, family and friends rather than a bunch of unknown tourists. I know you would too. This is going to so amazing.

We will do two trips in one. Ancient Egypt and Modern Day Egypt and if you are really adventurous continue on to Jordan where we will visit Petra and the red sea!

Check out my scrap book from previous adventures in Egypt!

Call me with questions 206 632-2353

Gizainsidequeens 2This photo was taken of us doing a circle dance in the Queens chamber in the Great Pyramid in 2008.

June 20, 2010   ♦   Comments Off on VDP Studio; Now that the Parade has Finished. . .
Dahlia with her mouth full!

Dahlia with her mouth full!

Dear Dancers,

We have just enjoyed a most successful Summer Solstice Parade! THis marks our 20th year of participation! I am so proud of everyone. We have a fun party coming up this Saturday night!

I need everyone’s focused attention right now!

We have been a studio on Fremont for 6 years and are entering our 7th year. Since we are a belly dance exclusive studio we deal with the cycles of women’s lives. We have have busy times and less busy times. Kind of like our blood moon cycles. However the studio’s over head is still very concrete in the world of bill paying cycles. We want to make sure the studio survives so we are available to women during the  full flowing times in the year. You feel me? We need support 12 months out of the year or. . .

SOOO Right now I need dancers to help.

The summer months are a harder time for the studio because of summer schedules and vacations. However the summer atmosphere is a great times to belly dance. We have more fun and are not hindered by snow and cold. heat is a rear thing here and evenings are very comfortable. If you have to miss a class and need a make up class come to a POWER BELLY on me. We do not want your schedules to get in the way. Lets stay in shape and belly dance!

Delilah in Fremont Solstice Parade 2010 (this costume is for SALE)

Delilah in Fremont Solstice Parade 2010 (this costume is for SALE)

We are adding day time classes and work outs and weekend classes, and student and staff performance dates. Fun Fun!

Please check them out and do your best to plug in to support us.

Please RECRUIT  YOUR FRIENDS TO  start belly dancing this summer.

VDP Belly Dance Class Calendar here:

It’s so fun. You can come for free if you need to hold their hand. Sometimes thats all it takes and you can change some ones life.

I just talked to someone who discovered the world of belly dance because by chance they were drug to a show by a friend. Ha! Lots of people are living simple lives and belly dance is enchanting. It can bring such energy and vitality. When I see all your smiling faces in the parade. OMG what beauty!


we have some interesting plans out side all the regular classes.

Lorraine Lafata of Boston is coming to do a Belly dance Workshop for working with as well as being an Abuse Survivor. Looks like second week in August TBA.

Fri Aug 2oth

August 20th; Amel Tafsout from Algeria is being featured in H.O.T. Concert with Special Guest Musician Ishmeal. (I play his music in 70 % of my classes). This will be at a special theater . Hopefully she does a workshop too. TBA

oxox Delilah

206 632-2353

Delilah leads the Billion Bellies in Fremont Solstice Parade (Seattle)

Delilah leads the Billion Bellies in Fremont Solstice Parade (Seattle)

Saturday is the annual Fremont  Solstice Parade and the wheather forecast keeps changing (worsening by the minute, 70 % precipitation at the moment). This is the 22 nd year for the parade and we have been in 20 of them. We got rained out once and a second time it started pouring just as we finished.
This season for the past 6 weeks we have had rain at almost every rehearsal. We are groups of 30-50 dancers Tuesday and Wednesday, Then the think tank class on Thursday, where we work out the choreographic bugs each week, is a bout 12 dancers. We have to practice out side in a play ground because the dance choreography is big! We have about 20 drummers and a Trumpet player. Their hands get cold. Not been easy.
Because of the obstacles this year our dances are pretty simple. Last night we had a dress rehearsal on some back streets in Fremont. We got to enact all our transitions and are looking good and ready to go. All we need is the Weather to cooperate. It’s threatened to rain before on us. Actually the year we built the pyramid they predicted rain but it held until the night. We hope our luck will holds again this year.
If it doesn’t. . .
This becomes the hardest decision of my life. How do I call it? Well if it rains buckets in the morning, it’s easy. No parade. However what if it’s just gray and threatening? We can’t dance in the rain; 1. It’s slippery, no one wants a broken ankle 2. Costumes banners and props get wrecked, 3. We can’t carry around rain gear with us just in case. It’s cold. No one wants to belly dance in coats. 4. Will the audience stand around in the rain. probably with umbrellas. 5. Drummers get cold hands.
If it’s just grey the gals have decided to show up no mater what and  call it off if it gets dangerous. A bike with cart will be with us to carry rain gear and visqueen.
If we have to call it off. Well, next year will have the same color theme and we will have a year to make our costumes even better and improve our dance concepts. Plus work on banners. Plus add more dancers!
All together we have about 89-99 folks readying themselves for this parade.
Let us share our dance works:
Our theme 2010

Our Colors are
Our Sub themes are
We have 4 groupings of dancers and they each have different props and a rhythm where they are spot lighted a little more predominantly.
The Water has blue gauntlets with ribbon streamers and dances to bolero.
The Air has huge circle cloud like sleeves and their rhythm is 6/8
The Fire has sticks with fire streamers and they have a  fast Karachi
The Earth has brown silk veils and is the lead with the saeedi.
We have 2 different transition dances to Ayoob
The names of our dances are cute. They are inspired by the ways the Earth dynamically dances; Earth Quake, Tornado, Kelp and Critters, Volcano, whirl winds, waves, fire Storm, chaos . . .

Fremont Solstice Parade

Fremont Solstice Parade

June 9, 2010   ♦   Comments Off on Egypt Tour
Delilah at Isis Temple

Delilah at Isis Temple

I’m dreaming in ancient Egyptian symbols. . .

This week I got a bunch of calls from folks getting excited about coming to Egypt with me. Two gal friends are signed up for my “ Hathor down the Nile”. They are driving their families crazy with excitement. They have many months to wait, so I hope it’s not too hard on their families.

Then a family of 4 called and announced they are ALL are coming with me. The mom is one of our NTP dancers. The young daughter has a romance with ancient Egypt that I find hauntingly familiar. The teen age son I hear is a very good writer. What better to fuel his imagination with than a trip to the land of scribes and the beginning of writing. Where world histories, myths and cultures meet. A fantastic growth experience. I hope he keeps a journal and will share. The father couldn’t miss this rich opportunity to travel abroad with with his loved ones. This will be richly etched in all their collective memories. I am so pleased they are doing this as a family.
I got n email from a dance friend who wants to come and maybe on the entire 20 day trip of a life time. She said she is open for a room mate because she didn’t know if her husband would be interested or not. She and her husband are retired and very active and healthy. I hope he considers coming along too. It’s going to be a major experience for his beloved wife and life moves fast past 50. You gotta grab it while you can.  Husbands are very welcome on this tour. They won’t feel like its girls night out I assure.

In the story scrap book I put up on the Delilahs-belly-dance-retreat.com, I tried convey how powerful the experience was to share with some one close to you. I went alone the first time and made a new friend in my roommate Carol. The second time my then husband wasn’t interested and I went with a best friend (I wished he had come too). She and I had an incredible life altering trip . It was 1997 and we went to Turkey and Egypt in the same adventure.Then in 2000 I went with my folks while they were both healthy to travel.  OMG what a good decision that was. We joined harpist Ani William’s tour and about 14 belly dance fiends of mine came too. The last trip I took in 2008 my two daughters, 2 cousins, and my boyfriend came with me. I and shared with them the ancient mysteries. So fantastic. I figured that was the last time I would go. A handful of people who came with me last time in 2008 are interested in the Petra (Jordan) leg of the tours including my family members. That would be perfect.
This trip was prompted by my students who started asking me recently. Are you going back Delilah? If so I want to come. Really, I said? They said I make the adventure come to life so that it is not just a typical tour. I laughed, but I know what they mean. When we were in Costa Rica I over heard two tour guide talking to each other about how they wished they had our group because we were so vibrant and alive. I know we brighten up the guides, the guards and other tourists around us with our dance energy.

A Dance Inside the Queens Chamber

A Dance Inside the Queens Chamber

Then I realized I haven’t seen Alexandria, Petra the Red Sea and my most favorite thing in the whole world is to cruise down the Nile so this time I’m going to do it all!

So that is why we are going and have a nice long lead time so we can budget it into our dreams.
Life is so precious. Life is so fleeting. Youth believes they live forever. In our middle years we realize we better live it now.

Yours in Ancient and Modern Belly Dance.





May 20, 2010   ♦   Comments Off on REGARDING “LIVE MUSIC”

I have 3 future events in this post;

Sallah Plays Delilah

Sallah Plays Delilah

Friday Cabaret at VDP Studio 4128 Fremont Ave N:  May 21

with HOT Elisa Gamal and Khalida from Germany.


Brothers of the Baladi in Seattle June 11

Hawaii Belly Dance Retreat . .  . Early Bird registration is open now.

(Help me BRING STEPHEN ELAIMY in 2011)

• This article is about “LIVE MUSIC”.

Many of you have been to our 3rd Friday Cabarets at VDP. When it comes to dance most of you know I am a dedicated supporter of LIVE MUSIC. As feathers in my cap, I boast the honor of hosting bands such as Sirocco, Brothers of the Baledi, John Bilizikijian, Solace, and House of Tarab on my retreats to Hawaii, California and in concerts in Seattle.

Having live music is not the easy way to go.

It requires a lot of planning, energy, love, money and support.

House of Tarab:

I became a proud supporter of House of Tarab and helped them start playing as the H.O.T. band. It’s been 4 years now. I helped produce their first CD. I suggested they dress up in tuxedos and fez and I took them to Las Vegas for the IBDC. They went on to produce a second CD called “Baladi”. They added Andy and became a 6 piece band. They are one of the few ensembles dedicated to playing traditional belly dance music in the entire United States; oud, violin, ney, zorna, riq, dumbek, base, table baladi. They practice many dedicated hours to keep this genre of music alive. We are all lucky to live in Seattle with such a rich dance and music scene.

Our Dance Art:

Traditional Belly Dance becomes so much more integral and supported when there is interaction between the dancer and the musicians actually playing the music. The voicing of the ney, the vibration of strings of the oud and violin tenderly implore the delicate shimmy and emotive quiver in limb and loin. The music is alive, the dancer is alive, the audience is alive, and they all are sharing in the astounding present moment! You get a real taste for what I’m talking about at our Friday shows.

I take my art form and career seriously. As a teacher and leader in the art of belly dance, I feel it is my duty to provide dancers with the opportunity to learn by the experience of dancing to live music. Thus, I am always striving to produce collaborative and “worth your while” events for dancers to enjoy.

NOW, I need your support on the next project.

Hawaii in January 2011.

While it seems a ways off, it’s not. Things that are worth while take time and support to plan and make happen.

RUBY is my featured guest instructor this coming year!

Details are on here


I need 15 truly interested dancers to register NOW for the next Hawaii Retreat in 2011. (deposit only, with BIG early bird discounts)

Your commitment now to come to this fantastic event (in the cold of winter) will allow me to put oud player Steven Elaimy on our staff so we have integral live music at our retreat.

The Hawaii Retreat:

Many dancers have dreamed of coming to one of my retreats. Each year we host different guest instructors and music combined with themes of dance exploration.

This coming retreat is very inexpensive.

It’s 6 DAYS, and 5 NIGHTS in paradise.

I have been holding these retreats since 1991. Give your self a gift! These retreats have changed lives. Yes they are about learning to dance but, more importantly, they allow everyone to stop the clock for a time and enjoy being in the present and reviewing life. The combination of life review and dance is magical.  Ask any teacher or person who has been on one of my retreats. Dancers come from all over the world, and often return for another trip. We are dedicated to presenting these life transforming retreats.

• Hawaii Retreat is Jan 25-30 2011 Registration is open Now

Couples welcome.


• MAY 21 Friday Night Cabaret at VDP staring Elisa Gamal and Kahlida from Germany. Workshops and lectures this weekend see calendar page

Call for reserved seats

206 632-2353

PS ALSO I will be performing with Brothers of the Baladi up from Portland Or, at the King Cat Club (Down Town)

10 PM on June 11


May 17, 2010   ♦   Comments Off on IBCC International Belly Dance Conference of Canada/overview

Delilah & Erik, Yasmina and Sema

Delilah & Erik, Yasmina and Sema

Overview from IBCC


Overview of the event.

It was a great privilege to be an invited guest artist at the International Bellydance Conference in Canada IBCC 2010. They chose me as a representative of pioneering Bellydance in America. This honor meant a lot to me. I have influenced and inspired so many of the top dancers in the world today, and though this may not be known to many dancers who are new to the art, it makes me very proud.

Hats off to Yasmina!

The conference was conceived by Yasmina Ramsey, owner of Arabesque Studios in Toronto. This was her third year of hosting this major event. She was inspired by the International Bellydance Conference that was held at OCC College in California in 1997. The California Conference unfortunately did not continue as an annual event. Yasmina decided to pick up the ball and run with it. She does an amazing job on such a huge project. She is a great organizer and business woman and has a big heart. The next one will be in 2012 and she is already taking reservations!

A conference is more than a typical weekend bellydance festival. There is vending, four 100 minute long classes each day, the performances are mostly at night instead of all day non stop. By having lectures, films and power point presentations the conference has an added academic element. Dancers get to meet each other and be recognized for their contributions to their art. A conference offers the opportunity to speak and exchange ideas by holding panel discussions with professional dancers, musicians, business owners, scholars and the audience of dancers and the similar ilk. These panels were stimulating and thought provoking. They were real, live, in-the-moment, and personal interactions. It was rich and refreshing. We have gotten used to our dose of mind walks in bellydance through magazines, blogs, articles and internet group chatter where we cannot see each others faces and dynamics of expressions. On the internet we can ramble on paragraph after paragraph with out the benefit of others input.The conference has inspired lots of writing across the nation no doubt, but to actually be there is most important! I hope we have more of these kinds of events.

The conference began with a gala opening show on Wednesday Night. All day Thursday through Sunday there were workshops, panel discussions, presentations, and films.  There was never more than 2 scheduled events over lapping and of course individual personal necessities like shopping, food, conversations, and rest. The classes were really big. Over 150 dancers in most workshops. The room was big too with a slanted floor and a elevated stage for the teacher, so it worked out well. Another 40 to 50 dancers would be at the presentations up stairs. There was a small lunchroom, and studios available for private lessons and magazine interviews.

The vending was open during the day only. This gave venders opportunity to rest and enjoy shows every evening. The performances were all over the map with styles, groups, troupes and soloists from all over the world. All the performers submit their dances and are juried before hand. This is important! This prevented the show from becoming boring. It clipped along at an exciting pace. It did not exhaust the audience as so many festivals tend to do. Each nights show was about 90 minutes, with a short intermission. The second half of the show was devoted to the Arabesque Ensemble. It was held at the Ryerson Theater and open to the general public.

The unfortunate thing at this conference was that the Icelandic volcano prevented the major international stars, Mamoud Reda and the Gawazi dancer Khairiyya Mazin from Luxor Egypt from attending. There was no one at fault, just Mother Nature doing her thing. Cassandra from Minneapolis was called in at the last minute to take their place. A fabulous choice. She was a delight. This years conferences head liners included: Sema Yildez from Turkey, Jillina of the Bellydance Superstars, Hadia of BC, Sera Solstice of NY, Amel Tafsout of Algeria, Delilah of WA/HI USA , Zikrayat of NY, Yasmina and the Arabesque Dance Company and Orchestra of Toronto.

Then there were many other performers, presenters and panelists featured in the printed program from all over the world. I will name just a few. Many from Canada; Serina Kerbes Alberta, Rosanna Mc Quire, Rula Said, Mayada, Laura Selenzi, all from Ontario, Monique Ryan Nova Scotia, Maki Natori and Lynette Harper from British Columbia, Brigid Kelly from New Zealand, Caitland Mc Donald from the UK, Dahad of Nevada, Andrea Deagon North Carolina, Candace Brodelon Texas, Tamalyn Dahlal Washington, Shira Iowa, Tasmin from Argentina, Sahar Skinner from NY, Edony Quils from Wa D.C., Meiver de la Cruz from Massachusetts, Michelle Marinho from Brazil, . There were large troupes like the Habeeba Hobeika Egyptian Dance Ensemble from Ontario Canada who performed Mamoud Redas choreography, The Righteous Rogues all male dance group were a highlight, The Sultanettes, Shades of Araby, Mirage, all from Ontario, Ranya Renee and Company from NY. Raqs Sahara from Wa D.C. There were duos like Sofie and Chanti from Quebec, and mother and daughter Iona and Hafia from Ontario.

Musicians George Sewa, Sami Abu Shumays, and Suleiman Warwar and of course drummer Erik Brown played for my class. Lynette Harris from Gilded Serpent E magazine was intent on the presentations and panels.

So many wonderful conversations and new friendships were made. It was one of the best events I have ever been to and I will definitely be back in 2012.


Delilah’s Visionary Belly Dance Retreat

April 2-9 2010

Location: Kalani Resort

Theme: Tribal-Hula-Fusion


Special Guests: Amy Sigil director of Unmata Sacramento, CA,

Dahlia from Seattle, WA

Musician: Erik Brown,

Your Host: Delilah

Hawaii Belly Dance Retreat, Easter Group 2010

Hawaii Belly Dance Retreat, Easter Group 2010

Letters from the Edge of the Volcano

Dear Dancers,


Every one of our retreats since 1991 have been unique and an in depth explorations into the art of belly dance. They all occupy special places in my memories and my heart. This frank day-to-day journal is a window into one such retreat. It is completely different from the theme and energy we explored 3 months ago in January with the Neighborhood Temple Priestesses. Thats the idea. To keep exploring, tasting, learning and to occupy different perspectives in our dance. To keep the art of it, alive from within.

Letter #1

We arrived in paradise on Friday afternoon. It’s Monday as I begin to write.

The retreat is going very well so far. We did 8 hours of full out dance on the first day! Not a lot of talking either. We put our efforts to learning a bunch of tribal improv body vocabulary first off, and were reduced to total sweat and minds of mush by end of Saturday night. Of course not everyone did all of it. After a certain point some of us had to sit and watch. Watching is just as important mind you, and often more important because while you are constantly moving, you often miss the totality of the movement and the underlying attitude that goes with it.

We had 2 Island dancers from the town of Hilo join us for just Saturday. Knowing this ahead of time, I rearranged the class schedule to give them a real bang for their buck since they could only join us for one day; (Sherry and Denise). We enjoyed connecting with them very much. I wish they could have stayed for the entire retreat because it just kept getting better. Next time!

We knew this retreat would be very challenging compared to other retreats. We were calling it “Unmata Boot Camp”. Of course that’s only if you choose to do everything we were offering. We always tell dancers they don’t have to do everything. On this particular session we were offering a large variety of belly dance classes. Each year we have dancers come who approach our retreats differently. Some want to dance 24/7 and others want to dance and relax by the pool or beach half the day. This retreat availed a special opportunity to really grok tribal styles in an accelerated few days if you had the energy. We learn and retain by daily doses, repetition and reinforcements. A retreat is a perfect vessel for this kind of work. When we retreat, we are cut away from usual life obligations, going into a different environment, where we can devout body and soul to our dance. Not like a workshop in the city.

I am learning a lot. I probably am not going to emerge a ” Tribal Girl” but I am learning signature moves and gaining a good appreciation for the different styles. It’s really great. I like the different way of moving and being in my body for a change. I think we all should experience different styles to stay fully engaged with dance and avoid becoming stale.

Crazy as it sounds tribal is not all we are doing either. Dahlia is teaching Egyptian and Folkloric, and I’m adding Power Belly and taking care of the Easter Sunday ritual element with a little dose of NTP style…

We are dreaming dance as we listen to the jungle sounds. We can hear the roar of the surf and either the rattle of hard tropical rain on the roof or an ubiquitous hiss that fills the air with spray. The Hawaiians have so many names for the different kinds of rain. My cottage is circled with open screened windows. It’s like we are sleeping under a banyon tree in the jungle. I lay listening to the bush and sway of palm frowns like slow hula hips in the night, partnered with the aftermath of rain drops plopping on jurassic park-sized leaves in the trees. Oh, and frogs. Lots of frogs singing “boo peep, boo peep!”


We had an anonymous donor make a gift of “TWO” week-long scholarship spots to out retreat this year! Wow! It happened every once in a while. It really is a testimony to the good work we do each year. It makes me proud. Women see, feel and know that the experience is so beneficial. They are inspired to GIFT other women! This is a powerful thing . . . . Mahalo. I love this universe.

It was up to me to choose who????

It was not easy, and it was last-minute so it had to be some one who could get off work and buy a plane ticket. I finally decided to choose 2 women who really wanted to come but couldn’t because of finances, would try their hardest, are very supportive of VDP, show the most potential in learning fast, and retaining concepts and choreography and then can bring it back to our studio. If it had been a different theme I would have chosen very differently. I knew this retreat would be very, very challenging.

More later, maybe, signing off for now. . .


Letter #2

Back again for more. . .

I forgot to mention, on the first day we did all that Tribal, we also did our first “Basics of Egyptian Styling” with Dahlia, a “Power Belly” with me and Erik, and I taught a couple moving meditations for us to greet the sunrise with on Easter morning. Ha! Most slept well after all this and then rose early. It’s the style of living in Hawaii, to go to bed early and wake up early. You find lots of people up at 6 AM walking the dog, jogging, swimming, and doing yoga.

Easter Sunday

We woke up a little before the sunrise and met at what they call ” The Point”.  It’s just across the street from the Kalani, on the one and a half lane jungle road that snakes along this edge of the South East side of the island. It’s a tranquil view spot with a fire pit and a meditation bench. It over looks the crashing surf and wide open ocean. Sometimes you can even see volcano glow as it pours into the ocean further South of us. But not now. Today it’s perfect for witnessing the moment of sunrise. The fire pit still had burning embers from the night before where some one must have enjoyed this post under the stars. It was all quiet, fairly still, the moist morning was colored by a thick gray light, the way mornings start out. I was the first to arrive. I wore a simple yet elegant, easy-to-pack, floor length Goddess gown.  I just love to wear them. They ad such grace to one’s day. They take me back to ancient origins. Remember when you were small and played dress up? It takes you to the creative place in your imagination and thats why I think a lot of women are attracted to belly dance.

I put a pink flower in my hair. There was no need for a sweater. The temperature was absolutely perfect even on the bluff in these early hours. It felt a bit surreall. The rest of the dancers showed up, two by two. I lead our NTP grounding and centering movement meditation. It gives us a little stretch and sends loving good will to all the dancers of the world in 4 separate directions.  Many dancers have done this with me all over the world at different events. Now it feels more powerful than ever before. Together we stood facing the East and watched as the golden egg of the sun was birthed, crowning face first through the clouds on the horizon. A new day was born. OMG, so beautiful.

After this we all hung around and talked about the different ways we have celebrated Easter Sunday throughout our lives; the rituals of Easter baskets, church services, family dinners, frilly dresses and bonnets, Easter egg decorating with those little store bought dye kits, chocolate and jelly bean eggs and Easter egg hunts.  (My goddess gown took the place of the frilly dress ritual I guess.) One dancer shared a story from her past. In Montana no one liked to eat those over-boiled colored eggs, so they got out their guns and ritually used them for target practice . . . . . . This was our 4th retreat we have done at Easter time in Hawaii. It’s really a perfect time to go be with your sister dancers. Away from the gunfire and religious fanatics. They all agreed today would stand out as a very in-tune Easter to remember for a long time to come.

Speaking of eggs. After breakfast everyone got a gift from the Easter Luna Hare. It was a plastic egg with a pair of uterus and ovary logo Power Belly panties tucked inside! Perfect Easter gift. We took a group photo with us all wearing Power Belly logo shirts and Amy and Dahlia posed wearing the panties over their black yoga pants. Too hysterical for words. OMG! Can’t wait to see the pictures!

It was also another big day of dance. We sure started early. We were happy to note our minds were retaining better today. Good food, sleep, clean air and the lack of cell phone reception, TV’s and the constant emailing we normally do is amazing for the dancer’s brain!

As you see I am keeping a short journal and I started it on day 4 looking back when my body has been tossed around – kind of like the rocks and sand in the frothy blue green surf out there. I feel clean.


If you have met her, you know what an exceptional women she is. She is very intensely engaged with her dance. It’s an addiction, she will admit. She prefers to dance every minute of the day. Personally she has the the ability to be very present with everyone she is with, in a way that makes each of us each feel very special. It must also be an addiction. Charisma is a powerful gift to be given. We would all probably follow her anywhere. We each become intoxicated and addicted to her magic . . .


She lead a wonderful “Shimmy Madness” work out. She has a particular method for cultivating that perfect shimmy of hers. Dahlia’s years of childhood ballet give her a signature grace. Her preference to improve keeps her emotionally near her audience instead of off and reserved. To watch her every day like this is to imbibe a lovely balance in her every step.

In the afternoon we did some island exploring. I took a few adventurous ones to the near by steam vents; Bring a bathing suit, towel and bug spray. Dahlia, Bevin, Amy, Bella and Erik and I went. We drove for 15 minutes and pulled off the road. I lead the merry band of trusting souls down a slippery slope, then down a narrow path cut through the tall wet grass that gobbles us from each others sight if we advance 10 paces ahead. Wild orchids appear here and there in the weave of brush. I luckily remember the correct forks in the maze of grasses, mud, and rock formations. We arrived at a small, low cave opening. It was  a little bit bigger than the size of a large pizza tray. I begin getting out of my shorts and shirt and piling them on top of my towel. “Here it is”  I announce, “climb on in”.  They were a bit apprehensive, but since I guaranteed it would be worth it,  they complied to my prompting. In we squeezed through the opening, that to their welcomed surprise, opened into a larger spacious chamber with a natural sky light high above so it was pleasantly light inside. Wood boards had been set into the cave to create a comfortable seating arrangement. In a matter of moments we began to get licked clean by the hot breath of the Mother as the steam rose out of the earth. Everyone was amazed at this supreme natural wonder of the earth and were glad they came with me.

Others in our group trekked to the Volcano Park in Latrelle’s car and even managed to get lost so that they missed dinner, yikes! We got a little worried, but they came in all aglow from their adventure. They managed to find a restaurant out there somewhere on a Sunday night. Others in the group hung out at the beach and pool by day.

On our way back from the steam vents, we took a drive and went into the near by town of Pahoa to shop. We stopped at the shop called “Jungle Love” owned by a nice belly dancer (forgot her name, sorry).  She wasn’t in the shop so we missed her. Left a note. “Amy, Erik, Dahlia, Delilah, Bevin and Bella were here!”  After it cooled down we were back to dance. We are doing well with the pace of the different classes. Some are hard, some review and some are easy now.

Who is on this retreat?

We are a group of 12. Four of us are instructors. Most from Seattle this time. (That’s actually rare.) Tessa, Erin, Bevin, Bella Jovan, Carolyn, and then Cindy from Wisconsin via Arkansas, Latrelle from Texas and Tina from Chicago. It was easy to learn everyone’s name fast.

Again, the jungle is crazy at night! So many stars in the sky. The moon was full before we arrived and is getting smaller. It shows it’s face in the wee hours of the morning so the nights are mostly black. The night hours seems to be divided so that different animals get a chance to lead the chorus. They influence our dreams I’m sure; birds, frogs, crickets, creatures and falling branches and coconuts. We can hear the surf and the occasional night rain showers hitting the roof and trees. We have ear plugs if we want but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Oh, and sometimes wild pigs can be heard walking around behind my cottage and making low grunting sounds.


We reminisced about some funny stories Katrina (of skin deep) told in the car the

year she came to my Hawaii Retreat in 2006. We are still laughing!!! We also laughed about Princess Farhana and Laura Rose who shared a cottage together at the  2009 retreat.  LR  did her famous MISS PIGGY routine in one of our shows. The wild pigs came and hung out at their cottage (knowing their was a famous pig celebrity sleeping there) and so Princess has affectionately named LR  “Pig” ever since. (Hope LR doesn’t get too mad about that story. It’s cute!)

Bye now. More, maybe later, again, if I get a chance . . .


Letter #3

April 5th, yesterday, was Amy Sigil’s Birthday! The weekend before we left Seattle we helped Princess Farhana celebrate her Birthday and also Erik’s! It’s a very special time to be with people on these ritual days of their lives.

For her birthday, we gifted Amy one of my special “Veil Therapy” experiences. Only Bella Jovan and I knew how to actually deliver a Veil Therapy session, (AKA Veil Blessings). However, they all were quick studies. Kind of wonderful to have the opportunity arise where Amy would get to experience my Veil Therapy sessions. Can’t imagine it coming up in the course of our regular interactions on the mainland. We used her kind of crazy hard-pressing music for our session. Erik picked it out just for her. The experience lasted about 25 minutes. She was touched intensely, she cried like a baby when we were done. Good cry, caring, intimate, moved deeply kind of cry.

(I’ll explain what VT is, some other day.)

So far the dancers have had 12 hours of Improvisational Tribal Style now. OMG! They are totally getting it! They are going to walk out of the other side of this retreat as Tribal know-it-alls! LOL. A couple of us are daunted by the quick change choreography but are learning stuff and picking up a lot of nuances and certainly gaining a full  understanding between the differences of A.T.S.,  I.T.S. and Tribal Fusion!

Amy says she is really digging the chance to teach this straight out. It’s a rare opportunity. Usually she just gets a couple-hour workshop in every city and so ends up teaching a tribal fusion combo. This is way different. That’s why I set this up! I knew this. I just wished I could have been able to make it more clear to other dancers so they could have taken advantage of this incredible opportunity. All teachers are in this boat when they just drop into a city to teach to a bunch of new dancers for a few hours. A retreat is different! We all get stretched – teachers and students. Part of the problem is that my instructors don’t know what to expect before they come to my retreat so they don’t really know how to tell their students. I think a repeat of this retreat would be more successful.

I would love to repeat it, but it’s a lot of staff expense to have 4 teachers. I would have to know enough dancers would pony up the money to come.  -Improvisational Tribal Style with Amy Sigil and Egyptian Dances & Music Interpretation with Dahlia.



Got some quality sun time today. Laid out by the pool. It’s a beautiful pool in the shape of a tee with palm trees and tropical flowered landscaping. It is so relaxing and tranquil. A statute of the reclining Buddha languishes on the lawn. A lovely Ganesha sits where the diving board used to be. The board wasn’t removed because of an accident.  Just insurance policies forced them to take it out. (Don’t you love America? Other countries don’t act like this.) There are statues all around the grounds. Tons of fruit trees as well. Red, yellow and  blue birds flit all around while doves coo.  At the pool there are 2 hot tubs, a dry sauna, and showers. We are right next to a massage studio and a watsu pool. It’s a clothing optional pool. Nice. Who wants tan lines? Things are very relaxed.

This fact reminded me the 2 times musician Jeremiah Sotto of Solace came to my retreats! A bit surprised by the clothing optional pool status. We assured him being naked was not mandatory and giggled. Again, things are very relaxed.

Dahlia is the perfect compliment to all this tribal intensity. Her “Improvisation – Be Here Now” class came to us like a soothing salve after so much specific technique. Our emotional bodies got a opportunity to be a bit cathartic inside our browning skin. Oh yes, we are getting brown. The rains come mostly at night or by day for short intervals between the warm caress of the sun. Gotta have the rain to have all this beautiful jungle. Perfect temperatures accompany all this action we are displaying!

Me? So far I taught Power Belly, energy balance, veil therapy,  2 moving meditations; Grounding and Centering and Hathor. Oh and I added a few performance notes to Dahlia’s class. I am getting the chance to relax and recharge my batteries. Much needed.

This really is a nice balance of movement and personalities! They, we, me, are loving it! Oh, I got a massage this morning. Much enjoyed, and I heard everyone making appointments this morning.



Letter #4

Aloha again

More Tribal and it’s feeling more and more like home inside our neuro pathways.

Yesterday we experienced some amazing rain at 11:30 AM. So loud, I had to literally yell to be heard when teaching a dance. Very difficult. It was like we all were captured in a bubble of air inside a waterfall. We could feel the water in our mouth as we inhaled. Our body temperatures created a sauna aura environment around us. It was extreme, fascinating and exciting, actually. Dahlia let out a loud cathartic and ecstatic scream that could barely be heard. Luckily it didn’t last too long.

This afternoon Dahlia taught a lovely Egyptian Choreography in the afternoon to part of an Om Kolthum piece with a veil. Nice. I especially like the “jewel step”.

At night there was a big Hula Class with Richard Koob and friends that the gals all went to in the Emax studio. I went straight to bed after dinner at 7:30 and passed out. They reported back the next day all a glow from the wonderful experience. There were live musicians because it was special for the Merrie Monarch Festival taking place on the island. It was the 40th year celebration.

Early in the morning (on Day Six), before breakfast, Bevin and I drove to this place down the road called Coconut Beach. We walked out across the lava fields talking, when I looked over my shoulders after 10 minutes, and to our surprise, on the hillside far away, but behind us and to the South, was a long smoke-filled fire line marking the edge of the lava flow. We had heard there wasn’t much going on that one could see. Most of the Volcano park was closed because of crater off gas activity. Wow, this was impressive. Then a few minutes later a local Hawaiian guy met us on the path and confirmed, “ yes.”  The lava action just got bigger. Still no flow into the sea – just surface flow on the ridge and in the caldera higher up. He asked us if he could share a traditional morning Hawaiian chant with us to greet the sun. “Sure.” It was very beautiful. Then we shared our grounding and centering ritual with him. When we got to the part that says “We open our heart,” he jumped down and picked up a perfect heart-shaped rock and placed it beneath the rising sun in the east. Magic!

Back to Kalani .

We had a talking circle a bit before class. Dahlia was feeling overwhelmed – experiencing the magic of the retreat process. It’s something that cannot be relayed to another person very well. When they experience it, there is this special “ah ha” knowingness. She said it’s a bit like the culture shock you get by leaving the country for the first time. She had traveled a lot before she had children, but this was the first big isolation from her kids and family that felt so far away. Not just in miles but inside /outside of time. It’s the quality of time being spent on something you love and the freedom from responsibilities. No one is doing dishes and picking anyone up from school. It’s a big open space in our lives to retreat. It will change our life and shift our perspective. Often people refer to their lives as “before the retreat,” and “after the retreat.” I have done it over and over, seen it unfold in so many dancers’ lives. The underlying theme to this time of year, Easter, is REBIRTH. Welcome to the club, Dahlia.

This morning’s class was on “Saidi Style” with Dahlia. She is so fluid in changing her style of movement. She really does have one of the best shimmies I have ever seen. It’s so even and precise.

After lunch we had free time before our performance night. We caravanned down the scenic road 20 minutes to a mild adventure to a place known as the Hot Pools. It’s the size of a municipal public pool. Nestled in a grove of palms in a beach front park. It’s a nice, large, clean pool made from masoned lava stones and cement. It has steps and hand rails for easy access, with a mostly sandy bottom. It’s no more than 5 1/2 deep at the deepest and protected from the high surf by a sea wall . It’s very relaxing and therapeutic to soak or just sit in the park and enjoy the scenery. Someone built it intending to create a spa center many decades ago. The bathtub warm water is fed by underground fresh water hot springs and mixes with the salt water ocean. Little fishes nibble at us a bit.

Show Time

We invited a yoga retreat and a few Kalani staff members to come to our little show in the Rainbow room.

The line up was ;

• Bevin . . . danced a wild, visceral fusion to a heavy metal Norwegian rock song.

• Cindy . . . did a piece called Rouge Infusion

• Dahlia . . . danced some stellar Egyptian to some Beledi and Shik Shak Shok

• Delilah and Erik. . .Ya Aziz Aini and a drum Solo

• TRIBAL GROUP DANCE . . .6 dancers and Amy did a stellar tribal improv that blew the audience away! Good job ladies! So proud of this weeks work. It looks like VDP STUDIO will be adding a new class to the schedule in the very near future!

• Carolyn . . . followed with a clever choice in music and a steam punkish kind of costume

• Bella Jovan . . . danced a lovely cabaret dance

• Amy Sigil . . . did a solo that was very slow and made out of American Sign language enhanced by deep emotional and movement interpretation. Very very moving. Then Dahlia joined her on stage and they did an “Unmata” style choreography together. Superb!

The audience loved it. Afterwards the dancers were giddy with themselves and insisted in continuing to practice their new found Tribal Improv dance with each other until the sound system had to be turned off so people could sleep.

This retreat was truly everything I had hoped it would be.

Today we review and some are leaving early this morning due to schedules. The retreat is officially over on Friday at 1:00PM. This afternoon and tomorrow morning are free to practice, relax, get some body work done, catch up on sleep, eat and return home rejuvenated.


Next Hawaii retreat is in the end of January.

Details soon!


March 26, 2010   ♦   Comments Off on Neighborhood Temple Priestess / Not a religion

In the past year the Neighborhood Temple Priestesses have done a ton of good work. I want to share below, but first an introduction.

This is an excerpt from Ruth St Denis Poem called “ Entertainment for the Beloved “ , I glean my life long inspiration from this and a few other poems. An autographed copy of this poem was given to me as a girl by my grandmother and I have used in my dances on many occasions.

“I dreamed of dancers

long since dead

asleep in the tombs of kings, and queens.

I dreamed that they

rose from their shrouds

and once again assembled

the scattered liniments

of their long lithe bodies,

they move to effortless measures

to the  drum beats and the lingering melodies of the harp.

Those dancers of an ancient past

slowly they moved among the long tables,

laden with fruits and wines,

trained in the rhythms of the east

and made wise in the rhythms of love it’s self.

In the sweet scented nights

under the low hanging stars

I saw you in my dreams,

dear dancers of the long since dead

and I wondered if if it might not be

that in this eternal now (which includes this hour)

that you might not still be moving

in the shadow of the temple aisles,

still weaving patterns of immemorial loveliness

as you did of old

and that kings and princes

bent upon you

eyes of desire

and raise you from your low obeisance

to find joy and honor in their arms in the passing of the scented nights.


Ruth St Denis


Neighborhood Temple Priestesses are called NTP for short.


Our dancers are from all different walks of life. We are a dance collective.

However, we do view belly dance as food for the soul and supremely value it in our lives. We see belly dance as older and drawing from roots deeper than todays modern cultures . This gives us much freedom and artistic license.

We take our name from these inspirations:

NEIGHBORHOOD. . . a greater community than just ourselves but that surrounds us and we are a conscious and participating member of.

TEMPLE. . . Our body is a temple. Our dance feeds our soul, Our studio space a house for the dance we hold high. The space that allows us to do the good work in community. The temple gives us physical and metaphysical foundation.

PRIESTESS . . . A women who leads rituals. In America belly dance has always drawn inspirations from ancient times. This female station makes us think back to a time when women danced in temples as priestesses, stewards, mentors, healers, councilors and leaders in community. In ancient times “dance” held more importance to everyones life than than just gym class of stage performance. This word priestess denotes a high place women once occupied more vividly. We feel belly dance needs a lift in status and ego identification. We know it’s value in our lives as well as how it touches those around us. Priestess sounds more serious and I suppose we take our dance more seriously than the unaquainted with belly dance would guess. The word “Performer” sounds less personal, like a circus act and while we have fun we bring beauty and sensitivity to the things we do. Our work effects us as much as it does those around us.

All belly dancers dance for everyday rituals like birthdays, anniversaries and weddings showers. Do they realize the importance rituals play in our lives? Or do we all get so busy and used to things that we loose the significant meaning ritual plays in our lives. Instead of taking a passive performance role we aim to step up and facilitate the significance of these gatherings a bit more directly. We do birthdays and the like, as well as take it a step further than most and do wakes, memorials, house blessings, ground breaking, healing support gatherings, coming of age. We create new rituals, build public and private art installations utilizing belly dance. Examples;  dance labyrinths, shadow plays,  solstice feasts, luminaria walks, parades, nature dances. . . we use creative and intuitive energy to bring us all closer to the present moment in our lives. As a dance group we aim to share these acts of grace with those around us. The work we do feeds our hearts and rewards our soul. We leave them crying often. In a good way.

We feel that the average Joe on the street has lost a connection of original dance. Dance in ancient times was not for show so much as it was a way for each individual to participate in direct commune with powers that are bigger and more beautiful than can be comprehended. The first dances were around camp fires,  joining hands and dancing in circle, and dancing from house to house and village to village in celebration of the cycles of nature and the gift that is life. In it’s basic form the drums immitatie our heart beats. As it quickens it intensifies our energy and compel us to jump, turn, shake, stomp, skip and reach levels of ecstatic movement. These occurrences are unspeakable for there are no words that capture that feeling. In ancient times dance was something everyone did because it was as essential to life as food,  water, shelter and air.

Today we have a very distant association of what dance is. So many people do not know what I’m really talking about. Dance has become something you need a partner to do. Only for certain talented people or something studied and learned instead of a basic necessity. Our traditional dance academies teach people not to dance more than too dance. We are brain washed to think of dance as for the young skinny children. How many men in our culture say ” sorry I don’t dance”? We are dedicated to dissolving that myth.

The NTP is all ages and walks of life and levels of dance experience. We are not limited to just dancers. We have artists and other supporters who have joined.

We do traditional belly dance, creative dance, ritual dance, trance dance, pharaonic dance and dancing in nature. What defines the dance for us in not one ethnic culture but the culture of women. Women hear the call to belly dance and associated expressions that come from our feminine being. We feel the would needs more of this.

Basically 3 kinds of members

1. Active Core Members

2. Auxiliary   Members who are very busy and get called in when we need them or they have time and interest.

3. Members from inside and out side the Seattle area that belong to our yahoogroup. Online we share the progress of our creative projects in hopes to educate and inspire like action as well as learn from our mistakes. We read books together, hold good thoughts for each other, and other positive acts. Membership is always open.



We have a Honolulu Chapter that has just started up and similar interest evolving, in Alabama a couple other places have expressed mild  interest. We have members from other countries too.


In Seattle we hold three kinds of get togethers. Meetings, Workshops and combinations. Workshops are where skills are shared projects or developed. Meetings are about planning new projects, scheduling and taking care of business. NTP is not suppose to take the place of ones sole dance instruction but add to it. Fees are flexible. No one is turned away. Call and come to a meeting. They are listed on the VDP Calendar.

The way the group works is simple. Not a lot of rules. No dancer has to do anything she’s not interested in. If a member has an idea and a project she wants to move forward with there is nothing we can’t do if there are members interest and available in the group. In 2009 we have done many fund raisers, baby and wedding showers and other women’s gathering in the past year in addition to these larger community projects listed below.

This past year.

2010 January; Kalani Hanua Non Profit Arts Retreat, Hawaii. Installation of a 48 foot wide dance labyrinth using 650 electric candles and flowers. This was set under a full moon for participating dancers as well as the local community, and was followed the next day by a smaller, spiral-style, organic dance labyrinth made of bamboo leaves.

2009 December; Open House Winter Solstice celebration, VDP Studios. 22 foot wide indoor dance labyrinth with 400 electric candles. out takes are on one of the Power belly Show episodes.

2009 December; Pathway of Lights, Greenlake Park. Moving dance installation with both dancers and musicians.

2009 October; Trolloween, Fremont Arts Council. Outdoor 3-D shadow dance performance and installation.

2009 October; Autumn Meditation, Greenlake Park. 800 Candle Dance Labyrinth

2009 September; Arts-A-Glow Outdoor Festival, Burien City Parks. Performed a 3-D Shadow Dance

2009 August; A Dance for Celeste, Luther Burbank Park, Mercer Island. Neighborhood Temple Priestesses outdoor dance memorial celebration held at dusk. Used 300 electric candles along with white veils.

2009 January; Mommy Muse, Hugo House. Featured dance performances in conjunction with a presentation by Christy Cuellar-Wentz, MA on postpartum depression.

2009-08 July; Annual Mediterranean Fantasy Festival, Seattle Parks & Recreation,

We have a yahoo group you can join and follow along with our work. dancers belong in all different cities. Neighborhood-Temple-Priestess Yahoogroup

We have some workshops coming up.

The fee is by donation upon ability. See our calendar page.

  ♦   Comments Off on March Dance Event; Part 5, POWER BELLY #35

March Dance Events:

Part 5.

Power Belly Show Episode 35

with H.O.T.  Princess Farhana and me.

Continuing along our chain of dance events.. . .

Monday we shot some clips with Princess Farhana for the Power Belly Show

extra tutorial parts . Then at 6:30 we co taught an episode together with live music

provided by H.O.T. They all wore their Tuxedos in honor of our 35th episodes of

work! The music is fantastic and this episode demonstrates why we call it a show!

It’s a fund raising episode.

BUY IT HERE PLEASE! . . .Should be up end of March.

We need a new camera if we are going to continue to make these episodes available to folks in estudio land.We are far from paying our bills each week.

We need some faithful subscribers!

Thank you all how came out to support so much this entire weekend!!

Wow wow wow! The stars were perfectly perched!

Thanks universe! Things are definitely clicking around here lately!

love you madly,


PS There is more coming on Tuesday we have Freya from Los Angeles doing a ritual Trance Dance workshop.

Then Dahlia, Erik Amy and I will all be in Hawaii for the top of April!

Still room left (I think) call me! 206 632-2353