Look out, 2013! Here comes Baba Ghanoush!

Baba Ghanoush isn’t big on making resolutions, especially not the kind that get lost in an embarrassed tumble of excuses or life-as-usual.  We do, however, enjoy making lists and dreaming up future projects.  So while we’ve spent most of January welcoming in the New Year with music, dance, and friends, we’ve also been planning our adventures for 2013.  For starters, we’ve applied to some local festivals and haflas. We’ve been discussing what to choreograph next: a new drum solo, a sword dance, or perhaps a new candle dance?  There may even be a Delicious Duets workshop percolating.  Meanwhile, we will continue to develop our own dance techniques and personal styles in the coming year, and you can continue to see us solo once or twice a month at Kitchen of India in Parkville, Md.

What will 2013 hold?

A new veil dance? (Photo by Stereovision.)

A new veil dance? (Photo by Stereovision.)

Or perhaps some pink fluffy unicorns? (Photo by Triformis Photography.)

Or perhaps some pink fluffy unicorns? (Photo by Triformis Photography.)

Perhaps a fierce new sword dance.

Perhaps a fierce new sword dance. (Photo by Triformis Photography.)

Maybe a faerie festival or two.

Maybe a faerie festival or two. (Photo by Triformis Photography.)

If you’re hankering to see us in action sooner rather than later, check out our Upcoming Performances below.  In particular, we are very excited about Ishtar’s visit to Baltimore on March 2-3, 2013.  This will be a weekend of workshops and Ishtar performances including both open dancing and scheduled performers.  Amy Fae will be co-teaching a Theatrical Bellydance Workshop with Nina Amaya on March 3, and both Amy Fae and Alizarin will have solo performances with the band at the hafla later that day. Check out the Facebook event page for more information regarding the weekend’s events.

Upcoming Performances:

January 25, 7:00pm (Friday) – Java Hafla at Birdie’s Café in Westminster, Md.  Westminster’s monthly friendly, free hafla.  BG will likely be performing both duets and solos.

February 9, 5:00pm (Saturday)- Alizarin at Cupid’s Heart Hafla at Typhrodisia’s Bellydance and Beyond Studio in Severna Park, Md.

February 10, 7:00pm (Sunday) – Alizarin at Kitchen of India in Parkville, Md.

February 24, 7:00pm (Sunday) – Amy Fae at Kitchen of India in Parkville, Md.

March 3, 5:00 – 7:00pm (Sunday) – Hafla w/ Ishtar at Kitchen of India in Parkville, Md.  Amy Fae and Alizarin will each solo to live music.

March 17, 7:00pm (Sunday) – Alizarin at Kitchen of India in Parkville, Md. St. Patrick’s Day Special!

March 23, 1:28pm (Saturday) – Alizarin performs at Art of the Belly at The Carousel hotel in Ocean City, Md.

March 24, 7:00pm (Sunday) – Amy Fae at Kitchen of India in Parkville, Md.

Happy Autumn!

Baba Ghanoush welcomes the days of apple cider and pumpkin carving in the near future.  You can find us celebrating these crisp colorful days at a number of upcoming events:

Alizarin portrays the Autumn Faerie in Aubergine’s The Ugly Goblin at Artscape 2012. Photo by Seth Ramesh.

  • BG will appear in Mariza’s Belly Dance Showcase at Theater Project in Baltimore on October 5. We’re stepping out of our comfort zone and tackling a Suhaila Salimpour choreography for this one.  Other featured performers include Barakaat and Kallisti Tribal, and of course Mariza’s amazing student troupe, Lazuli!
  • Both Amy Fae and Alizarin will be featured at the Art of Belly Dance on Sunday evenings at the Kitchen of India.  Each Sunday, beginning October 14, a member of Aubergine will solo at this family friendly restaurant in Parkville.
  • Aubergine, parent troupe of Amy Fae & Alizarin, will be performing at the 2012 Multiple Sclerosis Fantasy Ball, Goblins & Gears II on October 27.  Get your favorite Steampunk or Faerie get-up on, and come support a great cause with us!

Gemini: Reflections

We’ve been a little busy recently – perhaps you heard?  Baba Ghanoush and our dear friends Cypress collaborated to bring you Gemini: A Showcase of Belly Dance Duets.  Featuring a selection of local professional and for-the-occasion duets, Gemini raised $1100 plus two laundry baskets of donation items for House of Ruth Maryland.

Cypress closes the show at Gemini: A Showcase of Belly Dance Duets (Photo courtesy of Pamela Rowlett)

For those of you who don’t know, House of Ruth is a nonprofit organization that supports women and children who’ve suffered from domestic abuse.  They do some amazing work in our area – please check out their website: http://www.hruth.org/.  (You can make online donations!)  To quote some of our promotional materials from Gemini:  “Baba Ghanoush and Cypress feel that the soulful art of belly dance has given each of us a gift of self awareness and autonomy over our bodies. House of Ruth helps women and children who are or have been victims of domestic abuse find or regain the same things.”

One of my greatest pleasures in dancing, besides the dance itself, is using belly dance as a medium to create good energy and positive change in the community.  Last year, BG participated in our mother troupe Aubergine’s show, Muppets & Monsters, benefiting Smiles & Dreams:  The Tohoku Kids Project. (We were “Pink Fluffy Unicorns Dancing on Raibows.”) The year before, we debuted as BG in Nina Amaya’s Disco Hafla Competition, benefiting wildlife clean-up from the BP oil spill in Louisiana.  (We danced to “It’s Raining Men” by the Weather Girls.)  Earlier this year, we were a part of Gypsy Fusion’s Dance Your Heart Out Hafla, benefitting the American Red Cross.  (Cypress was there too!)  We perform at countless other charitable events with Aubergine. In Gemini, we have now, with Cypress, successfully organized and run our very own event!

Baba Ghanoush - Gemini

Baba Ghanoush skirt-swishing at Gemini (Photo courtesy of Pamela Rowlett)

It’s a lot of work.  Quite a bit of stress.  Probably best NOT to schedule it the weekend after another major performance (oops).  But the payoff – the caring support of so many performers, volunteers, and audience members – is totally worth it.

(Photos courtesy of Pamela Rowlett Photography, Gemini’s official event photographer.   You can check out all the photos here.  Videos will be up soon.  If you have photos or video from the event that you’d like to share, please leave us a link in the comments!)

Gemini: A Showcase of Belly Dance Duets

Baba Ghanoush is very pleased to be collaborating with our friends Cypress Belly Dance in producing this event showcasing the art of the belly dance duet, and raising funds for House of Ruth Maryland.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Christian Temple
5820 Edmondson Ave at Academy Rd.
Catonsville, MD

Follow the event on Facebook

The Cause: Baba Ghanoush and Cypress feel that the soulful art of belly dance has given each of us a gift of self awareness and autonomy over our bodies. House of Ruth helps women and children who are or have been victims of domestic abuse find or regain the same things….

“The House Of Ruth Maryland is one of the nation’s leading domestic violence centers, helping thousands of battered women and their children find the safety and security that so many of us take for granted.” Please visit their website to learn more.

Admission: $15, or $10 with a donation item from the wish list.

Our Duets:

Char & Shahvei
Cyra Khurren & Hazine
Eye of Isis
Melissa Rae & Mira Leigh
Pamela & Joan
Short and Sweet
Verve Tribal

And, of course, your hosts: Baba Ghanoush and Cypress.

Our official event photographer will be Pamela Rowlett Photography.

Feel free to print and distribute your own copies of our event flyer.
Download the full page (8.5″ x 11″) version.
Download the half page (to fliers to a page) version.

Baba Ghanoush’s Art of the Belly Highlights

I am never sure how to refer to Art of the Belly when other folks ask me what I’m doing with my Friday off.  A belly dance conference?  Convention?  An amazing weekend full of insightful workshops and inspiring dancing?  That last one captures it best.  Baba Ghanoush filled our second annual Art of the Belly weekend with four workshops and three performances each.


-We descended upon two workshops together: Morocco’s “Oryantal and Sulukule Roman Karsilama”, and Nadirah Nasreen’s “Zills!!!”  Morocco has such a wealth of knowledge to share, and is inspiringly real in how she imparts it.  She clearly delineated the differences between the Sulukule Roman and Oryantal styles of karsilama dances in an accessible and entertaining way.  BG loves the earthy Turkish movements, and we’re looking forward to integrating some “catitude” into future dances.

-Nadirah Nasreen should name her workshop “How to Not Be Afraid of Zills.”  We here at Baba Ghanoush have been wanting to choreograph a dance with zills, but despite some experience with the lovely finger cymbals, we’ve been a bit intimidated to actually incorporate them into a dance.  And then perform it.  In front of an audience.  Nadirah has an incredible knack of putting you at ease with your zills, and giving you the confidence and the tools to integrate them into your dancing.

-We divided and conquered Shems’s two workshops.  Alizarin explored “Stage Worthy Oriental Arms,” learning how the icons of the golden age of belly dance used  their arms to enhance movements and to convey emotion.  Amy Fae attended “Breathtaking Veil,” which left her with some powerful concepts about dancing from the heart and using veil symbolism to the dancer’s advantage.  BG collectively recommends any workshop by Shems that you can shimmy your way into.  She not only teaches beautiful movement, but also focuses on dance concepts that can far outlast learning a single move or combo.

-Finally, Alizarin learned new techniques for mastering layered movements and creatively incorporating them into dances with Shiraz in her “Luscious Layering” workshop, while Amy Fae channeled her inner diva and experimented with melting into extended poses in Naimah’s “Bold and Sassy” workshop.

Expect some upcoming Baba Ghanoush performances with bold attitudes, sassy layers, earthy catitude, veils, and zills!  Okay, okay, maybe not all at once.  (Then again…maybe…)

Personal highlights:

Amy Fae: I loved watching so many talented dancers while snuggled up down in front with fellow Aubergines and friends.  I loved the wide variety of dance and music styles represented throughout the weekend, and am so happy to be part of such a wonderful dance community!  New on the list of dance goals:  learn to dance on top of a drum.

Alizarin: I really enjoyed watching the dancers who chose to perform to live music be inspired by the house band Ishtar (along with guest musician Brett of Maharal) who play rock influenced versions of classic Egyptian and Turkish songs.  I also loved experiencing how diverse our local belly dance community is- I saw performers of every background, gender, age, shape, and style dance to music of all kinds, from classic Middle Eastern to modern electronic and pop music.

You can check out Baba Ghanoush’s set from Saturday afternoon here.  Both of us also appeared with Aubergine (video here) on Friday night, and Lazuli on Sunday afternoon.

Baba Ghanoush extends our sincere thanks to everyone who helped make Art of the Belly a success, most especially event coordinators Naimah and Patti of Troupe Amandari.  We’re already making plans for next year!


Alright, folks, we’ve been hearing some of the rumors going ‘round, and we’d like to set the record straight.  Yes, Amy Fae trod upon a broken glass bead during the Lazuli set.  And yes, she did finish dancing the song.  She is totally hardcore (thank you).  She is in fine health now and probably no longer needs the Charlie Brown band-aid on her foot, and she is eagerly anticipating the epic stories of how a rogue piece of glass attacked her in the middle of the dance, slicing her very foot from her body, yet she continued dancing, and when she got backstage she bravely sat making nary a sound while her Lazuli troupe-mate had to sew her foot back on!  What a trooper!  (Actually, she cried like a baby and is kind of embarrassed about the whole thing, so you might not want to bring it up to her.)  A great thanks to Sam of Lazuli for having a first aid kit on hand, and to all the Art of the Belly staff and Amy Fae’s friends, who anxiously attended her in her time of need and extreme exhaustion.  Beware the rogue glass bead!