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Egyptian Technique, American Precision, Modern Performance

New!!  Zobeide opens classes in Alexandria, Virginia! 
Eight-week session begins 7/12 at Alliance Dance Institute...www.adidance.com


Where did belly dance come from?
From where did belly dance come?

First thing first.... The most tecnically correct term for what we know as belly dance is raks sharki.  There are different schools of thought on the subject.  Some scholars and teachers swear by Egypt.  Others point to different historical locations.  Zobeide  yields to the masters on this topic.  For the most comprehensive historical information on this topic see Shira's fabulous page at wwww.shira.net  and Artemis' at

Zobeide, why Belly Dance?

Why not?

Can I belly dance....even if I'm too heavy/old/shy?


This genre is fantastic if you're a little heavier.  Hello!  Gotta have stuff that jiggles and wobbles when you shimmy.   Zobeide says  to take a look at her pics.   She's not exactly petite.

This is a reasonably low-impact genre.  It's very age friendly.  According to Zobeide, one of the best dancers she knows is over 70.

Belly dance classes are great.  Everyone learns together.  Under the right teacher, the class environment is built on mutual respect and camaraderie.  This environment can be a fantastic way to develop confidence.   Choose your teacher wisely.

I've heard that Zobeide doesn't zill.  Doesn't that affect her dancing?

This is true.  She does not zill.  Zobeide has cubital tunnel syndrome.  When she zills, the outside half of her right hand goes numb.   She has a comes-with-health-insurance day job that requires computer work.  Zobeide decided she should leave off the zills and keep the health insurance.   This might affect her opportunities for dance.  However, she refuses to be defeated.  It does not affect the quality of her dance.

Who did Zobeide's photography?

The fabulous Lina Jang of New York.

Let's talk costuming.

Zobeide says, "Ooo! Yes.  Let's."   She's a girly-girl.  What girly-girl doesn't like to talk sparkles?

All of Zobeide's costumes are made in Egypt.  She special orders them from Dahlal.  For more informati0n, please, go to www.dahlal.com.  Their customer service is fabulous.   The following story is a case on point.

Zobeide was finally given the opportunity to perform "Golden Idol" (see choreography section) at Joy of Motion in Washington, DC.   The turn around time was 4 weeks.  Not a big deal for most dance forms.  However, an all-amber / gold costume and headpiece for a belly dance of size...in four weeks.... not likely.   Zobeide called Dahlal in a panic.   Zobeide told them exactly what she was doing and what she needed.   The staff went trolling through their stock and called her back with options.  She opted for in-stock.  Zobeide had her costume within the week.  (Zobeide says it was a looped Madame Abla.)

For separate skirts, pants, and tops, Zobeide uses L. Rose Designs.   She once called prior to a photo shoot.  Shoshanna told Zobeide what she had in stock.  She walked her through several fabrics and the related color swatches on her site.   Zobeide consider's Shoshanna's judgement in this area is so flawless..... She's been known to tell Shoshanna what she was looking for and end with "Surprise me."    Check out www.lrosedesigns.com.   Shoshanna's  added some sassy, new styles.  Discuss your figure flaws, a costume idea / event, a general color category, and trust Ms. Shoshanna. 

What's up with your dance classes?

I'm so excited!  My Begining I class has sold out.  We have a waitlist for first dibs on next term (November).  Kinetics Dance has decided to add a Beginning II class starting in the winter term.  It's all very exciting!

Why does she pronouce her name as "Zah-beed?"  Isn't it pronouced "Zu-bae-duh?"

Zobeide chose her name in the spring of 2002.  "Zah-beed" was a character in 1001 Arabian Nights and in the Russian orientale ballet "Scheherezade."   Unfortunately, the Arabic pronunication is very similar to the last name of Abu Zubayda.  In 2004, the 9/11 Commission described him as terrorist financier.  So, every chance possible, Zobeide emphasizes the European "Zah-beed" pronunciation.

Does Zobeide do bachelor parties?

Zobeide prefers not to perform for bachelor parties.

Why not?

1)  Zobeide considers her safety first.  Bachelor parties can be rowdy. 

2)  Frequently, groomsmen will call looking one kind of dance only to be informed that they've actually inquired about a cultural art form.  Zobeide points out that this is embarassing for both her and the caller.    Why?  Zobeide has to inform him that she only performs raks sharki - a family-oriented dance genre.   She then has to recommend that he call someone else.