What a Camera Can Do for a Dancer – 012

Belly Dance Podcast what a camera can do for a dancer

Show highlights: Learn how to make a dance video and get tips on editing and sharing your dance video. Warm up to Deya Dova’s “Myth of the Cave”, try the damn sexy dance move “Shoulder Peek Mayas”, take a selfie when you nail your costume and/or makeup, use a phone selfie ring light and full length mirror when you shoot, and try dancing next time you are on the phone. Top off all this self-reliance action by going foraging for wild purslane.

Check out these super helpful steps for DIY videos: How to Make Great Dance Videos All By Yourself


For many of us, a cell phone is the most used tool we have for belly dance. Our phones store and stream music, give us access to an entire world of belly dance videos and costume ideas, remind us when we have lessons, take and store our backstage photos and so on. I do most of my video taking, editing and posting all on my cell phone.


Because mobile phones are so mobile, we can dance while we use them. Yes, you can absolutely dance when talking with someone or waiting on hold. You can also turn on the Belly Dance Body and Soul playlist next time you edit your photos and dance. And each time you listen to A Little Lighter, you can dance the intro. Let’s do it!


I recorded this clip last time I was in Marrakech in Jemaa el-Fnaa Square. It has that hypnotic quality found in a lot of music from Morocco as well as clapping. And a banjo, which may very well have African ancestors that stayed in Africa while the banjo was born out of the diaspora to the Caribbean and mountains of North America.


When this music starts and this podcast begins, another Danceable Ritual is possible. An invitation to take a deep breath and walk with a three quarter shimmy, or hip twists, or little big hip drops with kicks. A dance move that wakes you up and raises your energy to enjoy another episode of A Little Lighter. And enjoy being in your body and moving beautifully through the world.


Deya Dova’s “Myth of the Cave”. I don’t know how it took me this long to discover this electronic music duo from Australia. They are blowing my mind. She sings, and records herself breathing with active volcanos and turns it into electronic music. That’s just next level. I lived in a city below a volcano in Indonesia, and those fire mountains are a serious source of power connected to the core of the earth and I have a theory that they fuel a ridiculous amount of creativity. Just look at the music and dance of Indonesia, which has more active volcanoes than any other country on the planet. There’s a video of me dancing on a volcano in Indonesia with some male dancers I met up there.


On deyadova.com says that for the past 4 years they have been “recording live on the Earth’s energy lines at over 33 locations across the planet.”



And the description in the video for this song “Myth of the Cave” says it was “Filmed whilst on tour in the U.S. on our iphone.” That’s why these are the perfect artists to feature on this show. And they are dancing with a giant veil in a dessert. This is a great song to warm up to because it is 7 minutes long. It starts with frame drum, and you can hear finger cymbals and a zaghareet.



They seem to embody what I want you to get out of this episode. When we make a video and share it, we allow others into our life and we become bigger than the place and skin that we are in. Deya Dova says, “We can see beyond the walls of our own horizon. There we are.” “Tell the tale of humankind”. That’s what we do when we dance. When we channel the muse. And when we can capture it in video, we can share it with so many more people. That’s another thing about this group Deya Dova. It’s so easy to find their music, videos and story online. And it doesn’t look like they have a huge budget and crew like some bands, but their creativity and talent is abundant. There’s something to learn there.




Shoulder Peek Mayas


This works best with up and over mayas.


Stand up relaxed with good belly dance posture. Shoulders rolled back, chest open, chin and gaze raised. Knees soft, pelvis tucked. For this move, we want our feet close together our knees even softer than usual. I just realized I’ve been saying stand with your feet hip distance apart in previous shows. Woops! I meant shoulder width. Sorry about that. Back to the Shoulder Peek Maya


If you already know how to do down mayas, just enjoy hearing it explained for a few seconds and we will get to combining the maya with the shoulder peek and arms.


Focusing on one hip at a time and keep your head level. The beauty of this move is in the isolation of the hips. Bend one knee slightly more than your other knee. The leg that is bent more will be the weight bearing leg for half of this move. Notice now that one hip is up a little higher than the other hip. Slide that higher hip out to the side just a little and let it fall down and back in to neutral position. Do the same on the other side, bringing the other hip up higher, slide it out to the side, let it fall down and back into neutral. The key is to smooth this out so you look like a snake with a stationary head slithering beautiful with the middle of your body.


Once you have that, turn around so that if an audience was watching they would only see your back as you do these down mayas. Very pretty. Now sweep your hair up in your hands and turn your face so you are peeking over one shoulder at the audience. This is definitely a damn sexy move.

Down mayas are also called down figure 8s.



Filming yourself dancing can be like foraging for wild food. You’re not asking anyone to produce for you. You are just unearthing and enjoying what arises. Let’s talk about purslane. My master gardener friend likes to call it a volunteer rather than a weed, because it grows on its own and it tastes good. It grows in a variety of soil, you can eat the stem and the leaves raw, and it’s so nice to throw into salads or on top of a piece of bread with a delicious savory spread or throw it in with the basil when making pesto.

You have probably seen purslane growing in soil-filled cracks in pavement in cities. It is a succulent with reddish purple stems and lovely thick green leaves, and it can be harvested for months. It’s not a short-lived strawberry. And it’s good for you of course! It a wild green our bodies can benefit from when eaten raw. Doesn’t need to be cooked. Foraging for wild greens is a practice found in Blue Zones zones all over the world, where more people tend to live longer.


And without getting too much in the weeds about it (ha ha), purslane is rich in an essential omega-3 fatty acid, and the Standard American Diet lacks enough omega-3 fatty acids. So purslane fills a niche. And it’s high in vitamins C and E.


As with all wild foraged food, do your research to correctly identify anything you find and want to eat. There’s a season and way to eat things in order to keep from getting sick, so it’s important to forage carefully. And some discourage foraging for purslane in urban areas because of pollutants, etc. I harvest purslane growing 10 or more feet from sidewalks in the summer. So much fun.


Simple and Slightly Sweet Tofu Cream Cheese


Photograph yourself when you are really happy with your costume and makeup so you can recreate it another time and keep perfecting that look. I don’t care if Americans poopoo selfie sticks. I love them. And so does much of Asia. If they were called monopods or something like that I bet Americans would like them more. Anyway, you can use a selfie stick or your tripod and mount with the 10 second timer and selfie function on your phone. And photo enhancing app like Photo Lab can make those photos really fun to share. Look out for Photo Lab though. It’s $5 a month and totally addictive.



This is a continuation of the costume tip. Carry a little $10 selfie light ring for your phone to capture that masterful makeup and the photo will be even better. And here’s another helpful habit: photographing yourself near a full length mirror makes it easier to pose well and get great photos.



I never got permission from the Moroccan musicians in the opening music clip. I honestly didn’t realize that voice memo I took on my phone would sound so good. Never got their names or photograph or anything. I’m pretty good at giving street performers money especially when I photograph or record them, so I bet that happened. Whew! That’s a relief. Thanks for listening.