Art of the Belly’s Naimah on Goth & Modern Belly Dance – 043
Hear Naimah’s tips on great eye makeup and how to get your dance costume to stay in place. And find out how modeling and studying burlesque can help us belly dancer better.
Naimah is known for her mystique, theatrical performances and gothic flair. She is a drop-dead gorgeous Baltimore-based visual artist who started belly dancing back in 1999. She has performed at many festivals including Tribal Fest and Bellypalooza, and other events with great names like Belly Horror and Raven’s Night. She has judged and danced in competitions, and been featured in a music video, and also been on the news. She’s a very interesting dancer that you are going to love meeting virtually in this interview.
Naimah’s Danceable Ritual: Practice Belly Dance sword and cane moves with utensils in your kitchen when you take them out of the drawer
Alicia: Like many of us belly dancers, you started by learning Egyptian style cabaret. Now a lot of your performances are very theatrical, sometimes dark with gothic elements and you describe your niche as Modern belly dance. Tell us about that.
What does Modern Belly Dance mean to Naimah?
Naimah loves Arabic music and costuming, and also loves to belly dance alternative, industrial and gothic and dark wave. In Naimah’s dancing and photos, you can see this conflict. A lot of what she does it experimental in a modern art sort of way. There are still cab (cabaret) elements in Naimah’s costuming and dancing, but then there’s the dark stuff that comes in every now and then. Naimah belly dances to the music in the goth clubs.
Naimah’s Danceable Song: Poison Drop by Maduro
The “Electribal” music artist Maduro was married to a belly dancer, and a lot of Maduro music is very danceable. This is great dubstep for sword dancing!
The Black Room is another great Maduro song to belly dance to (it’s on Bandcamp, but not Spotify)
Naimah is a co-director of Art of the Belly, an annual belly dance festival in Ocean City Maryland. What makes “Art of the Belly” special?
Naimah: It was originally a place for local dancers to get together and perform, and it has exploded from there. It is a home for the belly dance community to showcase what they have been working on, be around other dancers and be immersed in everything that is belly dance. It is a way to give back to the community. On Saturday nights there is an after party that explodes through the hotel. It’s so much fun.
Jo Boring is one of the party planners!
What do you enjoy about belly dancing to live music?
Naimah: I enjoy the challenge of it. I enjoy being more my vulnerable self…It doesn’t always go as planned…It’s nice to be up there with other people. You are part of them, and they are part of you… It comes together as a collaboration of art.
Naimah’s Dance Move: Belly Flutters and Bicycle Hips into upward undulations
Has modeling influenced Naimah’s belly dance style?
Naimah: Yes. It adds to the variety of poses. What I do with my arms and hands and facial expressions.
Make pauses in the song juicy with a nice pose.
How does studying Burlesque help belly dancers?
Naimah: Burlesque helps with bringing out the character in both posing and performing.
What is one vegan whole food that you love? Rice. And Furikake.
Naimah likes Nori Komi Furikake made by Ajishima. There are so many kinds. Some just have sesame seeds and seaweed, others add salt and or sugar and other ingredients. Some have bonito, which is made from fish. Furikake is similar to gomasio, which is a condiment my family eats often. Toasting sesame seeds makes a kitchen smell like heaven. Then we grind them gently with sea salt. Adding some nori or other sea vegetable to that is such a good idea! Nori is packed with calcium, minerals, vitamins. It’s amazing. It’s too bad we don’t incorporate more sea vegetables into American cuisine. There are different edible sea vegetables that grow on coasts all over the world. Ireland, Maine. It’s not just Asia.
Belly Dance Costume Tip #1: Sew big snaps onto your costumes where you have been using safety pins.
Stop getting stabbed by safety pins! Add sew-on snaps on your bra on the side without the hooks. Add snaps to your belt, and your skirt and your shorts or underwear. Then everything snaps together and stays in place. Try using snaps that are the size of a quarter. You don’t need that many. Just one will keep most belts in place.
Belly Dance Costume Tip #2: Use automatic pencil eyeliner under matte black liquid liner. And use an eyeliner base.
Experiment! Work with the shape of your eyes and eyebrows. Try using an eyeshadow base or eyeliner base if you have more oily skin so it stays on. Create albums of eye makeup ideas and looks that you like from Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook and add something to different to them based on the shape of your eyes. The eyeliner pencils that you need to sharpen can cut up your eyes.
Naimah’s feel good look good habit: Be creative.
Dance. Do your makeup. Be creative. Plan projects a day before or a week before.
What is Naimah looking forward to?
The Old Skool Anthology Show 2020 hosted by Glenna of Shimmy Sista and the super shiny costume that Naimah is making for the show!