Letter from the Editor:
This year marks the 5th year without my mother Johanna who passed away in 2012 on her favorite holiday, “International Woman’s Day” which occurs two days after my birthday on March 6th. On my birthday I had taken vintage Greek belly dance music to the nursing home and we had a little party. My favorite Greek singer, Rena Dalia, was on there, as well as Johnny Vulgaris whom my mother remembered working with well. Johanna had also worked at “The Britannia” nightclub in in Greektown, NYC with Rena Dalia. During my birthday at the bedside I told her “Those were great times.” She replied to me with as much strength as she could muster, “THE BEST!”
Johanna Circa 1961
Happy Mother’s day to every one out there. May the memories you have with your mother never die.
Egyptian Style Cuff Jewelry
by Aziza Al-Tawil
During my recent photo shoot I decided to wear some cuff bracelets reminiscent of the “Goddesses” of old. We all remember how “Wonder Woman” had power in those mighty gold cuffs, and indeed they’ve always looked feminine but powerful. (Even fancy metallic ones with beads and fringe are oft a part of the belly dance costume). For every day wear though, check out these fine jewelry pieces from Elaine Coyne available on Amazon. With these on you should feel like conquering the very world with your glamour!
Patina Brass Egyptian Scarab Motif Wide Cuff Bracelet – Carnelian, Navy Onyx, Turquoise
Egyptian Style Lotus Blossom Cuff Bracelet
Egyptian Lotus Hearts Cuff Bracelet- Carnelian, Malachite, Turquoise
Egyptian Style Cleopatra profile Cuff Bracelet
Egyptian Motif Verdigris Patina Cleopatra Cuff Bracelet – Semi-Precious Stones
Egyptian Style Serpentine Snake Duo Cuff Bracelet
Egyptian Serpents Cuff Bracelet – Carnelian, Charoite, Turquoise
Costuming: Ye Good Olde Coin Belt (and remedy for figure problems)
By Aziza Al-Tawil
Well, the vintage belt with golden tone “Sun” discs with faces was going home with me for sure. Knew it the minute I saw it in the thrift shop that it was something I could really “go to town with” turning it into a belly dance costume piece. So I bought it. Then it took a while to strategize what to do with it.
The Vintage 1970’s Gold Tone Sun Disc Belt that was reworked and embellished by Aziza Al-Tawil.
Number one I wanted something that would be adjustable. When my mother passed away a few years ago my depression packed on some pounds. I felt like I was shutting down and would perish myself. Unimaginable grief-similar though-to the grief when my half sister died in a car accident at age 35. Also, being “short waisted” added yet another challenge. The weight of a belt like this is daunting and how to keep it up when you really don’t want to wear it “low” under your belly is an issue. So after a while-I figured it out.
An example of the belt being suspended down from the waist on a dancer from a vintage postcard Circa Early 20th Century.
The key was to get extra chain and come up with a “support” system that would be attached above at the actual waistline. The actual belly dance belt would be suspended beneath in the correct position where they usually are located (The sun discs are located at the back by the way-the chain length determines how it lays against the natural shape of my hips). A different belt also attaches on each side in the front and as you lose weight you can remove however many inches off equally from each side. This concept is not my own but can be seen in quite a few late 19th and early 20th century costume styles. I’ve posted a few examples here. I will say this belt looks gorgeous shimmering in the light. It would be most flattering to wear over black and have similar embellishments to the top part of the costume.
Another example of a Circa Early 2oth Century belly dance belt suspended from the waist. (This one appears to need a back though!).
The disc motif is often seen in vintage look belts and has been adopted by the “Tribal” style dancer in the modern age albeit mostly in “Silver Tone.” The belt I made has turned out well and I can’t wait to perform in it. Another look would be to wear it with mostly flesh tones like beige or pale gold fabrics so it all blends with the skin for one “long” line.
Aziza Hits “IMDB” with Credit in Cast of “The Grave Caller” (2017)
Special Announcement: Aziza Al-Tawil is celebrating her first credit in the “Internet Movie Database” and her first speaking role in a feature length film as “The Psychic” in Joseph Anderson’s “The Grave Caller.” More details to come. To celebrate her feature film debut Aziza did a special photo shoot.
Mystery Dancer in “Journey to Shiloh” 1968
By Aziza Al-Tawil
“Journey to Shiloh” is an American film released in 1968. It starred James Caan, Michael Sarrazin, and an ensemble of some other men including the very young Harrison Ford and Jan Michael Vincent. Based on a novel by Will Henry (Heck Allen) the film concerns a group of young men and their adventures “en route” to joining up with the Confederate Army. During one scene at a saloon hall we are treated to a quite nice performance by a mystery dancer who even does some dramatic floor work. She looks very familiar to me but I cannot place her – can you?
The mystery dancer, from the saloon hall scene in “Journey to Shiloh” (1968)