The One Thing You Should Eat Before Every Show

Dancers and performers need to take special considerations in their diet in order to provide enough energy and nutrition to keep up with a demanding lifestyle. There are many foods that can affect your stamina, muscle strength, mental clarity, and even your mood.
There is one thing I make a point to eat before every show – a banana.

Stage fright can be crippling and everyone experiences it to some degree from time to time. Our bodies actually respond to performing as a fight-or-flight situation, and this spurs an increase or sudden spike of adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline can seem to slow down time, give a boost in muscle function, heighten the senses and block out pain.

The effects of adrenaline can cause stage fright, with varying symptoms such as increased heart rate, sweating, shaking, nausea, anxiety, inability to concentrate, and the feeling of butterflies in the stomach.

Enter, the humble banana. Bananas are high in natural beta blockers, which work by blocking adrenaline receptors. Doctors prescribe beta blockers to reduce heart rate and blood pressure or treat anxiety. In the smaller amounts found in foods like bananas, it seems to take the edge off, allowing the benefits of adrenaline surges to outweigh the negative side effects.

Bananas are also high in potassium and magnesium, which are essential for muscle function, and tryptophan, which has a further calming effect.

Other foods high in beta blockers include potatoes, pomegranates, turkey, oatmeal and broccoli, as well as the herbs chamomile and valerian. I personally love bananas because they are portable and easy to eat quickly. I tend to eat one at breakfast, and another about an hour before performing.

What is your favorite pre-show snack? What do you do to cope with stage fright and anxiety?

 

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Laundry Day for a Bellydancer – Cleaning Bellydance Costumes

I am currently in a cleaning and repairing overhaul. Once I found myself hesitating from grabbing several of my costumes because of loose hooks, grungy straps and missing stones or broken fringe, I had to make time for some TLC.
Performing several shows a week is hard on you, and it’s hard on your costumes. Think about how dirty you are when you come home from a night of shows. I reach for my favorite three or four costumes on a pretty regular basis. My poor orange costume got a real beating this October, getting worn for about three sets a week.
When you finally take a close look at your glamorous, expensive costumes, you may be shocked. Some dancers don’t know what to do and start to feel their costumes are getting ruined. In fact, I have known dancers who never wash their costumes, or sell them for hundreds less than they are worth for fear of cleaning them. With a little TLC, my costumes always come out looking brand new.

Dirty hem before washing

Dirty hem before washing

Cleaning skirts
I’m a bit ashamed of this picture. Believe it or not, this skirt got in this state after only three or four gigs.  (PSA: This is another reason I wear shoes!)

Machine washing
Cleaning skirts is pretty simple. If it’s velvet, cotton, lycra, sturdy chiffon or standard spandex, you can usually machine wash it in cold water on delicate cycle and hang to dry. With cheaper or some overseas fabrics ALWAYS test for colorfastness before washing. I purchased some Bollywood costumes that could not be washed because the dye was not set properly.

Hand washing
If the skirt has beading of any kind, or if it’s metallic, glittery, etc, it will need to be hand washed. I always hand wash my chiffon skirts from Pharaonix and Bella.

Water spots on chiffon

Water spots on chiffon

First I thoroughly soap up the hem area and anywhere with spots. You can use Borax, Woolite or baby shampoo, but honestly I use regular soap, since it breaks down body oils. Rinse, and if there is still gunk, I scrub the last few inches of hem with a soft body brush and soap. The gold skirt took four wash/rinse repetitions to finally come out clean. Don’t soak sequins too long. Holographic sequins will flake a bit, especially if you agitate them. To dry, gently roll the fabric in a towel and press. Don’t twist or wring too much, you’ll damage the beading and stretch out the fabric. Then lay flat on a towel or hang up to drip dry.

Cleaning bedlahs
The inside of your bra is probably the second dirtiest part of your costume, next to the hem of your skirt. Again, here, I take my brush and soap and scrub the straps and lining. Don’t get the beaded side wet yet.

Grungy straps

Grungy straps

The edges of straps and cups are always the dirtiest, and, unfortunately, more delicate. Gently rub to get the dirt and oil out but avoid damaging the threads. Usually by the time my costumes are grungy, they need some reinforcement, so I will often just go back and whipstitch the edge after cleaning, as the threads are often coming loose by this point anyway.
Next, flip the costume over, dunk it in cold water and swish it a little bit. With a soft baby toothbrush, take soap and lightly brush over the large crystals. You’d be surprised how cloudy and gunky they get, even though they aren’t against your body or dragging on the floor. Rinse under running water, and squeeze water out gently. Wrap in a towel and press, then leave it to dry flat.

Odors
I keep my costumes in the open air to store. Never put your costume in a sealed bag, especially after a gig. Let your costume dry, or all of that sweat will quickly make your costume smell musty.
Fighting odors is more about prevention. I put paper towels and silica packets in my costume bags to absorb moisture. You can regularly spray the inside of your costumes with vodka. This kills bacteria which cause odors and evaporates, leaving no residue.

Final Notes
– If you wash one part of your costume, sorry, but you need to wash all the matching parts. You’ll always lose a little bit of dye when you wash. If you wash your skirt but not your veil, they will become different colors. This doesn’t mean you need to wash the whole thing every time, but if you wash your bra, wash the belt and arm bands, or wash your skirt and your veil.

Costume storage to allow air circulation

Costume storage to allow air circulation

– If you’re selling a costume, take a little extra time to wash it and do minor repairs. You will be able to get a higher price if your costume is in like-new condition. You may even decide to keep it when it comes out all squeaky clean and sparkly!

Nefabit Public Performance Schedule October & November 2015 NEW DATES ADDED

A little late posting my schedule! Here is my public schedule for the rest of October, and November. Nefabit Professional Bellydancer Spokane by John AustinHope to see you one of these nights!
Thursday, October 22
– 6:30 PM Bellydancing at White House Grill 712 N Spokane St, Post Falls, ID
Friday, October 23 – 5:30 PM Bellydancing at Red Dragon1406 W 3rd Ave Spokane, WA
Friday, October 23 – 6:45 & 7:30 PM Bellydancing at Azars 2501 N Monroe St Spokane WA
Saturday, October 24 – 6:00 PM Sabah’s Halloween Hafla Tum Tum Community Center 6424 Highway 291, Nine Mile Falls, WA
Thursday, October 29 – 6:30 PM Bellydancing at White House Grill 712 N Spokane St, Post Falls, ID
Friday, October 30 – 6:45 & 7:30 PM Bellydancing at Azars 2501 N Monroe St Spokane WA
Saturday, October 31 – 6:00 PM Community Halloween Hafla Red Dragon1406 W 3rd Ave Spokane, WA
Saturday, October 31 – 9:00 PM Variety Show Rouge La Rue and Vermillion Villians Present Nefabit with Rouge La Rue at Twitterpated and TitillatedPhantasms and Fantasies The Big Dipper 171 S Washington St, Spokane, WA
Thursday, November 5
 – 6:30 PM Bellydancing at White House Grill 712 N Spokane St, Post Falls, ID
Friday, November 6 – 5:30 PM Bellydancing at Red Dragon1406 W 3rd Ave Spokane, WA
Friday, November 6 – 6:45 & 7:30 PM Bellydancing at Azars 2501 N Monroe St Spokane WA
Thursday, November 12 – 6:30 PM Bellydancing at White House Grill 712 N Spokane St, Post Falls, ID
Friday, November 13 – 5:30 PM Bellydancing at Red Dragon1406 W 3rd Ave Spokane, WA
Thursday, November 19 – 6:30 PM Bellydancing at White House Grill 712 N Spokane St, Post Falls, ID
Friday, November 20 – 5:30 PM Bellydancing at Red Dragon1406 W 3rd Ave Spokane, WA
Friday, November 20
 – 6:45 & 7:30 PM Bellydancing at Azars 2501 N Monroe St Spokane WA
Thursday, November 26 – 6:30 PM Bellydancing at White House Grill 712 N Spokane St, Post Falls, ID
Friday, November 27 – 5:30 PM Bellydancing at Red Dragon1406 W 3rd Ave Spokane, WA
Friday, November 27
 – 6:45 & 7:30 PM Bellydancing at Azars 2501 N Monroe St Spokane WA

Nefabit’s Music Shelf – Recommended Bellydance Music


Nefabit’s Music Shelf

Hand-Picked Musical Selections for Bellydance, Tribal Fusion, Folkloric Dance and More.

This post is a work in progress and will be updated regularly. I spend hours combing through music and making playlists and I’d like to share that effort with others! Here are my absolute favorite recommendations, organized by category. Leave a comment if you found something you like. Happy listening!

Turkish Orientale (Entrance, High Energy) 
Kim Ne? – Dansın Meleği Didem 2011 – Didem
Raks Mimi – Dansın Meleği Didem 2011 – Didem
Ciftitelli – Dansın Meleği Didem 2011 – Didem
Endülüste İlk Buse – Asena, Vol 1 – Asena
Chara –  Asena, Vol 1 – Asena
Ciftitelli –  Asena, Vol 1 – Asenamusic tile
Fidaya –  Asena, Vol 1 – Asena
Makedon – Asena, Vol 1 – Asena
Sedur – Asena – Asena
Asena – Asena – Asena
Warda – Asena – Asena
Silk Road – Harem 5 Classics – Yasar Akpence
Ruya – Elite Orchestral Percussion – Yasar Akpence
Nihavent Orientale – Harem 5 Classics – Yasar Akpence
To Miyae – Harem 5 Classics – Yasar Akpence
Hircin Roman (Husnu in the Harem) – Harem 5 Classics – Yasar Akpence
Benefese — Hyat I Hyat –  Hassan Issakut
Rakkas – İskender Paydaş Yeni Mezdeke (New Mezdeke) – Yeni Mezdeke
Hizzi – İskender Paydaş Yeni Mezdeke (New Mezdeke) – Yeni Mezdeke
Topkapi Geceleri – İskender Paydaş Yeni Mezdeke (New Mezdeke) – Yeni Mezdeke
Ates Dansi – Turkish Bellyance Desert Night Dance – Huseyin Turkmenler Ensemble
Bir Zamanlar Bir Yar Yardi – Turkish Bellyance Desert Night Dance – Huseyin Turkmenler Ensemble
Arabia – Turkish Bellydance Nasra – Huseyin Turkmenler Ensemble
Azizw – Turkish Bellydance Nasra – Huseyin Turkmenler Ensemble
Armut Agaci – Harem – Turkish Percussion Group
Sultana – Harem – Turkish Percussion Group
Balkan Dreams – Harem – Turkish Percussion Group

Egyptian Orchestral 
Nagham – Heshk Beshk – Mounir Abdel Aziz
Raksa – Raksa With Amir – Amir Sofi
Playing in the Oriental Garden – The Sword Dance – Nesma
Set Al Hosen – Lights! Camera! Bellydance! – Setrak Sarkissian
Nawaem – Ya Halawa – Gizira Band
Escape from Cairo – Master of Egyptian Dance – Mohammed Al Hassan Abo Abid
Ishk Al Jamal – Raks Ayoub – Bassam Ayoub
Longa – Raks Ayoub – Bassam Ayoub
Faddah – Faddah – Hossam Ramzy
Ruby – Classical Egyptian Bellydance – Hossam Ramzy
Visions of the Emerald Within – Classical Egyptian Bellydance – Hossam Ramzy
Mashaal – Jalillah’s Raks Sharki Vol 1 – Mokhtar Al Said
Laabet Al Ayem – The Soul of Cairo – Ahmad Gilaby

Baladi
Baladi Nahuand – Mario Kirlis Presenta Gaston Chaade – Gaston Chaade
El Hob Halal – Secrets of the Eye – Hossam Ramzy
New Beladi – Mario Kirlis
Baladi Accordian – Bellydance Superstars Vol 6 – Issam Houshan
Cairo Beladi – Bellydance Superstars Vol 3 – Cairo Cairo

Tabla Solo/Drum Solo/Darbuka Solo
Tabla Solo 3 – Kytheria – Drumspyder
Tablah Solo – Beladi – House of Tarab
Saida Solo – Mario Kirlis
Dueling Darbukas – Jordan – Raquy and the Cavemen
Lahza Gamilla – Oriental Dance From Lebanon – Emad Sayyeh
Tablah Solo – Jallilah’s Raks Sharki Vol I – Mokhtar al Said
Souheir’s Tabla – Jallilah’s Raks Sharki Vol II – Mokhtar al Said
Shimmabulous – The Dancing Drum Vol II – Issam Houshan
Karshiligala The Dancing Drum Vol II – Issam Houshan
The Cat’s Meow – Dancing Drums – Susu Pampanin
Drum Solo – The Best of Ya Salaam
Zahrafat Al Said (Rejoycing in Upper Egypt) – Luxor to Isna – Musicians of the Nile
Yasar  Kemal Solo Ritm Kompozisyion – Harem – Turkish Percussion Group

Khaleegi/Khaligi/Khaleeji
Ya Saria – Myriam Fares
Mashkelni – Musicana 8 – Hussein Aljassmi
El Shaki – Rashed Al Majid – Mashkelni

Nefabit’s Public Performance Schedule August 2015

August 6 7:00 PM – Bellydancing at White House Grill 
712 N Spokane St, Post Falls, ID
August 7 5:30 PM – Bellydancing at Red Dragon
1406 W 3rd Ave Spokane, WA
August 7 6:45 PM – Bellydancing at Azars
2501 N Monroe St Spokane WA
August 9 2:30 PM -Sandpoint Arts and Crafts Fair
City Beach, Sandpoint, ID
August 13 7:00 PM – Bellydancing at White House Grill
712 N Spokane St, Post Falls, ID
August 14 5:30 PM- Bellydancing at Red Dragon
1406 W 3rd Ave Spokane, WA
August 16 8:00 PM – Jazz performance with Rouge La Rue
at the Vaudevillains Present the G-String Quartet
The Big Dipper 171 S Washington St Spokane
10.00 at the door, 18+
August 20 – Bellydancing at White House Grill
712 N Spokane St, Post Falls, ID
August 21 6:45 PM – Bellydancing at Azars
2501 N Monroe St Spokane WA
August 22 – Nefabit and Nickie B Bellydancing at Hopped Up On Art, Music and Beer
10421 E Sprague Ave, Spokane Valley, WA
August 27 7:00 PM – Bellydancing at White House Grill
712 N Spokane St, Post Falls, ID
August 28 5:30 – Bellydancing at Red Dragon
1406 W 3rd Ave Spokane, WA

August 2015 Bellydance Events in Spokane (plus Eastern Washington and Western Idaho)

Saturday August 15 2015Monthly Red Dragon Hafla
Dancers of all levels welcome to perform, contact Sue to sign up!
Red Dragon downtown
1406 W 3rd Ave Spokane, WA 99201

Saturday August 15 2015 Choreography workshop at Northwest Bellydance (invitation only)
3:00 Principal, 6:00 Corps
Northwest Bellydance
5515 N Oak St Spokane, WA 99205

August 26-30 Emerald Sanctuary Retreat  Emerald Sanctuary is an annual belly dance retreat in the high desert of Eastern Washington. Regional and local instructors offer an exciting range of workshops for the beginner to the seasoned dancer.
Coulee City, WA

Sunday August 09 2015 The Vaude Villians Present the G String Quartet 
Rouge La Rue, side project of NWBD dancers Nickie B and Nefabit will be performing 60’s inspired Jazz and contemporary at the Big Dipper with the G String Quartet

August 28-30 Fusion Fest 
Mardis Gras Ballroom, Boise ID
Performances, workshops, vending and more in Boise, Idaho

Recurring Events
Every Friday Bellydancing at Azar’s Greek Restaurant with Paloma and Nefabit
2501 N Monroe St Spokane WA 99205
Two shows every Friday evening at 6:45 and 7:30
Starring Nefabit every 1st, 3rd and 5th Friday
Starring Paloma Skye every 2nd and 4th Friday

Every Thursday Bellydancing at White House Grill featuring Nefabit

Photo by Dirk Linton

712 N Spokane St, Post Falls, ID 83854
Sets inside and outside starting at 7:00

Every Friday Bellydancing at Red Dragon Downtown
1406 W 3rd Ave Spokane, WA 99201
Show featuring five dancers begins at 5:30. 21+ only
1st Friday featuring Kori, Stephanie, Kendra, Paloma Skye and Nickie B.
2nd Friday featuring Zarina, Stephanie, Kate Altaira, Nefabit and Shamal
3rd Friday featuring Farasha, Stephanie, Nickie B, Paloma Skye and Olivia
4th Friday featuring Sue, Stephanie, Nefabit, Kendra and Olivia
5th Friday featuring Farasha, Stephanie, Nickie B and Kate Altaira

Beyond iTunes – Where to Find Belly Dance Music

Students often ask me where to find bellydance music.  Of course, there is a plethora of music available on Amazon and iTunes, but there are some other wonderful resources out there.

Before we dive in, I’ll talk about finding music you like. It can be difficult to make a selection without hearing the music, or even hearing a 30 second clip. Pandora is a popular choice, but has limited selections of actual Middle Eastern music. Spotify has a much better selection, and you can listen to things without skipping around. I make playlists, “star” what I really love and purchase music I like the most. I watch DVDs and videos on YouTube constantly, and you can use Shazam to identify music you fall in love with.  Of course, this will only lead you to modern music integrated into these systems. You really have to dig to find the vintage and truly foreign stuff. No matter what, you will buy tons of music you don’t ever perform. But you can use some for listening, practicing, and just learning.

Belly Dance CDs

Maqam and Maqam mp3
On Maqam and Maqam mp3 you can find a wealth of authentic music. Everything from tribal fusion to khaleeji, and even some very rare and vintage recordings. Maqam has very handy categories including birthday, Eid and wedding, so you can find appropriate music for many situations. You can even buy instruments, instructional tools, and collections of music. A real treasure trove!

Bellydance.com
Bellydance.com has a wide section of CDs, including many for under 5.00. This is a wonderful opportunity to develop your taste and find what you like. They have an even wider selection in the 10-20 dollar range as well. Their customer service is excellent and I always get my order in about two days.

Bhuz.com
Bhuz is a great resource all around, with forums on every topic imaginable and a word wide swap meet. I scan bhuz almost daily for used music and costuming. You can also discuss music choices and get recommendations from people all over the world.

Bandcamp.com
A lot of really great artists have music available on bandcamp.com, such as House of Tarab and Beats Antique. Possibly the best thing about Bandcamp is that a much larger chunk of proceeds from each sale actually goes to the artist, and you can even round your purchase up and make a donation. I appreciate the ability to choose the download format, including lossless formats such as WAV, FLAC and OGG.

CD Baby
CD Baby also gives a greater percentage of sale price to the artists than Amazon or iTunes. Most albums are available digitally or in hard copy. They have a lot of albums that I have not seen elsewhere. And once you have heard  Desert Rose or Sahra Saiidi a million times, originality becomes a quest! (I do love those tracks)

Haflas, Events and Fellow Dancers
Always go to haflas! You never know who is selling their music or costumes, and of course it is worth it to support your community and get inspiration. Large events such as Med Fest have lots of vendors, and many of them sell music!

Radio Bastet and Antique Stores
If you can play records or convert LPs to mp3s, I recommend always checking out the records at your thrift stores and antique stores. You never know what you will find! Music from LP isn’t always high enough quality to perform in a professional setting but there are some real gems. If you know someone with proper equipment, you can also have old tracks cleaned up and remastered digitally.
Radio Bastet is a podcast of amazing vintage music. Listen and learn!
http://radiobastet.com/

I hope you found some useful resources. Good luck on your musical odyssey!