Free online course: Playlist essentials for belly dancers

Summer is the perfect time to relax, go outside, enjoy the sun… and update my Belly Dance Business Academy classes! In my last post I mentioned my online curse ‘How to find belly dance music online’. But I also have a course on how to create playlists. All the music you need to get you dancing in a heartbeat!

This free course helps you structure and create playlists. Playlists that you can carry with you and use whenever you have a spare moment to practice. Or for an impromptu performance. It contains:

  • The building blocks of a belly dance playlist
  • Music suggestion for each building block
  • Sample of my own basic playlist

When I made this course in 2017 I just started out creating online courses. In the past couple of years I learned a lot. Taking online courses and trying out different learning platforms. I felt it was time to update the course to reflect what I have learned.

Part of the update was creating a new image for the course. Featured here is the floor of my dance studio, one of my favorite hip scarves and my phone and headphones 😉 If you are already subscribed to this course, go take a look and see if you can spot the differences! And if you are not yet familiar with the BDBA, take a look. Enrolling in the BDBA is free and we offer a lot of free courses as well.

What is the Belly Dance Business Academy?

The Belly Dance Business Academy is an online learning platform that helps dancers all around the world to get better at running their business. Classes and workshops are available in every price range, including a lot of free classes.  Joining the BDBA is easy: go to the website and create an account (no payment required). Choose a class from the many classes and workshops that are available and start learning. The classes are online and you can start and continue when it suits your schedule. I have a  bio page that tells you more about me as a teacher right here.

What if I don’t like the course?

If you are signed up for the course, you can ask questions about the material that we cover with the comment option. I will answer ASAP. You get lifetime access and you can always go back and review material you already worked through. All the future updates to this course are included as well!

If you want to know more about the course, let me know with a comment or contact me through social media.

I am a professional bellydancer, costume-a-holic and dance studio owner living in the Netherlands. My passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I’ve been doing that for almost two decades. I am a teacher at the online Belly Dance Business Academy, where you can find courses and workshops to help you grow your belly dance business. If you like to be kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook , follow me on Twitter or find me on Instagram

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New BDBA course: How to find belly dance music online

Finding belly dance music sounds easy. That’s what google is for, right? But looking for new music, belly dancers need specific songs or styles of music. Plus there are so many platforms that it is easy to get overwhelmed.

During my search for new music, I realized that I am probably not the only one! Finding fresh songs to dance to is something I often discuss with my dance friends. In order to help you find what you are looking for, I put together an online course at the Belly Dance Business Academy.

This course covers:

  • Various streaming resources like Spotify, Youtube and others
  • Apps and websites that offer various types of Middle-Eastern music
  • Tips on where to look and who to follow
  • Playlist suggestions to listen to
  • Album recommendations (with a playlist that you can listen to right away)

If you want to know more, check out the full course description and curriculum here.

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What is the Belly Dance Business Academy?

The Belly Dance Business Academy is an online learning platform that helps dancers all around the world to get better at running their business. Classes and workshops are available in every price range, including a lot of free classes.  Joining the BDBA is easy: go to the website and create an account (no payment required). Choose a class from the many classes and workshops that are available and start learning. The classes are online and you can start and continue when it suits your schedule. I have a  bio page that tells you more about me as a teacher right here.

What if I don’t like the course?

This course comes with a 30 days money back guarantee. If you don’t like it, you get  a refund. No questions asked!

If you are signed up for the course, you can ask questions about the material that we cover with the comment option. I will answer ASAP. You get lifetime access and you can always go back and review material you already worked through. All the future updates to this course are included as well!

If you want to know more about the course, let me know with a comment or contact me through social media.

I am a professional bellydancer, costume-a-holic and dance studio owner living in the Netherlands. My passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I’ve been doing that for almost two decades. I am a teacher at the online Belly Dance Business Academy, where you can find courses and workshops to help you grow your belly dance business. If you like to be kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook , follow me on Twitter or find me on Instagram

Gold bra and belt fixer upper

The amount of performances that I do has dropped dramatically but my love for costumes s still going strong. When I noticed that this bra and belt set was for sale, I couldn’t resist and bought it as a restoration project. With a little bit of love I could turn this costume into something gorgeous.

About this set

This is an Egyptian made set with a belt made of two separate parts plus a bra. The whole set is covered in gold sequins and seed beads and there is some luscious beaded fringe with sequins on both the bra and the belt. This is what it looked like when it arrived. It had a couple of sad looking black sequined appliqués tacked on. plus some strategically placed ‘nipple fringe’ on the bra.

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Deconstructing

The bra and belt base are good quality so I used my seam ripper and removed the black appliqués. They came off quite easy. The fringe was attached to the appliqué with hot glue, much to my dismay. Why? Because hot glue creates a hot mess! It is hard to remove and when it cools it turns into a solid blob. Hard to sew through and hard to remove. I was hoping to reuse the fringe in a different part of the costume. I ended up forcefully pulling the fringe from the appliqué and it worked! The residual glue I can deal with.

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Here they are, I am saving them for now just in case.

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On with the adjustments! I removed all the hooks and eyes as they were a bit rusty and replaced them with new ones. I then added a bit of extra width to the belt by removing an overlap. The beaded fringe was in one long piece so I removed it and restitched it the belt. I came up a couple of inches short, I used beaded fringe from the bra to fill in the gap. It is shorter than the original fringe on the bra but good enough. I might rebead this fringe to match the length in the future.

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And that’s when I I realized that I didn’t have a plan for decorating this set yet! I played around with my beading stash, trying some options. Like adding the appliqués I made with the Sparkly Belly kit. But it didn’t feel quite right and I didn’t have enough to decorate the belt as well.

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I also realized that the bra is probably not as supportive as it should be, due to the foam padding in the bra decaying and turning brittle. I have to open up the bra to have a peek and see if I can fix it. Another option I contemplated was adding bright colored acrylic jewels for a bit of color. I really like this color scheme.

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In short, I am a bit stuck right now with this project. I’m going to put it away and work on other things and get back to this when I have a brainwave on how to decorate this set. It would be fun to create flowers or floral appliqués or something. To be continued!

I am a professional bellydancer, costume-a-holic and dance studio owner living in the Netherlands. My passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I’ve been doing that for almost two decades. I am a teacher at the online Belly Dance Business Academy, where you can find courses and workshops to help you grow your belly dance business. If you like to be kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook , follow me on Twitter or find me on Instagram

 

Review: Sparkly Belly Appliqué Kit

Ever wondered if the process of making a belly dance costume could be made faster and easier? Mao from Sparkly Belly had a brilliant idea: create kits that include everything to make beaded appliqués. A needle, thread, beads, rhinestones, the pattern outlined on a felt base and step by step instructions. I received a free kit for reviewing purposes and that is exactly what this post is about 😉

I received the kit in the mail in May. It fits inside a envelope and came all the way from Japan.

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After opening the envelope I found neat package with a color image of the finished product in a plastic bag. The bag contained enough material and instructions to make one large and two small appliqués. I got the paisley set in brown and gold.

The beads are labeled separate with corresponding steps in the instruction. I was all set and ready to go right after unpacking. All I needed was a bit of free time to get started. As you can see, the pattern on the felt is already added.

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Sewing these appliqués is super easy. The beads are high quality: they were all in perfect shape. No peeled paint or chipped rhinestones. I also like the choice of using larger beads for the outline as it speeds up the process. For my own appliqués I usually edge in seed beads, which takes more time. Working on the appliqués during the day when my 3 year old daughter was playing in the same room, the sparkly beads drew her attention. ‘Ohh, shiny!’ she proclaimed, ‘rabbit likes it!’

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I invited her rabbit to try sewing beads and she accepted. So here you go, a picture of a plush rabbit working on a belly dance costume. Costuming is better if it includes cuddly animals 😉

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Despite the meticulous instructions I goofed a bit on one of the appliqué because I just started sewing instead of reading the instructions. As you can see below, the outline of the smaller appliqué on the left looks a bit wonky compared to the one on the right. I also didn’t like the scattering of beads on the left one so I undid some of the beading to redo it. This is also very easy.  The instructions are perfect for complete beginners and if you follow them the finished item will look exactly as the  product image.

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After making the three appliqués I had a couple of beads leftover as you can see in the picture above. I haven’t found a purpose for using them in a costume yet, but they are very beautiful and look great with many different colors and types of costumes. For example I put them on this fixer upper bedlah for a visual and it instantly looks great.

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In conclusion

I loved working with this set. It was fast, easy and fun. Were there things that I would like to have changed? Yes, but they are mostly personal preferences. For example, I prefer a thicker felt base for my appliqués because I like the weight and feel. The felt included in the kit works perfectly and is more flexible due to being thinner.

For my level of expertise, I wouldn’t need all the beads labeled separately, and the instructions could have been less detailed. That’s why this is a great kit for inexperienced costume makers.

My last point is that when I was done with the appliqués and I thought about how to use them in a costume I didn’t have extra beads to make more or complimentary beading. However, the package contains detailed description of the type of beads and the size that were used. If I wanted to create a whole costume I could buy extra beads online.

 

I would highly recommend these kits as they make great gifts, are fun and easy and they come in various shapes and sizes.

Want to try? You can get your beaded appliqué kit here.

 

I am a professional bellydancer, costume-a-holic and dance studio owner living in the Netherlands. My passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I’ve been doing that for almost two decades. I am a teacher at the online Belly Dance Business Academy, where you can find courses and workshops to help you grow your belly dance business. If you like to be kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook , follow me on Twitter or find me on Instagram

 

 

Life long learning through online programs

I am addicted to learning. Learning how to dance and learning how to make costumes are among my favorite subjects. With an impressive amount of traditional education, working in Education for over a decade and being a teacher myself, learning is sort of my thing. Before the internet I loved learning belly dance through VHS and dvds. As my time is extremely limited these days, I like to learn in the most efficient way possible. That’s why I love learning online.

Learning belly dance online

With regards to belly dance, I have been all over the internet with regards to online classes. I can recommend the following:

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Check out Sparkly Belly’s costume catalogue for a full overview of available tutorials!

What I wanted to write about though, is that I wanted to learn more about running a business. About how companies work. About finance, accounting. Those are things that I am not good at. And being a belly dance entrepeneur, it sucks that I have so little knowledge of what makes my company tick. I decided to go large and get an MBA. extensive research made me realize that an MBA program at a local university is out of the question for me. With two small kids, a full-time job and a belly dance business, I don’t have enough free time to go back to school. Second, traditional MBA programs are expensive. A traditional MBA costs about as much as 50 custom made Bella costumes. That’s an amount of money that I simply don’t have.  Which brings me to online MBA’s.

Online MBA

26434e2256659f4b082729d1c8a2b3b8.pngAfter comparing several options, like  Harvard Business School — HBX CORe and the iMBA from the University of Illinois  I decided to apply for smart.ly. Due to my work experience I was a candidate for the Executive MBA. After applying I finished the recommended classes, filled out my full pofile, had an interview through Zoom and I got accepted! As this is the Executive program I am paying to follow this course. In return I get to follow classes online, tap into a netweork of Smart.ly alumni and students and there are a couple of neat extra courses for the executive students as well. It also has a strenuous schedule of classes that need to be completed every week. This is good, because I have to focus on finishing courses within the deadlines. I need to stay on track. The whole MBA takes about 1 year and I look forward to getting started!

The reason that I write about it on this blog, is because elearning is getting bigger and bigger. It is valuable to get first hand information about what it is like to follow a course or program in case you want to try it. I also expect that the MBA program will give me inspiration and ideas to improve my belly dance business.

Online learning for you?

I’m going to leave you with on a lighter note. If you haven’t tried elearning yet, here are two super fun places to start taking classes. Both options are comple

tely free!

The Belly Dance Business Academy

There are many, many online classes at the BDBA that you can follow. And a lot of them are free! So get yourself over there and sign up. To get you started, the free courses that I made are:

Playlist Essentials for bellydancers

Costuming during pregnancy

Copy of Kyria's vlog

Google digital learning environment

The nice people at Google headquarters made severl elarning modules that are available for free. Their digital workplace training is accredited and teaches you everything about marketing and promoting. Super handy if you run your own business.

I love to hear about your experiences with online learning. Feel free to reach out to me on facebook or comment in the box below 🙂

I am a professional bellydancer, costume-a-holic and dance studio owner living in the Netherlands. My passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I’ve been doing that for almost two decades. I am a teacher at the online Belly Dance Business Academy, where you can find courses and workshops to help you grow your belly dance business. If you like to be kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook , follow me on Twitter or find me on Instagram

 

 

 

 

 

Snow queen part 7: Hair and make-up

A costume as dramatic as this one calls for special hair and make up! As blue and silver aren’t what I normally wear, I improvised a bit and I had a good excuse to buy new make-up.

I knew that I was going for dramatic and I started collecting various products in January. I bought some huge black and silver fake lashes from a costume store. Then I found face crystals and I knew that I just had to have them.

These were bought on Aliexpress and they did not disappoint. They are attached to a silicon back and can be put on in one simple step. They are reusable as well.

With all the make-up at home I printed a blank make-up planning paper and got to work. The products that I used didn’t contain much pigment so it came out a bit bland, but this was the general idea.

For my hair I had other plans. I ordered a wig on Aliexpress and it arrived after five weeks. It was exactly as described. Long, white hair with bangs in front. The last time that I had bangs I was in kindergarten! Excited to try this, I put it on.

Yeah, it needed a bit of dressing up! I bought two inexpensive ‘hair extensions’, ripped the wig clips of the extensions and sewed them to the wig. That really helped with keeping the wig more secure on my head. I added the crown and noticed that I needed something to secure the crown to the wig. Found white hairclips that were just the right size. Now I could even shake my head a little without the wig or the crown shifting around. Great!

Everything was ready for the big day! In the next post I’ll (finally) show you the finished costume.

 

 

I am a professional bellydancer, costume-a-holic and dance studio owner living in the Netherlands. My passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I’ve been doing that for almost two decades. I am a teacher at the online Belly Dance Business Academy, where you can find courses and workshops to help you grow your belly dance business. If you like to be kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook , follow me on Twitter or find me on Instagram

Snow queen part 6: the cloak

Despite not wanting to be a copy of Elsa, I adore her cloak. Makinf a cloak was high in my list as it’s been a while since I made one. My first item of a LARP costume was making a brown elven cloak a couple of decades ago. But I digress.

Not knowing how much I would need, I guestimated about ten meters. The dabric was ordered online: an ice blue organza that was advertised as ‘baby blue’.

I ended up using six meters instead. The cloak became more of a trailing train as it would give me more space to work with on stage. Starting out by laying the fabric out on the floor I cit it on the diagonal. I then sewed the center back seam and the side panel seams.

I sewed it on a band that fastens around my neck. Much like the way isis wings are attached. To make it more comfortable I added elastic to the neck band. The band closes with velcro. I added AB crystals to give it the appearance of a bejeweled choker.

You can imagine that taking a picture of the cloak was hard. There simply wasn’t enough room in our livingroom to show the full splendor of this cloak. I had it finished before our try-out and I got some pictures to show you from that afternoon. In this picture my costume is ‘t completely finished yet. It gives a nice impression of the volume of the cloak.

I am a professional bellydancer, costume-a-holic and dance studio owner living in the Netherlands. My passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I’ve been doing that for almost two decades. I am a teacher at the online Belly Dance Business Academy, where you can find courses and workshops to help you grow your belly dance business. If you like to be kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook , follow me on Twitter or find me on Instagram. 

Snow queen part 5: the bra

Things are coming along nicely! Only one week to go before this costume needs to be done. The show is sold out so we are all putting in effort to make the show as fabulous as we can! The bra is fairly easy and straighforward. I am still cutting as many corners as I can get away with on this costume due to time and energy restraints. Instead of covering a basic bra, I bought a cheap white bra (about 5 euro) and cut off all straps.

With some tightly woven white cotton fabric I made new side straps and shoulder straps. Covered them with the lurex fabric and stitched everything down with the sewing machine.

I considered adding straps from elastic as it would be very comfortable and a great fit. But this time I want to try a new bra strap constellation and I need the straps to be sturdy so I can place the decoration on the straps and shoulder. The downside is that I  have to check the fit of the bra before every wear as I might have grown or shrunk a bit.

 

Pinned the straps in place and sewed them on by machine, making sure to not sew over the underwire.

 

I then added pleated fabric to the cups, creating a bit of a different shape to the bra. The idea was to go for a Greek draped look but the fabric was too bulky so I toned it down a bit. The shape of the bra is thus less ‘halterneck gathered fabric’and more ‘push-up bra. I connected the fabric to the shoulder straps and basted it down by hand.

On a side note, while working on the bra I watched ‘The Umbrella Academy’ on Netflix. I am not a big fan super hero series, but this one is nice. I also recommend Titans for the same broody looking athmosphere, mysteries that need to be solved and some super hero fighting action in between.

My original plan was to add an appliqué with a snowflake to the bottom of the bra. But I tried out my costume during dress rehearsal, and the mesh bodysuit has some lovely sparkles on the belly that would in that case be covered. Looking at the foto’s and video of the dress rehearsal, I wanted to balance the bra out with the bottom half of the costume. I added appliquées to the shoulderstraps instead. Then added a center appliquée on the chest, that is held in place by felt connector pieces covered in AB Crystals. Here’s a picture of the first fitting. As you can see, the medallions weren’t quite in the right place yet. As I was sewing inbetween feedings, the bra cups are tight because it was almost time for the next feeding.

 

 

I saw something similar in an Aida costume and I loved that idea. You get to sew the necklace/jewelry to the bra and put it all on at the same time. Briljant! The necklace is made by sewing AB Crystals to white felt, then cutting the shape out and sewing it to the straps.

For the shoulder I added shoulder drapes with fabric. While dancing I will ofcourse raise my arms, thus shifting the shoulder drapes a bit. I hope that they will fall back to the intended place when I lower my arms again.

 

I’m leaving it where it is right now, I might come back to it and add a bit of beaded fringe at a later point. In my next post, I’ll show you how I made a huge cape to add some drama.

I am a professional bellydancer, costume-a-holic and dance studio owner living in the Netherlands. My passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I’ve been doing that for almost two decades. I am a teacher at the online Belly Dance Business Academy, where you can find courses and workshops to help you grow your belly dance business. If you like to be kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook , follow me on Twitter or find me on Instagram. 

Snow queen part 4: the mesh bodysuit

Mesh bodysuits have been around for a while but I never had a chance to wear a costume with one of these. Partly because I haven’t bought a new costume in five years or so, and part because I didn’t find a second hand costume with this feature.

A Dutch dancer offered this mesh bodysuit up for sale for a really good price. Considering that it was worn and had some damage, I thought I give it a try. Worst case scenario is that I couldn’t fix the suit and would not wear it.

It was made by Sufel boutique, a costume designer who makes custom orders. They are affordable (in the 200-350 usd range for a new costume), the costumes are comfortable to wear and look well on stage. This is what the suit looks like laid out on the floor.

The damage to the suit included Crystals that fell off and leaving the backing of the crystal on the fabric in the form of a black mark. Other damage included someone trying to glue stuff back on with the wrong type of glue. I wrote a blog about using glue on costumes a while back and though I changed my opinion and am gluing a lot of stuff for this costume, glue damage sucks. It is ugly and irreparable. Please take care and use the right type of glue!

I used a Dutch type of Gemtac for this and bought non hotfix AB Crystals from a Chinese vendor. To make sure that the suit would not get glued to itself or the table, I put a bottle of Coke in the leg and a placemat in the body part. In this picture you can also see the black marks where crystals fell off.

Using a tiny amont of glue, I reglued Crystals on the places, covering the black marks, snags and some of the glue stains. The trick is to use enough glue to create a strong bond, without spilling too much around the edges. I used a toothpick to get the Crystals into place, avoiding putting pressure on the rhinestone. That would cause the glue to move to the side, instead of glueing the rhinestone back to the mesh.

In this picture you can see the result on the legs. I used slightly larger AB crystals to make sure the new stones would completely cover the marks on the fabric. It was suprisingly comfortable during dress rehearsal.

I am a professional bellydancer, costume-a-holic and dance studio owner living in the Netherlands. My passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I’ve been doing that for almost two decades. I am a teacher at the online Belly Dance Business Academy, where you can find courses and workshops to help you grow your belly dance business. If you like to be kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook , follow me on Twitter or find me on Instagram.