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PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

Hygiene vs Dance Opportunities


By Saqra




I mentor a lot of people around the world, and I mean a lot. (All you need to do is ask me a question, and I can't resist trying to answer it to the best of my ability. And, I like to do it). I received this question from someone I have worked with before.

She says she isn't sure what to do. A group signed up for her show, apparently being held at a small restaurant, and they have armpit hair.

I say: Oh, really! Come on. Does anyone really care about armpit hair? It's a dancer event! I think we are all over that. If it is the owners you are worried about, just let the group dance this one time, and if the owners are uncomfortable, don't invite them back. You can get away with once or twice, no matter what!

She says sheepishly: Well, they kinda smell a bit. And the restaurant is small.

I stare at the computer a while, then ask: They kind of smell, or they smell?

Her: They smell.

Me: Do they go out into the audience, or do they dance in formation?

Her: They were in formation when I saw them before.

I stare at the computer some more, then ask: Personal hygiene, or costuming?

Her: How do you tell the difference?

Me: Bad personal hygiene kind of smells like garbage. Dirty costuming smells like garbage, plus probably garlic and something like patchouli trying to cover the odor. But really, either way I think you need to let them dance this one time. It is pretty much too late. It will only affect the people sitting closest to them.

So folks... I'm gonna try and say this in this incredibly vague way and hope it gets back to that group: Everyone across the United States... don't worry about your armpit hair, but please go smell your costuming before you go to perform.

This has been a public service announcement.




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About the Author

Saqra (Seattle, Washington, USA) is a powerful dance artist and a master instructor. Her fluidity, grace, and technical skill is highlighted by her friendly demeanor and clear joy of the dance. She did not inherit the diva gene.

Saqra won titles in Belly Dance USA (Oregon), Belly Dancer of the Year (California), Belly Dancer of the Universe (California), Wiggles of the West (Nevada), and many other competitions. She was voted "Best Kept Secret of 2005" and "Instructor of the Year 2008" by readers of Zaghareet Magazine.

Saqra's journey in this dance form began in 1977 and has led her to study with many of the best dancers in the world, including in America, Canada, Turkey and Egypt. Saqra continues to travel and study both in the USA and abroad and prides herself on proper research for anything she teaches. Folklore, fakelore, and stage creativity: all three are valuable, and Saqra clearly presents for each what they actually are. Saqra is constantly expanding her expertise in the traditional ethnic forms of the dance, the modern stage variants, and the continuing evolving fusion techniques, all these areas combined keep her material fresh and current.

Saqra is widely known as an event promoter, musician, music and instructional video producer, and a registered hypnotherapist in the state of Washington. That is enough stuff to start explaining what she has been doing in belly dance since 1977. Visit her at

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Michael Baxter, Santa Clara, California. In the photo, Saqra is holding her Teacher of the Year 2008 Award from Zaghareet Magazine.

Saqra with Award



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