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

Belly Dance Tip: Coin Scarves


By Saqra




Okay, let's start with an etiquette reminder: Don't wear coin belts at belly dance workshops.

Why? It annoys many dancers and instructors, and they will give you a thousand reasons why you shouldn't wear one. These range from "I can't hear the instructor," to "It's annoying when you mess with it in class," to "It bothers my bare feet to step on coins that fell off your hip scarf. "

Personally, I think students should be able to wear coin scarves in workshops if they want to. I think instructors who can't naturally speak loudly should buy and use a microphone; if not, they are ripping their attendees off. And if someone's feet are too delicate to handle stepping on a bead, then that person needs to think about wearing shoes in workshops and performances.

So, I'm comfortable with people in my workshops wearing coin scarves. I speak loudly when I teach. I dance barefoot in public places and have fairly tough feet even when preened into callous-less loveliness. I like coin belts on students because the coins give an extra aural cue for when someone isn't getting a move, or if someone is just going through the motions without putting energy behind it. Coin scarves give me extra eyes in the back of my head.

So if you come to one of my workshops, please wear a fringe scarf with a coin belt over the top. For the workshop after me, stick your coin belt in your dance bag and keep the fringe scarf on.

Your mileage may vary, but wearing coin belts in workshops causes a lot of people all kinds of angst, so just don't do it in other people's workshops if you can help it.

Honestly, I think the instructor should be ready to teach over something as bad as the inloading vendors in a bad acoustic room. I also think that I'm personally not such a delicate flower that I can't survive stepping on a bead — there would never be a field of beads to step on! We are talking one strand of a cheap Chinese coin belt — or stepping on a piece of gravel that gets dragged into a performance area on someone's street clothing. If you are shedding glass beads we will talk....





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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