Friday, February 27, 2015

Buy Tickets to Daniela's 10th Annual Bellydance Showcase here!

Name (to be held at door)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

When did you take your first bellydance class?

And did you like it??

 I will be honest - I did NOT!

 My first belly dance class was in 2002, after I graduated college. In fact, my 10 year belly-versary is coming up in November! It was a beginner class at a very famous studio in Manhattan. But the class was working on a not-so-beginner veil choreography, and it was very hard to follow. Add that to my background in Western dance including ballet and hip hop, and I found myself rigidly spazzing my way through the class, a stark contrast to the grace and fluidity of the teachers and the "regular" students.

 I didn't go back for months! In fact, I only reluctantly went back to accompany the friend of a friend who was interested in trying a bellydance class. When I did go back, the class was - thankfully! - working on a much more basic routine which I was able to follow. And they were preparing for a student show! Having been performing on stage since the ripe old age of 2, I jumped on the chance to add "bellydance performance" to list of accomplishments in dance.

I got hooked, of course. And the rest is history!

 With a new season of dance classes about to begin, I am curious to hear of your experiences - how did YOU get your start in belly dance?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Keeping your two "lives" separate - on Facebook!

As a professional belly dancer, I have created an image and a brand out of my name, and my skill. This brand is "Daniela - the mysterious and exotic belly dancer who flutters in an out of your parties on a cloud of sequins and leaves your guests mesmerized by her amazing talent and incredible beauty"

Ok, maybe my brand isn't quite that dramatic.

But it is a brand, and it is separate, and not quite the same as, the "real" me. So, on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, I have two separate accounts - one for dance, and one personal account. I have always felt this was important, because I do like to share things with my friends and family (pictures, funny stories, maybe some embarrassing family anecdotes) that I wouldn't want to share with clients and belly dance colleagues. My bellydance page is for strictly bellydance things. I don't mean that I only use those accounts for advertising, but I do limit my posts to things that are related to the dance - that often includes advertising, but also includes fun things like my favorite video clips, thoughts on my classes or recent gigs, and my musings about dance and life in general.

In my experience on social networking sites, however, I do notice that there are many dancers who only have one profile for everything. Usually, these dancers are highly professional on their profile pages and only post things that would be suitable for potential clients to see anyway, but I have also seen the occasional bellydancer drunk-posting, or ranting about politics, or making another comment that might not be deemed very "professional" for one reason or another - on a page where many of that person's "friends" are actually belly dance colleagues and not actual "known you since kindergarten, OMG you're my BFF!" friends.

So, if your business, your brand, and your self are one and the same, do you separate these in your internet life? Do you keep everything the same and monitor what you say? Or do you just say "f-it, world, this is how I am!" and post as you please?

Balancing these two "personas" is quite time consuming and sometimes tiring for me, so I am very curious how others handle it and keep up with it all!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Second video about "going pro"

Another very helpful video from and learn if you are new to the "pro bellydance" world!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wanna go pro? Watch this!

I'll be posting a series of videos here, by Florida bellydance instructor Nathalie Zarate (  on how to become a professional bellydancer - the RIGHT way.  There's some great information in these videos, nothing that should be new to anyone already pro or seriously considering it, but still great to have all in one, easily-accessible, place. 


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

First Ever Workshop Series!

I am super excited to announce this news....the Daniela Dance Company is Proud to Present:

Beyond the Basics: Bellydance Workshop Series

Four workshops with two great instructors!

November 12th – Ballet for Bellydancers with Jennifer

Students will use modified ballet techniques to help increase balance, fluidity, flexibility, strength and grace. Ballet is widely understood to be a foundational movement style, and cross-training in ballet provides structure and body awareness that is beneficial to all levels of belly dancer. This workshop will focus on ballet technique that is most useful to a belly dancer, and will include bellydance combinations integrating ballet-inspired moves and postures.

December 10th – Dancing with Zills with Daniela

Students will drill different rhythms and patterns for playing zills (finger cymbals). Different dance combinations to accompany new zill patterns will also be taught. Basic zill ability (competence with the R-L-R/gallop pattern) is recommended but not required. Please bring your own zills.

January 14th – Advanced Sword Choreography with Jennifer

Students will learn a complex sword choreography, with new and innovative “tricks” that can be used in choreography or improvisation. Students should have a basic competence with sword balancing. Please bring your own sword.

February 11th – Raks Al Assaya (Cane) Choreography with Daniela

Learn a complete cane choreography to the classic Egyptian song, Luxor Baladna, and add an authentic cultural element to your shows. A basic competence in dancing with cane is recommended but not required. Students must bring their own cane.

The more workshops you attend, the more you save!

One workshop: $30 in advance ($40 at the door)

Two workshops: $25 each (total $50) in advance ($35 each at the door)

Three workshops: $22 each (total $66), in advance ($30 each at the door)

All four workshops: $20 each (total $80), in advance ($25 each at the door)

Pay for all workshops now, or pay as you go – amount paid will be applied to the “total amount due” as you continue to register for more workshops

All workshops will begin at 4:00 and last for 2 hours. Workshops will be held at Queens Dance Project, located at 214-26, 41st Avenue in Bayside.

To Register, contact Daniela at 347-782-3616 or

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The best students make the best teachers

After another fabulous weekend of workshops with Aradia of Las Vegas, I've been thinking about what it is exactly that makes her workshops so fabulous.  Comparing them to other dancers I've had the opportunity to learn from, I think it comes down to one major thing - where most dancers present "dance moves" to you, Aradia presents the dance, along with its context. 

Let me give an example of what I mean - Dancer X may explain a move like so: "This is a hip circle, but it only goes to the front, so push to the front and then contract back in before you start to circle back."  Aradia, however, will say "This is a hip circle that only goes to the front.  We do it this way when we are dancing in the style of the Golden Era, because the dancers back in those days considered pushing their butts to the back to be vulgar. So, before you start to circle around to the back, contract back in to center."

Or, Dancer X might say "now we are going to do tush pushes to the left."  Aradia would say "Now we will do Mona's gooey tush pushes to the left.  Mona El Said does these while looking over her shoulder at her hip; she's very flirtatious with this step so that is how we will do it." 

Just looking at the notes Aradia hands out after every class, you can see they contain not just the descriptions of dance moves, but the names of the dancers to whom the signature move belonged.  Learning a choreography from Aradia means you are also learning the history, culture, and context of the dance. 

Aradia is the ultimate student. She absorbs information from dancers all over the globe, and spanning across generations, and is able to pass that information on to her own students.  It makes for a so much more of a rich class, when you can learn more than just a dance move, but the who, what, how and why of that move as well.