Become a Patron of the Arts: Go Fund Me for “Scheherazade”

by on Apr.18, 2017, under Information, News & Events



I am hard at work co-directing and co-producing Scheherezade and the 1001 Nights with Pedro Aurelio of Bolero Dance Theatre .   This fusion show will combine Egyptian, Spanish, flamenco, ballet, and interpretive dances.   BDT will dance with my group, Nicola & Amar Egyptian Dance .

Pedro and I are passionately dedicated to honouring the heart & soul of our genres, as we push boundaries to create new and exciting expressions with meaningful stories.   As community dance groups developing local amateur talent, we are dedicated to bettering local dance theatre through  beautiful, well-crafted shows.

We’re celebrating 20th anniversaries–20 years for Bolero and 20 for me in the world of bellydance as Nicola .
This is a true dream project for Pedro and I.  We’ve previously created Cleopatra, which played in 2012 and again in 2013 at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival.

We are not eligible for what little arts funding exists for our big expenses such as studio rentals, costuming, musicians, and props.   We are drawing from personal incomes.
We’re very skilled at working with a tight budget, but this year’s is tighter than ever!   We’re in the home stretch–needing patrons-at-large to support our hard-working groups.
None of the dance cast is taking a pay cheque from this production, the directors included.  We do this because we love to dance and want to share our passion.
Funds will be for:
-costuming our cast of 20 dancers — pants, skirts, hip scarves, jewellery, fans, wings, head dresses, etc.
-honoraria to our sewing help
-prop purchase & creation
-sets & technical features–including light, smoke effects
-ideally, honoraria for the cast.
The Show is May 6 & 7 of this year!
Funds needed urgently.
Support will mean I can avoid personal debt in completing this production, and we can guarantee a sparkling, awesome show experience for our local fans.
There are truly no words to describe how grateful we will be to get this support.
We will be thanking all donors in our program and on our websites.
Reward levels are in place, however, you can donate what you choose.  Every $5 helps!   

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I don’t know what level I am and don’t want to start over. / I feel like I’m not making progress.

by on Apr.16, 2013, under FAQs

Those of you who may have taken classes with me as recently as 2011 need to know that there’s been a big change in the way my classes are structured as well as how I teach them.

These 2 concerns are very intertwined.

I used to offer a typical, Western-style, levelled class schedule, e.g. “beginner”, “intermediate”, etc.  I even offered “advanced” classes for a while until I talked more with colleagues in other cities and actually went to real advanced classes.   ( I so wasn’t ready to teach “Advanced”.)  I taught in what I believed was the best way—breaking things down into small, single moves /steps, with lots of breakdown of how to do them, in a linear progression.   That worked for some.   But not all.  And it certainly wasn’t getting many to a place of feeling and embodying the dance as it’s meant to be. (continue reading…)

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“Why don’t you do group coupons or daily deals?”

by on Mar.08, 2012, under FAQs

I believe very strongly that deep discounts lead to deep disregard.   I understand that many businesses believe these deals get people in the door, but it’s been my experience that they don’t keep people there.    I believe people will value what others value, and often the appropriate price tag is a huge influence.   (continue reading…)

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Styles & stars of “bellydance” video clips

by on Mar.07, 2012, under About Bellydance, Costumes, For Dancers, Information, Professionalism

You can find a one-stop video clip library of the best of Egyptian dance at Sahra Saeeda Kent’s YouTube channel.

A one-stop guide to get a clear and accurate picture of what this dance form should look like.  Get a very clear idea of what Nicola does and doesn’t teach or perform. Understand Egyptian dance, “bellydance” in its permutations, and see examples of regional dances as well as theatre folklore.

Hadia also has several articles on Egyptian dance with video clips inserted at her site (see Links).

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Video review: Nourhan Sharif: An Introduction to Bellydance Technique

by on Feb.05, 2012, under Reviews

Nourhan Sharif, wife of dance master, Yousry Sharif, was an excellent instructor in her 2001 Saskatoon workshop.nourhanTechnically precise, serious-minded, and disciplined, she demanded much of dancers in the workshop setting. (The same was true of Yousry.) (continue reading…)

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Reflection on the Dance Manitoba Dance Festival, May 15 – April 2, 2005 (and beyond)

by on Feb.03, 2012, under For Dancers, Reviews

I had the pleasure of once again competing in the 25th annual provincial festival this year, my fifth time competing in my dance career. This festival is open to Dance MB members of any age who submit their names (and fees) to dance in the genres of Tap, Musical Theatre, Hip Hop, Modern, Jazz, National and Ballet. I competed in the category of National dance, a genre which is widely diverse, and can include everything from Middle Eastern to Ukrainian to Irish to Indian. (continue reading…)

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Interview with Nicola in VOXAIR, CFB 17th Wing Base’s Newspaper

by on Feb.03, 2012, under Reviews

airbase article red (9)Belly dancing

By Avery Wolaniuk

“Things are going to jiggle today, and that’s okay” are not words normally heard at 17W’s gym. But on 14 Jan 06, 11 women took advantage of a free workshop offered during Community Recreation’s Customer Appreciation Week. These women crossed cultural boundaries, rolled their hips and learned a foreign art form that embraces all your curves, softness and wobbly parts. It’s called raks sharqi, or “dance of the East.” Most people call it belly dancing. (continue reading…)

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Review: Advanced Workshop and Show with Dina of Cairo

by on Feb.03, 2012, under For Dancers, Reviews

dina (2)Dina is the current reigning Queen of Raks Sharqi in Egypt. Known for her tight, tiny movements, saucy and unusual costumes, elaborate footwork, graceful sways, complex pulls, pops and undulations of the torso, and an all-around unique interpretation, she has developed a style that is unconventional, and very difficult to imitate. (continue reading…)

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Pointers & Info for Students in Recitals

by on Feb.03, 2012, under Costumes, For Dancers, Information

by Nicola, 2007, updated February 2010


This is a generalized checklist of reminders that I provide to all my students as we are entering into recital time. Other teachers are welcome to use it and adapt it, with credit. I have compiled these based on the protocols issued by various dance festivals and studios for participants of all ages and dance styles. These are expectations and suggestions, clearly stated, that lead to preparedness, may help prevent problems onstage and off, and cue students ahead of time for what is involved in successful performance, whatever their level of experience. (continue reading…)

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About Restaurant Dancing

by on Feb.03, 2012, under About Bellydance, For Dancers

Ah, the restaurant gig.

Fun, unpredictable, often ill-paying, it’s regular, bread-and-butter work, yet is often also tiring and tedious. It tends to be the last bastion of bad dancing. On occasion, it is the secret stomping (shimmying?) grounds of diamonds-in-the-rough. I know I cut my performance teeth and learned the hardest way possible the year I danced 2-4 times a month alongside other dancers at an upscale bistro. (continue reading…)

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About Formal Stage Shows

by on Feb.03, 2012, under About Bellydance, For Dancers

In no particular order…

These types of shows often: 

  • feature local and visiting dancers and a headliner or star, who closes the show; or, feature a variety of dancing amongst which is bellydancing
  • place the better dancers later in each half of the show, and latest in the second half, with some exceptions; or, may have a random order; or, be ordered based on diversity of style and mood   (continue reading…)
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The Golden Guidelines for Performing (in any venue, at any level, for any reason…)

by on Feb.03, 2012, under For Dancers, Information, Professionalism

Here is the best advice I have been given, the best advice I can pass on, and what has served me best in all areas and all venues of performing. I always try to be prepared, plan for a few scenarios, and expect that something will go wonky, if not for me then for someone I call a friend. You just never know what will come up. (continue reading…)

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About Charging Standard Rates

by on Feb.03, 2012, under For Dancers, Information, Patrons & Audience

I encourage other dancers to expect and request a consistent, minimum rate for teaching and performing. I only provide referrals to teachers and performers who do so. This is our livelihood, not just a hobby or past time. There are often very talented hobby dancers and troupes that will perform at community events and fundraisers for a discount or for free. Many professional dancers, including myself, will also book a number of discounted or free shows for charity and community causes we support. (continue reading…)

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Dance Class Do’s

by on Feb.03, 2012, under Information

When attending lessons, DO:

  • practice often (at least 3 times per week) if you think you want to perform and you want to become competent and proficient (which is not the same as being good, or being artful, or being professional grade)
  • take your own notes in class. Hand-outs are a luxury and are very unusual in dance classes. Don’t expect them. (continue reading…)
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About Basic Sagat (Zill) Patterns for Middle Eastern Dance–The Big Ideas

by on Feb.03, 2012, under Information

by NICOLA, updated February 2010

Called sagat in Arabic and zill or zyll in Turkish–terms used interchangeably by dancers in North America– the finger cymbals are a staple of every serious dancer’s repertoire. Cymbals are actually small, open bells worn on the thumb and middle finger of each hand (4 total). They serve the purposes of exciting the audience, accompanying the band or music, and drawing attention to elements of the music or your movements. They can be challenging for some to learn, and should be practiced a little bit daily to acquire the muscle memory needed to play them effortlessly and well. (continue reading…)

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Contact Nicola

Located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.