Category Archives: News

Rak’d the fundraiser!

BellywoodRaks at City Hall, Ottawa, for Carnaball 2015

BellywoodRaks at City Hall, Ottawa, for Carnaball 2015


Sugandha – Disco Queen in TAV Creations


Hip Hot Hotties and Skirty Flirty Gals!


Aerial Artist rocking the silks!

Carnaball was a lovely time – a small gala with lovely aerial performances and yummy hor d’oevres!

Uber thanks to to the Bellywood Raks crew!

Bellywood Raks with Rick Chiarelli

Marina, Kate, Halyma, Rick, Paprycia, Laksha, Madhumaki

BellywoodRaks with sign (Case Conflict)

With the new sign! Laksha, Ameenah, Paprycia, Kate, Halyma, Madhumaki, Marina, Sugandha, Helene!


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Bellywood Raks at Carnaball – April 11

Bellywood Raks will be one of the featured performance groups participating in the upcoming fundraiser that is the FiNALE Event for Letsunlockchange, a fundraising month of events that Algonquin College’s Public Relations students are organizing in support of the John Howard Society.

Come on out and enjoy an evening of a circus atmosphere!  Get your Advance tickets today !  See you April 11!

Event Poster

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Spring classes starting in April!

If you have been feeling couped up this winter and are longing to get out and dance, registration has begun for my Spring Bellywood class at the Routhier Community Centre!

I also have my Awaken your inner Goddess class scheduled right before the Bellywood, so if you are looking for a lovely way to warm up before we start getting a bit more active, feel free to sign up for the 2 hours!

With the session begin a short one, we’ll be having some general fun and getting moving, maybe playing with a short routine, but keeping it light for the most part!

Byward Market

Routhier Community Centre, 172 Guigues Street, Ottawa, ON
Register online: or call 613-244-4470

April 23 to May 28, 2015  6 weeks   only $49 per course

Awaken Your Inner Goddess
6:30-7:30 pm Barcode 957091

Bellywood with Halyma[ Bollywood-bellydance Fusion]
7:30-8:30 pm Barcode 959444

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Still time to join classes next week

The beginner level Bellywood class – combined with Awakening your Goddess class – has lots of room, so if you are interested in trying out this fusion style of dance in a relaxed way – check it out and sign up!

Byward Market

Routhier Community Centre, 172 Guigues Street, Ottawa, ON
Register online: or call 613-244-4470

January 22, 2015 – 12 weeks $97.75 per course

Awaken Your Inner Goddess Barcode 929969 6:30-7:30 pm

Connect to your ancient essence of femininity, while giving yourself an hour of gentle, yet strengthening movement. Stretch, isolate, shimmy your hips while you work your brain with basic combinations – all while awakening and embracing your inner goddess of belly dance and more.  We will use movements from belly dance, variations on classical indian dance, and more as we flow with the energies we create in the session. For women of all sizes, ages, and fitness levels, Halyma will guide you in your journey.

Or if you want something more classic:

Belly dance Level 1+Barcode 929962 7:30-8:30 pm

In Level 1+ or Beginner+, we focus on isolations of the hips, arms, upper body and midriff, and throw in some veil work to play! Veils will be provided for use in the class (you can bring your own as well – 2.5m/3 yards of chiffon or other lightweight fabric is great for someone 1.68m/5’6″ to 1.8m/5’10”).

The class will be directed towards beginners and those wanting to focus on basics and will progress based on the needs of the students – individually and as a group.

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Adventures in Bellywood classes rolling along!

This fall, I was able to set up, with the support of my advanced students, a session of Adventures in Bellywood, that allowed us to progress and continue to play!  We even had a chance to help Aziz and Company celebrate their 50th Anniversary and performed with Bollywood For Fun in that very cozy sparkly space!

With the Ladies of Aziz and Company, India Importers

With the Ladies of Aziz and Company, India Importers

So grateful to Ameenah and Sadira for being able to join me that day!

We are working on a new routine for a December presentation – semi-private event, so not sure I can invite ya yet – but we look forward to continuing the fun on January!

Sadly, my schedule only allows so much time, so I am contemplating combining the “Awaken your inner Goddess” class with “Bellywood level 1”.

I’ll be teaching this class at the Routhier Community Centre starting in January 2015 – and it will depend on the energy of the participants as to how I approach the introduction of Bellywood into this more ethereal class format, but certainly mudras and poses will be there, as many of the classical indian moves are based on those found in depictions of gods and goddesses – so it should work!

So if you are thinking you might like to play with this and me in January – check my schedule and sign up with for the beginner classes, and if you are a more advanced dancer, you are most welcome to come play on Tuesdays with my private lessons!

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September 24th, 2014

My good friend Siddiqah proves belly dance -and any challenges that make you work a bit to succeed- all are part of keeping things positive and healthy and we journey through this life!
Check out her blog !

Fat Cat Belly Dance

September so far is super!  Started teaching my awesome BCA students at our new location – Greenboro Community Centre, and it’s a lovely studio.

This past weekend, I took part in a belly dance workshop at Studio X, hosted by Jehane Khan of Dunyia Studio, and instructed by Aziza….wow!  Our theme was travel, transitions, and technique.  It was a lot of fun to learn new stuff, and we all worked very hard to achieve the technical and artistic  goals she set for us.  That evening, I got to watch Aziza dance at a local Turkish restaurant.  She’s an incredible teacher and performer; with high energy, charisma, and phenomenal skills.  It was a real honour to be in her class, and I’m hoping to sign up again the next time she comes to town.  Even though I was initially worried about keeping up, and that perhaps I wasn’t at a high enough skill level to fit…

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What makes dancing so fabulous? The dancers, of course!!

Some of my lovely friends in dance spent last evening with me at the latest For Love Of Dance charity fundraiser.

Along with the professional dance troupe I work with, Bollywood For Fun, ( yes, Sugandha, you have enlisted in a professional troupe!), I also love playing with my Bellywood students ( last night known as, “Bunnywood for Noms”- you had to be there).


Banana Smile { note the bunny?}


Ameenah’s New Haircut looks awesome!




Traditional Group Selfie Time: Madhumaki, Cassandra, Ameenah, Halyma, Sugandha, Paprycia

And with loads of fun backstage happening, we also get to see other dancers performing their styles with flare and energy and fun!

Thank you to the ladies who were able to come out and perform with me, and I know there will be more photos soon – I’ll add a link when they are viewable!

A quick note on unpaid dancing:

I volunteer dance A LOT. I don’t do a lot of other charity work, so if I can dance, contribute my time and energy to making people smile, and have a blast while doing it, I’m ok with that. I choose the events that I dance at, and the whole concept of ” it’ll be great promotion for you” is whooey in my mind. My website is great for promoting me. My previous clients and friends are great for promoting me. My volunteer dance time is great for making me feel good about me. 


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Bellywood With Halyma at the All4Onecharity show: For love Of Dance

Saturday, May 31, 2014

6:30 PM to 11:00 PM

1385 Woodroffe Avenue, Ottawa.



May 31, 2014
All 4 One Charity presents…”For the Love of Dance”!
Multi-Cultural Dance Show & Fundraiser
Saturday May 31, 2014
Algonquin Commons Theatre (1385 Woodroffe Ave, Ottawa)
Doors Open 6:30 pm – Show Starts 7:00 pm

** Free parking

Join us for an exciting evening of dance entertainment, featuring styles from around the world! Hip hop, Tribal, Spanish, Swing, Bellydance, Salsa and Bollywood are just some of the high-energy performances you will be treated to!

Tickets are $20-$25 (half-price for kids 12 and under), and all proceeds will be donated to the Ottawa Hospital’s Cancer Patient Emergency Needs Fund.

This fund is administered by the Psychosocial Oncology Program at The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Center and helps patients with financial issues during their cancer journey.

Tickets can be purchased online at , or in person Monday-Friday (3-7 pm) at the Algonquin Commons Theatre (1385 Woodroffe Ave, Ottawa).


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Awakening your inner goddess- new classes in May

Halyma - hammin' it upI have been connected with spirituality all of my life, though always interpreting it from my own perspective.

I was raised RC, but really only connected with a beautiful image of Mary, standing on a crescent moon, gently overseeing us all- pretty goddess like in her mother of god aspect.
See what I mean?


The only relic from my RC childhood.

When I was a teen, I was exposed to glimmers of the occult, tea leaf readers, mediums, tarot card readers, etc. and I found it both amazing in its “accuracy”, and mostly comforting in its practice.

I do have some skepticism in that I am not convinced everyone practicing divination has good intentions, and one must take the information with a pound of salt, I have had enough moments of being ” plugged in” that I know there is something to it.

The comfort I find in its practice relates more to my own experiences where much of what I have been told has been a re utterance of thoughts and beliefs I have already had and was unsure if I should follow through. The readings would help me sort through my own thoughts and process my decisions. Or just reassure me I was on the right track!

And that can be simply the gift of speaking with a stranger or friend who has a different perspective and can offer new insights. Or it could be divinity manifesting through another, as the embodiment of something bigger and more powerful when combined than it is when separated.

So, getting back to awakening your inner goddess as a new dance course I’ll be presenting.

Over the 16 years that I have been teaching belly dance, for a few summers, I was blessed. Co-facilitating a workshop called Dancing With The Elements, Michelle Hrynyk and I would spend a day in the company of amazing women, with me teaching ( suggesting) ways for them to interpret the 5 elements { Air, Fire, Water, Earth, Spirit} into dance, and Michelle would guide them through a series of movement mediations. It was powerful, amazing, opening and I was always touched by the participants as much as I hope we touched them.

Then life took Michelle to another path, and I felt it was not a workshop I could do alone, nor could I replace her with someone else.

So I continued to teach dance courses, enjoying the technical and beautiful aspects of learning and growing as I taught others, but I have missed sharing the focus on the spiritual aspect of Bellydance.

I still feel it myself, but sharing it, connecting with others and seeing their moments of connecting with something deep inside, that’s important.


The moves matter, the physical form is important, and finding those perfect combinations of dance elements to make a beautiful dance performance are always extremely relevant to the growth of any dancer.

But what fuels that fire?

What drives us as dancers to perfect those movements?

What do we need to connect to so that our dance touches others from more than a technical perspective?

I want to explore that with dancers of all levels – beginners through pros.

I want to help others bring their joy, their power, fear, anger, sensuality, creativity, all of it into their dance.

One way to do that is to play with the concepts of goddesses, looking at the many archetypes of female aspects personified in various goddesses worshipped around the world. And that’s what I’ll be doing in the 6 week course this spring.

Do you have to believe in goddesses to come dance?
You do need to believe in you.
(Or be willing to start believing in you.)


Photo from Aziz and Company – 365 Bank street.


Photo from Aziz and Company – 365 Bank street.

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