You Just Never Know Who You’ll Run Into!

While at The Belly Dancer Of The Universe Competition 2015, two very important people from The Fez that I had been trying to locate to interview just happened to appear! First was Tanya Lemani, dancer and actress with a long list of credits for Film, Theater and Television including an appearance in a special with …

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A Message Straight From BDUC 2015 from The Fez Divas !

  I stopped by the Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition in Long Beach, Ca yesterday and ran into a few of The Fez Divas-Marta Schill, Helena Vlahos, Tonya Chianis (the event founder and organizer) and Aisha Ali.  They took a minute out from the hustle and bustle of the competition to film this message …

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Zanouba and Maya!

The  Legendary Armenian Egyptian dancer, Zanouba (stand in for Liz Taylor in the movie Cleopatra and featured dancer in the movie “Good Neighbor Sam” with Jack Lemon) tells about her duet with the incomparable Egyptian singer and dancer Maya Medwar at The Fez! Dancers-You know that vertical figure 8 you learned in Belly Dance 101 …

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Aisha Ali

 The legendary Aisha Ali was one of the regular dancer at The Fez!  In between her trips to Egypt and North Africa, Aisha always returned to perform at The Fez!  

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A Time Before Belly Dance Teachers

Can you imagine a time when there were NO Belly Dance teachers? Listen to Marta Shill Kouzouyan talk about how she and others learned how to Belly Dance at the time.

Marta is one of the producers of the Cairo Shimmyquake Festival in Los Angeles where the Fez Documentary will premiere on June 7, 2015!! For more information please visit CairoShimmyquake.com

 

 

Interview Footage with Feiruz Aram

This week’s blog features Feiruz Aram!! Listen to her talk about the sisterhood of the dancers in Los Angeles in the 60’s and 70’s. Can you believe that many of those dancers danced 6 nights a week!

 

 

Interview Footage with Awayshak Khoury Smit

Meet Antoinette Awayshak Khoury Smit!! Dubbed “The Casting Directors Dream” by Lou Shelaby, she was one of the legendary dancers at The Fez. In this week’s clip Antoinette talks about the connection The Fez had to Arab Community and so much more!

 

 

Dancing at the Source

Imagine dancing at one of the famous Belly Dance clubs in Hollywood during the 1960’s….
Not only are you the featured dancer dancing to live music but you have you’re own following. The dancers at The Fez experienced just that!! Dancers would have a following that would go to a particular club just to see them!

Not only that but the audience was also a mix of Arabs and non-Arabs, so the dancers learned how to dance in a way that was culturally appropriate. There is a myth that all the dancers of that time did “Am Cab” (American Cabaret). This was not true of the dancers at The Fez! They danced to Arabic music as well as an Arab Audience.

Have a listen to Antoinette Awayshal Khoury Smit and Helena Vlahos discussing this!

Our Dance Mothers

In January of 2012, I began filming interviews for the documentary. I brought together many of the main figures of the Fez, we sat down for a delicious Lebanese meal at Xai Verandah and the stories started flowing!

This clip exemplifies why I am doing this project. Watch as Saadoun Al Bayati, Barbara Al-Bayati, Aisha Ali, Antoinette Awayshak Khoury Smit, Marta Shill Kouzouyan, myself, Feiruz Aram, Helena Vlahos, Anisa, Tonya and Andreas Chianis, all musicians and dancers at The Fez, discuss passing down their art to future generations.