Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Feeling lots of feelings tonight. After 10 years of belly dancing, I started last year, in January with a new goal... to learn as much as I could from as many master teachers as I could and truly immerse in belly dance. One of the places I went was the Houston Oriental Festival where Amani of Lebanon, Lebanese Simon, Valerick, among others blew my freaking mind. I could not get enough. Then off to Suhaila Salimpour workshops, not once but twice, and to Zoe Jakes and to Isaam Houshan, and to so many others, including going back to the beginning... full circle with Tamalyn Dallal and Amar Gamal. Each one different, each one inspiring, each one providing me with more and more material to absorb and understand and share with my beautiful students. This spring has been filled with belly dance glitter all over my world... from our performance at Orleans Raks to our magical Shimmy Shakti Troupe Showcase and personally... with weekly sessions with my belly dance hero Tamalyn Dallal. I FEEL........ actually, that's it. No other word needed... I freaking feel!!!! So much right now and it feels freaking amazing. So all this to say... this Friday, I will be performing at the Houston Oriental Dance festival, something I would've never even thought of just a year ago. I don't even know how it's all happening.... I have been pretty much waking up and guided in different directions and all these wonderful things are happening. I am so happy, so blessed, freaking out!!!!!! Sharing the stage with so many amazing dancers whom I admire and follow.... I'm a little deer in headlights about it still but I mentioned it to my lovelies and they were so incredibly supportive I emailed a yes before I had time to rethink it lol but it is pretty much how I live my life... a yes, a quick freak out, and then like a Soldja... off to kick butt!. I AM HAPPY, I AM HONORED, HOLY MOLY I'M PERFORMING AT THE HOUSTON ORIENTAL DANCE FESTIVAL THIS WEEKEND. eek. Wish me luck y'all!!!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

APRIL - Sunset Shimmies at the Park

Join us for belly Dancing 101 @City Park

Tuesday, April 12
Tuesday, April 19
Tuesday, April 26


City Park (Outdoor Class-On Boat Deck/By Paddle Boats and Gondola Deck- By Christian Brothers entrance)

Class Card or $10 Drop in

Attire: Stretch pants and a fitted Tee or tank. Bring water. Yoga mat, optional.


Friday, April 8, 2016

Your "first date" with belly dance...

I always like to share questions I receive from students with the group as it might answer questions you have... Last night we welcomed 8 new students. Attending your first belly dance class is an experience in itself. It's important for me to share from my experience as a belly dance instructor for the past 9 years and my own experience going to class.... that attending a belly dance class is very different than many other classes. Belly Dance connects so strongly with your heart and spirit that it is a surprisingly vulnerable place to be. 

For most of society, belly dance class is perceived to be just a "fun workout" class where you get to feel "sexy." What actually happens is quite the opposite most of the time. Although there are many "feelings" I hear ladies mention after their first class... "sexy" is not one of them. 

Belly dance is technically difficult and complex, there are cultural and emotional elements that are a huge part of the instruction and it takes years to master. Even when mastered, belly dance offers thousands of elements to be learned and layered on top of the technique you know. When you layer those and learn new concepts you are encouraged to go back to the beginning and re-learn the basic steps that you thought you knew and start again. It's a beautiful cycle of learning and growing, very much like life and our different stages of growing and learning. It challenges every bit of your body, mind, and soul. It's also the reason why many belly dancers remain engaged and continue learning this dance form for years or a lifetime.

Adding live drumming to that, adds another level of difficulty. We love live music- but live music, unlike pre-recorded music, requires that you invite the music into your body first and connect with it before you even start to move. The drum needs the dancer as much as the dancer needs the drum. It's a beautiful conversation but it takes practice and an open heart. Lots to take in on a first "date" with belly dance. It's much like discussing what you will name your first child on a blind date. However, what a beautiful thing it is when you can have conversations like that minus the insecurities. A safe place where you can say and do what you like and be you. That is what a great belly dance class is to me. 

Allowing yourself to be challenged by the technique while remaining open to these challenges and appreciating every single part of your body for moving in the way it wants and allowing you to express yourself from the heart, that is the goal.

When I am asked what you can do to strengthen your practice outside of your regular belly dance class... my answer is always to work with opening your energy, improving your posture, and experimenting with balance. These are some of the core elements of a strong belly dance foundation. Experiment with the following:
  • Tuck your tailbone in
    • Practice rocking your pelvic bone forward and back (tuck and drop)
  • Heart Open and Shoulders back
    • Engage your shoulder blades and push them towards each other
    • Heart up, deep breath in and lift
  • Create space in your Throat Chakra to be able to connect
    • bring your chin up and relax your facial muscles
  • Engage your belly
    • separate it in three parts (right under your rib cage, right in your mid section, 3 fingers below your belly button) and practice tightening one area at a time
  • Shift your weight
    • With your knees bent, shift your weight from one foot to the other, rocking...practice moving from side to side, front to back, feel the ground, lift your toes, shift from the heels to the balls of your feet.... experiment with weight shift.
On a less spiritual level, my experience tells me... make it through the first class and you'll come back, make it through the second class and you will feel less crazy, make it through the third class and you'll feel like you might actually be able to do this.... make it to the fourth class and you're hooked!

As far as other practices, I recommend YOGA. Being grounded and shifting awareness to different parts of the body is really important. Yoga is a practice that will strengthen that ability. Practice tree pose and mountain pose, practice awareness of your breath during practice and during savasana... allow yourself to connect with the earth and be still. Stillness is an important element of Egyptian belly dance. I posted a video yesterday about this, check it out. It has a lot of great information from an inspirational dancer in our community.

just my two cents

Thank you for coming to class, thank you for being interested in our class.
Happy Friday and Happy Festing Y'all!!!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

2016 Schedule (April-Dec)

Class Cards: 4, 6, 10, 20 classes
Cards NEVER Expire
Good for all classes offered by Karla Marie

April and May 2016

6 week Session
Thursdays 7pm-8pm and Saturdays 10:30am-11:30am
  • Week 1: Thursday, April 7
  • Week 2: Thursday, April 14 and Saturday April 16
  • No class week of April 18th (Houston Oriental Dance Festival)
  • Week 3: Thursday, April 28 and Saturday, April 30
  • Week 4: Thursday, May 5
  • Week 5: Saturday, May 14
  • Week 6: Saturday, May 21
4 Thursday classes: April 7, 14, 28 and May 5
4 Saturday classes: April 16, 30, and May 14, 21

  • No THURSDAY class April 21
  • No SATURDAY class April 9, 23 or May 7

June 2016

4 week Summer Session

Saturdays 10:30am-11:30am

  • June 4, 11, 18, 25

August and September 2016

6 Week Intensive 
Thursdays and Saturdays- CLASS CARD REQUIRED

Thursdays 7pm-8pm (Drop ins Welcome)

  • August 4, 11, 18, 25
  • September 8, 15

Saturdays 10:30am-11:30am

  • August 6, 13, 20, 27
  • September 10, 17


October, November, December 2016

8 Week Intensive (6 week option available)
Thursdays and Saturdays- CLASS CARD REQUIRED

Thursdays 7pm-8pm (Drop ins Welcome)
  • October 20, 27
  • November 3, 10
  • December 1, 8
Saturdays 10:30am-11:30am
  • October 1, 8, 22, 29
  • November 5, 12
  • December 3, 10

Shimmy Shakti Troupe Showcase

Thank you to everyone who came out to support our troupe and a great cause!
Our event was wonderful, we are so honored to have performed for you. 


Meet our Lovelies, click here

For more information about
Belly Dance Goddess Hour by Karla Marie
and Shimmy Shakti Troupe, visit

Check out our Tribal Fusion performance here
Videos of our Oriental Dance performances coming soon!

Join us for our next session. To find out more, click here

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

February and March Classes

Class Starts Thursday, February 11th!!

Join us for the next 6 week session!
Thursdays: February 11, 18, 25, March 10, 17, 24
Saturdays: February 13, 27, March 12, 19, 26


Sunday, December 20, 2015

2016 Schedule


Thursdays 7pm-8pm   |    Saturdays 10:30am-11:45am
Choose Thursday or Saturday session, or both!
@NOLA Spaces (1719 Toledano St. Uptown)

Mardi Gras Break from January 30-February 10
  • Thursday, February 11
  • Saturday, February 13
  • Thursday, February 18
  • No Class Saturday, February 20- Orleans Raks! Workshops and Showcase!!!
  • Thursday, February 25
  • Saturday, February 27
Thursdays 7pm-8pm   |    Saturdays 10:30am-11:45am
Choose Thursday or Saturday session, or both!
@NOLA Spaces (1719 Toledano St. Uptown)

Break from February 28-March 9
  • Thursday, March 10
  • Saturday, March 12
  • Thursday, March 17
  • Saturday, March 19
  • Thursday, March 24
  • Saturday, March 26
No class Saturday, April 2- Shimmy Shakti Showcase!!!

Student Belly Dance Showcase:
Coming SPRING 2016!!!!

  • Must have completed one full 6 or 8 week session by March 26, 2016
  • Must have attended at least 10 classes with Karla Marie
  • Must know at least one choreography 
    • Warda Warda
    • Ojos Asi
    • Bounce
    • Brooklyn Baladi
    • Drum Solo
  • Must purchase costume (approximately $150)
  • For additional information, email