Circle This!

Posted on January 30, 2019

2019 is all about rolling out a series of circles here at Om Laila Studio – which has thus far been primarily a bellydance school. The year has already begun with two Red Tent gatherings for women and there are more circles on the way, including Drum and Song Circles and a Circle for the Conscious and Ceremonial use of Cannabis – something very important both to me personally and crucial for the times.

Human beings have been gathering in purposeful circles for a very long time, possibly as early as 300,000 years ago. Although little is known about the complexity of these gatherings, there is certainly evidence of ritual art, painting, and religious ceremony.

This began to change some 5000 years ago with the onset of patriarchal ideology and its emphasis on cognitive development. Gathering in circle and its spirit of community, egalitarianism and authentic connection was replaced by linear and hierarchical structures where people became passive receivers of information from authoritative leaders.

While many indigenous peoples continued to gather in circles, the last 40 years has seen an increasing movement to return to this practice in the modern world. All that said, I am not writing this article as a history lesson. I want to share a simple and personal experience about the power of gathering in a circle.

I am no stranger to circles, ceremonies, and rituals having discovered Wicca in the mid-eighties and being initiated into a lineage of Goddess-based religion that can be traced back 2000 years. Despite the mind-blowing magic of those rites, I recently experienced the quiet power of the circle in a more humble and profound way than I ever have before.

In September of 2018, my husband and I sold our family home and chose to separate for a trial period of 6 months. I had been receiving messages in my dreams and meditations about selling the house for some 2 years. These were followed by a series of synchronicities in the outer world that had the entire sale unfold with a kind of grace that filled me with gratitude and a real sense of the rightness of it all.

Nonetheless, the day we signed on the dotted line, I began to feel like I was falling down a well. The feeling kept on going for the next 2 days and it was unrelenting. I’ve never experienced anything like it. None of my personal centering practices seemed to put me back on solid ground, but they did show me that I needed a circle of my women friends to help hold me through this transition.

I put the call out in a group message. The instant I hit send, the ground came back under my feet and I stopped falling. It was SO palpable and so powerful a moment that my awe, respect and devotion to the circle has been solidified and magnified to a whole new level.

I know in my bones that there are some truths, some important flowerings of consciousness that can only happen in circle. No matter the focus, intention of purpose of the gathering, when we meet in circle we grow the Filigree of Love that connects us to ourselves, to one another and to all of life. We are remembering an ancient way of connecting and bringing forth its nourishment and wisdom into our modern times. We are growing our capacity to birth a healthier world. Cheers to that hope!

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Om Laila’s Bellydance Choir is Competing at Star Bellydancer Canada this Sunday!

Posted on March 13, 2015

Om Laila’s Bellydance Choir is competing at the Star Bellydancer Canada Competition this Sunday, March 15!

The choir is a very special group that has a keen interest in dancing, singing and playing percussion with Roula Said at Om Laila Studio in Toronto. We are a self-accompanied performance ensemble. The Om Laila Bellydance Choir sprouted last spring with only a few members and has since grown to 10! In almost a year this group has made great strides and has performed together many times within the bellydance and Middle Eastern communities and for private events.

Here’s some Interesting Facts about the Bellydance Choir

1. We perform 90% of the time to live music and Roula Said’s vocals. However, we also learn our dances to prerecorded tracks so we have the ability to perform without our band and singers.

2. We have 5 numbers so far but they are never performed the same way twice. The group is very versatile and this allows us to perform with any number and combination of singers and dancers available for the show!

3. Different Bellydance Choir members have different interests and goals. Some want to learn the songs, others the dances and some want to learn it all. Our commonality is the desire to authentically represent belly dancing as a rich and beautiful art form and to have fun while we’re at it.

4. Our numbers have many layers. Most of the group learns the song first in choir class, or a choreography in weekly classes and/or workshops. From there, the performers learn the piece in stages. The last step is usually adding zills/percussion.

5. This is our first time competing but last year Roula was one of the judges! We will likely be the only group in the troupe division performing to live music.

6. The Bellydance Choir operates as two classes. The choir is taught by Roula at 7 pm on Thursday and the Choreography class is with Kaleena at 8. This is a class format so some attendees are learning to perform with the Bellydance Choir while other belly dance students just want to be in class to improve their musicality or to learn the lyrics and meaning to popular Arabic songs.

7. After the competition we plan to slow the pace and welcome new students to this delightful and happening ensemble. If you are interested in attending choir and/or choreo class write to

We are very excited to participate in the competition and would love to have friends come out to see and support us. To buy tickets visit the Star Bellydancer Canada official page!

Posted in Bellydance,Classes,Om Laila,Performances,Toronto Bellydance | Tagged Bellydance choir bellydance workshops Classes performances Toronto

Thank you Students and Friends for an Amazing 2014 at Om Laila!

Posted on December 26, 2014

It has been a fun and fabulous 2014 at Om Laila Studio. A big huge hug and thank you to students and friends for the big time enthusiasm and support that comes through for such a small space!
Thank you to Anna and David at May Cafe for hosting our bellydance parties and to the event organizers that ask us to dance at their shows. Thanks to photographers and videographers that come out to capture our happiness and joy.

We are super excited for classes, events, workshops and performances in 2015!!!
Have you seen the new newsletter? Or the new video?

Register for classes soon. The studio is small and spaces are limited!

We ended the year with a few groovy gigs and here are some pictures. Happy New Year and see you in 2015!

– “The Healing Market” photos by Michael Zender

– Shaila, Roula Said and Kaleena Lawless before dancing at a holiday party

Posted in Bellydance,Classes,Om Laila,Performances,Toronto Bellydance | Tagged bellydance classes bellydance toronto Om Laila om laila studio performances Toronto

Last Day of Classes and Fabulous Show!

Posted on December 15, 2014

Today is the last day of classes before the holiday break and will resume on Monday January 5th.Registration is now open to sign up for the new term. Om Laila is a boutique space with limited class sizes so register soon to guarantee your spot!

The studio also has some new signage that we’re very happy about. You will be seeing this new look around the website and social media pages

Om Laila’s Badass Bellydance Bash

Om Laila and Nomadica had an amazing show on Saturday night at Mây Cafe. Many of our friends came out to see us perform and to celebrate the start of the holiday season. Soloists, Melissa Gamal, Michelle MacAleese and Miruna Soiu rocked their performances and Om’s students also brought it in a big way!! Here’s the videos from the performing classes. The first is the Om Laila Bellydance Choir’s back to back number Ala Warag il Foul and the Zill/Drum Solo, which was also a collaboration between level 3 and the Musical Dancer class.

The second video is the level 2’s performing La Te Tab Alayee

Stay in touch for more events like this is 2015 and here is the upcoming schedule:

January 2015 Schedule:

Mondays – 7 weeks –

January 5 – February 23 (no class Feb 16):

6:00 -7:15 Essential Bellydance II w/ Roula

7:30 – 8:45 Essential Bellydance I w/ Roula

Tuesdays – 4 weeks – January 6 – January 27

11:00 – 1 pm: Intensive for Intermediate – Pro dancers w/ Roula:

1 hour Seven Waves, 1hour zill building

Wednesdays – 7 weeks January 7 – February 18:

6:00 – 7:15 Essential Bellydance III

Wednesdays – 4 weeks – January 7 – January 28:

7:30 – 8:45 – Introductory Course with Liz

Thursdays – 7 weeks – January 8 – February 19

11:00 – 12:15 Essential Bellydance/Seven Waves

6:00 – 7:00 Musical Dancer Foundations w Roula

7:00 – 8:00 Bellydancer Choir w Roula

8:00 – 9:00 Choir Choreography with Kaleena

Saturdays – 7 weeks – January 10 – February 21

11:00 – 12:00 Karma Bellydance with Shaila

more TBA

Posted in Bellydance,Classes,Om Laila,Performances,Toronto Bellydance,Uncategorized | Tagged Bellydance choir bellydance classes bellydance toronto Musical Dancer Nomadica Om Laila om laila studio performances Toronto



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