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!



Posted in Om Laila,Uncategorized | Tagged

Fall into Bellydance and Arabic Music this Autumn at Om Laila


Posted on August 13, 2015


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The autumn schedule and event calendar is up with exciting new classes, workshops and happenings. Let’s get to it! You can register for any of these classes and events by visiting The Store




Open House! We would like to invite you to our open house on Sunday September, 6 from 1-5pm for a costume sale, lemonade party and Om Laila style hospitality including percussion, dance and singing. Bring a friend!




We now offer a monthly membership
$200 no tax
Any 2 classes
Or 1 class and a private




Monday 6:00pm-7:15pm Essential Bellydance Introduction to Intermediate
Connect to your body in a new and nourishing light through Roula’s multi-level movement methodology.
Level: Foundation and Further (Introductory – Intermediate)
99+HST for 4 weeks




Tuesdays 11:15 am -12:45 pm – Bellydance and Beyond – intermediate to Pro
Dive in and develop more of you in this mixed-bag class supplementing dance technique with experiential musical training.
$120+hst for 4 weeks




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Wednesday 6:00pm-8:00pm Percussion and Voice Immersion with Roula and Naghmeh Farahmand – All Levels
6:00 – 6:30 Rhythms and Technique
Multifaceted master instructors, Roula Said and Naghmeh Farahmand teach rhythm training, technique and drills on various percussion instruments. Explore frame drums/daff, tambourine/riqq, darbuka, dahola, zills. Specialize in one instrument or try them all.




6:30 – 7:00 Singing and Lyrics
This 30 minute segment will focus on freeing and embodying the voice, learning song melodies, and learning the pronunciation and translation of the lyrics.




7-8 Ensemble Class
The ensemble class puts the rhythms and songs together so they can really be brought to life. Learn traditional songs from the Arab world and from Iran. People will have different parts to play and/or sing to make up elements of the whole. Here we put technique and drills into context and actually make music!
$120+hst for 4 weeks




Wednesday 8:00-9:00pm Rehearsal with Roula and Naghmeh
Audition or Invite Only
write to info@omlaila.com for more information




Thursdays 11:00 – 12:00 pm – Seven Waves All Levels with Roula
More details coming very soon!
$99+hst for 4 weeks




Sundays Sept 13, Oct 4, Nov 8, Dec 6 11:00 – 1:00 Ecstatic Chant with Live Drums
Drawing from intoxicating traditional and original Sufi-inspired melodies and rhythms. Simple hypnotic words in Arabic, Farsi and English make this inviting to all. PWYC at the Door




Private Classes with Roula
Private Classes with Roula Said in the following:
Essential Bellydance and Seven Waves
Qanun, Arabic rhythm and drumming, singing and zylls/saghat/finger cymbals.
Mentoring classes to emerging and established professionals who seek to deepen their work or venture into cross-disciplinary exploration.




Workshops and Events at a Glance




September 6 1-5pm: Open House, Costume Sale, Lemonade and Om Laila style fun and hospitality at the studio


October 17-18: Whirl and Chant Workshop Retreat at Wyldwood in Marysville


October 25: Autumn Zaar


November 1:
Joy of Aging Show in Vaughan




Looking forward to a fun and exciting fall at Om Laila!




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Posted in arabic music lessons,Bellydance,Classes,Om Laila,Toronto Bellydance,zill lessons | Tagged bellydance classes bellydance toronto bellydance workshops Doumbek Classes Toronto om laila studio Percussion Class Toronto

Summer Schedule and Upcoming Zaar


Posted on July 7, 2015


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Om Laila’s July Classes are up and running! This is the last term before September, as we are taking a holiday in August, for rejuvenation and studio programming. Plus, we need to give our lovely and hard working students a break to recharge their energies! Here is the current class schedule. You can take a class anytime. Just write to info@omlaila.com to let Roula know you will be dropping by!




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One event for students that is less than 2 weeks away is the Zaar. We held one back in April and the demand was there to host another. Do you know what a zaar is? Well, A zaar is a ritual from Africa and parts of the Middle East for women to shake and dance out the stresses of life, and to rejuvenate and reinvigorate through a combination of guided and free movement, to the sound of live drumming. This is a very unique experience and a respectful reimagining of such a ritual for women here in Toronto in 2015. Everyone should try it at least once!



Visit the shop to register your spot!


summer zaar poster


One more thing for you. If you want to see Roula performing this month be sure to check out Mediterraneo on Saturday July 25. Experience the feast of French, Hispanic, Ladino, Arabic, Italian and Armenian dance, spoken words and images, featuring a live World Ensemble, Soloists, Singers and Dancers. This shouldn’t be missed!




Buy a Ticket


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Toronto is beautiful in the summer so enjoy this fun and bright season and we hope to see you in the (air conditioned!) studio soon!



Posted in Bellydance,Classes,Om Laila,Toronto Bellydance | Tagged bellydance classes bellydance toronto Toronto

Summer Schedule Coming Soon!


Posted on June 4, 2015


We are spiraling up to summer and riding a wave of warmth and sunshine! The summer schedule is approaching. This means shorter terms and more specialized focus. There’s some exciting offerings on the way and a little something for everyone from bellydance technique, performance based instruction to wellness exercise.



Studio Happenings




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The garden is already growing out of control! This is just the coach house – You should see the rest! We’re already out in the garden taking pictures. It’s hard to resist! This is also because we all wore tie dye to class. And the next day we all wore shades of blues and greens. Funny how that happens! Thank you to garden owner and foodie goddess, Naoimi D for the taking this picture of us!




classes at om laila studio




The dancers at Om Laila also recently performed at The Healing Market. We did this show back in December. It’s a lot of fun to perform for people that have an interest in wellness because belly dance really is a healthy, emotionally and physically fulfilling activity! It’s so wonderful to share love through dance in the best way possible – by dancing! Thank you Michael Zander for the pic!



healing market performance




Classes are still running normally until the end of June (ish) and drop ins are available in most classes. Write to info@omlaila.com if you are interested in checking out a class!



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Renaming these healing cocoons WombCradles. No words for how good they feel. Part of every private class at Om Laila Studio. #privateclasseswithroula #dropintothedeep #aah #wombcradle #wombcradles #wombconsciousness #wombcentral

Naomi’s lush and life-giving garden leading to Om Laila studio. The healing begins here. #omlaila #omlailastudio #sevenwaves #wombcradle #bellydance #womenanddrums #healinghaven