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!




edited schedule


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

Performances and Workshops at Om Laila Studio!!


Posted on May 12, 2015


zillagain workshop


Thanks to the students in the Get Zilly Again workshop! We had a fun and informative day with a lot of take-home video! At the studio, we are now in our spring term and have a performance and a couple of specialty workshops coming up for May and June.




The performance is at the Healing Market. We performed this show back in December.




healing-market

This is a FREE Admission Event.




Markets have been with humanity through out history, a place where culture, knowledge and wisdom is shared and spread, where the exchange of ideas and inspiration spark, and where interaction with our human fellows make us more UNITED.




“The Healing Market” will be a family friendly market experience including Energy Healers, Craft Vendors, Organic Food Vendors, Conscious Businesses, Music and performances. The idea is to co-create community, promote alternative and natural healing, and more conscious gift-giving through out the seasons, giving city people an outlet to purchase healing and handmade meaningful gifts, and the opportunity to learn where they can find these services throughout the year. This seasonal market will also give local healers, artisans, and Conscious Businesses an affordable means to outreach and spread their services.




Bellydance Workshop for Girls


For workshops at Om Laila, the studio is hosting two in May and June and both are based on the fun of G Day Toronto and Roula’s workshop with girls ages 10-12. One is for just girls on May 30 and the other is Mothers and Daughters on June 7. The Mothers and Daughters workshop only has a couple spaces left so Register Soon!!




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

Spring Term Special for the Upcoming Term


Posted on April 15, 2015


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It’s spring! Our garden is waking up, the birds are returning and we hope to see your warm and friendly faces this coming Spring term, which begins April 27! We are very excited about our cute new homepage, a couple of new classes in addition to all of the favourites from last term AND an Earlybird Special for Spring.



If you register by April 26 through any method of payment you receive a $10 discount off one class per week and $20 off two classes a week. (Please note that this applies to the regularly priced Essential Bellydance, Musical Dancer and Seven Waves classes – not to the intro classes or choir/choir choreo classes).



We have already started Introduction to Om Laila Studio at our cozy Toronto belly dance studio. We do a lot in this studio including bellydance, wellness, music and singing lessons. This class offers a taste of everything we have across the schedule in one class. It is suitable for complete beginners, students new to the studio or current students that want to try something else the studio has to offer before making the commitment.



We are also introducing Sensual Fitness with Roula Thursday morning at 11am and Kaleena Saturday at 12:30. This class combines Seven Waves, Essential Bellydance technique and some drills and conditioning for a well-rounded mind-body workout.



Zill Workshop with Roula



In the workshop department we have just sold out for the Zaar on April 19 but there is still room in Get Zilly Again. The last workshop sold out so register soon!



Also, if you have a young daughter or girl in your life between the ages of 10-12 consider bringing her to G Day for Girls This is a day-long event that celebrates and empowers girls as thy transition from childhood into adolescence. G day events inspire positive self esteem and supportive family and community relationships at this key life phase. Roula will be a presenter at this beneficial and necessary event!



See you April 27 in the Spring Term!



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

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