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

The Benefits of Playing Zills for Mind, Body and Soul


Posted on April 4, 2015


zills at om laila studio


Learning to play the zills will complement your dance training but it can offer much more. Many dancers discover that playing finger cymbals provides benefits that extend beyond their belly dance classes as they notice the positive emotional, mental and physical benefits of learning percussion.



Five Healthy Reasons to Practice Percussion

 

  1. Become a Musician as well as a Dancer

 
As a dancer you will use finger cymbals to complement the musicians but as a musician you can learn a great deal about the structure of music, rhythm and beat. There is nothing quite like knowing not just the basic rhythms (called the skeleton of the rhythm and this is usually what belly dancers learn) but also how to fill those rhythms in a number of creative ways. This puts the beat (the pulse of percussion) and the rhythm (the song of the drum) in your body and brain on a much deeper level.

 

  1. It’s your Brain Gym

 
Looking outside of belly dance training we need to find activities to keep us sharp as we age. Learning to play the zills is the ultimate brain gym. Even for beginner level percussionists, playing simple patterns within a rhythm, (ex: 123 123 123 123 in a 4/4 rhythm like Baladi) and stepping on the beat seems impossibly difficult. However, as you progress not only does it get easier but provides ongoing self-accomplishment. You even notice a newfound ability to multi-task on an entirely new level in day-to-day life!



For dancers and artists that like a challenge, and love to put themselves in the beginner’s mindset, zilling reminds many of when they started taking belly dance classes. students have to relearn to move and find the co-ordination that is required of belly dance but now with the addition of simultaneously playing a musical instrument.

 

  1. Connect with Yourself and Others

 

Percussion is a connection activity both in terms of self-awareness and bringing participants together socially:


 

  • Playing zills in class is oftentimes a group activity. Dancers and musicians work together to practice and produce layered and complex songs and dances. Even the newest percussionist can play a simple pattern while more experienced players fill and hold the piece.

 

  • Percussion is a team building exercise. As we learn to play zills we are watching and listening to each other. This overflows into dance as well. We need to be communicative, comfortable and in tune when reaching a common goal with our troupes and classmates.

 

  • Playing finger cymbals is fantastic for self expression. When you learn music you gain the ability to play with and within the music. There are a seemingly infinite number of rhythms and patterns that can be played within the beat of the music and this unleashes a serious amount of creative and artistic potential; the chance to be heard and the opportunity to work as an individual within a group, or as a soloist.

percussion benefits

  1. Reduce Stress and Ground Yourself

 

Percussion is powerful and has been used to heal for millennia. Playing the finger cymbals or a drum has a trance-like effect that reduces stress. Learning to play the zills also involves a deep level of focus and concentration that can take your mind off anything from a bad day to a traumatic experience. Finger cymbals will ground you because you must be in the present moment for the level of timing and coordination involved. Being grounded and in the present moment helps us to live “in-the-now”.


    • Percussion increases alpha waves in the brain leading to a calmer mind. Drumming and percussion can be used to help treat individuals with over-active or hyper-vigilant minds.

 

    • Sometimes we are out of sync with ourselves. This can manifest as sickness, addiction and even self-centeredness. There is something to be said regarding the act of physically syncing and its result on mental and emotional synchronicity.

 

    • Life has natural rhythms and percussion helps us to feel the earth, nature and universe in more deep and profound ways.
  1. Zills are Fun!

Zilling is fun, there is no doubt. Whether you’re a belly dancer looking to add a new element to your routine, an older adult hoping for interesting ways to achieve brain health or someone that wants to come out of her shell and be heard; finger cymbals provide countless opportunities to find the musician within and to progress on both personal and artistic levels.




While belly dancing is a gentle exercise that can be adapted and modified to almost anyone’s level of health and physical fitness, playing zills is accessible to absolutely everyone. Even the most fit and conditioned dancer can take a break in class to play percussion if s/he feels the impulse. Developing musicality, playing in time and putting it together with dance does take work, patience and practice but we all start at day 1 and it’s a fun and rewarding process!

 


Guest Writer


Kaleena is a student and teacher studying under the tutelage of Roula Said at Om Laila Studio in Toronto for belly dance, wellness and music. She has discovered the benefits of playing zills as a dance artist and as an individual seeking new and fun ways to achieve a powerful mind-body connection. She attends Om Laila for its focus on artistic, intellectual and personal growth. Visit Kaleena’s belly dance blog, Kaleena Belly Dance to read more.



Guest writers are welcome to submit articles relating to their experiences at Om Laila Studio. Please write to Roula with your idea at info@omlaila.com



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

Introduction to Om Laila Studio


Posted on March 24, 2015




Our space is more than just a bellydance studio and we need a class to reflect that! We provide classes that span a range of artistic and self-healing topics across the schedule and this class will offer a taste of everything from bellydance, finger cymbals, sensual fitness, Seven Waves exercise and more.



The first class is free and if you like it we recommend at least 4 classes to find your groove at the studio. This class will help you determine your next step!



bellydance toronto



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


Posted on March 13, 2015


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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 info@omlaila.com


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

Hip Hip Cabaret and Winter 2 Term Starting Now


Posted on March 5, 2015


We had a great time at the February edition of the Hip Hip Cabaret. The Bellydance Choir is a live music performance ensemble and we have been workiing together for under a year. However, this was the very first time we performed as (an almost full) group outisde of our own shows at May Cafe! We are quickly learning and experiencing the joys and challenges of presenting our work with live musicians and vocals. Here’s a couple of pictures from the evening:


roula at hip hip cabaret


Hip Hip Cabaret at Round


Next up is the fundraising event at Beit Zatoun on March 7 and Star Bellydancer Canada Competition on March 15. See our events page for more information!


In class news, the first term started this week and there is still space left in level 1 and 2 on Monday evening, Karma/PWYC Saturday at 11 and the Introduction to Bellydance Courses Wednesday at 7:30 and Saturday at 12:30. Please see the new pricing and payment options page, and also the Introduction to Bellydance Course page to learn more. Many of our students in Toronto and beyond take classes and workshops with Roula as an experienced artist but you can start as a baby, beginner belly dancer too!!


shai promo


See you in the studio for the March/April term!



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

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Gorgeously soulful, utterly generous, heart melting expressive, Roula is not only a brilliant instructor and super talented multi-gifted artist, she is a soul and heart that deeply touches everyone around her. She is a woman full of wisdom, love, generosity, compassion, ideas, inspiration, and bodily wisdom ‘yummyness’. She’s “out of this world” (and so grounded in the goodness of our world and our art) a goddess and a magical fairy god-mother to so many of us!

-Zahira

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