Renaissance woman! Accomplished dancer, musician, singer, and superb teacher! Roula runs DEEP Her passion and wisdom are contagious and she is magnificent at transmitting this and passing these arts forward into you and me. Inner transformation through dance, presence and music. A jewel.
I was looking for belly dance classes in Toronto and found Roula Said and Om Laila Studio through a workshop. I’m so glad I did! I have been training in Middle Eastern dance/belly dance for 4 years and since learning from Roula I have improved immensely! Roula’s studio and students are awesome, and so is she!
There is no amount of stars on this page to express the Om Laila experience. About eight years ago I saw a flyer on a telephone pole and the rest is history. I started classes with Roula Said and although over the years I have learned from many others, Om Laila remains my foundation, where I learned not just moves but about the different cultural and musical contexts of middle eastern dance. Roula brings both tradition and innovation in her skills and knowledge of music and movement. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned dancer, Om Laila will help you get deeper into your movement. From Roula, I have learned bellydance, movement, arabic music and zyll accompaniment. Om Laila is a welcoming studio of small classes so you will have the individual guidance of the one and only Roula Said even in a group setting.
Not sure where to start with describing the wonderfulness of today. The singing? the choreography? the entire revamping of my understanding of how to zill (that is going to take lots of love and practice, but I know it is possible now)? the song? the generosity of Roula as an instructor? my new whole body awareness of the song?
There are so many amazing studios I have studied with as well as rich community of talented and inspiring teachers in Toronto, but by far Om Laila has been the most fundamental influence of bellydance in my life. If you are looking for a deep way to connect with bellydance that incorporates a level of body awareness, a healing space for genuine love of dancers and anunderstanding of middle eastern music and lyrics, and can want to gain a complete finesse to the art of egyptian technique, you must check out Om Laila. Roula Said and all the wonderful teachers that have ever taught at Om Laila have given me a language and foundation that i would have never gotten anywhere else. It is holisitc and yet translatable to many other styles of bellydance you may encounter. Om Laila will become your family.
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!
Meeting Roula in her studio setting for the first time, the most poignant sensation I experienced was that she provides a dynamic, safe space where one instantly knows it is okay to be a “real person.” For me, this is a core factor when it comes to being able to tap fully into my creativity in an honest way. Roula is so authentic, natural, earthy, in-the-moment, sensitive, accepting, modestly confident of her own knowledge and talent – and observant without being judgmental – that I think it would be near-impossible for even the most timid and uncertain of people to feel uncomfortable for long.
Navigating this planet as woman in a world that often seems threatened by female empowerment is very difficult. Learning to embrace one’s own strengths and talents in an unapologetic way is even more challenging. But sometimes finding places (whether physical or otherwise) – especially in group settings – where just being one’s natural, sensual, creative, imperfect, laughing, crying, inspired, frustrated, embodied Female Self is the challenge of all challenges. Roula creates an atmosphere where it feels okay to be strong and weak at the same time but, almost more importantly, she magically does it in a way that generates supportive, loving and sisterly bonds amongst everyone in the room. Roula creates magic.
Roula has a way of cutting through the facades and seeing the essence of things, of people. She uses this magic ability to help those around her find their own way, their authentic voice. She enables, nurtures, and embraces darkness and light with the same grace and courage. She is a natural healer, and a friend.
Roula is an inspiration to everyone she meets. Not only is she an accomplished creative mind but she inspires the creativity in the souls around her.
I refer to Roula as my dancing Mistress…as in the feminized version of Master. The wisdom, honesty and openness she brings to her students reminds me of the traditional relationships of the ancient teachers and their pupils. THIS, is a great gift!
I’m feeling the healing – give me more! More waves, more pleasure. I have found my yoga, my kung-fu. You have Rocked My World!”
-Jesse – workshop participant
The aspect that I most appreciate about your Seven Waves format is that it encompasses all of my dance training- contemporary, ballet as well as yoga and bellydance. It has brought back so many memories of training I’ve had with different teachers and validated it all. I feel like I make sense- that the seemingly unobvious path of my training and career is logical. Thank you!
-Kari Peters – dance teacher & Seven Waves Workshop Sponsor
Roula Said’s Seven waves is a moving experience. It is moving through space in a delicious way; moving energy through the entire body; spiritually moving , moving body and mind in a relaxed harmony which creates a grace of movement and a feeling of grace. One is moved by music that is beautiful, joyful and sometimes almost trance-inducing. It includes the smallest and subtlest of movements that bring remarkable comfort and release. It is moving to strength. The seven waves strengthen core muscles. My back problems have diminished. Without my even noticing, my abs are stronger than any time in my entire life. Wow. It’s an extra.
For me the Seven waves is also about moving forward into the future. In my 60’s, when I might expect to be shutting down and accepting the limitations of my aging body, accustoming myself to all the minor aches and pains, I am delighted instead to find myself opening up and finding that my body and I are happier together than we have ever been.
In her classes Roula speaks of allowing, inviting, opening, listening. Her approach is gentle – one never fears injury or strain. It is the polar opposite of boot camp. She has an uncanny intelligence about the body and a very sensitive intuition. Often when she initiates a subtle change to movement, it is exactly what my body wants, and I wonder: how did she know that?
Oh, and it’s not all airy-fairy cosmic either. Earthy is a better description and with Roula, laughter is always part of the process. A seven waves session feels like a total body massage and produces feelings of joy and contentment. Really. It is that good. I love it.
-Kate McNairn – Roula’s student of many years
Thank you again for arranging all to bring your insights, movement and song to Wyldwood Sojourn.
I think you stirred something ancient in us…something to re-member (that was dis-membered) This work stirred our souls’ ancient memories and awakened the potential to re-develop the power to heal ourselves, with the deep nurturing wisdom of the feminine path, that is at the same time, lighthearted, sensuous and playful..
…Your retreat was so much loved and you are certainly wanted back. Jesse is integrating it into her life and her husband wants to learn the Seven Waves too. I have 2 other men who may also come.
The music aspect was cherished as well.
So thank you for squeezing us in to your schedule!
-Maureen Walton – visual artist and Seven Waves retreat sponsor at Wyldwood Sojourn
There are so many amazing studios I have studied with as well as rich community of talented and inspiring teachers in Toronto, but by far Om Laila has been the most fundamental influence of bellydance in my life. If you are looking for a deep way to connect with bellydance that incorporates a level of body awareness, a healing space for genuine love of dancers and anunderstanding of middle eastern music and lyrics, and can want to gain a complete finesse to the art of egyptian technique, you must check out Om Laila. Roula Said and all the wonderful teachers that have ever taught at Om Laila have given me a language and foundation that i would have never gotten anywhere else. It is holisitc and yet translatable to many other styles of bellydance you may encounter. Om Laila will become your family.-Shaila
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