Stay, Play, and Write in May

PoseThis month I’m writing a book!  Well, confession time, I’ve been working on it for several months, but May is my big push.  Since I’m focussed on this project, I’m going to be staying close to home throughout this month so that I can do my part in the upcoming book, “Pose: A Dancer’s Guide to Making the Most of their Photos.”  I’ve partnered with the same team that put together the seminal book, “Becoming a Belly Dancer: From Student to Stage.”  Available now on or get a signed copy from my Etsy store.

In Pose, we are taking a deep dive into the subject of belly dance photography, but from the dancer’s perspective.  For this book, photographer Alisha Westerfeld is leading our team which also includes author/dance teacher Sara Shrapnell and pro dancer and key model, Poppy Maya.  This book takes all of our many years of experience in front and behind the camera, at both informal and formal photo sessions and brings our top tips from everything from choosing outfits and planning makeup, to discovering your best angles and how to work your body into flattering poses to suit your needs.

So throughout May, I’ll be staying at home, and only taking a few local side-trips on the weekends.  I’m so very excited about this project, that I can’t help but grin from ear-to-ear as we work on the manuscript!   I will post more again when we’ve got more details hammered out, but I hope you enjoy these few sneak-peeks!


Above: Poppy Maya gets a touch-up prior to a photo taken for the book “The Cloth of Egypt: All About Assiut.”  It’s important to have someone check your look before you step onto the set to pose for photos.  Poppy has a team of professionals who she has cultivated who enjoy working with her on projects. Photo by Alisha Westerfeld

Below: Starry has her photo taken by Alisha for the book “The Cloth of Egypt: All About Assiut.”  One of the things we recommend is to always be scouting for interesting places to have your images taken.  Starry’s cool pin-up vibe looked fantastic in this lush boutique dressing room.  Keep your mind open when scouting for locations for your next shoot. Photo by Dawn DevineBehindTheScenes-Stari.JPG

Below: Poppy demonstrates her skill performing in a local restaurant.  One of the most important elements a professional belly dancer can have in her collection of photo assets are images of her performing for and with an audience.  However, the reality is that most restaurant shots are dark and consequently blurry.  In our book, Pose, we reveal the truth behind the construction of this image.  We booked the restaurant and filled it with friends and family.  Then we staged the photos to create the illusion of a performance with just a touch of motion blur. Poppy did perform after we shot a series of still images so we could get video footage and some pictures in full motion.  For more ideas on how to get great performance shot, Sara wrote a great blog post.  Photo by Alisha Westerfeld


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