Tuesday, August 7, 2012


This is the latest installation in my continuing series on dancers backstage rituals. The featured dancer is Mahin, of "Daily Belly Dance Quickies" fame.

Mahin Sciacca is in perpetual motion, both on and off stage. In her hometown of Phoenix, Arizona, Mahin teaches many classes a week, gigs constantly, and produces large-scale dance productions, both on her own as well as for MECDA, the Middle Eastern Culture and Dance Association. But she is now known all over the world for her innovative video series, "Daily Belly Dance Quickies" a service she conceived of, stars in and produces, which brings filmed tidbits of knowledge directly into the email inbox of subscribers seven days a week. Her program focuses on a different aspect of belly dance every day, from "Tuesday Technique", "Thrills With Zills" to "Wednesday Watcher", which features beautiful and inspiring clips of belly dancing from around the globe. Though her work for DBQ is done at a non-stop, breakneck speed, she still manages to travel to teach workshops-she's on the road right now, as a matter of fact, and will be teaching in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania this weekend on Sunday, August 12, 2012.

I've known Mahin for a few years and watched her work tirelessly to uplift the art of belly dance while she expands her ever growing career: she is truly an innovator...though in truth, I really had no idea until now that Mr. Monkey is really the brains behind her whole operation!

Here in Mahin's own words, is how she preps for her many gigs:

“My pre-show ritual starts about 2 hours before stage time with a light meal - usually hummus and veggies or cheese, crackers and fruit. A good mix of protein, carbs and a little fat fuels me up with some time to digest. I always pack my gig bag (and my Lucky Monkey) and do my makeup while listening NPR - yes, I admitted that on the record! Doing my makeup backstage makes me feel rushed so I really try to do it at home or in my hotel room if I'm travelling. I stay more relaxed that way. If I'm going to listen to my show music, I usually do it in the car on the way to the gig.

I like quiet and calm before a show - it helps me to get centered and ready for a good performance. If it's a club or party gig, I take a peek at the audience before selecting a show playlist - I like to look 'em in the eye before I pick their music!. I warm up to whatever is playing at the venue. I always pick something out of my Magic Box to put into the show. My DBQ subscribers will be familiar with this - it's a little box with cards of moves I've seen in videos or learned from other dancers that I'd like to get into my improv vocabulary. I pick one and do it over and over in my warmup - then I make sure I use it my show. I'm not generally a superstitious person, but things just aren't right back stage without Mr. Monkey and my Magic Box.... and I don't let anyone touch my zills or my sword!

When it's time, I take twirl, strike a pose and smile at myself in the mirror to get into "stage mode” and I'm ready to dance! “




Here are links to Mahin’s Daily Belly Dance Quickies:

DBQ - http://shes-got-hips.com/Quickies.html

YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/user/mahinmar?feature=mhee

Mahin's Website: http://shes-got-hips.com/index.html

** Mahin is wearing my Princess Farhana For King Of The Nile "Ghazal" costume in red, which can be ordered here


  1. Pop-opera quartet Il Divo tell us about their pre-stage rituals and how it feels to ... S├ębastien: Thirteen is, yeah, but, but my wife is born on the 13th of December.

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