November 2023 Class News

Building a Belly Dance History Talk

Behind the Scenes of “The Belly Dance Historian’s Toolbox”

If you’ve been following me for a while costume history is my jam!  I began presenting slide-history lectures as an art history student in college. That’s way back before the turn of the century. 

By special request from one of my Patreon members, I’m sharing my current process of “Doing” belly dance history. Over the next three months, watch for my latest class series, “The Belly Dance Historian’s Toolbox.” 

“But how DO you put together one of these history classes?”

I’ve spent the past few days, recording my process and flow for the key steps in the process of starting from the initial concept to recording and sharing the video.  Here’s the loose schedule coming up in the Patreon History level:

  • November: “Building a History Talk” a step-by-step process discussion.
  • December: “The Belly Dance Historian’s Toolbox” Part 1  “Preparation and Planning”
  • January: “The Belly Dance Historian’s Toolbox” Part 2 – “Crafting Intellectual Tools”
  • February: “The Belly Dance Historian’s Toolbox” Part 3 – “Tech Deck & Data Storage”

Each class in this features 30+ slides with loads of gorgeous historical photos. Maybe some pictures that you haven’t seen before. This mini-course includes a .pdf handout which includes live links to research tools and archives around the globe.  Does this deep dive into history sound like your jam too?  Come join me next week when I post the first class on Patreon

Happy Dance and Costuming,
Dawn Devine ~ Davina

PS: If you purchased the Bellydance Bundle 2023, Thank you!   You will have the opportunity to view these videos on the same timeline.  Look for more information on the Bundle site.


San Francisco World Fair 1894

California Midwinter
International Exposition of 1894:
San Francisco World Fair

Dance History Snacks with Dawn Devine

Many dancers are familiar with the Chicago World Fair of 1893. It was a pivotal moment in the flow of dance history. When the United States became aware of the belly dance.  After the Chicago Midway closed down, several groups of entertainers made their way to San Francisco. These acts appeared at the California Midwinter International Exhibition of 1894.

This fair ran from January 27 to July 5 in Golden Gate Park. This fair was the brain-child of Michael DeYoung, a San Francisco-based newspaperman who founded The San Francisco Chronicle.  DeYoung served as a national commissioner for the Chicago World Fair and decided to host a smaller, but no less exciting version the following year.

Belly Dancers in San Francisco 1894

Although often overlooked by historians of dance, this San Francisco World’s Fair hosted many cultural dancers who took the opportunity to stay in the US following the close of the Chicago Fair.

My current archival research project focuses on the dancers at this exhibition.  Throughout the coming months, I’ll be making trips 35 miles north to San Francisco to explore the collections of the San Francisco Historical Society archives and the California Reading Room at the San Francisco Main Library.

Crave More Than A Snack?
Monthly History Talks on Patreon

If you’re interested in taking deep dives into dance history, come join me over on Patreon where I host slide-talks that cover a wide variety of belly dance-related history subjects.  Each month, I upload a 30-60 minute dance history talk.

  • October 2023: Recent Research – Photos From the ArchivesNow Available
  • November 2023: Behind the Scenes – Putting together “Historian’s Tool Box”Coming soon.

New belly dance history presentations are uploaded during the last week of the month. Get notified by following me on Patreon or subscribing to the free Studio Davina Mini-Magazine.

Thanks for joining me for this “Dance History Snack,”
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
Nov. 2023



Happy Halloween 2023

Happy Halloween!

As I write this, it’s the last day of October 2023 and I wish you all a happy and safe celebration of the harvest season.

November Events:
Fabulous Fall Festival and Bellydance Bundle

The past two months have been extraordinarily busy here in Studio Davina. I’ve had to face the facts, During Oct/Nov. 2023, I’ve seriously bitten off more than I can chew. Over the past two months, I’ve temporarily sidelined a few major projects to make room in my schedule to tackle two big events, The Fabulous Fall Festival and the Bellydance bundle 2023.

Left: Screen grab of the editing process featuring Gabrielle Ray as Frou-Frou from the Merry Widow play c. 1907.  October Patreon talk “Recent Research” is now available

The Fabulous Fall Festival 2023

In late May 2023, I joined the steering committee of BABDAMA, The Bay Area Belly Dance and Music Association.  For many years, I was on the committee of the Bay Area Chapter of the long-running non-profit organization, MECDA.  I left the organization to focus on the production of two books, “The Cloth of Egypt” and “Zills: Music On Your Finger Tips.”

Unfortunately, in 2014, the Middle Eastern Culture and Dance Association (MECDA) closed its doors. Several of the former MECDA board members formed a steering committee for the new BABDAMA. This new organization continues the tradition of hosting the Fabulous Fall Festival, an event I helped found back in 2004.

Now, almost 20 years after I spearheaded the first Fabulous Fall Festival, I was invited to rejoin the event steering committee.  Along with three other dancers in the community, we’ve planned a fabulous event for our local dance community.  Visit the BABDAMA website for all the details. 

The Bellydance Bundle 2023

In late summer, I was invited back to join the team at the Bellydance Bundle 2023.  I’m in such illustrious company with instructors from many different disciplines all focussed on the subject of belly dance.  My contribution to the 2023 Bundle is a 3-part 90+ min course entitled “The Belly Dance Historian’s Tool Box”

The Bellydance Bundle offers a collection of courses, lectures, demos, and classes from acclaimed instructors.  I’m thrilled to be sharing the virtual stage with some of my favorite dancers and scholars from around the globe.  Check out the Line Up Here

No matter what style you perform in, or what genre you prefer, this bundle is an incredible value for the dance enthusiast.  But even if the Bundle isn’t in the cards for you this year, sign up for the mailing list to get the free ebook.

Yallah Raqs Podcast #107 – “Burning Questions” with Dawn Devine aka Davina

As part of the run-up to the bundle release on Nov. 2, I recorded a podcast!  Several folks from the Studio Davina: Behind the Seams Facebook Group, asked me some probing questions to guide this presentation.  If you’ve got some time, why not take a listen and enjoy?

My past Yallah Raqs Podcast interviews include Episode 39 – “Mad About Maud” and Episode 07: “Zills: History and Practice” 

Costuming From the Hip: Thirtieth Anniversary Edition

To accomplish this work for the Fabulous Fall Festival and The Bellydance Bundle, I’ve had to temporarily set aside the rewrite of “Costuming from the Hip: Thirtieth Anniversary Edition.” I’ve also had to backburner my first cozy novel, “Shimmy on the High Seas.”

I am really excited to resume working on both of these projects in December.
In the meantime, I look forward to experiencing how these two big November events unfold!

Happy Halloween 2023
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
Oct. 31, 2023



Loie Fuller – Grandmother of Dancing Wings

Lois Fuller – Dancing with Wings

In 1902 Frederick Glasier took photos of the internationally acclaimed dancer Loie Fuller. Glasier was an extraordinary photographer who focused on the world of the performing arts from the 1890s – 1930s. He’s famous for his stark and gritty circus images and is a pioneer in capturing action shots.  In 1902 he shot this series with Lioe, who by that time, was an internationally known dance artist.

Loie Fuller was known for her signature spinning dances. They were performed with voluminous skirts mounted with sticks reaching to her hemlines. Like our modern dance wings, she spun and maneuvered the fabric to create different shapes in the air.  Her main innovations in this art form were her use of the new electrical lighting effects. The colors would shift and change as she performed, which made her costume appear to transform as she danced. 

Below: Loie Fuller as Glorine, photo #5 of a series shot by F. W. Glasier in 1902.

Lois Fuller Backbend With Flowing Fabric

Loie Fuller – Dance Empresario and Technician

Throughout her career, she innovated groundbreaking new costume styles and lighting effects.  Loie patented many of these effects in the US and in France. She could transform from a flower to a flame, with changes in the shape of her arms, and the color of lights. It was spellbinding for viewers new to electric lights and the effects this new medium could achieve.

Loie’s act was often copied during her lifetime. Her dance and lighting were so striking and modern, that they went on to inspire generations of dancers in a wide variety of genres.

Loie’s legacy lives on today in the world of belly dance through the use of wings. Today, dancers use wings to expand the body and take up space, especially on stage.  Dancing wings are affordable and easy to source. 

In these photos, Glasier captured the beautiful and unique quality of movement in Loie’s repertoire. In the photo below, you can see many details about her costume.  Notice how her sticks are actually curved, the volume of her dress, and that the fullness drops from her shoulder and neckline.  

Circus: The Photographs of Frederick W. Glasier: Slideshow: Slide 11

CIRCUS: The Photographs of Frederik W. Glasier

This book focuses on the photographer F. W. Glasier’s work in the world of vaudeville, variety theater, and circus entertainers and culture between 1890 – 1925.  The history is intriguing and the images are simply stunning.

“Circus: The Photographs of Frederik W. Glasier” includes a collection of images printed from the surviving glass plate negatives located at the Ringling Museum of Art in Florida.

Glasier’s extraordinary photography elevates and humanizes his subjects. Through the grit and hardship of circus life, these images capture great dignity in pathos, and beauty discovered amid the tawdry side-show environment.

The photography is stunning, the subject matter rare, and circus history is an underrepresented corner of the entertainment world.

Upcoming Talk:  “The Belly Dance Historian’s Tool Box” in The Bellydance Bundle 2023

Looking for more dance history?  This fall I’m presenting a nuts-and-bolts talk on “doing” original art history as part of the Bellydance Bundle 2023.

“The Belly Dance Historian’s Tool Box” is a multi-part slide-history talk. I use case studies from my own original research, primary sources, and well-known publications by acclaimed belly dance authors. Includes a useful handout filled with useful links to archives around the globe.  Find out more about the Bellydance Bundle 2023 here.

Happy Costuming and Dance,
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
October 2023



The Belly Dance Bundle 2023

The Belly Dance Historian’s Tool Box

The hosts of the Bellydance Bundle 2023 invited me back!

Thank You!  I’m grateful for your continued support of my work and the excellent workshop reviews.  It is such a privilege to join a list of my heroes and colleagues.  They span the spectrum of dance from ethnographic to American Cabaret through all the nuances that fusion offers.

This year, I’m sharing the nuts and bolts of research in “The Belly Dance Historian’s Tool Box.”  In this history slide talk, I’m going to share all of my strategies for engaging in historical research.  This workshop contains time-tested and proven methods for archival research. It will help you work more efficiently.  

No matter if you’re writing a blog post, a college paper, or working on your next history book, you will find this talk invaluable. 

And there is so much more!

Click through to check out the amazing lineup of participating dance performers, teachers, scholars, and thought leaders. I’m thrilled to join you not only for my own talk but taking many of these other dance classes and lectures.  

This is one of my favorite events of the year!
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
October 5, 2023

PS – Be sure to pick up your free eBook, “Figuring out What to Practice and Implementing It”  just sign up for emails and get notified of events coming up in the next few weeks including giveaways, Instagram challenges, podcasts, and more.