Belly Dance General Publications

The “Gold Book” Flip Through – Part 1

“The Belly Dance Costume Book” by Zarifa Aradoon c. 1978

This book is a time capsule of belly dance-consuming information c. 1978.  I love having this book in my collection as it is part of my belly dance costuming journey.  When I wrote my first book, “Costuming from the Hip” this book was already out of print by 15 years!  This was a legendary book.  In 1992, I had heard about it but at that point, hadn’t seen it.

The “Gold Book” a Gifted Copy

Fast forward to 2009, I received a copy of the “Gold Book” from my dance friend and former troupe-mate Kay in Reno. When I finally got my hands on it, I could instantly see why folks sometimes compared our books. We both followed the typical style of a costuming DIY sewing or costume-making book, just with a belly dance spin. So they have a similar look and feel due to the format and content.

The Gold Book – Two Patreon Flip Throughs

As a former college professor, further readings weren’t just suggested, they were required.  But here in our belly dance world, many books from past eras are out of print and difficult to find. So in July and August, I’m presenting the “Gold Book” in a chatty flip-through with my commentary about the content.  This book is over 200 pages, so I split the flip-through into two separate parts. The first half discussion is already available on Patreon.

Costuming From The Hip: 30th Anniversary Rewrite

The “Gold Book” is definitely having some impact on how I design and layout the next edition of “Costuming From The Hip.”  I really love that Zarifa included a little bit of costume history at the start of her book.  This is a feature that I’m including in my rewrite. So the next edition of CFTH will include and illustrated time-line of belly dance stage costuming.

I also am inspired to include an appendix that includes the current price listings and supplies. There is a  “time capsule” effect of including prices makes this book very dated.  But as a historian, I love this historical data.  So, with that in mind, I’m going to include an appendix that reflects the kinds of materials and supplies that are happening right here and now.

I hope you enjoy the “Gold Book” quick flip.
If you want to see more, consider taking digital classes with me over on Patreon. 
Thank you for supporting my ongoing work as a dance historian, costumer, and author!

Dawn Devine ~ Davina
August 2023




General Publications

YouTube Goal Setting Setting 2022

1000 YouTube Subscribers in 2022?

Over the weekend I hit 500 subscribers on YouTube!  Yeah!  This is the first major hurdle of 2022, and an important milestone on the road towards reaching 1k subscribers in 2022!

500 was a fun moment for me. It gave me a serious injection of energy and inspiration. YouTube sent me a little .gif celebrating the moment.  I took a screengrab below to share with you. This .gif marks the halfway point towards reaching the first major target of 1K subscribers.

Why is 1K so special?

In the world of YouTube, having 1000 subscribers is the minimum to open doors behind the scenes.  When a creator reaches this milestone, they gain access to tools, support, rank higher in the search engine, and their videos get shared with a wider audience. Simply put, once you reach this level, your “findability” increases and YouTube shares your work with more people. 

We Reached 500 Subscribers!

During the coming months, I’ll be spending more time making video content for social media that documents the work I’m doing on the upcoming book, “Assiut Belly Dance Costume in Detail,” or “ABCD” for short. It is my hope, that I can share the process of moving through the various stages of book production.  I want to share with you the phases of production and the process of moving from concept to 

Will you help me get 500 more?

If you would like to help me achieve this gold, there are five things that you can do to help me.

  1. Visit my YouTube Channel.  Perhaps the most simple action is to visit my channel and watch a few videos.  Watch time matters to the YouTube algorithm so if you spend a few moments on my channel, you will help give me a tiny boost.   Short Video:  “Belly Dance Bra Costume Design” is short and fun.
  2. Like a Video or Two. If you enjoy my videos, tell the world!  Just take a moment to click on the line button and give my video a big fat thumbs-up.  Popular Videos: Check out “Bujo Notebook Custom Pen Quiver DIY” is one of my most popular videos.
  3. Comment on a Video.  Like watch-time and likes, viewer comments add credibility. It’s a bit like voting. If a “Like” is worth a vote, then a comment, even just a smiley face, multiples the like. One of my most liked videos is “Tying a Turban” a little costuming demo in the middle of a makeup challenge vlog. If you watch that demo and find it useful, tell me why in the comments.
  4. Subscribe to my channel.  However, the most direct and impactful way to help me reach my goal is to simply click through any of these links and subscribe to my channel. YouTube subscriptions are totally free to you and help me so very much. If you want to receive notifications about videos, then click on the bell icon.  Here’s a little vintage history clip of Nejla Ates c. 1956.
  5. Share videos with your friends in dance. Perhaps the most valuable action a subscriber can take is to share a video with your friends.  If you find a video with valuable information, that inspires, or entertains, could you take a moment to share it on social media?  That will really help me spread the word and reach new dancers and costumers around the world. The main goal of my YouTube channel since it’s beginning has always been to share the work of my friends in dance, like this video of the super-glamorous Basinah from November 2021.

Thank you for the Continued Support!

I appreciate your time checking out these are the key things that you can do – and are all absolutely free!  I appreciate your support of my ongoing research, design, and publishing work.  It is my hope that in the coming months there will be plenty of new quality content on my YouTube to inspire, entertain, and educate.  If you haven’t yet had a chance to check out the new Behind the Scenes Vlog Series, you can find the playlist here.  

Thank you for your help in reaching my goal!
~ Dawn Devine ~ Davina

March 2, 2022


General Publications

“An Ouled Nail Tribal Dancer” c. 1895 by Georges Clairin (French, 1843 – 1919)

Q: What do these two paintings have in common?

A: The Painter!  Georges Glairin (French, 1843-1919)

  • Above left is a painting that fits into the Orientalist genre popular in the 19th century. It’s entitled “An Ouled Nail Tribal Dancer” c. 1985.
  • Above right is Clairin’s most famous work, “Portrait de Sarah Bernhardt” c. 1876 – now exhibited at the Petit Palais in Paris.
Clairin was best known in Paris in the late 19th century as a portraitist, with the ability to capture and render features, clothing, and perhaps more importantly, the personality of the sitter.

Clairin – Portraitist and Traveler

In an era of photography, Clairin was able to capture nuances and subtlety of his subject’s wit, charm, and gaze. Sara Bernhardt is unmistakably herself and her portrait was a favorite of the attendees of the Paris Salon in 1876.
But Clairin was also a traveler and visited North Africa many times during his lifetime, spending whole seasons there sketching and painting. The result of his insightful observations, married with his skill as a painter created images like our Ouled Dancer.

Left: Portrait of Sarah Bernhardt as Cleopatra by Georges Clairin c. 1893

An Ouled Nail Tribal Dancer

In “An Ouled Nail Tribal Dancer” c. 1895, he captures the essence of this dancer. This painting is quite unlike the “naughty French postcards” sold in the tourist cities of Tangiers, Algiers, Tripoli, and Cairo.

Instead, what we have is a painting that captures the splendid grandeur of the Ouled Nail. We see her layers of fabric, the voluminous Turkish trousers, the sumptuous layers of adornment, and even her two bags, a small purse worn bandolier style and a larger bag worn on her hip.

He recorded a specific individual, a dancer perhaps in that moment of readying herself to take the floor, scanning the audience for the biggest tipper or the most enthusiastic audience participant.

When I was a working pro in restaurants and nightclubs, I would often stand just in the wings and make a mental map of where I wanted to go within the environment. I look at this painting and that moment resonates with me as a dancer, forging recognition and connection.

Do you feel that too?
What moment in her dance do you think the artist captured?

So what’s the lesson learned here? Not all artists working within the Orientalist genre are created equally. We should take the time to evaluate each painting with a critical eye that takes into account the individual experience, training, mission, and goals of each artist.

Dancers in Orientalist Art

If we simply jettison “Orientalist Art” we lose opportunities to gain information about clothing, the texture, color, and the swagger of how it was worn. But in addition in the hands of great artists, we can glean clues about the attitude of the subject, characteristic postures, poses and gestures, their taste and style.

If you are interested in learning more about how to separate the good from the great, the useful from the trivial, the celebrated vs subjugated, join me for my June Talk, “Dancers in Orientalist Art.” Sunday, June 20, Noon Pacific.  Click here to reserve your spot for the live talk with Q&A.
Thank you for all of your support of my ongoing research!
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
April 30, 2021
Belly Dance General Publications

Fanoos Magazine, Spring 2021


Today I woke up and was thrilled to discover that I made the cover of Fanoos Magazine.  The production team over at the magazine approached me in March to schedule an interview.  They sent me a list of 10 thought-provoking questions that really made me stop and pause for reflection.  If you would like to read this piece, click through to the Fanoos website.

Happy Costuming!
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
April 15, 2021



General Publications

Missed a Lecture? Mahin is hosting a holiday sale!


Treat yourself to an informative lecture this holiday season!

Mahin is having a sale – for a limited time
Catch a Lecture Replay for only $20 each!
Now through the end of December
Bellydance Quickies Website to Reserve Your Lecture

Now through the end of December, you can pick up one of my past lectures hosted by Mahin of the Belly Dance Quickies.  I’ve been reading this newsletter for an age and I was so pleased when she invited me to what I think of as the “Belly Dance Nerd Core!”  Mahin sponsors live lectures with scholars, master instructors, musicians, and thought leaders in our art form.

In addition to my workshops, you can catch a workshop with master dancer and cultural researcher Morocco, musician, and Dr. George Sawa, the talented working professional dancer Vanessa of Cairo, and Mahin, our hostess, and expert on anatomy and sports physiology!

There are lots of topics to suit a variety of tastes!

I’ve included brief descriptions of my lectures below.  If you have any questions about the content, please feel free to email me directly, or message me on Facebook.  If you have purchasing questions, contact Mahin via her website for answers.

It’s always thrilling to be included with such illustrious scholars, instructors, and talented performers!

I hope you have a happy and healthy holiday season, 
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
December 16, 2020

Need more info?  Here are the descriptions of my workshops included in this holiday sale.

All About Assiut

This is the second version of my assiut workshop produced after my book “The Cloth of Egypt.”  It covers the history, technique, use, wear, and care of this fabulous fabric.  I’ve presented this talk in museums and schools, conferences and conventions, at belly dance haflas and classes.  I was delighted to bring it to Mahin’s lecture series, and I’m so very happy she’s included it in this sale!

Dancers in Orientalist Art

As a trained art historian, I love sharing presentations about the history of art, and especially, the theme of the dancer throughout human history.  This particular presentation is deep dive into what Orientalism really was in terms of who was creating it, who was consuming it, and how these artists and patrons contributed to whetting the global appetite for what we now call belly dance.

Salomania: Fact and Fiction

Since publishing “The Cloth of Egypt,” I’ve picked up this new research project that seeks to answer the question “What is the origin point for the three-piece belly dance costume.”  In this talk, I discuss the fad for Salome dancers in the first two decades of the 20th century.  I discuss where her costume comes from, what made it unique, and scandalous, and how it laid the foundation for our current belly dance costumes today.  This lecture includes many images that you may not have seen before that I’ve found during my research.

50 Fascinating Facts About Finger Cymbals

This talk is the companion to my book “Zills: Music on Your Fingertips.”  It traces the development of finger cymbals from the depths of pre-history in the copper age and illustrates their history.  From ancient cymbals and their relatives to modern manufacturing methods, I’ll be sharing some of the most interesting, and often unknown, information about these instruments we know and love.

120 Years of BELLY DANCE Costume History

Costume history is my jam!  In this talk, I trace the development of our costumes from the 19th century until the dawn of the internet age.  I’ll be discussing how inventions in design, developments in textile production, and changes in style through time influence our choice of ensembles today.