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