The Long Jagged Road to

youtube art copy

Hi Everyone!

Hope you’re doing great today. :) I am super excited because I think in a few more days I will be able to FINALLY launch  Yay!   One day I think I might make a video or step by step about what it took to launch this site.  It was a really incredible journey, with blood (not literally) sweat and tears invested.  It has been a long road and I can’t believe it’s finally happening.

The project started brewing in my brain well over 12 years ago.  Of course the technology wasn’t even up to par then, but that’s when I conceived of the project.  I knew what I wanted to do, but even starting felt overwhelming.  I also wasn’t ready to teach on camera.  I was camera shy and just barely conquered that fear recently. Haha. Another thing that stopped me was the cost of building a website which I knew was going to be at least 5k-10k!

So cut to the end of 2012 and I was really trying to decide if I should stay in Cairo or leave Cairo. I realized that I never did my video project and I really wanted to complete it, or at least try to before I left Cairo.  I was stuck and I also realized that life and just paying the rent, can get in the way of us living our dreams and fulfilling our destinies.  So I decided I needed to get a coach to keep me accountable to myself and my coach. I also thought if I am paying money to someone I had to do my shit and that’s how I justified spending the money.  It’s actually a lot of money when you think about it.  Currently I pay $300 a month for 2 hours coaching sessions per month.  But if you are the type of person like I am, that fears letting other people down and yourself down then you are a prime candidate for a coach.

So we started my coaching sessions and this is my “Dream Project”.  And step by step my coach and I started to  build this dream.  She never tells me HOW to do anything but you have to start working towards your goals which you write every two weeks.  So I had already saved some money but only about $5,000.  I needed to buy a Mac so I could edit and I got a loan from my sister for that.  She is my savior whenever I need her and WHY is that? Because I always pay her back and I pay her with interest. At least 15-20% and I make a schedule to pay it off.  I then bought a camera.  It is a Canon Rebel.  It’s a baby version of a professional camera.  Then I bought sound equipment which was about $600 but because I didn’t know what to buy the first one I spent $400 on and it was horrible, but we finally got it right.  I then had to install floors in my flat which my landlord thankfully agreed to.  So all of this was the easy part because I know how to buy things hehe .

The next part was trying to get teachers, and this proved to be more difficult than I thought.   Here was the thing, I don’t have $1000 to pay each teacher and most people make more than that for a video production, so I said “how can I make this a win/win for everyone?”  I decided we would split the profit 50/50, but they would have to work for free up front. Well trying to convince Egyptians to work for free is not an easy task! Hehe They do business differently here and don’t believe in credit.  They want to see cold hard cash and I understand that, but it was just impossible to pay everyone.  I just can’t do it, so I tried as best I could to convince people of my vision.  I am lucky that the instructors who are with me, could see my vision and I made it happen.  Il hamdoullah!

It took one year to shoot all the content.  The next thing was to get an editor because I am a techno-tard.  I didn’t think I would be able to find someone with the money I could afford to pay, but ask and ye shall find.  So I put an ad and I got some people, and hired one girl.  I thought she was going to be amazing and the first week, she came and two days later, said “I have to leave early”, then on Friday I was expecting her to show up since I am American and don’t see a problem with working Monday through Friday, and she didn’t even answer my text or phone call. Come to find out later she was sick but I was already not trusting her, because even if you are sick, just pick up the phone and tell me.  So that didn’t work out.  So I told Ramy “I would love to get someone like your assistant”.  He had an assistant who worked with him on his film and photography projects.  Luckily she happened to quit her job two weeks before so she came to work with us.   It was rather frustrating but then I got lucky by God’s good grace and positive thinking.

Many times I wanted to quit.  The teachers weren’t available, it was too hard to convince people and I got frustrated, my cat peed on my new Mac Book and I had to buy a new one, (I wanted to kill myself lool) and they were building the building in front of my house and banging every day so loud.   In addition to dealing to all of that, then we had power cuts and the videos used to take 10-12 hours to shoot and one week to edit.  Now we have done it so much and we have our system and we can knock out a video in 5-6 hours and edit in 1-2 days.  Yay for it getting easier!

So the website is almost finished but that was also a very long process and learning curve.  I had 4 people work on the site and no one could figure out how to do it, but we finally found one person that could deliver on the work.  So I am anxiously waiting the next few days when I can launch.  I really hope you love the classes and we will be adding more soon.  I hope also to get many more teachers and if there is someone you would like to see teaching on let me know.  I really believe this is going to be a valuable resource for years to come,  that is what my vision is for the future of this website.  I would like to thank all the teachers from the bottom of my heart for being part of this project, for without them, none of this would have been possible.

So in closing, I would just like to say NEVER give up on your dreams.  Take the first step, start, and don’t give up when the going gets tough.  We all feel like quitting sometimes, but take a break, let it go and the next day or the day after that come back with a sense of “you can’t take me out, I won’t allow it. “ Have a great day and get out there and make things happen! “  And hopefully on April 28, 2014 you will be able to start taking classes on  Yay! :)


CLICK on the ICON to go to the Youtube page and watch previews of upcoming classes, enjoy :) and tell me what you think below in the comments section.


Cairo bellydance Youtube


  1. Adrianne - April 22, 2014 8:29 pm

    I can’t wait for the website to launch! I know it’s going to be successful and your hard will will pay off.

    • admin - April 22, 2014 10:32 pm

      thanks Adrianne! <3

  2. Sahara - April 22, 2014 11:47 pm

    Its gonna be awesome!

    • admin - April 23, 2014 1:42 pm

      Thanks Sahara! ;) I think so too.

  3. Brenna - April 23, 2014 7:32 am

    thanx for sharing. so many people thinks that success is just a straight line, and not a journey. Thanx for sharing. I can’t wait to take classes!!

    • admin - April 23, 2014 1:42 pm

      thanks Brenna! yes its true. Its NEVER a straight line. hehe

  4. Meagan Maloney - April 23, 2014 4:16 pm

    I applaud your efforts Aleya! Wow! I think it is an amazing gift you give the world to open and share culture through these opportunities. I am excited for our world bellydance community — great job!!! Aleya Raqs !

    • admin - May 1, 2014 5:16 pm

      thank you Meagan! :) You are so kind! <3

    • admin - May 8, 2014 6:56 pm

      thank you Meagan! I hope it will open doors for a lot more people to really preserve the beautiful art of belly dance and folk dance in its true form. Thank you so much. :)

  5. Heather Wayman - April 24, 2014 1:01 pm

    Good for you! That’s very exciting. Can’t wait to see the launch :) Congratulations!

    • admin - May 1, 2014 5:17 pm

      HI Heather,
      Thank you so much. I launched! Site is now live go check it out at whoo hoo!

    • admin - May 8, 2014 6:57 pm

      thank you Heather! yay! :)


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