E Komo Mai! Welcome to my blog.

I'm delighted that you dropped in! E Komo Mai: WELCOME! This blog is basically an online visual journal is modeled after a concept I learned of in psychology 101... waaaaaaay back in college. That concept was somewhere in the chapter on The Significance of Dreams, where it mentioned someone's theory on dreaming about a house usually means that the house represents you. So I have used my actual house (Mauna Lea Manor) to structure my blog. In different rooms you will find different aspects of my life; different interests I like to blog about. This is a way to bring a little organization into my life and thoughts for myself... (dreams are in The Bedroom, Family updates are in The Living room, etc.)
This also, I would imagine, make reading this blog more convenient for you as well. If you are a grandparent interested in seeing photos and hearing stories about my boys, but maybe not so interested in my bellydancing obsession: you can just read what goes on in The Playground. But if you are an Art Collector more interested in my latest work and information on collecting, but not especially interested in my personal life: you'd enjoy The Office. Mauna Lea Manor is sort of the foyer to all the other rooms. If you would like to tour my online portfolio, please visit: www.stephaniebolton.com.
I hope you enjoy your time here ;) & continue to stop by!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

And the winner is....

Congratulations to Robin Norgren!
My Photo

for her answer to Tamalyn's question:
How can Belly Dance change the world?

I think dance is very much like play. When you see kids in the playground just opening space for kids to come inside and join...I think dance has the ability to do that. Break down fears and open up new opporutnities for understanding.

Robin is a shop owner and a mother. Her life is filled with joy that does not come from circumstances. She loves all things creative and ESPECIALLY loves creativity and resourcefulness in all areas of life. This is her space where she hopes she can encourage and inspire others along in their journey as she continues hers.

She has just won the white orchid earrings from HuluWuwu!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Great Unveil of 'Citizen of the World'

Citizen of the World: Portrait of the Lovely Miss Tamalyn Dallal
completed 2010 Mixed Media on canvas 20x16" by Stephanie Bolton

There are a lot little details brought together on this canvas. Pieces I liked from different costumes, fabrics, patterns from different places she has traveled.... and of course, a little artistic invention.
Tamalyn's life has been a tapestry of experiences and appreciation for the rich & diverse cultures she has encountered so I wanted this painting to feel a little like a tapestry. One thing I appreciate in reading about her travels is how she always appears to want to leave a positive imprint on the lives she touches.
You often see her asking in ever so many ways, "How can I help?"
I hope this painting lets people see a little bit of that generosity in her giving smile & gesture... and that appreciation of many cultures that she has in the layers of reference to different cultures... I hope the idea comes across that this woman truly is a citizen of the world, but not only that: a gift to the world.

I would love to hear what you think of the painting- let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment!

Tamalyn will be choosing our winner today- but you still have some time to leave a comment to the question
How can belly dancing change the world?
Good Luck!

Friday, June 25, 2010

My 100th post!

I can't believe this is my 100th post to this blog. I still feel so green at blogging and yet somehow I have managed to do 100 times? Well, anyhow...
As promised, here are some working photos of the actual painting process...

First I sketch out my image on the canvas and then I add all kinds of textural collage elements to make the surface really interesting.
I have a world map, old book pages, thin fabric with sequins attached...

I thought of creating a little version Tamalyn's wall map that she mentioned, so I covered countries that she listed in gold glitter and added rhinestone bezels to a few so it might feell like that map she has at home.

After visiting her website, I really had the collar of one of her dvd covers stuck in my head and thought "Hey, it's my painting- I am going to take a little creative license and do whatever I want to do!" ;) So I threw it in, too!

I used acrylics, some oils, some unconventional paints... did a lot of figure painting & went home looking like I got attacked by my paint palette (maybe you would have liked to see a photo of THAT! hehe)

I'll be unveiling the completed painting tomorrow!
I do hope you'll return to tell me what you think of it.

It is your last chance to answer Tamalyn's question:
How can belly dancing change the world?
so if you haven't- it's not too late- you can still leave a comment with your answer and have a chance to win our blog sponsor prize: orchid earrings from Huluwuwu.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

What I have to work with...

I thought some of you might like to see the starting point.
When I am doing a portrait I like to collect a few angles of the person by either scheduling a photoshoot with them or having them supply photographs of themselves that they already like.
I prefer working from my own photography because I can attempt to get the shots I already have sitting in my imagination for the painting but often I am painting people who live at great distances from me and that is not possible.

I am fortunate that Tamalyn was able to supply me with the work of two sensational professional photographers to work from.
Below are two shots by Lauren Scotten.

The firey color of this dress is really attractive to me. And the detail in the embroidery of the headscarf seem like something that would interesting to work with.
Profiles can be a dangerous thing to work with as a portrait artist- you would be surprised how many people are incredibly insecure about their profiles.

Lauren Scotten has several portfolios of her work on her website where can see photos of dancers, architecture, and beautiful vistas.

Below is the work of Denise Marino.
You might recognize her unforgettable eyes from Tamalyn's instructional book:

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y. , and raised in Latin America, Denise J. Marino opened her vision to many different cultures at an early age. With her camera, she started capturing colorful images from all over the world. Her collection of photographic images includes documentation of social functions, theatrical performances, portraits, photo journalism , artistic images, etc. She has won many awards and been extensively published in various magazines, including Geomundo & Donde magazines. With the emergence of digital photography, her first two experiences were photographing Japan and Cuba. She is currently dedicating her talent to one of the most sensual & vibrant forms of art: Belly Dancing! Her passion for that art has led her to experience the dance itself and find out that every part of the body is a work of art!
In collaboration with Tamalyn Dallal and the Mid Eastern Dance Exchange, she created Miami Beach's first photo exhibit dedicated solely to the art of belly dance, as part of the multi media presentation of film, dance & photography titled "Supplemented Silence".

See how she was able to capture such motion & sparkle?!
I love the delicate positioning of the hands.

So here are the photos I will be referencing for my painting!
I'll be posting some of my actual progress on the painting later ;)

I want to remind you that Tamalyn will not be choosing a winner for our game until
Saturday 26th, 2010
So if you haven't already... leave a comment answering the question:

How can belly dance change the world?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Interview with Tamalyn Dallal

Make sure you answer Tamalyn's question at the end of this interview for a chance to win some sweet white orchid earrings from Huluwulu!

Where were you born?
I am originally from a small town in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado called Evergreen. We lived on a ranch while I was small. When I was six we moved to Washington and I was raised in Juanita near Kirkland on the east side. I left when I was 17. Most of my adult life has been spent in Miami Beach, Florida but I have been back living on the East Side since 2005.

How did you discover your passion for belly dance?
I would collect LPs from around the world when I was in high school. Among these were some crazy albums with covers of ladies in pasties. I had no idea what belly dancing was, but I liked the music. I also had the whole collection of Feiruz albums and a vintage Yemenite-Israili album album from 1947. belly dance was offered at the University of Washington Experimental College. I thought of either taking belly dancing or Greek folk dancing. My brother said I should opt for belly dancing as it might help me lose weight.
I loved the music. The performing troupe practiced right before my class. I was duly impressed and never imagined I would be able to do such difficult things myself. The music is what kept me going.

How long have you been belly dancing?
Since 1976- 34 years.

Belly Dancing has taken you all over the globe- performing, teaching- where are some of the places you have taught/studied belly dance?
I have taught in 38 countries. I have a world map on my wall with rhinestones on every country I have taught in and gold glitter where I have only performed. So as not to make a long list, I will list the countries I have taught in or danced in at least three times:
Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Egypt, Zanzibar, People's Republic of China, Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Canada, USA, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Haiti, and Honduras.

I have a burning question that I have been curious about for some time... (I really enjoyed your book They Told Me I Couldn't- I believe I was so enthralled that I read it from cover to cover in one night)... what ever happened to the rest of yor memoirs that were supposed to come after They Told Me I Couldn't?
My sister was the publisher of They Told Me I Couldn't. She edited the book and did an amzing job. The books are still selling, but it had a slow start, so it was economically feasible to print others. I can tell you that the most compelling is Cuba- They Told Me to Break the News.

You were featured on the first Belly Dance Superstars dvd. What involvement did you have with the pioneering of the Belly Dance Superstars?
Amar Gamal was a student of mine since she was 13 years old. She was selected as one of the original Superstars. She is so kind and kept telling Miles Copeland that he needed me in the troupe. I can proudly claim the title of "Oldest Belly Dance Superstar on record". I am now 51 and he was looking for dancers 22 and under (I was 45 at the time).

How did come to be a mentor to Amar Gamal?
She was my neighbor as a child. One day the local moms got together and asked me to teach their daughters. Also, Bozenka, Virginia, and Maya were my students and in my troupe for several years each.

Where did you hear of the Arabic Proverb that influenced your latest book, 40 Days and 1001 Nights: One Woman's Dance Through Life in the Islamic World? (which is a delicious read btw- I really enjoyed this book, too! Tamalyn traveled to 5 different predominantly Muslim countries staying in each for the length of 40 days in attempt to understand these people better)

"To know a people, you must live among them for 40 days." - Arabic Proverb

I saw it in the memoirs of a French traveler in the 1800's. I have seen it from many sources since and have been told it is of Arabic origin.

Is there any one performance or experience that really stands out in your mind as a defining point in your life?
I am like a cat with nine lives.
Here are the defining moments up to now:
1. Seeing Hadia dance at Fantasia (seattle) in the late 70's. I saw what happens when a dancer goes into that special zone and changes the air around her. I knew that transformation of energy was the meaning of dance and on the rare occasion that the magic touches the dancer, it goes beyond ego and show; it transforms everyone in the room.
2. Meeting my show biz mentor, an opera singer named Kaaren Mils, who was convinced I would become a professional and travel the world with my dance.
3. Dancing my way around South America.
4. My first trip to Egypt in 1990. I saw the great dancers of that time: Nagwa Fouad, Souhair Zaki, Fifi Abdo, and Azza Sherif.
5. That trip to Egypt convinced me to open a dance studio- The Mid Eastern Dance Exchange, a non profit arts organization- studio in Miami Beach that I ran for 16 years. I learned many of life's lessons there and did things that I often hear people talk about as something someone should do in the future.
6. Writing the book 40 days and 1001 Nights: One Woman's Dance Through Life in the Islamic Word- living among the people changed my view of the world forever.
...so that leaves 3 more pivotal moments to come.

You have been traveling to Zanzibar to film their traditional dances and re-introduce belly dance in a socially acceptable way. What unique challenges do you face concerning this project?
There are not many mirrors in town. Students rarely get the opportunity to see what thier moves look like. I teach many classes on a rooftop and we have to stop class during the call to prayer and wait for eight mosques to take their turn calling. Fridays are the holy day and especially long.
Last time I was there, there was no power for the whole month and batteries were ghastly expensive. It was so hot!
Zanzibaris love the dance. Belly dancing was taught in schools for children, but the 1964 revolution frowned upon everything Arabic. Most people have a distant memory and still love Arabic music.
The women are grounded and move their hips incredibly. Hands and arms are difficult. They use so much strength to work hard, grind spices, etc. that using hands and arms as expression is a difficult concept. Turns are absent in all Zanzibibar dances I have seen and we are working on releasing the fear of turning.

What successes have you enjoyed regarding your work in Zanzibar?
Successes include having three groups- one is a woman's Taarab band called "Tausi". They are now learning to play "Aziza" and plan to dance to it.
Another group I call "Swahili Sisters". They performed with me at a fundraiser to help "Drug Free Zanzibar" and it raised enough money to open a second rehabilitation house on the island. My men's group also performed and they are adorable!
I am half way finished filming a documentary about the traditional dances of Zanzibar called "Zanzibar Ngoma, Rhythms of Healing and Celebration". I hope this will be the first of many documentaries focusing on dane in different countries. It is frightening how fast culture is disappearing around the world. I was already too late for several dances I had wanted to film as the only people who knew them were either too old or had passed away.
I also get wish lists from the Taarab groups for instruments. It is very difficult to obtain musical instruments in Zanzibar and music is their forte.

If people want to help you with this project, how can they help?
They can help cover costs by purchasing my dvd "Citizen of the World", which features nine performances around the world that I have done since the pivotal point in which I wrote 40 Days and 100 Nights. 100% of the proceeds go to support the work I am doing in Zanzibar.
Also, you can donate musical instruments. Write to me at tamalyndallal@yahoo.com. I will give you a list of what they need at the moment. Any instruments they don't need will be donated to students who can't afford instruments in the US.

How can people stay informed about what you are doing in Zanzibar?
They can go to my blog (http://40daysand1001nights.blogspot.com)

You are also contributing writing to Zanbaka's Versatile Dancer Series Vol. 4. What are you planning to write about for this book?
The Raqs Africa Project in Zanzibar.

For a chance to win some sweet white orchid earrings- leave a comment answering Tamalyn's question for YOU:

How can belly dancing change the world?

These are the earrings you can win from blog sponsor
I hope you enjoyed meeting Tamalyn and hearing about her fascinating life
and I can't wait to hear your comments!

Monday, June 21, 2010


I am thrilled to announce that tomorrow I will be posting an interview with
stunning belly dancer & humanitarian...

Tamalyn has travelled the globe teaching and performing belly dance
whilst also leading a truly inspiring and sensational life.
You want to miss hearing about her unique story.

You also will be excited to learn that my blog sponsor
Will be offering a give-away prize this week for one lucky reader!
Huluwuwu creates gorgeous jewelry & accessories from feathers, glitter, and flowers!
The prize being offered is pictured below:

(More details on how to win these whimsical White orchid earrings by Huluwuwu tomorrow)

Why is Tamalyn Dallal being interviewed?
Because she is contributing an article to a book I will illustrating!
Several sensational belly dancers are contributing their writing to compile the fourth book in this excellent series.
I will be doing a mixed media portrait of each contributing authoress for the book.
On this blog you can join me in the process of creating this artwork.
I am going to introduce you to each dancing authoress with an interview and show what I have to work with and then you can see the finished result first hand here online.

To see the finished collection of paintings in person- you can attend

I will be exhibiting at the Chinatown Courtyard in Honolulu on Oahu,
October 1st 2010 5-10pm.
This event will feature live performances from Kalae & her troupe Shakti Dance Movement
and live musical entertainment & other vendors/artists

If you can't make it to Oahu but would like to see the collection of paintings in person
email me about holding an Art exhibit in your area.

See you tomorrow for the interview!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Chinatown First Friday June 4th

I really love this venue- it's the perfect balance of hip & artsy

Its casual and friendly

colorful and earthy

eclectic mix of tropical & city

just really good, fun energy - good food - interesting characters

Can't wait till October 1st 2010- when I've been invited back
to show my collection of mixed media Belly Dancer portraits ;)
*and there WILL be belly dancers performing at that First Friday!*
...more details to come soon...