Theatrical Bellydance Conference | New York City

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We wish to bring people together, to allow diverse artists to find common ground and interests. This is an environment where dancers of all bellydance styles can work together in classes, learn together and learn from each other. The instructors, who come from a variety of bellydance genres and backgrounds of experience, will be offering workshops that will have something for everyone; not just focused on genre-specific bellydance technique, but more on universals that everyone can feel a part of, and that you can apply to your own work.


Thursday Oriental Teaching Team

(loose path: participants can mix and match from both teams Thurs.)

10-11.30 am HANAN

A Global Approach to Authentic Egyptian Moves and Aesthetics

Hanan is renowned for her signature earthy, rootsy Egyptian style. Her work is in translating emotional, archetypal, energetic and spiritual spaces into movement that is anchored in personal expression and musicality. This workshop is a journey into the body through contemporary Egyptian styling, phrasing, shimmies and hipwork. Through theatrical and empowering exercises and learning structures, Hanan will lead the participants into deeper appreciation and rhythmic relationship with the self and the dance. Develop powerful new vocabulary and approaches to your performance.

11.45 am – 1.15 pm BLANCA


There is a magical quality some dancers have. It’s invisible. It’s subtle. But it’s very real. This magical power keeps audiences engaged and allows the dancer to fully enjoy her own movement. The best news: it’s a quality that you can easily learn. In this workshop we will study Dynamics, the motivating forces in your movement. Dynamics deals with how you execute a movement, and with what type of effort you expend. Come learn powerful tools that put expressivity at your fingertips.

2.45 pm – 4.15 pm ASZMARA


Dancing with Veil is design in motion, a visual stamp, a metaphor, an entertainment. Pose behind the veil and we reveal ourselves more distinctly. With your Dance Partner, the Veil, fill the stage with your presence, creating Moving Sculptures and Images that Conceal and Reveal you and your Artful Veil.

4.30 pm – 6 pm LOTUS NIRAJA


Feel Glamorous! Belly dance is one of the most glamorous and visually stunning genres of the dance world. The combination of dance and costuming is a work of art. So are “You”, The Dancer. Belly dance is expressive, emotional and it is also stunning in its visual art. It relies on the interpretation and creativity of the dancer to capture the audience. Turn your dance from stale to stunning with award-winning dance combinations that are highly visible and show-stopping. In this class, Lotus Niraja will encourage you to take the simplest dance isolations and movements towards creating a couture dance. Use a series of combinations, not choreography, to explore the palette of dance in a glamorous, vibrant way!

Thursday Fusion Teachers Path

(loose path: participants can mix and match from both paths Thurs.)

10-11.30 am ELISHEVA


Ballet for Belly Dancers focuses on fusing Belly Dance with the westernized dance techniques of Ballet, Modern and Jazz formats. Elisheva utilizes her 15+ years of experience dancing Professionally in these other dance forms and has created exercises &drills aimed to help your technique have strong and graceful arm lines & hands and proper body alignment. Workshop will also focus on how to use your feet and your own body weight to execute turns, level changing and traveling steps effortlessly and gracefully. The technique is thenincorporated into fusion combos using an exciting, fast drum solo with focus on smooth transitions and stamina.

11.45 am – 1.15 pm KAESHI CHAI


Learn 2 Power Combos in the styles of Cabaret and Tribal Fusion. Bellydance is an art that can be seen in a myriad of different locations, from solo dancing at restaurants to a live band, to troupe performances in large outdoor concert stadiums seating 15,000 screaming fans, to Uncle Elmer’s 50th birthday celebration to choreographer’s showcases inside prestigious theaters. With all these endless choices, it can be overwhelming with how to approach each circumstance. Renowned for her versatility as a performer and instructor, Kaeshi draws upon her extensive experience performing internationally for all walks of life in many different venues to bring you a workshop that will also enable you to effectively reach your audience. You’ll learn how to modify your dance style to suit each unique situation. By the end of this workshop, you will have greater confidence in how to tackle a variety of performance opportunities.

2:45 pm – 4.15 pm AEPRIL SCHAILE


Explore the tribal and theatrical roots of Shamanism through dance. Theatre has its roots in the Shaman’s ritual. The Shaman—a magickal being engaged with her tribe in the liminal role of the sacred trickster, shape shifter, prophetess, magician, healer. In this workshop, we will work with metaphysical power and shamanic journeying to add spiritual, emotional and creative depth to our bellydance. Through dance and ritual-theatre we will call upon the spirits of nature and divinity, journeying into the psychic Underworld to retrieve lost parts of the Soul and Self. Come away with a greater sense of power and authenticity in your Theatrical Bellydance.

4.30 pm – 6 pm SARAH LOCKE


Learn how to dance with more strength, flexibility, isolation, and integration. Yoga gives you greater awareness of your body’s capacities, helps you prevent and heal from injuries, and brings your body, mind, and spirit into balance. In this workshop we’ll apply key yoga principles directly to our dance – to find stronger isolations, cleaner lines, and more expressive movement. We’ll start with a yoga asana series to establish the principles of alignment, flow, and technique that will inform our dancing. As we explore bellydance movements and isolations we’ll call on these principles to heighten our expression, enjoyment, and engagement with the dance. This workshop is good for dancers of all styles, and will give you both practical tools to increase your strength and range of motion, as well as inspiring ways to deepen your expression and artistry. A certified instructor of Yoga and Embodied Anatomy as well as a dance teacher, Sarah has extensive training in several forms of yoga, kinesthetic anatomy, and somatic modalities along with her varied dance experience. She is known for her informed and inspiring classes which empower students to find a deep sense of body awareness and creative expression


Each teaching team will offer workshops twice over the three day period. For a daily schedule of workshops, please visit the schedule page.


10-11.30 am YAEL BECKER


Experience and explore how using everyday life’s gestures, makes a brand new field of opportunities for innovative movements and dance combinations. Incorporating the casual and human, makes the dance personal, unique, expressive and communicative. We will taste some fun gesture-oriented combinations, and analyze their creative process. We will find inspiration in our own everyday life, and learn how to transform and stylize it into dance movement and combos. We will also work with song lyrics and translate them into our dance.

11.45 am – 1.15 pm RANYA RENÉE


Building on the concept of “Embracing Your Mistakes,” Ranya will lead dancers in exploration of how to present and maintain a polished, engaging performance even when things go wrong! You’ll learn techniques of how to turn errors into opportunities that can enrich a performance, by analyzing the state of mind that occurs during a mishap, developing awareness of when you fall out of your “zone,” and how to get back into the flow of the performance. Even more important, we’ll work with exercises that keep you in the flow even when mistakes occur, so that you don’t have to “leave” your performance even for a second. You’ll also learn how to avoid “commenting on” mistakes, by psychologically embracing errors and keeping your expression natural. Exercises will include work with meditative techniques, dance combinations, breathwork and sound work for connection to oneself and to the audience, pelvic floor and eye focusing techniques, partner and small group work, as well as props (some props will be on hand to borrow, but you may also bring your own veil, cymbals, cane, or other prop).

2:45 pm – 4.15 pm ELENA LENTINI


A creative approach………………………… inspired from the drawings of ancient egypt………. and……….the drawings of leonardo da vinci ………pharaonic and geometric movement help the dancer feel the body……to balance and control the flow of energy………………………………and understand the space around the body……………. the dancers are asked to mirror positions, after a series of movements ………. a guided improvisation will follow, including…as time allows… floor patterns… scenes… design…..levels….rhythm

changes……movement/stillness…..embodying your ideal…… developing themes and groupings and each dancer’s uniqueness………………… this class, although challenging and focused, is designed to be fun…………………..

4.30 pm – 6 pm AYSHE


Explore the possibilities for using fabrics to intensify the drama and effect of a theatrical performance. Ayshe will demonstrate and lead participants in how to incorporate fabric as both a set and a prop, beyond the use of ordinary veils; entwining fabric into the dance in organic ways that develop the theme and enhance the expressiveness of the movements. Like lighting, fabric is a simple, yet extremely effective, way to create a magical world to dance within. (This workshop will use lengths of fabric of 6 yards and up.) Optional: Participants may bring their own 5-6 yard veils to have on hand to practice with. Habotai silk is suggested. Fabric will be available for participants to work with, so you don’t have to bring your own unless you want to.


10-11.30 am ANASMA

TAPPING INTO THE INNER CHILD: Character work , connection and visualizations

This workshop is an invitation to travel in the Present Moment, by using the icon of the Child and one’s own life experiences. Children represent innocence, truthfulness, eternal discovery and pleasure of endless repetitions. Embrace the inner child within yourself, heal the wounded teenager. Make peace with the past to feel fabulous about your present. After reflecting upon memories of the past, dancers will be invited to laugh, enjoy repeating movement, discover the world for the first time, and just be in the present moment. Staying in character, we will then explore raw emotions: cries, tantrums, joys, jealousy… Dancers will experience difference stages from the toddler to teenager, in order to finally bring back the Child within the Adult Dancer.

11.45 am – 1.15 pm AUTUMN WARD

EFFORTLESS FLOW: Mastering the Energetic Currents of Bellydance

Dance steps can do more than create pleasing visual patterns of lines and shapes; with attention to how energy is circulated through our bodies and out through the space that surrounds us, we can use dance movements to communicate deep emotion and meaning. The wavering and curvilinear shapes of belly dance are particularly well suited to rich and complex emotional expressions. In this workshop, we’ll examine how to use energetic intentionality to add depth and presence to our dancing and to transform the way our movements affect an audience. We’ll begin with exercises to ground, center, and open; move on to explore the energetic feeling of undulations, spirals, vibrations, and torso isolations; and, in short passages of choreography, contrast different approaches to executing movements—”making waves,” “riding waves,” and “funneling.” Classwork will specifically focus on movements and combinations that can show character or narrative in theatrical work.

2:45 pm – 4.15 pm WENDY BUONAVENTURA


No two dancers have similar ability, but we can complement others, drawing on our personal strengths and skills. This session includes discussion and improvisation, and looks at the process of linking in, first of all with a partner or in a trio, and then uniting with the power of the group. We’ll explore the importance of focus, especially between dance partners and on the specifics of movement and the contrasting energies inspired by the music. We’ll look at spontaneity of invention and how to weave together complementary motifs within the group. The many different dance styles that we bring can all be incorporated into this process, to create a rich pattern of movement and stillness.



Dancers’ unique ability to memorize the body’s feedback during movement provides us with extraordinary ways of learning movement. Using universal dance tools from Ballet, Modern dance, Kathak and anatomy, we will explore how hand and arm movements can provide deeper insight into movements—observations which we then will transfer into our bodies through dance exercises.



EFFORT OF MOVEMENT with DaVid of Scandinavia, Friday

Each movement changes depending on what context it is presented within. In this workshop we will explore how to affect our movements by applying expressive quality, saturation and personality allowing us to increase the impact of our dance works. We will use concepts from various Bellydance styles, various language and poetry traditions, Kathak and imagery as tools in our exercises.

DEEPENING OUR EXPRESSION with Wendy Buonaventura, Sunday

This workshop aims to help develop our confidence as soloists and make us more effective performers. We may look at a number of themes: focus; strategy; beginnings and endings; distance and connection with the audience; the use of stillness in dance; connection with music and spatial awareness.

11.45 am – 1.15 pm DALIA CARELLA


Dalia has been dancing with the fan since 1980. She has developed a teaching style that makes a dancer “become one with the fan.” In the workshop we’ll go over basic fan technique, and following that, some intermediate fan technique will be taught. The movement will be a combination of Arabic dance with contemporary movement. Dalia will emphasize fan and body language creating large and small line designs both with the fan and lyrical body movement mixing arm techniques from Delsarte methods to Flamenco fan work blending into contemporary stylization. A big emphasis of Dalia’s fan work in this class will be on how to maximize performance techniques used when dancing with a fan. We will focus on drawing the audience into not only the fan, through imagery, but also working with the persona of a person dancing with the fan and the use of creative theatrical floor and air design. BRING: Please bring a medium to large flamenco fan that—important—opens and closes easily. (A large flamenco fan is best.) Some fans will be available to borrow or purchase at the conference, so contact us if you’d like us to order one for you, or go to: to order one in advance. (NOTE: Please do not bring a fan veil for this class—it won’t be the same technique.)

2:45 pm – 4.15 pm FAYZAH


Enjoying the process and challenging how we view ourselves. Being objective and doing some internal work to bring awareness to what we critique, why, and if it is useful. We’ll also explore feeling vs. using the mirror. Practicing. Being objective when it comes to ourselves in a positive way. We’ll also work with with the role of the subconscious mind, and how to use mantras and affirmations. BRING: Paper & pen.

4.30 pm – 6 pm ZOE ANWAR


In this workshop, Zoe will show you how the music in the air and the stage under your feet connect through you and your movement. The music we dance to and the space we dance it in must relate to each other, and the movements we create through dance must relate to them both. Music can be our best ally or our worst enemy when we dance, so we have to know how to connect our movement to the music and make the music give wings to our expression; if we don’t pay attention to this relationship, we create confused messages between what we say with our bodies and what the music is saying. Here, you will learn how to translate music into movement in space, and how to use all of the stage according to the music. We’ll work with translating the musical changes and rhythms into space-filling shapes, to create a coordinated and balanced space distribution that makes sense with the music that is playing. You will be able to apply this knowledge to any setting where you dance from now on, so that the invisible links between the music and the earth become vividly expressed through your dancing.

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