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.



2013 path names 2 FRIDAY

1:30pm – 2pm ASZMARA


Goofs and blunders don’t only happen on stage. Getting on to the stage with finesse, in good graces with your tech crew and respectful of your fellow performers, is something that we learn through experience. Aszmara will share knowledge that all performers SHOULD know as well as technical terminology to help you through the Theatrical Dance Experience.

2pm – 2:30 pm ZAHAVA


This interactive workshop teaches dancers the physical and energetic anatomy of the pelvis. Engaging the musculature inside the pelvis allows us to initiate from our womb and connect fully to our sexuality and spirit. We will discuss the origins of this birthing dance and how it aligns our body, mind, and spirit for manifesting. Ecstasy is a way to “reset.” Using breath, spinal undulations, and rhythmic pelvic yoga, we can create an orgasmic experience that heightens our intuition, our presence, and our connection with the audience.

1:30pm – 2:30 pm RANYA RENÉE

TARAB (MUSICAL ECSTASY) from the music and dance perspective and why interaction with the audience helps facilitate tarab for performers and their audiences

Tarab is the expression of “musical ecstasy” or “enchantment” referred to in Arabic music culture. There is no direct translation into English, but the presence of tarab is considered key to a successful performance event. While tarab generally refers to music, more than dance, the model can certainly apply to dance, and can be an important area of inquiry for performers in the fields of bellydance and ethnic dance: What role does the audience have in the creation of our artistic experience? We will look at the question of what makes improvised dance expression in Arab culture effectively reliant on feedback from the audience, in a way that Western-based forms may not be, and suggest how this might relate to contemporary bellydance, including bellydance in theater settings, and the role of the “fourth wall” vs. explicit communication between performer and audience. Ranya’s analysis is based on ethnomusicologist and musician Jihad Racy’s concept of an “ecstatic-feedback model” for Arabic music, in which the performer and the audience influence each other in a reciprocal relationship; by anthropologist Arjun Appadurai’s concept of “communities of sentiment”; and by philosopher Ian Hacking’s work on feedback loops in the classification of kinds of people. Ranya, currently pursuing her master’s degree in psychology at the New School for Social Research, draws from her recent research project on the “epidemiological” spread of feelings in Arabic music performance for this multimedia presentation.

1:30 pm – 2:30 pm DONNA MEJIA


Historically, “bellydance” and Near Eastern dance has frequently been categorized as licentious, unrefined, artless, and — in cases of extreme misunderstanding — vulgar. Yet despite this regrettable labeling and caricatured imaging, the dance form persists in attracting practitioners from all communities and walks of life. Near Eastern dance movements are the oldest to survive industrialization. For that reason alone the dance deserves careful examination, study, and reflection on its continued relevancy and ongoing transformations throughout the ages. In this presentation, Donna Mejia will provide an overview of the historical, social, legal, and religious influences that continue to perpetuate discriminatory views of Near Eastern dance as hypersexualized. She then highlights developments in gender studies that challenge our coding of what society presumes to be masculine and feminine, or “inherent” in gender differences. With her usual candor and humor, Donna will address the very controversial issues we have all encountered … at one time or another … in our love for, and dedication to, this genre. As a special treat, Donna’s presentation includes rare film footage and a recommended reading list for further study.

2013 path names 2 SATURDAY

1:30pm – 2pm KIERRA FOSTER-BA

WELCOME TO THE 5RHYTHMS® The Movement Practice of Gabrielle Roth

Our ancestors danced. They danced to invoke, to release, to heal, to transform. In the 5Rhythms (R) we reclaim our collective legacy of sweating our prayers. The 5Rhythms is a movement-based meditation in which each participant is his/her own choreographer. The basic tenet is that movement/dance is integral to life and that all of us, all humans, are dancers. This practice is as important to dancers who are artists as it is to “lay-dancers” because it helps to free up self-consciousness and the fear of “getting it wrong” when you allow your body to dance as though no one is looking. The lunchtime workshop will provide a brief overview of each of the 5Rhythms and a mini wave in which participants are guided through the 5 ways of moving (Flowing, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical, and Stillness).

2pm – 2:30pm SANDRALIS GINES


Don’t know how to enhance your features? Then come learn from Bellyqueen’s resident beauty expert, Sandralis. This workshop is useful for beginner to professional dancers who want to look their best during special performances.

Makeup has been an avid interest of Sandralis’ since her teenage years. Her very first formal experience and training with makeup was at the age of sixteen at the “Instituto Fontecha,” a highly-regarded modeling school in Puerto Rico. In 1995, she translated her passion and training in makeup into real life experience as professional dancer. She learned first hand the importance of presentation – especially first impressions – to succeed as a performer. Under the instruction of well-established makeup artists Alexander Pabón, Victor Vassak, and Willy Rosado, she continued to expand on her education of the world of makeup. As a full-time dancer, she has had extensive opportunity to practice and perfect makeup tips and tricks in a variety of different situations including modeling promotions, stage, theater, and photo and video shoots. Sandralis is experienced in day and night makeup as well as makeup for weddings and other special events. She is enthusiastic about sharing her knowledge to help bring out the beauty that lives inside each and every woman.

Makeup Materials
· Skincare products (cleanser or makeup remover & moisturizer)
· Concealer (if needed)
· Foundation
· Eye shadow
· Blush or rouges
· Eye and lip pencils
· Mascara
· Liquid liner (black or brown)
· Lipstick and gloss
· Powder
· Brushes for eyes and face
· Eyebrow pencil or powder (if needed)
· Eyelashes
· Eyelash glue
Note: Try to bring as much as you can from the above lists. However, if you want to wait until you attend the workshop to be introduced to different makeup or hair products before you buy anything new, then it is fine if you don’t bring a specified item.

1:30pm – 2:30pm PANEL 1


SPECIAL GUESTS: to be announced.

1:30pm – 2:30pm PERFORMERS!


Workshop participants who wish to perform can notify us at We will let you know if we have slots left. Perfomance slots will be given on a first-come, first-served basis.

1:30pm – 2:30pm SHIRA


Discover the original theatrical belly dance artists of the past, the legendary Egyptian dancers who created art form that still inspires us today. Shira’s lecture will take you back through time for a look at the theatrical techniques employed by these memorable artists of the past 150 years and the experience they created for their audiences. You will meet Shafiqa el-Koptiyya, Bamba Kashar, Badia “The Queen of Theaters” Masabni, Mahmoud Reda, and many other dancers upon whose legacy we continue to build. Explore how Egyptian stars brought theatrical spark to their dance while preserving its Oriental essence.

2013 path names 2 SUNDAY

1:30pm-2:30pm ALIA THABIT


We will create an interactive, complex group choreography — in about a half hour. Alia’s collaborative, improvisation-based process for teachers and dance companies incorporates ensemble-generated movement, imagery, and narrative to quickly create structurally and conceptually complex group dances that are fun and easy to remember. Including students in the choreographic process develops improvisational skills, brings group ownership of and investment in the dance, and results in greater enthusiasm, creativity, personal accomplishment, and self-sufficiency, and hence, better retention and a more authentic presentation.

1:30pm – 2:30pm ARMINEH


Focus on the financial matters of a dance theater production! As bellydancing and Middle Eastern dance goes global, new opportunities are becoming available, and dancers are also increasingly producing their own shows. The need to pay attention to finances is a crucial ingredient in the success and expansion of a dancer’s or company director’s work. Artists normally work on the creative aspects of a production, while neglecting the business end of things. This workshop will help participants clearly define their financial goals and develop a viable business plan. Sole Proprietorship vs. Partnership vs. Corporation and Not-for-Profit will be addressed. Goal-setting based on the financial planning process will enable participants to distinguish themselves from the rest, learn to describe their businesses with a unique edge, and plan for success.

1:30pm – 2:30pm PANEL 2


SPECIAL GUESTS: to be announced.

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