Workshop and Lecture Topics
HOW TO WORK WITH A BAND AND HOW TO DANCE TO LIVE MUSIC: This workshop includes how to communicate with musicians before and during the show, understanding the structure of the songs, improvisational skills and how to structure of a full show.
FLOOR WORK TECHNIQUE AND HISTORY: This elegant art form dates back to ancient times in Egypt. It has been banned since 1952, but it continues to thrive in Turkey and is being resurrected in the US today. The dancers elegantly descend to the floor and showcase their beautiful arm and hand movements. While dancing on the floor, we will incorporate dramatic acrobatic elements (but there are easy and yet exciting knee lover’s versions so that you can still include floor work into your show at any age or fitness level).
BEAUTIFUL ARMS AND HANDS: The arms frame the dancer and the dance at all times. They call attention to the aspects of the movements that you want to accentuate. The arms create a visual “line” as we carve shapes in space and the hands finish that line. Learn the arm positions, the hand positions and how to create a perfect line.
THE ART OF TAKSIM AND SLOW DANCING: Regardless of your style of dance, the taksim is an essential part of what we do. The different instruments require different movements. Learn to listen to the music and to interpret it artistically and convincingly. I will teach you ways to access your movement vocabulary in a relaxed and expressive manner.
TURNS, SPINS, DIRECTIONAL CHANGES AND FLOOR PATTERNS: Floor patterns are the lines we make as we travel across the floor. This class will get you past the usual "go forward and back and side to side" travel patterns. Thus you can command the stage and entertain your audience in a more sophisticated way by traveling in other directions such as various circles, diagonal lines and more. Everybody needs good spin technique. This class will teach you to combat dizziness, how to spot and we will add new dimensions to make your spins more interesting and dynamic.
VEIL DANCING: Veil dancing is about carving shapes in space. There are some ancient roots but also many misconceptions about the origins of this art form. It is the American Cabaret Vintage Orientale dancers who took this dance to its highest level. We will separate fact from fiction and we will learn how to perform this lovely art form. Included will be information on the different types of veils, different veil wraps, veil dancing steps, how to choose the right music, the myth of the dance of the 7 veils and about how Egyptian veil dancing differs from the other versions.
UNDERSTAND THE SONGS WE DANCE TO: This workshop is essential to all dancers of all styles. It teaches you how to approach a new song and how to “chart” that song by breaking it down into its parts. Included will be easy to follow methods for accessing your dance vocabulary, how to choose the steps and movements for the music in an exciting and appropriate way and how to know when it is time to transition from one movement or step to another. We will also cover how to hear the melodic lines and how to count those 8s.
CRISP AND POWERFUL HIP, PELVIC AND ABDOMINAL ARTICULATIONS, SHIMMIES AND FULL BODY UNDULATIONS: This workshop clearly delineates hip articulations (lifts, drops, crescents, circles, eights and shimmies). It also includes pelvic articulations, several types of abdominal undulations (commonly known as belly rolls) and 7 different full body undulations.
THEATRICALIZED SKIRT DANCING: Skirt dancing is a fusion form which combines Romany (Gypsy) skirt movements from Russia, Spain, India and Turkey with NON Romany interpretive dance movement. It is a highly theatricalized and visually appealing art form. This workshop includes a huge vocabulary of skirt dance movements to the Turkish 9/8 rhythm.
SO YOU WANNA BE A STAR: This is a two-day intensive on how to put on a professional show, how to add polish to your show, how to find the right show for the right venue and the right audience, how to book a dance job, how to promote yourself, appropriate costuming for your body type, stage make-up, how to achieve the total look and optional video critique of each participant.
DRUM SOLO: This workshop teaches the musical structure of a good drum solo, the elements of an exciting drum solo performance and how to find the right moves for the different drum solo patterns. Anybody can teach you to memorize THEIR drum solo but this workshop will teach you to create your own unique and exciting drum solo to music of your own choosing. This is suitable for all levels from the beginner to the polished professional. An article and drum solo music will be available for purchase.
STAGECRAFT: Regardless of your style of dance, this workshop is perfect for every performer. Subjects will include: commanding your space, smooth transitions, keeping it interesting, accessing your vocabulary in the heat of the moment, deciding when to use which step, how to analyze a song, understanding the music, floor patterns, dancing for the camera, dealing with distractions, beautiful arms and hands, where the 8s are and improvisational skills. Embedded within this workshop are other topics in this list. This workshop can be adapted to a 3 – 12-hour format.
IMPROVISATIONAL SKILLS AND HOW TO DANCE WITHOUT A CHOREOGRAPHY: Historically, Oriental dancers never used choreographies. Learn how to enjoy an improvisational approach to your dance and to the music. When you improvise, you use a different part of your brain than when you dance to a choreography and improvisational skills are easily learned. The best-planned choreographies will often not apply when dancing to live music, if the DJ plays the wrong song, in different shaped stages, and if the show you planned to do is not appropriate for the audience. Once you have mastered improvisational skills, you will thrive in any performance situation.
HOW TO BE A TEACHER: This workshop includes everything on the subject from A to Z. Topics will include preparing lesson plans, making good corrections, setting up your business, attracting students, handling difficult people and situations, managing your personal life and your professional life and much more.
SACRED DANCE: This workshop and the accompanying ritual includes a sacred dance history lecture and spiritual techniques. There will be several hours of lecture, a slide presentation and some video footage followed by a spiritual movement based ritual. Subjects will include the ancient sacred dances of Greece, Rome, Crete, Egypt, the whirling Dervishes and Christian Liturgical dance.
AMERICAN STYLE CABARET: This is the exciting dance that made America fall in love with belly dancing and it is making a big comeback. Vintage Orientale is a more accurate name for this vivacious and legitimate style of belly dance. It is commonly referred to as "American Cabaret" but there is very little about it that is American except for the pizzazz and some of the dramatic elements. It is made up of Middle Eastern dances and combines Pan-Arabic and Turkish techniques to many different forms of Arabic, Turkish and Greek music. It includes a 5 to 8 part show, many props, extended veil work, floor work, audience participation and more. This workshop will teach you all about the history of Vintage Orientale dance and the multi-part show concept, the elements of a typical show, lots of steps that typify this style of dance and (time permitting) and some great video footage.
ROMANY (GYPSY) MUSIC, DANCE AND CULTURE WORKSHOP: This workshop separate fact from fiction about Romany music, dance, history and culture from many different Romany cultures throughout the world. We compare and contrast features of the dances and music. There is ample DVD footage. We discuss the truth about Romany culture and history and how it is quite different from the false stereotyped fantasies and biases that abound.
TURKISH ORIENTAL DANCE: The Turkish Oriental dance is less elegant than its sister dance, the Egyptian Oriental version. But what it lacks in elegance, it makes up for in passion and spontaneity. Its mother is the Turkish Romany dance which was said to "melt a stone." Its father is the rich and varied court dances of the Ottoman Empire. Its maternal aunts are the lovely Egyptian Oriental dance and the Ghawazee Romani dances from the Turkish occupation of Egypt. It was then modernized on the Europeanized stages of Post-Ottoman Turkey. It is said that Turkish dancers sweat and Egyptian dancers glisten, that Turkish dancers strut and Egyptian dancers glide. I can offer different versions of the workshop from a one hour class to a four-day intensive on this subject. Topics you can choose from are: compare and contrast Turkish Oriental, Egyptian Oriental and Turkish Romany dance, a description of the features of a Turkish Oriental show, trends in dance and costuming, steps, turns, hip articulation, abdominal work, knee lifts, arm postures, backbends and full body undulations to karşılama and the Romany 9/8, çiftetelli, finger cymbals, floor work, veil, dance combinations, DVD footage and we can dance through a complete Turkish show together in class. I can return to places where I have taught this subject before with all new dance material.
TURKISH ROMANY DANCE, HISTORY AND CULTURE: The Turkish Romany (Gypsy) people have performed in Turkey for the past 1000 years. They were the most famous street performers during the Ottoman Empire. This is the mother of Turkish Oriental dance. I will teach steps, hip and pelvic articulations, isolations, gestures and some short combinations. This material is perfect for your Tribal, Oriental or Romany dance vocabulary. This workshop separates fact from fiction about Turkish Romany dance, history and culture. I can do one-hour versions up to a 4 day intensive. The topics you can choose from on this subject are: gestures, steps for dancing to both slow and fast versions of Romany music, a history lecture, DVD footage and costuming information, çiftetelli, Romany 9/8 rhythms (and the difference between these and the karşılama), and dance combinations and finger snaps. Other optional versions include a theatricalized skirt dance (which incorporates Romany skirt gestures and theatricalized fusion of Romany and Non - Romany dance material), a choreography to entire songs.
TURKISH ORIENTAL AND TURKISH ROMANY (GYPSY): In this workshop, we compare and contrast the Turkish Oriental and the Turkish Romany (Gypsy) dance forms. I teach the same combinations in both the Oriental styles and in the Romany styles. Students will get a clear understanding of how Turkish Romany dance is the mother of Turkish Oriental dance and how and why the two differ and merge. DVD footage of both styles can be presented. I can return to places where I have taught this subject before with all new dance material. This workshop can be done in a condensed one-hour version or up to 4-day intensives on this subject.
TURKISH ÇENGI WORKSHOP: The famous female public entertainers of the Ottoman Empire were known as "Çengi" dancers (pronounced “Chen gee”). In this one day workshop, I teach about the history of Çengi dancing, and the costuming of the Çengi dancers plus a complete choreography (based on old descriptions and antique representations of the dancers). The workshop includes instruction on how to play Turkish Wooden spoons (Kaşıklar).
THE FOURTEEN RHYTHMS EVERY DANCER SHOULD KNOW: We will cover the 14 essential rhythms that every dancer should know and you will learn fun and easy techniques to help you to remember each of these rhythms. Regardless of what type of learner you are....all rhythms will be taught in terms of dums and teks, counting with “1 e & as,” and with funny mnemonic sayings that will stick in your mind forever. Once you know these rhythms, you will be able to create the perfect show for each population. The 14 rhythms we will cover are: Ayoub, Masmoudi sagir (Belady), Masmoudi kabir, Ciftitelli (two versions), Saidi, Maqsoum, the universal 6/8, Saudi, Malfouf, Rhumba, Cabaret 9/8 Karsilama, Romany 9/8 (Agir Roman slow), Tulum 9/8, Zuffa. This is a theory not a movement class and there are 2 to 4 hour versions available. An optional version can include a dancing component where we will learn steps that work well for each rhythm.
FINGER CYMBALS A TO Z: Whether you are “zill virgin” or an accomplished musician, you will find lots to learn. We will cover finger cymbals A to Z, the three 3 most important sounds you can make with the finger cymbals, the 4 ways to play them to best accompany your music and your dance and lots of fun and interesting patterns. Break away from the “same old same old” and learn to play them like the dancing musicians that you are meant to be. The history of this instrument will be described. An instructional CD will be available for sale to bolster your practice at home. Learn to master your Zills from the Zill Master herself – Artemis! Let’s demystify this powerful and ancient instrument. This workshop will teach dancers of all levels and styles how to understand and interpret music. Additional options (time permitting) can include a section on Turkish Spoons (pronounced “kashiklar”); practice of zill patterns, learning a zill solo in class and practice time in class playing the zills while dancing. There are one hour versions up to a 3 hour version of this workshop depending on how much of the above information you want to cover.
KNOWING YOUR ROOTS - BELLY DANCING FROM THE TEMPLES TO THE CABARETS - THE HISTORY OF BELLY DANCE: As with all things in life, you have to know where you came from so that you will understand where you are now and where to go from here. This ancient art form has been much misunderstood. Its origins came from prehistoric worship, then to the Temples of Hathor and it has flourished for thousands of years in its various permutations, finally makings its way into cabarets worldwide. We will explore the many roots of the dance - sacred and secular. Dance was used to invite, entice and communicate with divinities and mortals alike. Dance was carried along the Romany (Gypsy) trail from India to the world. The Almees, also known as "the wise women...the learned females" entertained and educated the people of North Africa. Public performers made their ways to the cabarets of the Middle East and eventually to Europe. America and beyond. Egyptian, Turkish, Lebanese and American styles of Oriental belly dance have flourished. A new art form was born - American Tribal style and in its turn, that gave birth to many other wonderful newer art forms. Regardless of your style or level of dance, you are bound to enjoy many "Ah Ha! Moments" as this workshop connects the dots and fills in the gaps. This can be done in 2 – 4 hours (4 is better with DVD footage).
TURKISH ROMANY AND ORIENTAL DANCE: The Turkish Romany (Gypsy) people have performed in Turkey for the past 1000 years. They were the most famous street performers during the Ottoman Empire. This is the mother of Turkish Oriental dance. The Turkish Oriental dance is less elegant than its sister dance, the Egyptian Oriental version. But what it lacks in elegance, it makes up for in passion and spontaneity. Its mother is the Turkish Romany dance which was said to "melt a stone." Its father is the rich and varied court dances of the Ottoman Empire. Its maternal aunts are the lovely Egyptian Oriental dance and the Ghawazee Romani dances from the Turkish occupation of Egypt. It was then modernized on the Europeanized stages of Post Ottoman Turkey. This workshop describes the history and culture of both styles of dance and how one naturally gave birth to the other. You will enjoy historical accounts and with vivid descriptions. This lecture will take you from the Ottoman day to the present. A slide presentation and DVD footage are available for this workshop if you provide the TV, DVD player and/or a lap top that will accommodate a thumb drive and a DVD. This workshop can be done in a 1 1/2 hour to a 4 hour format.