Sahara Dance

Specialty Classes

Supplement your technique training with specialty classes exploring the historical, contextual and experimental sides of belly dance. Specialty classes focus on a variety of skills, and include:

Tabla I: Introduction to Tabla (Drum) & Rhythms (8 weeks)

Learn the basics for playing the tabla, including the primary sounds (doum and tek) and fundamental Middle Eastern rhythms. Individual feedback and adjustments will be given to each student on striking technique, timing, hand placement and how to hold the drum.

Each class is divided between practicing technique and playing rhythms. Special attention will be given to cultural and musical contexts surrounding rhythms and drumming, all while making music!

Learn 4 different rhythms with multiple variations throughout the 8-week session. Each session we will rotate learning a new set of rhythms.

Tabla II: Beginner Tabla (Drum) & Rhythms

Now that you have a solid foundation it is time to move beyond the basics.

Expand your drumming vocabulary and learn how to put all of your knowledge together in a musical context. In this class you will continue to expand upon both your techniques (pops, half teks, rolls and other combinations and sound variations) as well as your knowledge of rhythms.

Tabla III: Intermediate Tabla (Drum) & Rhythms

Move beyond the foundational principals of playing the tabla into a world of musical self-expression. In this class we will practice creating and playing solos and learning songs/routines all while maintaining proper technique.

The class will also explore different approaches to use when playing with other musicians as well as strategies to use when playing for belly dancers.

Urban-Belly Dance Fusion Technique (LI+)

Urban fusion combines unique hip-hop combinations with traditional raqs sharki belly dance and tribal-style belly dance, through edgy isolations, locks, waves and other urban-inspired movement. Build coordination, isolation and an expanded repertoire with a variety of choreographies. This class will be high energy, prepare to sweat and have fun.

Prerequisite: Mastery of Shara Dance Low Intermediate Technique.

Khaleeji (Arabian Gulf) Dance

Explore the feminine, rhythmic, and joyful movement vocabulary of Persian Gulf-style dance in this 8-week course. Develop basic skills in khaleeji dance using expressive hands, head, and of course, hair-ography! This course includes an optional performance opportunity at the Fall Sahara Dance Hafla on October 14th.

Belly Dance Cardio (8 weeks)

Up and at ‘em! Get your blood moving and heart rate up with drills, conditioning exercises, and easy-to-follow choreographies in a dance cardio format similar to Zumba. We’ll utilizing movement inspiration from Egyptian and Lebanese bellydance, and folkloric dances. Let’s sweat, shimmy, and have fun! No bellydance experience required, just your playful spirit!


This unique and fast-paced belly dance workout combines the best of two worlds in the intensity of a HIIT (high intensity interval training) session with shimmy technique, combos and layers. Increase muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance by giving high effort during intense bursts of exercise followed by short recovery periods and belly dance drills. This full-body workout features resistance training, cardio sessions and core strength work without the use of weights or props. This class is an excellent training tool for dancers looking to obtain a high level of personal fitness. Supportive dance shoes or athletic shoes are strongly recommended.
Only dance shoes or indoor-only, non-scuffing athletic shoes are permitted in the Sahara Dance Tenley studio; athletic shoes which are worn outdoors are not permitted. Practice and play with new combos every few weeks!

Soft, Slow & Stretchy: Belly Dance Combinations

Immerse yourself in the softer side of belly dance. We will play with ideas for incorporating relaxation, fluidity and extension into simple combinations. Drawing upon foundational movements, add dimension and intentionality to your repertoire. Emphasis is on enjoying movement and infusing your dance with elegance and sensual expression.

Prerequisites: Open to all levels, with modifications to challenge advanced dancers. Some previous belly dance experience recommended.