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:

Arabic Rhythms Combos

Enhance your understanding of musicality as we dance our way through the rhythms of Egypt, the Levant, North Africa, and the Arabian peninsula. We’ll explore 2/4, 4/4, and more through fun combinations, as well as discussing where and why these rhythms occur in Arabic music, and how to identify them. This class will keep students moving!
Recommended for students who have completed Low Intermediate I Technique or above.

Belly Dance Cardio

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 draw upon movement inspiration from Egyptian and Lebanese belly dance, and various folkloric dances. Let’s sweat, shimmy, and have fun! No belly dance experience required, just your playful spirit!

Egyptian Folkloric Dance Sampler (8 week)

Experience the heart and soul of raqs sharqi through its roots in folkloric dance. Join Mohamed in an exploration of the joyous and earthy folk dances of Egypt. Gain a deeper appreciation of belly dance by sampling the music and dance traditions that have inspired modern belly dance, including Saiidi, Nubian, Eskandrani, Sha’abi, Hagallah and more!

Mindfulness and Belly Dance (8 week)

Explore the application of various mindfulness practices through belly dance. We’ll slow down our dancing to deepen our connection with the movement and music, as well as our bodies, breath and intention. Class will consist of long stretches of slow, flow-oriented dance sequences, interspersed with brief introductory practices in medtation. Designed to help dancers relax, replenish and connect to a sense of well being in our bodies. Join us for weekly rejuvenation through dance!

All levels are welcome. Class runs July 3-August 21.

Modern Egyptian Combos

Live for shaabi? Begging for baladi? Curious about developing a stronger sense of “raqs sharqi” style? This class is for you! We’ll develop that nuanced Egyptian sense of style through combinations, footwork, gestures, and movement. Emphasis is on strengthening emotional expression, musical interpretation, and dynamic quality of movement. This fun, upbeat class will use a variety of Egyptian music from pop and shaabi to modern entrance pieces, drawing inspiration from the famous Egyptian dancers of today.

Designed for students with Low Intermediate belly dance experience. Technical mastery of movement and curriculum experience can be modified to challenge varying levels of dancers.


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!

Tabla I: Introduction to Tabla (Drum) & Rhythms (7 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 7-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.