Sahara Dance

Technique Classes

Class structure is based on a Western format of clear movement breakdowns, drilling the basics, hands-on adjustments and integrating movements through combinations, choreography and improvisational exercises.

Beginner I Technique (Zeina / Aziza)

This course is designed for students new to belly dance or seeking a belly dance refresher. No dance experience necessary.

Students will learn basic belly dance technique, including posture, shimmies, isolations, undulations and traveling steps. Class will include a brief introduction to the history, context, and philosophy of belly dance, as well as a brief introduction to Middle Eastern music. Choreography will be taught to incorporate new movements. Come celebrate femininity through an ancient, life-embracing art!

Two separate and distinct Beginner I Technique classes will be offered each semester. Beginner I Technique (Zeina) is offered in the first half of each semester; Beginner I Technique (Aziza) is offered in the second half of each semester. Each course will be 7- to 8-weeks, and together provide a complete introduction to belly dance. Each course covers different material, and students can begin with either one (Zeina or Aziza).

We recommend that students take two full semesters of Beginner I (i.e., two sessions of Zeina and two sessions of Aziza) before moving on, and recommend taking different teachers for each class to gain full advantage of the different teaching styles.

Mastery of the Beginner I (Zeina & Aziza) curricula is required for enrollment in Beginner II.

No dance experience necessary.

Beginner II Technique

Expand your movement base to include foundational undulations and accents, turns and layering. Begin exploring Middle Eastern music rhythms and structure. Choreography and improvisational exercises will be taught.

Prerequisite: Mastery of content from Sahara Dance Beginner I Technique or permission of teacher.

Low Intermediate I Technique

Learn to travel with isolations and layering. Dance more complex combinations and floor patterns.

Prerequisite: Mastery of content from Sahara Dance Beginner II Technique or permission of teacher.

Low Intermediate III Technique: Veil

Drawing from modern Egyptian style entrances, dance traveling combinations and practice entrance moves. Learn introductory veil dancing technique and movement repertoire, including placement, turns and wafting. Veils will be available for purchase in class or students may provide their own (professional silk veils recommended; approximately 3 yards of chiffon, silk, or other soft, flowing, hemmed fabric may work).

Prerequisite: Mastery of content from Sahara Dance Low Intermediate I Technique (at least 2 semesters; 3 - 4 semesters recommended), or permission of teacher.

Intermediate Technique

Refine and master technique through advanced combinations and learning more intricate movement vocabulary. Emphasis is placed on spins, entrance steps, speed and layering.

Prerequisite: Mastery of content from Sahara Dance Low Intermediate I Technique or permission of teacher.

Intermediate Technique: Raqs Al Assaya (Cane)

In Raqs Al Assaya, a cheerful dance from the Sa’id (Upper Egypt), the dancer twirls a cane or staff in playful imitation of the men’s regional martial art. (The men’s version, Tahtihb, is performed with heavy staffs.) Raqs Al Assaya may be presented as folkloric dance, or elements of this dance may be adapted for cabaret-style belly dance.

Students will learn a brief history of Sa’idi style movement and music, including foundational and advanced cane vocabulary, handling techniques, and combinations. Delve deeply into the heart of Egyptian folklore, including some double cane combos!

Sticks are provided for class or students may bring their own.

Prerequisite: Mastery of content from Sahara Dance Intermediate Technique, or permission of instructor.

Intermediate / Advanced Technique

Concentrate on components for raqs sharqi performance sets, including more advanced turns, drills, entrance veil work, cane, taqsim and drum solos. Emphasis is on emotional expression, improvisation and musical interpretation. Practice weekly conditioning for maintaining and improving a full movement repertoire for belly dance performance.

Prerequisite: Mastery of Sahara Dance Low Intermediate I, II and III (zills and veil) and Intermediate material and / or permission of instructor.

Intermediate / Advanced Intensive (75 min.)

Enjoy a 75-minute class full of shimmies, drills, combinations, traveling steps and turns. Begin class with a comprehensive warm up to build core strength and flexibility. Emphasis is on quality movement execution, musical interpretation, alignment, stamina, and whole-body awareness. Class may include components and props for raqs sharqi performance sets, including more advanced turns, folkloric dance, improvisation, entrance veil work, cane, taqsim and drum solos. Practice weekly conditioning for maintaining and improving a full movement repertoire for belly dance performance.

Prerequisite: Mastery of Sahara Dance Low Intermediate I, II (Zills) and III (Veil) and Intermediate material, and / or permission of instructor.

Intermediate / Advanced Tribal Technique

Concentrate on components for tribal fusion performance sets, including more advanced group improvisation, unified presentation, and fluid transitions. Emphasis is on group camaraderie, improvisation and experimentation.

Prerequisite: Mastery of Sahara Dance Low Intermediate I, II and III (zills and veil) and Intermediate material and / or permission of instructor.

Advanced Intensive (75 min.)

Enjoy a 75-minute class full of shimmies, drills, combinations, traveling steps and turns. Begin class with a comprehensive warm up to build core strength and flexibility. Emphasis is on quality movement execution, musical interpretation, alignment, stamina, and whole-body awareness. Class may include components and props for raqs sharqi performance sets, including more advanced turns, folkloric dance, improvisation, entrance veil work, cane, taqsim and drum solos. Practice weekly conditioning for maintaining and improving a full movement repertoire for belly dance performance.

Prerequisite: Mastery of Sahara Dance Low Intermediate I, II (Zills) and III (Veil) and Intermediate material, and / or permission of instructor.