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 I / II Technique

Designed for students who would like a gradual transition to Beginner II Technique while continuing to refine their Beginner I movement vocabulary. This class reviews the Beginner I curriculum each week and introduces select new material from the Beginner II repertoire. Emphasis is on reinforcing proper alignment while mastering shimmies, isolations, accents, basic undulations, turns and introduces layering movements from both curricula. This level is also a good introduction to Sahara Dance Technique for students with previous belly dance experience.

Prerequisite: Completion of 16 weeks of Sahara Dance Beginner I Technique (Zeina and Aziza) or other belly dance experience.

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 / 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.

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.

Int. Combos: Props Intensive

Focus on musicality with zills, grace and fluidity with fan veil, balance and level changes with candle tray, and big energetic movements with Isis wings for a well-rounded dance experience. Drawing from the Intermediate curriculum, dancers will learn the musical contexts, combinations and movements that best highlight each prop to maximize its effect. Perfect for cabaret and tribal dancers who wants to add zest to a future performance!

Props include zills, fan veil, candle tray, and Isis wings. Students must provide their own props (ask teacher for recommendations).

Prerequisite: Mastery of content from Sahara Dance Intermediate Technique.

Belly Dance Beats: Intermediate Rhythms Combinations

Drums are the heart beat of belly dance and the soul of Arabic music. With this rhythms-based class you will learn about the most common drum patterns found in belly dance music as well as movements, footwork, and combinations that compliment each one. Learn earthy saidi, sensual chiftiteli, playful karlisma, and more. Class focuses on understanding the regional feeling, context and corresponding movement quality that best fit each rhythm. Emphasis is on musical interpretation and dancing a fun workout to invigorating tabla rhythms.

Start moving to the beat and hitting accents with attitude!

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