Sahara Dance

Workshops

We offer special workshops and master classes in addition to our regular instructional and performance classes. Workshops are selected to help students and experienced dancers alike broaden their dance training.

Upcoming Workshops

World Touring Guest Artist: Donna Mejia

Donna Mejia

The Intermediate/Advanced Fusion Session

In pursuit of the balanced attributes of refined technique, we will share a transnational fusion practice session that weighs strength, movement clarity, endurance, flexibility and artistry in equal measure. Donna respectfully requests that attendees be in regular, engaged dance practice; comfortable with cardiovascular challenge, layering, balances, speed work, turns and a full-body workout. As usual, Donna pledges the best music in the universe for our euphoric enjoyment!

Title: The Intermediate/Advanced Fusion Session

Date: Friday September 22

Time: 6:30-9:30pm

Cost: $95

Location: Sahara Dance Central
4433 Wisconsin Avenue NW

CORE-ography

How important is your core alignment and musculature to your dancing? It is unequivocally and absolutely critical to an intelligent and coherent approach to any movement in any genre of dance. Donna Mejia has managed to maintain an active dance practice through multiple abdominal surgeries, pregnancy and more… all through a focus on core abdominal strength. In this workshop, Donna offers an array of exercises and practices intended to raise the intelligence of your lower back/lumbar region and abdominal wall. Please note that we will be utilizing a yoga mat for these investigations. Donna will illustrate how to use other common household items to further your training anywhere, regardless of whether or not you have access to a gym or dance studio. The integration of breath is the final “Jedi training” clincher to these transformative practices. Our goal is not a flat stomach; it is a formidably strong core that will support your grandest and most virtuosic possibilities. The good news is that this training has beneficial applications beyond your dance practice, so please bring those notebooks and questions and let’s dig in deeply! Please bring a yoga mat.

Title: CORE-ography

Date: Saturday September 23

Time: 1:00-3:00pm

Cost: $65

Location: Sahara Dance Central
4433 Wisconsin Avenue NW

Movement Invention in Hip and Torso Work

After drilling foundation hip work and shimmies, we will plunge deeply into learning a variety of pelvic and torso articulations born from Donna’s adventurous imagination: wave-drops, whip-lash body undulations, quaking circles, black-ice slides, spiraling undulations, elastic vine drops, rebounding figure 8’s, and many more concoctions. This workshop is most beneficial for dancers with a confident and well-practiced foundation in hip work already. Please bring a yoga mat for warm-up.

Title: Movement Invention in Hip and Torso Work

Date: Saturday September 23

Time: 3:15-5:15pm

Cost: $65

Location: Sahara Dance Central
4433 Wisconsin Avenue NW

Upper Body + Helping Hands

Donna Mejia will offer a customized practice for increasing the ease and expressive capacity of the upper body. EXCEPTIONAL CLASS NOTE: participants are invited to please bring two cans (soup, vegetables, beans, etc.) that can be used as light weights for several key exercises. We will collect all cans at the end of class and donate them to a local charity of our sponsor’s choice. In this way, we can be powerful as a moving community, and literally expand our reach to uplift those beyond our community. Class will begin with an examination of the shoulder girdle > anatomy and alignment for different body types (because differences are to be celebrated). We will take a special focus on trouble-shooting common joint difficulties. The second chapter of our class will overview stretching and conditioning for healthy micro articulation of the arms, back/spine, chest and shoulders. The third chapter of class will be a practice session of poetic isolations, movements and accents for our newly pliable (but wonderfully stable) upper bodies. In addition to two canned goods, please bring a yoga mat, a tennis ball and your notebook.

Title: Upper Body + Helping Hands

Date: Sunday September 24

Time: 12:00-3:00pm

Cost: $95

Location: Sahara Dance Central
4433 Wisconsin Avenue NW

LECTURE:
Being an Ally, Moving Beyond By-stander Syndrome and Having Courageous Conversations in the Midst of Cultural Collision

Despite the media’s portrayal of the world as a very polarized and damaged place, there are many extraordinary people quietly building a society that prizes inclusiveness. There is always room for more additions to this global family of healers, so please come join the conversation. We’ll be reviewing recent developments in anti-bias work and scholarship, and examining what we can do as individuals and a community to increase peaceful coexistence. Fusion dance was just the beginning of the important work we’ve started in the world as artists. Ally-ship takes many forms and is never a one-size-fits-all solution. Yet each courageous act of fellowship, no matter how large or small, is meaningful. Please don’t underestimate how your choices disrupt social bias and can tip the scales for a fellow human whom may feel demoralized and disenfranchised. Interestingly, you may find that you always get back more than you give. This workshop will explore definitive steps to move beyond “paralyzed empathy;” becomingeffective as a listener, and act thoughtfully in our support of comrades.
The inevitability of our global citizenship mandates we set a seat at our table for other world-views and voices. Do you really wish to make a difference? Please come join a conversation that is already in progress on an international level. Your contributions and thoughts will make it better for all.

Title: LECTURE: Being an Ally, Moving Beyond By-stander Syndrome and Having Courageous Conversations in the Midst of Cultural Collision

Date: Sunday September 24

Time: 3:15-4:30pm

Cost: $10

Location: Sahara Dance Central
4433 Wisconsin Avenue NW


 

Package Pricing: Friday, Saturday & Sunday: $310


Cancellation policy: Master Class registrations are nonrefundable. If you are unable to attend, you may sell or transfer your registration to another person. Please send us notice of your registration transfer.

Donna Mejia is a professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder (transnational fusion, and dances of the African/Arabian traditions). She is also affiliate faculty for Gender Studies, Ethnic Studies.

Donna has served as residence artist for 18 universities, headlined over 100 festivals since 2012, and received the Fulbright Association’s 2011 S.J.C. honor for international dance research. Her choreography has shown at the La MaMa Theatre, the Apollo Theatre, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She recently joined the creative team for the documentary film Bella Gaia.

She balances her time teaching, lecturing and performing domestically and abroad.


*Out-of-town workshop participants may be interested in these nearby hotels: Days Inn or Marriott Courtyard

All-Level Shimmies!

ShimmiesAn afternoon of coin-jingling, fringe-flying fun!

Add a hip shake to your step by learning a great new move for the dance floor, or just review this distinctive belly dance technique. Guaranteed to be a great workout.

All levels are welcome. Class is structured to be accessible to beginning dancers, offering modifications to challenge intermediate students.

Date(s): Saturday, September 30

Time(s): 2:00 - 4:00 pm

Teacher(s): Randa

Location: Sahara Dance Central

Cost: $35

Reda Rhythms and Technique

Jen

Spend the afternoon delving into the signature movements and technique of Mahmoud Reda, an Egyptian pioneer of dance theater. Co-founder of the Reda Troupe, Mahmoud Reda and his principle dancers, created a genre of dance that embraced many styles. A soloist, choreographer and director of hundreds of productions from the Golden Era of Belly Dance and Egyptian Cinema, Mahmoud Reda is universally acclaimed for his dance style and appeal. His technique and choreographies have had a tremendous artistic, social, and cultural impact on Egypt, and has helped to inspire and shape the art form of belly dance as we know it today!

This workshop will focus on technique, drills, and various rhythm combinations, which help the dancer to improve choreographic movement and transitions.

Open-level though Low Intermediate II/III or above is recommended.

Date(s): Saturday, October 7

Time(s): 2:00 - 4:00 pm

Teacher(s): Jennifer

Location: Sahara Dance Central

Cost: $35

Soft, Slow & Stretchy

Soft Slow and Stretchy

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.

All levels welcome!

Date(s): Saturday, October 14

Time(s): 2:00-4:00 pm

Teacher(s): Rachel

Location: Sahara Dance Central

Cost: $35

Egyptian Pop Combos

Laura class=

Come dance away an afternoon… Learn fun dance combinations to an Egyptian Pop song! Practice playful movements with upbeat music, including variations to challenge all levels. Beginners welcome!

This workshop is open to all levels; some belly dance experience recommended.

Date(s): Saturday, October 21

Time(s): 2:00-4:00 pm

Teacher(s): Laura

Location: Sahara Dance Central

Cost: $35

World Touring Guest Artist: Irina

Irina Akulenko

Fancy Feet!

Do you often find yourself stuck to one spot on the floor, working on beautiful isolations… but not advancing in space? Do you have a hard time claiming your space on stage? In this workshop, we will learn flowing traveling steps that will help you get moving; preparation and breakdown of various types of turns and other fun ways of using your feet, as well as exercises that will help you develop your stage presence. Borrowing from foot articulations and accents used in Classical Indian dance and Flamenco as well as a bit of ballet, we will reconnect to our feet and learn how to both stay grounded and on our toes.

Title: Fancy Feet!

Date: October 22

Time: 1:00-3:00pm

Cost: $45

Location: Sahara Dance Central
4433 Wisconsin Avenue NW

Classical Indian - Belly dance Fusion: From the Ground Up

Drawing heavily on Odissi (one of the Classical dances of India), this series of fusion combinations will be moving both slowly and incrementally. We will examine the principle of building movement from the footwork, and see how that can translate to fusion belly dance. Understanding the natural progression of movement within the body, will allow us to create a sense of ease and control. For this reason, the focus in this workshop will be turned deeply inward, and the pace will be slow. We will work with controlled weight distribution, poses inspired by Classical Indian dance and fusion isolations and torso articulations. The series of combinations can be linked to create a beautiful movement meditation. This workshop will have brand new sequences, created just for Sahara Dance!

Title: Classical Indian - Belly dance Fusion: From the Ground Up

Date: October 22

Time: 3:15-5:15pm

Cost: $45

Location: Sahara Dance Central
4433 Wisconsin Avenue NW

 

Package Pricing: $80


Irina Akulenko is a New York City-based performer, teacher and choreographer with a burning passion for arts of all genres. Although she discovered Middle Eastern dance purely by chance, belly dance has become her main expressive outlet. Since 2001, Irina has studied both Egyptian Cabaret and American Tribal style belly dance and now enjoys fusing these styles, along with everything in between.

Today Irina performs as a soloist on various New York stages and has recently released her first instructional DVD “Tribal Fusion Workout” with World Dance New York and an instructional series of videos with the popular website “Howcast.com”.

Additionally, her performances were featured on “Fantasy Bellydance: Cult of Myth” DVD, “Fantasy Bellydance: Tarot” DVD and she could also be seen on Bellyqueen’s “Bellydance NYC: The Ultimate Fusion Experience” DVD. Irina is one of the principal dancers and instructors with Bellyqueen Dance Theater, is a performer for Project “Bella Gaia” and is an alumni member of Alchemy Dance Theater.

She loves collaborating with other artists and has completed projects with Jillina (Bellydance Evolution projects in NYC and DC), Dalia Carella, BALAM Dance Theater and many others. Irina is dedicated to continuing her dance education, always looking for new ways to be inspired. Furthermore, she holds a Bachelors degree in Political Science, and has a strong interest in women’s issues and visual arts.

Belly Indian Fusion

Cane

Known for its sensual beauty and graceful, flowy movement, Odissi (a form of classical Indian dance from the state of Orissa) is often described as the representation of water in the body.

Drawing from the rich languages of traditional Indian dance styles including Odissi and as well as more contemporary Bollywood-inspired aesthetics, this class combines the traditional with the modern to explore fusion of Indian dance with Egyptian-style cabaret belly dance.

Beginning with light yoga and stretching, practice formation of the hands, arms, and back as well as basic footwork. Learn short choreographies exploring bollywood-belly dance fusion with an infusion of classical mudras.

Prerequisite: Previous dance experience recommended.

Date(s): Saturday, October 28

Time(s): 2:00 - 4:00 pm

Teacher(s): Lana

Location: Sahara Dance Central

Cost: $35

World Touring Guest Artist: Shahrzad

Shahrzad

Fresh Cairo Combos with Shahrzad

Check out new movements and music straight from Egypt! In this workshop you will push your skills with challenging technique drills. Explore new ideas for your choreography and improvisation by sampling a number of unique combinations set to everything from classic Egyptian tunes to the newest hit shaabi songs. Come see the latest stuff Shahrzad has been cooking up in Cairo!

Friday: Fresh Cairo Combos with Shahrzad

Date: Sunday Oct 29

Time: 1:00-4:00 pm

Cost: Early bird rate $85 (until October 1) $95 (after October 1)

Location: Sahara Dance Central
4433 Wisconsin Avenue NW


Cancellation policy: Workshop registrations are nonrefundable. If you are unable to attend, you may sell or transfer your registration to another person. Please send us notice of your registration transfer.

*Out-of-town workshop participants may be interested in these nearby hotels: Days Inn or Marriott Courtyard


Workshops with Twila

Twila

Be the Drum

This class is all about the pop, the lock, and the percussiveness of the body in relation to the drum and other percussive noises! In bellydance, there is nothing quite as impressive as the drum solo, and the isolated goodness that comes with illustrating those bangin’ sounds. Twila will walk you through what it means to be the drum, how to match moves with sounds, and how to safely maximize your isolation and shimmy super powers. Select combos will be drilled!

Saturday: Be the Drum

Date: Nov 4

Time: 2:00-3:30pm

Cost: $40

Location: Sahara Dance Central
4433 Wisconsin Avenue NW

Level Up! Stack’em-up Combos Done Right

Multileveled, and multi-layered, this class will take you on an express train back to the kitchen for a lesson in stacking up your layers high and tight. Starting with the toes, and ending at your crown, we will break down isolations and drill Twila’s favorite moves on top of one another, creating visually appealing deliciousness while remaining safe! Recommended for Advanced Beginner and up.

Saturday: Level Up! Stack’em-up Combos Done Right

Date: Nov 4

Time: 3:30-5:00pm

Cost: $40

Location: Sahara Dance Central
4433 Wisconsin Avenue NW


Twila Jane (formerly Khalima!) is a multifaceted artist who has walked a long creative road, and become part of many stories. Forest-raised and city-swathed, her creative beginnings flourished with paintbrushes, secret imaginings, gardens, playing music, writing stories, and exploring adornment, later expanding to photography, experiments in body modification, and dance.

These days, Twila dances everywhere, and owns and directs Electric Nomad Dance (formerly Illumination Dance), now in its seventh year of operation in Richmond VA. Twila also dances, sings, and plays music with her accordionist sidekick Barry Bless in their collaboration “Professor and Madwoman” and the Happy Lucky Combo; she tours nationally teaching bellydance and performing, and creates wildly theatrical dances and shows in Richmond and elsewhere. Twila’s dance training began in Egyptian Raqs Sharqi, and has evolved and fused over the years into Electric Nomad Dance, her ever-transforming style of performance and dance. Twila’s recent dance obsessions and studies have been in Turkish Orientale and Romani styles, and Unmata ITS, which she has recently completed teacher training in and plans to start teaching very soon! Visit Electric Nomad and Twila Jane Dance.

Madonna and Janet Belly Dance Fusion!

Brianne
Join Brianne for an afternoon of belly dance combos set to music from the Madonna and Janet Jackson!
Play with moves from technique classes in fun practice combos! Meet fellow dancers, try out belly dance to pop music and have some fun!
All levels are welcome! Adjustments or challenging layers will be added to accomodate all dancers.

Date(s): Saturday, November 11

Time(s): 2:00 - 4:00 pm

Teacher(s): Brianne

Location: Sahara Dance Central

Cost: $35

Reda Combinations and Choreography

Jen

Building on the Reda Rhythms and Technique workshop, spend the afternoon learning classic combinations put together in a Reda-style choreography. An Egyptian pioneer of dance theater and co-founder of the Reda Troupe, Mahmoud Reda and his principle dancers, created a genre of dance that embraced many styles throughout the region. As a soloist, choreographer and director of hundreds of productions from the Golden Era of Belly Dance and Egyptian Cinema, Mahmoud Reda is universally acclaimed for his dance style and appeal. His technique and choreographies have had a tremendous artistic, social, and cultural impact on Egypt, and has helped to inspire and shape the art form of belly dance as we know it today!

This workshop will focus on technique, drills, and various approaches to combinations that build a choreographic tapestry.

Low Intermediate/Intermediate or above is recommended. Participation in the Reda Rhythms and Technique workshop is recommended, but is not required.

Date(s): Saturday, November 18

Time(s): 2:00 - 4:00 pm

Teacher(s): Jennifer

Location: Sahara Dance Central

Cost: $35

Belly Dance Cardio!

Leilah=

Belly dance Cardio (90 minutes!)

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!


Leilah Moon is a professional belly dancer in the DC Metro area. Leilah’s nuanced style, luscious abdominal movements, and engaging smile are what audiences find most mesmerizing about her as a performer. Leilah Moon started her dance career at the age of 17 with Susquehanna University Bellydance Circle, studying further under various teachers in the Baltimore and DC area, including private instruction under Shahrzad Raqs. Leilah taught classes for several years at Rendezvous studio in Rockville, and is a graduate of the Teacher Training Program here at Sahara Dance. You can catch her performing regularly at venues throughout the DMV.

Date(s): Saturday, November 25

Time(s): 2:00-3:30 pm

Teacher(s): Leilah Moon

Location: Sahara Dance Central

Cost: $20

Introduction to Veil

Veil=

Learn introductory veil dancing technique, including placement, turns and wafting. Drawing from modern Egyptian-style entrances, dance elegant traveling combinations and perfect seamless veil transitions. Learn to recognize Middle Eastern rhythms common to entrances. A brief overview of the history of veil dance will be discussed.

Open to all levels with some belly dance experience recommended. Ideal for students wanting to learn or brush up on essential veil technique. Dancers will need a 3 yard veil (silk recommended); veils will be available for purchase at the studio.

Date(s): Saturday, Dec 2

Time(s): 2:00-4:00 pm

Teacher(s): Megan

Location: Sahara Dance Central

Cost: $35

Datura Style Belly Dance!

Flissy

Datura Style belly dance, founded by Rachel Brice, includes stylistic influences from ATSĀ® and classic American Cabaret belly dance as well approach to conditioning from pilates and viniyoga. Datura Style refers both to a dance vocabulary and approach to technique that can be used for choreography and improvisation. In this workshop, you will learn posture and terminology for Datura Style arm, foot, and leg positions, as well as a technique study. Datura Style studies are “technique choreographies”, that, when practiced regularly, improve a dancers ability to execute movements with precision and ease. This workshop also includes some yoga-based conditioning to warm up and to compensate for dance.

All levels are welcome. Class is structured to be accessible to beginning dancers, offering modifications to challenge intermediate students.

Date(s): Saturday, Dec 9

Time(s): 2:00 - 4:00 pm

Teacher(s): Flissy

Location: Sahara Dance Central

Cost: $35

Egyptian Belly Dance and Yoga Retreat with Mohamed Shahin

Egyptian Belly Dance and Yoga Retreat with Mohamed Shahin
Blue Spirit, Costa Rica
February 3-10, 2018

Mohamed Shahin

Sunshine, salty waves and daily dance classes with Mohamed Shahin ~ join us in Costa Rica for yoga & belly dance bliss!

* All-inclusive week-long retreat (room, meals, dance classes, yoga)
* Daily advanced Egyptian classes with Mohamed Shahin (3 hours each day)!
* Foundations/ Beginner technique classes with Rachel Kay Brookmire
* Daily yoga for alignment
* Wi-fi throughout the resort
* An epic swimmable beach with breathtaking sunsets * Incredible salt water infinity pool
* Bonfire on the beach!
* The adorable, small surf-town of Nosara within walking distance (or short taxi ride)
* Baby monkeys!
* Salsa dance lesson
* Reggae night (in town)
* Mindfulness for dancers
* Journal practice for creativity
* Closing hafla/ dance party
* Available excursions including horseback riding on the beach, zip-lining, jungle adventures, surfing, Howler Monkey sanctuary
* Summertime in February!>

See details and register here!
Heart of Belly Dance Retreat with Rachel Brice
Costa Rica 2018

Heart of Belly Dance Retreat with Rachel Brice
Blue Spirit, Costa Rica
February 10-17, 2018

Rachel Brice

Put the world on pause to immerse yourself in an intensive yoga and dance retreat designed to rejuvenate your love for belly dance.

This retreat is suitable for all levels, with individual attention to modify movements for beginners and/or challenge advanced dancers. A basic foundation in belly dance and/or yoga is strongly suggested.

See details and register here!
Heart of Belly Dance Retreat with Rachel Brice
Thailand 2018

Heart of Belly Dance Retreat with Rachel Brice
Samahita Retreat, Koh Samui, Thailand
September 15-22, 2018

Rachel Brice

Experience the island beauty of Koh Samui, while studying with a founder of tribal fusion belly dance, the one and only Rachel Brice.

This retreat is suitable for all levels, with individual attention to modify movements for beginners and/or challenge advanced dancers. A basic foundation in belly dance and/or yoga is strongly suggested.

See details and register here!

Private Lessons

For private lessons, workshops or parties, contact us.

Sahara Dance also offers other Special Topic and Brush-up Series Workshops. Find out more about our other upcoming workshops…