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

Persian Dance Master Class with Shahrzad Khorsandi

Khorsandi

While learning a beautiful combination, we will focus on Persian dance technique, exploring:

-the elegant bodyline which reflects the rich and refined aesthetics of Persian culture,

-smooth, organic transitions within movement patterns, and other integral elements of Persian dance

-the embodiment of dynamic nuances in Persian music

This class is ideal for dancers who wish to strengthen their musicality and dynamic expression within the parameters of Persian dance technique. All levels welcome.

Date(s): Friday, July 28

Time(s): 6:30 - 8:30 pm

Teacher(s): Shahrzad Khorsandi

Location: Sahara Dance Central

Cost: $40

Oriental Turns and Traveling Steps

Megan

Please note Randa will be teaching this workshop.

Add dynamism to your dance with spins, turns and floor patterns. Learn combinations of traveling steps and turns most frequently used in belly dance. Specific attention will be given to spotting, turn technique and oriental belly dance stylization.

This workshop is recommended for students transitioning from Beginner II to Low Intermediate.

Date(s): Saturday, July 29

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

Teacher(s): Randa

Location: Sahara Dance Central

Cost: $35

Yoga for Belly Dancers

Flissy

This workshop will feature a complete practice specifically for belly dancers. Yoga is of particular benefit for belly dancers for improving articulation of the spine for movements like undulations, and also for compensation for the wear and tear on low back and hips. In this workshop we’ll use Viniyoga approach to asana, which is a gentle practice that focuses on directing movement through the breath. Learn how simple breathing techniques and meditation practices can improve your focus for performance and improvisation.

Suitable for all levels!

Date(s): Saturday, August 5

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

Teacher(s): Flissy

Location: Sahara Dance Central

Cost: $35

90s Summer-fun Belly Dance Fusion!

Brianne
Join Brianne for an afternoon of belly dance combos set to music from the 90s.
Play with moves from technique classes in fun practice combos! Meet fellow dancers, try out belly dance to 90s music and have some fun!
All levels are welcome! Adjustments or challenging layers will be added to accomodate all dancers.

Date(s): Saturday, August 12

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

Teacher(s): Brianne

Location: Sahara Dance Central

Cost: $35

Bodacious Drum Solo Choreography

Leilah=

Explore combinations of powerful shimmies, core isolations, and bodacious hip work in this original choreography to a Sayed Balaha drum solo. Leilah will break down the technique and movements step-by-step so you can bring home this signature choreography for fun or to add to your show routine. All levels welcome if you’re up for the challenge. ‚Äč


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, August 19

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

Teacher(s): Leilah Moon

Location: Sahara Dance Central

Cost: $35

Dancer Recovery Workshop

Veil Choreography=

What’s your recovery routine after the thrill of performance night is over? This workshop will focus on alleviating the aches and pains that can come the day after an evening of giving the audience your best. We will use myofascial release, restorative yoga and stretching along with some soothing essential oils to melt tight tissues and get your body on the mend fast. No dance experience necessary, dress comfortably!

Date(s): Sunday, August 27

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

Teacher(s): Mary

Location: Sahara Dance Central

Cost: $35

World Touring Guest Artist: Jilliana

Jilliana

Magnificent Mejance

Time to rock your sharqi! This routine is full of exciting steps beautifully blended with expression.
Move to various tempos and explore the rich instrumentation, this is a unique choreography to add to your vocabulary.

Title: Magnificent Mejance

Date: Sept 11

Time: 7:00-9:00pm

Cost: $65

Location: Sahara Dance Central
4433 Wisconsin Avenue NW


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

World Touring Guest Artist: Sharon Kihara!

Sharon

I Follow Rivers: A Tribal Fusion Lovely With a Hint of Jazz!

This darling of a dance is more fun than a barrel of Swedish fish! After a complete warm up with a special focus on the hips, hamstrings and shoulders, we will have a blast learning six set combinations that are just fabulous strung together and danced to some fun Electro Pop! Dress as though going to yoga, and arrive ready for a good time.

Title: I Follow Rivers: A Tribal Fusion Lovely With a Hint of Jazz!

Date: September 12

Time: 11:30-1:30pm

Cost: $65

Location: Sahara Dance Central

4433 Wisconsin Avenue NW

World Touring Guest Artist: Donna Mejia

Donna Mejia

The Intermediate/Advanced Fusion Session

Description coming soon!

Title: The Intermediate/Advanced Fusion Session

Date: Friday September 22

Time: 6:30-9:30pm

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

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: Early bird rate $55 (until September 1) $65 (after September 1)

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: Early bird rate $55 (until September 1) $65 (after September 1)

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

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


 

Early bird Package Pricing (ends September 1): Friday, Saturday & Sunday: $295


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

Save the Date: Master Class with Amy Sigil & Ashley Lopez!

Amy Sigil and UNMATA

Save the date! Ashley Lopez and Amy Sigil from UNMATA are back for Master Classes on October 13-15. Check back for more information, to be released soon! The Sahara Dance Fall Hafla will be on October 14, featuring Amy and Ashley!

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

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.

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…