Sahara Dance


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

Spins, Turns and Travel: Steps for Every Dancer


Add effective transitions to help your choreography or improvisational performance look flawless with every step.

Suitable for Beginner to Advanced dancers, this class is a great tool for polishing transitions.

For added challenge, bring a veil! The techniques we will learn combine beautifully with veil. (Veil is optional).

Date(s): Saturday, April 4

Time(s): 1:30-3:30 pm

Teacher(s): Dellaneira

Location: Sahara Dance Central

Cost: $35

Raw: A Drum Solo Choreography


“Let the music become one with your soul and dance like the world is yours.”

Be prepared to sweat and enjoy a fun, dynamic choreography to a song filled with great energy.

This class is great for all levels; adaptions will be made for advanced students.

Date(s): Saturday, April 4

Time(s): 3:45-4:45 pm

Teacher(s): Dellaneira

Location: Sahara Dance Central

Cost: $35

Master Classes with Karim Nagi of Turbo Tabla!

Karim Nagi of Turbo Tabla

Karim Nagi is a native Egyptian drummer, DJ, and folk dancer. His workshops and performances boast a dynamic concoction of live drumming and dance.

Because of his proficiency in both music and dance, his workshops deliver students to a new physical understanding of the connection between these two disciplines.

Saturday, April 11
1:30-2:30 pm: Dabke (Arabic line dancing)

Literally meaning “stomp” in Arabic, dabke (also spelled dabka, dubki, dabkeh, plural dabkaat) is a group dance found in the eastern Arab countries.

Performed mostly as a unisex line dance, dabke is avidly done at the weddings and parties of Lebanese, Syrian, Jordanian and Palestinian communities. A version can also be found in Iraq, known as chobie. The movements include rhythmic stomping, kicking, sidewards walking, hoping and jumping.

In social settings the dancers hold hands and form long moving lines or wide rotating circles. There are also many stage performances and musical theater shows that feature dabke dances. You may also find dabke used as a form of non-violent social protest during war and conflicts. Primarily, it is a proud and energetic group line dance enjoyed by all ages and both genders.

2:30-5:30 pm: Live Drum Solo for Dancers (movement)

Some dancers fear it! Some overuse it! While melodic songs are lyrical and eloquent, drum songs are percussive and articulate. Everyone adores a solo where rhythmic drums and an accurate body lock together.

Fact: drum solos in Egyptian, Arabic, and cabaret styles are systematic. With predictable themes, each is like a variation on a famous story, retold with new voices and different accents.

Karim is a drummer and a dancer, so he knows what both creatures need in order to work together. He will teach the iconic hagalla sequence, the shimmy-to-roll-relation, dum hips & tak shoulders, signaling, masmudi’s many dums, wahda kabira to fallahi, ayoub’s momentary zaar, and how to ‘finale’ together, benevolently! After this class transforms you, a deaf man will be able to hear the drums by watching your body.

This class uses exclusively LIVE drumming and teaches the dancer how to understand and communicate with the drummer, what to expect, and how to be ready for improvisation.

Sunday, April 12
12:00-4:00 pm: Music Literacy for Dancers

This complete 4-hour course will train dancers and musicians to understand and teach Arabic music topics without needing an instrument nor any previous training.

Learn how to identify and sing 7 major Arabic maqam scales, along with famous song examples. Clap and voice 10 major Arabic iqaat rhythms with famous step examples. Discover the major Arabic and English music terms and cultural and linguistic references that are relevant to melodies, rhythms, and dance.

Incorporating movements and traditional combination steps to help communicate each musical topic, you will also develop melodic and rhythmic understanding through basic sheet music skills. Finally, you will receive a document of all rhythms, scales, terms, and famous Arabic words to take home for your reference.

Dabke (Arabic line dancing)

Date: April 11

Time: 1:30-2:30 pm

Cost: $30

Location: Sahara Dance Central
4433 Wisconsin Avenue NW

Live Drum Solo for Dancers

Date: April 11

Time: 2:30-5:30 pm

Cost: $90

Location: Sahara Dance Central
4433 Wisconsin Avenue NW

Music Literacy for Dancers

Date: April 12

Time: 12:00-4:00 pm

Cost: $130

Location: Sahara Dance Central
4433 Wisconsin Avenue NW


Package Pricing: Saturday and Sunday: $240

Cancellation policy: Master Class registrations are non-refundable. 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

Parking: Street parking is available in the neighborhoods around the studio:
Fort Drive, Alton Place or Yuma Street (behind St. Ann’s Academy)
Please check parking signs for hour or zone restrictions

Women’s Creativity Circle

Creativity Circle Bring your creative new year’s intentions to life! The circle is designed to cultivate dreams, creativity and supportive friendships.

All are welcome and the format will allow for each participant to choose their own adventure.

Deepen your creative expression through belly dance, costuming, writing and/or discover other outlets for your artistic spirit.

Through reflection, creative play, journal writing and structured sharing, we’ll explore The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown.

Each circle will include a short mindfulness practice and light movement/dance for centering (no dance experience necessary). Delve into a collective experience to nurture your inner artist.


Sundays, 6:00-7:30 pm
January 25
February 8
February 22
March 15
March 29
April 12

Registration is for the 6-class workshop intensive.

Try out the first day (January 25) on a one-day workshop pass ($30).

Teacher(s): Rachel

Location: Sahara Dance Central

Cost: $150

Massage Ball Self-Care and Floorplay

Lisa Johnson

The objectives of this workshop are to demonstrate and teach the use of massage balls for achieving deep tissue massage, acupressure release and overall body flexibility.

The focus will be on the neck, shoulders, spine and buttocks.

The outcome will be a rejuvenated body with improved range of motion for daily tasks, the restoration of athletic flexibility and a decreased propensity for injuries.

You will learn self-administered techniques for sustaining a healthy, flexible and pain free body.

    This workshop will include:
  • Circular warm up movements to promote flexibility based on therapeutic movement techniques
  • Stretching and strengthening of all regions of the body from the neck to the feet
  • Using massage balls of various sizes and firmness, in combination with movements to promote spinal flexibility and deep tissue release

Balls for the workshop will be provided and are available for purchase after the class. Please wear a tight fitted long sleeved top and bring a yoga mat.

Date(s): Sunday, April 26

Time(s): 11:30 am-1:30 pm

Teacher(s): Lisa Johnson

Location: Sahara Dance Central

Cost: $35

Week-long Intensive with Shahrzad


Roots of Belly Dance Intensive

Delve into dance from a new perspective and gain a deeper understanding of the art you love.

Shahrzad will offer a unique five-day workshop intensive designed to connect belly dance movements to the rich cultures and traditions from which they come.

Students will work within several dance traditions and styles from North Africa and the Middle East which influence modern belly dance. In addition to dance technique / movement, we delve into the music, costuming, and customs that influence the dance with live music, costuming demonstrations, and video presentations.

This intensive is structured to enrich dancers at all levels; some previous belly dance experience is recommended.

Live Music Intensive

Take your dancing to the next level in this unique five-day intensive.

Shahrzad teams up with two of DC’s best Arabic style musicians, Hicham El Anmari and Marshall Bodiker, to offer dancers the unique opportunity to learn about choreographing and improvising to Arabic music.

The intensive starts with rhythm training and progresses into a sampling of musical styles used in Raqs Sharqi, including Taqsim, Beledi progression, Shaabi, drum solo, and more!

The intensive will culminate in a supportive, in-class opportunity to perform with live music (performance is optional).

Enrollment in the Live Music Intensive is limited to a small number of dancers to ensure that everyone receives the space and personal attention they need to learn and grow.

This intensive is open to intermediate, advanced, and professional level dancers.

Roots of Belly Dance

Date: April 27-May 1 (5-day)

Time: 6:00-8:00 pm

Teacher: Shahrzad

Cost: $175

Location: Sahara Dance Central
4433 Wisconsin Avenue NW

Live Music Intensive

Date: April 27-May 1 (5-day)

Time: 8:00-9:00 pm

Teacher: Shahrzad

Cost: $150

Location: Sahara Dance Central
4433 Wisconsin Avenue NW


Package registration: Roots of Belly Dance Intensive and Live Music Intensive
Cost: $300
Location: Sahara Dance Central*
4433 Wisconsin Avenue NW

Cancellation policy: Week-long intensive 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.

Parking: Street parking is available in the neighborhoods around the studio:
Fort Drive, Alton Place or Yuma Street (behind St. Ann’s Academy)
Please check parking signs for hour or zone restrictions

Elegant Arms

Shahrzad Movements of the arms add emotion, drama, and accentuation to any dancers performance.

Learn elegant poses, gestures, and movements of the arms and how to add them into combinations to create a beautifully well rounded dance.

Date(s): Saturday, May 2

Time(s): 1:30-3:30 pm

Teacher(s): Shahrzad

Location: Sahara Dance Central

Cost: $45

Advanced Belly Technique

Shahrzad Whip your abdominals into tip top shape with this challenging workshop!

Shahrzad will teach many of her signature belly moves including some of her most advanced technique for flutters, rolls, and locks. Then, layer your new belly moves!

Date(s): Saturday, May 2

Time(s): 3:45-5:45 pm

Teacher(s): Shahrzad

Location: Sahara Dance Central

Cost: $45

Moulid Sampler: Egyptian Folkloric Styles


A moulid is a celebration of a saint’s birth, and Egypt is well-known for it’s lively and festive moulids!

Of course, every festival requires music and dancing. Egypt is rich with musical and dance traditions that have contributed to what we know and love as belly dance today.

This class will provide an overview of several different folk dances from Egypt that have shaped many moves we use in our dance, including Saiidi, Nubian, Melaya Leff, Fallahi, Hagallah, Gawazee, Tanoura, and Bambutaya.

Learn the roots of the dance and discover new movements to add to your repertoire!

Open to all levels; at least 4 months of belly dance recommended.

Date(s): Saturday, May 9

Time(s): 1:30-3:30 pm

Teacher(s): Omoladun

Location: Sahara Dance Central

Cost: $35

Mother’s Day! Mother/Daughter Dance

Mother's Day Alyssum Pohl, 34, and her mother, Brooke Pohl, 61, will be co-teaching this special Mother’s Day workshop.

Learn connection exercises, partner stretches and fun and simple belly dance combinations.

This workshop is a wonderful introduction to dance for those who have never danced before, and we will provide easy and fun modifications to engage more advanced dancers.

Alyssum is a faculty member at Sahara Dance. Brooke has been dancing all her life and belly dancing for 15 years. Brooke currently dances with Rakadu in Lexington KY and says, “It has been an honor to dance with my daughter and to share the community and friendships within the belly dance community with her.”

They both look forward to sharing mother-daughter fun in this workshop with you!

Note: while this is workshop is held on Mother’s Day, and is called “Mother/Daughter Dance” we are gender-inclusive, and support our sons, transitional family members, and friends too! Bring whomever you would like to share dance with and celebrate a special connection.

All levels welcome, ages 8-108!

Date(s): Sunday, May 10

Time(s): 12:00-2:00 pm

Teacher(s): Alyssum and Brooke Pohl

Location: Sahara Dance Central

Cost: $70 (registration is for 2 people @ $35 each)

Tribal Roulette: Gatsby Edition


Learn a fun 1920’s-inspired choreography that draws from the playful expressiveness of Oriental style, the challenging isolations and sharpness of fusion and the romantic decadence of the Jazz Age and Roaring Twenties. We’ll blend pops and locks with arabesques and maybe even a Charleston or two.

Catch the choreography debut on stage at the 13th annual Under a Desert Moon gala, then join the workshop to break it down and add to your own repertoire!

Sneak peek!

Date(s): Saturday, May 16

Time(s): 1:30-3:30 pm

Teacher(s): Gabrielle

Location: Sahara Dance Central

Cost: $35


Laura K Experiment with fun tips and tools for improvising to Arab music. Learn musical understanding, phrasing, and techniques for overcoming improvisational stage-fright. Develop greater skill and comfort in spontaneously creating pieces on the spot and in the moment.

All levels are welcome; however, some previous belly dance experience is recommended.

Date(s): Saturday, May 23

Time(s): 1:30-3:30 pm

Teacher(s): Laura

Location: Sahara Dance Central

Cost: $35

Dance Your Heart: Finding Your Own Artistic Style


“You are unique, and if that is not fulfilled, then something has been lost.”
- Martha Graham

Like snowflakes and people, no two dancers are alike
- and that is a beautiful thing.

This workshop will highlight some signature moves of world-famous dancers and offer tools to discover you own.

Be prepared to reflect, experiment, and sweat! Discover and refine your own stylization and embrace what makes you unique.

Open to all levels; at least 4 months of belly dance recommended.

Date(s): Saturday, June 13

Time(s): 1:30-3:30 pm

Teacher(s): Omoladun

Location: Sahara Dance Central

Cost: $35

Master Class with Sahra Saeeda

Sahra Saeeda

Save the Date: June 19-21
Stay tuned! Details coming soon.

Bellywood Grooves


Embark on a journey further east as you learn a unique fusion of Indian Bollywood dance and belly dance. Bollywood is a blend of classical Indian dance, Indian folk dances such as Bhangra and contemporary western dances.

The workshop will take you through some workout techniques based on both Bollywood and belly dance moves and launch into a fun, short routine.

This class will also focus on range of expressions and emotions that can be expressed through joyful and dramatic Bollywood music.

This workshop is designed for Low Intermediate level dancers and above.

Malina has been training in Middle Eastern dance for over 6 years including traditional Egyptian and Turkish cabaret styles, folkloric styles and tribal fusion. She has also studied Latin dance styles, hip hop, South Asian classical and folk dances.

While she enjoys traditional styles, she also experiments with fusion techniques and enjoys creating innovative choreography.

Date(s): Saturday, July 11

Time(s): 1:30-3:30 pm

Teacher(s): Malina

Location: Sahara Dance Central

Cost: $35

I Got Rhythms! (Live Music)


Drums are the heart beat of belly dance and the soul of Arabic music.

With this introduction to rhythms you will learn all about the most common drum patterns found in belly dance music, as well as movements, footwork, and combinations that compliment each one.

Dancing with a live drummer will help you learn earthy saidi, sensual chiftiteli, playful karlisma, and more.

This workshop will focus on understanding the regional feeling, context and corresponding movement quality that best fit each rhythm. Students will learn a short drum solo and a handout of rhythm descriptions will be provided to take home.

Start moving to the beat and hitting accents with attitude!

This workshop is great for students who are new to rhythms or need a refresher. Open to all levels; at least 4 months of belly dance recommended.

Date(s): Saturday, August 1

Time(s): 1:30-3:30 pm

Teacher(s): Omoladun and Randy

Location: Sahara Dance Central

Cost: $45

Master Class with Mardi Love

Mardi Love

Save the Date: August 14-16
Stay tuned. Details coming soon!

Tribal Belly Dance Retreat with Rachel Brice in Bali

Bali Retreat with Rachel Brice:
The HeART of Belly Dance
Desa Seni, Bali
August 22-29, 2015

Rachel Brice

Immerse yourself in an intensive yoga and dance retreat designed to rejuvenate your love for belly dance and re-connect with your heart.

Don’t miss this unique tropical all-inclusive belly dance retreat, complete with:

  • All-inclusive week-long retreat (room, meals, workshops, yoga)
  • 30+ hours of daily technique, combination, choreography and yoga classes
  • Balinese Opening Cleansing ceremony
  • Cultural night with traditional Indonesian dinner and Balinese dance performances
  • Q & A with Rachel Brice
  • Wi-fi throughout the resort
  • Optional excursions including surfing, white water rafting, cultural Balinese dance performances, sight-seeing tours

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.

Click here to join the waiting list
Master Class with Virginia

Virginia of Miami

Save the Date: September 11-13

Stay tuned! Details coming soon.

Virginia has captivated a worldwide public with breathtaking performances, a dynamic presence, and a soulful interpretation of Oriental Dance.

Considered to be one of the most influential and sought-after performers, a gifted choreographer, and one of the most profound master instructors of this ancient art form, Virginia has been presented in the most prominent theaters and festivals across 5 continents and over 60 countries.

Incorporating innovative musicality and ingenious choreographic prowess, Virginia is known for constantly reinventing the dance.

She dares to elevate the dance to all new levels while staying true to its indigenous roots.

She has created 7 teaching DVDs, 2 theatrical productions on DVD, and 2 Oriental Dance Music CDs.

Master Class with Zoe Jakes

Zoe Jakes Save the Date: November 19-22
Stay tuned! Details coming soon.

Master Class with Donna Mejia

Donna Mejia, Photo by Emmanuel Adero

Save the Date: December 4-6, 2015

Stay tuned! Details coming soon.

As a transnational fusion dance artist, Donna Mejia’s distinctive aesthetic explores the secular dances of North Africa and the Arab World with American hip hop and sub-genres of electronic dance.

Donna also teaches the Brazilian Silvestre Dance Technique and is a primary representative after twenty years of practice.

Donna has been guest artist in residence for twelve colleges, and received her Master of Fine Arts degree from Smith College on full fellowship. She joined the University of Colorado at Boulder’s dance department in 2012 as the first Assistant Professor of tribal fusion dance globally.

She balances her time teaching and touring internationally to teach, lecture, and perform for private sponsors, festivals and community organizations.

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…