Current Workshop Offerings

 

Floor Work Fusion

 

In this workshop we will explore how to expand our floor work movement vocabulary by incorporating techniques gleaned from modern, jazz, and ballet. We will then learn how to seamlessly fuse these disparate genres together with belly dance technique in order to create floor work patterns that allow for a flowing, full expression of movement.

 

Strong, effortless looking floor work, and graceful transitions require a strong core, so we will start with a challenging series of core conditioning Pilates and Yoga based exercises, followed by strengthening exercises for legs, feet, and ankles. We will also focus on developing flexibility, safe stretching techniques, and how to prepare for floor work prior to a performance.

 

This class is suitable for all levels of dancer, and modifications will be offered so that beginning, intermediate, and advanced dancers will be safely challenged.

 

Dancers should bring a towel for foot exercises, a Theraband or yoga strap if possible, and a yoga mat. Knee pads are highly recommended.

 

 

 

Classical Turns and Transitions for Belly Dancers

 

Flawless turns and transitions are one of the hallmarks of a refined, polished, and seasoned dancer.  In this workshop, we will deconstruct the anatomy of turns and transitions, breaking them down and focusing on the technique behind a flawless turn. We will start with a challenging series of conditioning exercises for the core, ankles, and feet to help the dancer attain proper balance necessary to execute effortless turns. We will also explore turns from a ballet based vocabulary including soutenu, chaine, and piqué, along with some modern and lyrical turns and transitions.  Finally, we will discuss the importance of utilizing visualization techniques to attain balanced and crisp turns.

 

This class is designed for all levels of dancer. Advanced and professional dancers will be challenged by practicing technique for multiple rotations in space, quick turns and transitions, and turning while changing levels. We will not be discussing turns specific only to belly dance in this workshop, however the techniques and conditioning explored will be transferable to other styles and genres of dance.

 

Dancers should bring a towel for foot exercises, a Theraband or yoga strap if possible, and a yoga mat. Also, dancers are encouraged to bring socks or ballet slippers.

 

 

 

A Dark Portrait: The Changeling, Character Studies and the Gothic Narrative

 

In this workshop we will explore how to create a cohesive narrative through mood, costume design, and character development. Workshop participants will explore various aspects of character evolution that contribute to a dancer’s ability to shape shift into different characters from one performance to another.  Participants will learn a short choreography and then translate it through several character changes.

 

Emphasis will be on connecting with the music and our intention as Changelings to inform the character and nuances in choreography. We will also briefly discuss the use of costuming and how it can enhance the audience’s understanding of the character and the overall narrative.

 

We will explore various techniques in the Changeling toolbox that allow us to metamorphose our physical form and our energetic pattern to meet the character’s unique sensibilities. We will also be using different musical selections from various genres to encourage improvisational movement and allow the movement to guide the formation of a character.

 

Finally, we will discuss the use of the stage as a tool. How do we use the stage effectively within a specific character? How does breaking the 4th wall affect the audience’s understanding of our character in a performance? 

 

 

 

Dark, Ethereal Grace, and Otherworldly Movement 

 

We’ve all seen them…. Dancers who cast an intoxicating spell on the audience by seeming to float across the stage with movement that is effortless, ethereal, and graceful. Whether we are watching the earthy, grounded, serpentine fluidity of Tribal Fusion, the gravity defying elegance of ballet, or the eerie and otherworldly style of Gothic, we are most entranced by dancers who are able to move with a fluidity that is organic, connected with breath, and fills every moment with grace.

 

In this workshop, we will explore the fundamentals of movement and deconstruct what makes a dancer graceful. Through a combination of technique refining exercises, meditation and discussion, we will focus on the use of negative space, transitions, musicality, turns, the use of breath, and the use of movement “textures” to enhance the visual landscape of a performance.

 

 

 

 

Dancing the Ecstatic:  A Ritual of Surrender

 

 

Throughout the ages, dance has been used as a vehicle of expressing spirit. This purity and passion of expression is often lost when dancers are concerned with technique and choreography. By focusing solely on perfecting technique, dancers can lose the spontaneity and passion needed for an effective performance. In this workshop, we will explore ways of having the best of both worlds; blending refined technique while surrendering to the character, music, spirit and energy of a piece.  This will allow for dancers to deliver more effective and more powerful performances.

 

The workshop will involve an amalgam of techniques designed to both inspire and challenge participants. We will learn a short combination and practice it with different musical selections. After this we will employ specific visualization exercises to increase our awareness of the energy and movement in the piece. 

 

This workshop is suitable for dancers of all levels.  Participants should wear comfortable, loose fitting clothes suitable for a broad range of movement.  Dancers are also encouraged to bring a pillow or blanket for the visualization component of the workshop. 

 

 

 

 

The Art of Lyrical Movement in Belly Dance: Expression, Emotion and Technique

 

 

In this workshop we will study how the technique fundamentals of ballet and modern dance; posture, alignment, core strength, balance, and body awareness, can improve a belly dancer's technique and performance skills. By attending to these elements, we promote increased attention to the beautiful line of the dancers body.  These skills are also important for turns, smooth transitions, and level changes. So, whether we are performing dark and romantic Gothic, utilizing veil, sword, or wings, or showcasing the quick pops/locks and super slow technique of Tribal Fusion, these fundamentals can help to refine our technique, and increase our body awareness.  

 

This workshop will also focus on the importance of improving allover flexibility in a safe manner, being respectful of the needs and sensibilities of our bodies. Finally, we will address a concept that I like to refer to as "negative space" and how this transition space is important in creating a more polished, refined look to a dancer's technique and performance.

 

 

 

A Dreamscape of the Absurd and the Sacred.: Symbolism, Dadaism, and Surrealism in Theatrical Bellydance

 

As theatrical belly dancers we are regularly called to produce works that involve not only creating choreography, but also a character, storyline, theme, or narrative.  The spectrum of possibilities is broad in scope, however at times when we are feeling uninspired, it is helpful to look outside the world of dance for a different perspective. 

 

In this workshop we discuss a trinity of artistic styles that offer a unique lens through which to view the creative process; the dreamscapes of the symbolists, the post modern dissonance offered by the Dadaists, and the alchemical distortion of the Surrealists.

 

 

Film Noir and Theatrical Bellydance: The Gaslight Effect

 

For those of us familiar with the 1944 Film Noir classic "Gaslight" the term may conjure images of dark misty London streets, flickering gas lamps, or the confusion and fear of a  young wife Paula (Ingrid Bergman) as she is slowly driven to a state of madness by her husband Gregory. Here the term "gaslighting" is meant to portray the cruel manipulations of one person over another, forcing the victim to doubt their memory, their understanding of reality, and ultimately their sanity. For theatrical performers however, the term gaslighting has a very different implication as it represents the artist utilizing specific techniques in order to fully engage our audience.

 

In a sense, gaslighting is a requirement if we are to successfully portray a character, give a sense of mood or feeling, portray a narrative. We need our audience to suspend any sense of disbelief or doubt as they follow us in a world that we have created in the sacred space provided by the stage.

 

So, how does a performer go about building a world onstage while also bringing the audience with us on this journey? How do we offer emotional, physical, and psychic cues to help inform and shift the audience's perception of the performance?

 

In this workshop we will explore the use of costuming, music, body language, stage work, breath, movement, and visualization as a means of enhancing and communicating our story to the audience. We will discuss the importance of being aware of our audience before we ever hit the stage, and how to choreograph with this in mind.

 

For performers who took "A Dark Portrait: Character Studies and the Gothic Narrative", this will further our exploration into the use of character. For performers who did not attend the earlier workshop, we will have a brief review of key concepts at the beginning of the session.

 

 

Honoring the Equinox: Mastering the Art of Balance

 

Whether looking through a metaphysical or physiological lens, balance is an essential component of performing for all dancers.  We require balance for super slow Tribal Fusion technique, quick locks and pops, turns, smooth transitions, and level changes. In this workshop we will focus on an amalgam of techniques; Pilates, ballet, modern dance and yoga that are designed to challenge our balance and increase our core strength.  We will also incorporate some exercises that we will do without visual aid (eyes closed or blindfolded) to gain a better understanding of how to use the visual landscape. 

 

 

 

 

 

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