Dr. Laura Osweiler
International Dance Instructor, Performer, Choreographer, Producer & Scholar
Dr Laura (Amara) Osweiler is known for her personalized attention to student needs. She wants teachers, dancers and students to be the best that they can be at any given time. Amara stresses a strong foundation while helping individuals achieve their goals and enjoy their practice of learning. As the result of working closely with students, she in turn learns from them and continues to expand her teaching methods.
Amara has over thirty years of teaching experience. More than twenty-five of them in studios teaching dance, creative practice, fitness and health classes. Students ranger from beginners to professional levels, from youths to adults with Dementia.
While attending graduate school, Laura took courses in dance pedagogy. She gained invaluable insights and feedback from top dance therapists and educators. They supported the development of her own method of teaching.
While at University of California Riverside and University of California Los Angeles, Laura designed and taught accredited courses in dance and dance history. Since then, Amara has taught accredited courses at Cal Poly Pomona and continuing adult education classes at the Learning Tree and Golden Oaks in Los Angeles. Additionally, she taught workshops at a number of universities, colleges and festivals in the United States, Canada and Australia.
In 2006, Laura saw a need for new and seasoned studio teachers to learn and practice new pedagogical methods. She wanted to share tools and methods that a teacher of any style could immediately apply to practical situations. She developed the seminar series ‘How to Teach Dance’ which became the teaching certification program.
Laura (Amara Dances) Osweiler, PhD is an internationally known Middle Eastern dancer, teacher, choreographer, producer and scholar. She’s known for her versatility, knowledge and creativity.
Amara has been featured on Television shows including ‘We are Austin’ (2010, 2016, 2017, 2020), ‘7Plus Morning Show’ (Sydney 2019), ‘Today’ (Sydney 2019) & ‘BDTV’ (Los Angeles 2004). Dance Informa (2022) Multicultural NSW (2020) and Australia Council for the Art wrote about her work. And she was the cover of ‘The Argonaut’ (LA 2004) and ‘Jareeda’ (USA 2006). The International Academy of Middle Eastern Dance (IAMED) called her a Star of Belly Dance and LARaqs.com named her Instructor of the Month (Oct. 2008).
As a performer, Amara is sought out for her entertaining and dynamic Classic American belly dance style. Her shows include sword, veil, double veil and zil work. She is equally skilled in many MENAHT (Middle Eastern, North African, Hellenic (Greek) and Turkish) folk dances. For over 20 years, Laura has been a leading innovator in contemporary, theatrical and experimental Middle Eastern dance. Amara has performed as a soloist and in Middle Eastern Dance companies. She held long–term dance engagements at several Middle Eastern restaurants and nightclubs including, Pars (LA), Elbasha (LA), Mamounia (LV) and Alborz (Austin) as well as at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas. She has also been highlighted in over 15 commercial videos including IAMED, BDTV and the EEMED series.
Trained in Contemporary choreography, Ballet and MENAHT dances, she brings these and others into her work. Her Belly Dance shows emphasises improvisation, musicality, styling, technique, direct audience interaction. In her experimental and intercultural dance pieces, Laura slides from choreography and improvisation; solos, group, collaboration; non-narrative, narrative structures; emotive, theoretical, personal and socio-political content. She also regularly collaborates with other dancers, musicians, lighting designer and videographers. Laura’s current choreographic and performance practice that interweaves dance, movement, film, music, audio description and health and employs communication technologies to support access and engage with audiences in different locations.
Amara has directed several community and academic performance group. She was Director and Choreographer of Ya Helewa!, a Middle Eastern dance company for 15 years. They performed a diverse repertory of traditional and experimental improvisations and choreographies. Ya Helewa! held a long–term dance engagements at Moun of Tunis (LA) and Pars (LA) and are featured on several commercial videos. Ya Helewa!’s appearances include numerous concerts in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Diego & Austin.
Laura/Amara supports her communities by producing a variety of dance events. She is currently co-producer of The Austin Belly Dance Convention and Assistant Producer of Dance for Parramasala Festival (Sydney). She is known for the international acclaimed theatrical concert An Evening of Experimental Middle Eastern Dance (EEMED) in which dancers produced cutting edge works and developed a new genre of dance. Amara also co-produced X–MED, workshops/shows on tools and methods for creating experimental dance and Tarab workshops/shows on improvisation with live music. She has produced other workshops, shows and commercial videos and in 1998, co–founded Dance Under Construction, a UC system wide graduate dance conference. From 2015-2020, Laura was General Manager at Critical Path, Australia’s leader in choreographic research and development.
In addition to teaching, performing and producing, Laura is deeply involved with studying and researching Middle Eastern dance. She holds a PhD in Dance History and Theory from the UC Riverside, a BA in Music History and Literature and a certificate in Ethnomusicology from The Florida State University and worked towards an MA and MFA in Dance at UCLA. She has published articles in numerous Middle Eastern dance magazines and has presented papers at international dance conferences including, Congress on Research and Dance (CORD), Society for Dance History Scholars (SDHS), Oral History Association, International Belly Dance Conference of Canada and International Conference on Middle Eastern Dance, The Bold Festival and The Sydney Festival.