Belly Dance Workshops
Belly Dance & Middle Eastern Dance Training
Expand your dance knowledge!
Dr Laura (Amara Dances) Osweiler has taught Belly Dance workshops for over twenty-five years for beginners to professional levels.
Find below workshops on technique, choreography, improvisation, styling, props, zils (finger cymbals) & musicality.
Most workshops can be geared towards Belly Dance and fusion styles & specific skill levels. Choose from her workshop list or request something special just for you!
Beginner & Intermediate Belly Dance
This class is designed for students that have taken the introductory belly dance or already have a foundation in belly dance. Each series focuses on a different topic, such as choreography, improvisation tools, props (e.g. sword, veil, and stick), floorwork, and zils (finger cymbals). Continue to work on fundamentals while expanding your vocabulary and overall comprehension of dance in terms of grace, conditioning, endurance, and presentation. Each class includes dynamic warm up, technique, choreography or improvisation, and cool down.
Youth Belly Dance
Learn the beautiful and dynamic art of belly dance in a fun and supportive atmosphere. Explore Middle Eastern dance by developing a strong foundation in posture, isolation techniques, muscle control, choreographic sequences, and musicality. In addition, you will learn terminology and the history of Middle Eastern and Belly Dance. Each class includes dynamic warm up, technique, choreography or improvisation, and cool down.
Introduction to Belly Dance
No dance experience is required! This class is for students new to belly dance and those who want to refresh skills or practice the basics. Explore Middle Eastern dance by developing a strong foundation in posture, isolation techniques, muscle control, choreographic sequences, and musicality. In addition, you will learn terminology and the history of Middle Eastern and Belly Dance. Each class includes dynamic warm up, technique, choreography or improvisation, and cool down.
Intermediate/Advanced Belly Dance Series
This class is designed for students that have a strong foundation and are ready to go to the next level. There is an emphasis on mastering high level material and developing personal dance styles. Each series focuses on a different topic, such as choreography, improvisation tools, props (e.g. sword, veil, and stick), floorwork, zils (finger cymbals), performance techniques, and creating dance. Continue to build upon fundamentals by combining layers, shimmies, and traveling steps with grace and refinement. Each class includes dynamic warm up, technique, choreography or improvisation, and cool down.
Fitness and Technique
This class is great for students new to belly dance and those who want to refresh skills or practice the basics. Explore Middle Eastern dance by developing a strong foundation in posture, isolation techniques, muscle control, choreographic sequences, and musicality. In addition, you will learn terminology and the history of Middle Eastern and Belly Dance.
Advanced Drum Solo Choreography
This upbeat and thrilling choreography to the music “Rhythm of Cairo” from Leila Haddad’s Ahla Leila is filled with layered shimmies, accents, quick changes, and dynamic patterns.
Entrance Choreography/Advanced Choreography
Learn choreography to the beautiful and classic song “Leylet Hob” by renowned composer Mohammed Abdel Wahab. Move through flowing undulations, exciting floor patterns, layered shimmies, and tempo changes.
This choreography is appropriate for intermediate and advanced dancers, but beginners are more than welcomed to come along for the face paced ride!
Advanced Veil Choreography
Transitions and Phrases in Belly Dance Improvisation
Improvisation is based upon your body deciding in the moment how to move within a dance’s aesthetics and flow with the music and audience’s response. Practice moving from one step to another in order to develop variety in your improvisations. Begin by creating an arsenal of moves that visually present a phrase’s characteristics (instrument, melody, rhythm, and beat). Then use this material to explore transitions which includes, solidifying where a movement starts and ends, knowing which moves begin weighted or un-weighted, cultivating your weaker side, responding to nuances in the music, and dancing fluidly in the moment.
Beg/Inter Belly Dance Improvisation
Belly dance is traditionally an improvisational form. Come learn fun and exciting moves and choreographic phrases, while cultivating a strong foundation in technique, flexibility, and muscle control. Practice moving from one step to another in order to develop a sense of flow and beautiful musicality. Each class includes dynamic warm up, technique, improvisation exercises, and cool down. It is recommended that students take the whole series, but drop-ins are always welcomed.
The Art of Taqsim
Taqsim is a transcendental moment in which dancer and musician are improvising as one. Learn improvisational techniques that allow you to flow with a musician’s improvisation of melody and rhythm. Amara will guide you through an exploration of movement qualities, such speed, size, weight, and qualities so you can embody and portray the music while expanding your current vocabulary.
Beg/Inter: This level also includes an introduction to Middle Eastern instruments that covers how they look and sound. In addition, it explores ways in which instrumentation impacts your dance choices.
Inter/Adv: This level includes more difficult instrumentation that expects layering shimmies and flow seamlessly together. In addition, it trains dancers to focus on the melody instead of an accompanied repeating rhythm.
Improvisation for Exciting Entrances
Explore the intricate connections between dance and music in an entrance section. Learn how to listen to music in order to become a visual presentation by understanding floor space, floor patterns, instrumentation, phrasing, and musical structures.
Drum Solo Improvisation
Come take the mystery out drum solos and replace it with fun improvisational moments. Learn common rhythmic patterns and drum sounds.
Exploring the World of the Drum Solo with Ozzy and Amara
Understand both sides of the drum solo equation from world renowned Darbuka player Ozzy and dancer Amara. Through combos, drills, and improvisational tools, you will study the most important aspects of performing with a live drummer. Learn drum sounds and rhythms and moves that work with them. Dissect important transitions in order to get the most out of nuances and enhance your show. Explore the structure of an Arab drum solo including how they are composed and improvised. Understand the relationship between drummer and dancer and how to maximize your time on stage together.
Learn Amara’s system of breaking down moves to their most fundamental components and fun ways to combine them to create complex movements and transitions.
Shimmy by Shimmy
Amara believes that any move can be shimmied. But the question is how? Learn various techniques and approaches to get those perfect shimmies. Discover how to shimmy any movement, shimmy one body part while moving another, combine shimmies, and shimmy while traveling.
Elegant Hands & Arms
Audiences are drawn to a dancer’s arms and hands because they communicate so much information. And let’s be honest, many of us find beautiful arms challenging. By learning about their muscles and joints, you’ll develop an understanding of which ones to use and how. This leads not only to strong, fluid movements, but also to good posture and may help to elevate neck and shoulder pain. By connecting arms and hands patterns to other movements, you’ll experience whole body awareness. And present to audiences the polished, refined dancer that you are!
Combos, Combos, and More Combos
Take your dancing to the next level by learning advanced movements and combos. Work on exciting steps full of layers, shimmies, and traveling while building a sense of grace and refinement.
Super Gooey Belly Dance Combos
Knowing how to produce strong, fluid, taffy movements is essential for any dancer. Discover how shapes and pathways flow effortless from one to another. Work on exercises that strengthen the body’s core muscles to produce slow and slinky moves.
Classic American Belly Dance (Generally 2-Parts)
Between the 1950s and 1970s, Classic American belly dance developed into its own genre. Although it has roots in numerous dance forms, Turkish dancers and Turkish styling greatly impacted American Cabaret’s presentation. Learn the history of this dance, explore what goes into a 7-part routine, understand how zils, improvisation, and live music impact a dancer’s musicality, and discover how to put Turkish-American movement, posture, and energy into your dance. This sampling includes: Part 1, entrance and veil and Part 2, floorwork, drum solo, and karsilama. Please bring zils, rectangular veil, large skirt, and knee pads/yoga mat.
Vintage American Belly Dance Floorwork
Belly dancers during the 1960s and 1970s reinvigorated the art of Floorwork, the segment of a dance routine in which a performer displays her strength and flexibility. Explore these graceful and powerful movements in the Classical Belly Dance style. Learn exercises and stretches to condition and safely perform these movements. Adjustments and variations will also be given to participants of any fitness level. Students should bring soft, flexible kneepads and a yoga mat.
Threads of Classic American Belly Dance in contemporary American Middle Eastern Dance
Come learn how to add American Belly Dance into your style. This classic, high energy, audience pleasing form blends dances from all over the Middle East with American popular culture. Also, explore which aspects of its movements, styling, structure and choreographic processes laid foundations in other forms, such as Tribaret, American Tribal Style, Improvisational Tribal Style, Tribal Fusion, Theatrical Belly dance, and Experimental belly dance.
Now that you have learned a bunch of technique and movements, what’s next? Make the dance your own Work on subtleties and refinement of dance. Enhance your performance by incorporating fascinating head, shoulder, and chest angles and extensions. Emote using your facial and bodily expressions to communicate what you want with your audiences.
Raqs al-Assaya (stick dance)
A dance genre that comes from the Saidi region of Egypt. Learn to wield your assaya while also differentiating how the dance is performed in the Saidi region, in Staged folk dance shows (ala Reda Troupe and Qawmiya), and in raqs al-sharqi (belly dance) routines.
Audiences love swords Not only is the sword dramatic with a hint of danger, but is a wonderful prop that does not take up too much space in a crowded venue. You will learn spectacular ways to handle and present your sword, techniques to balance the sword quickly and securely, and more importantly, what to do once the sword is balanced: beautiful stationary movements and techniques for travelling all while balancing the sword. Sword work is not only a great way to expand your performance repertoire but is also extremely helpful with isolations and balance in your dance. Please bring a sword and a flat non-slick headband.
The Art of Beautiful Veil: Beginner
The Veil is a wonderful dance partner. It can expand your sense of being farther into space and adds texture and breath. Learn wraps, throws, swishes, throws, circles, and spins that will keep any audience enthralled and mesmerized. Please bring a standard 3 yard rectangular veil.
The Art of Beautiful Veil: Advanced
The Veil is a wonderful dance partner. It expands your sense of being farther into space and adds texture, color, and breath into a dance. We will learn figure eights, envelopes, one-arm circles, circles within circles, and spins that will keep any audience enthralled and mesmerized. Please bring a standard 3 yard rectangular veil.
Double Veil: 3 hours Advanced
The Veil is a wonderful dance partner. It expands your sense of being farther into space and adds texture, color, and breath into a dance. But why dance with one veil when you dance two? Learn how to hold them, separate, and bring together as well as swishes, envelopes, throws, circles, and spins that will keep any audience enthralled and mesmerized.
Please bring 2 veils or 2 circular veil.
Performance Series: Veil Choreography
Intro. to Zils (finger cymbals)
This series focuses on zils (finger cymbals). Practice how to move while playing the zils, find the beat, and learn basic Arab rhythms. Do not feel that you need to have zils in order to participate in class. If you have a set please bring them. Amara will have some for purchase and a couple of sets to try out.
Zils and Drum Solos
Zils (finger cymbals) are a wonderful way to add dramatic life to any performance. While dancing and playing along to drum solos, learn iqa’at (rhythms) and their various patterns. Zils are a great tool to understand what you are really dancing to and learn music quickly. Come take the mystery out drum solos and replace it with fun confidence!
Adding Musicianship to Your Performance - Drills and Zils
Zils (finger cymbals) are a great way to add life to any performance. Learn drills that teach how zil patterns, rhythms, and movements easily relate. Take your playing to new heights by playing with various parts of the music, such as beat, rhythm, and melody to create dynamic and musically creative performances. Please bring zils.