DANCE HISTORY WORKSHOPS

Dance Workshops & Lectures

Expand you cultural & historical knowledge!

Dr Laura (Amara Dances) Osweiler has taught Belly Dance workshops for over twenty-five years for beginners to professional levels.

She has a passion for dance history and holds a PhD in Dance History & Theory from the University of California, Riverside.

Choose from her workshop list or Amara can create workshops based on your cultural and historical interests.

Amara dances green and blue bedlah bellydance
Introduction to Middle Eastern Dance (Can also include lecture)

The Middle East has a hugely diverse repertoire of dances; raqs al sharqi (belly dance), folk, ethnic and tribal dances and sacred movement practices. Learn about regional, national and local genres. Can also include historical, gender and socio-political components.

Classic American Belly Dance

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. Part 1 introduces entrance and veil and Part 2 presents floorwork, drum solo, and karsilama. Please bring zils, rectangular veil, large skirt, and knee pads/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.

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.

Introduction to Middle Eastern Dance

The Middle East has a hugely diverse repertoire of dances; raqs al sharqi (belly dance), folk, ethnic and tribal dances and sacred movement practices. Learn about regional, national and local genres. Can also include historical, gender and socio-political components.

The Introduction of Middle Eastern Dance into the United States

Based on primary research, Laura examines the introduction of Middle Eastern dance into the United States during the Expositions in Philadelphia (1876) and in Chicago (1893) in order to understand how the socio-political situations and performing contexts impacted the dance and dancers. These Middle Eastern dancers performed in a time and place where they were seen and not heard – where Exposition directors, journalists, and scientists spoke for and about them. Official accounts did not record the changes dancers made in adapting to new settings and audiences. Instead, they cultivated an image of Middle Eastern dance as authentic, traditional, and static.

Dancing on the Fringe: The Development of the Experimental Middle Eastern Dance “Genre”

Based on her dissertation, Laura examines the development of experimental Middle Eastern dance “genre” in the United States at the turn of the twenty-first century. It demonstrates that practitioners, through citation and reiteration, solidify most traditional Middle Eastern dance genres into stable identities and conceal their construction. In this process, they push those who do not comply with rules and structures into the fringe. However, experimental Middle Eastern choreographers expand and empower these margins. Their practices emphasize uniqueness and hybridization rather than repetition and solidification and create movement through numerous borders. Thereby, they create a new discourse of Middle Eastern dance.

Naming the Dance

Drawing on her dissertation research, including oral histories and written texts, Laura dives into the complex and messy world of Middle Eastern dance genre names: who uses what term to label a dance and why. She explores the politics of choosing one name over another or using several depending upon context and audience. She also unpacks the dynamics between practitioners and academics to allow those often unheard dancers to voice their positions.

Professional Dance Development

Laura can present on a number of topics that support a dancers’ professional development, including writing biographies, CVs and workshops/class descriptions, understanding when and what it takes to go professional and teach and teacher, choreographic and production training,

Reading Class Group

We read and discuss articles and books about the vast array of Middle Eastern dance genres found around the world. In addition to presenting information about the dance, we focus on enriching analytical tools and vocabulary for reading, describing, and discussing dance and its social contexts.

Video Class Group

We watch Middle Eastern dance videos covering the vast array of genres found around the world. In addition to presenting information about the dance and dancer, we focus on enriching analytical tools and vocabulary for reading, describing, and discussing dance and its social contexts.