The majority of offerings on this platform are long-form programs for upper-level students, designed to deliver an experience equivalent to training in a physical studio. This initial direction was chosen based on the relative scarcity of distance-learning options in this niche. Moving forward, I plan to shift my focus to open-level content, and shorter segments. Complete courses for all levels are a long-term goal. In the meantime, if there is something in particular you would like to see, please ask.
As a teacher, my goal is to empower students with agency and ownership. I want to give you the tools you need to create the dance that you want to put into the world. I aspire to be kind, supportive, and nonjudgmental (the latter of which has manifested on this platform with an almost comic overuse of the phrase, “from my perspective.”) My specialty is training clean versatile technique.
As a belly dance performer, I consider my style to be contemporary theatrical Oriental dance, working in the genre of fantasy and magical realism. In terms of technique, I am known for soft, delicate styling, intricate sequencing, and lyrical arm carriage and footwork. Aesthetically and contextually, I am interested in using dance to evoke magic, mystery, sensuality, and enchantment.
While I do teach dances in my signature style, in introductory programs, I focus on building a strong foundation of intentional movement: I strive to separate style and gesture as layers rather than inherent movement components, and to teach movements in terms of fundamental joint articulations, so that they may be adapted into any cultural or artistic idiom. And for beginners, I emphasize traditional belly dance music, so that students will develop a familiarity with the traditional canon and with traditional conventions of musicality. Even for artists who do not plan to to pursue belly dance in a cultural context, I believe a foundation of interpreting traditional music encourages coherent instincts in phrasing and sequencing.
After building our foundation, in upper level classes, we build fluency, and turn greater focus on belly dance as a medium for creative self-expression.
At every level, I challenge myself and my students to ask and understand both “how” and “why.” For this reason, I greatly value information, and many of my programs contain a significant component of explanation. And, because many of the students who use this platform do not speak English as a first language, I try to speak slowly. If explanation is not your optimal learning modality, the video medium offers the option to skip ahead. And all of the programs on this platform are bookmarked, to facilitate your navigating directly to the content you want. For content with no pause for explanations, look for the “nonstop flow format” tag.
I teach based on a six-level syllabus. Within this system, students master each building block before adding complexity. So, rather than spending your first months—or years, or entire dance career—floundering through a wide repertoire of sloppy moves, you attain vocabulary gradually, but dance with precision right from the start.
Right now, this platform does not offer a complete progression through every level. But, to give you a sense of context, my curriculum is outlined below.
Level 1/Absolute Beginner programs are for both new beginners and fresh starters. Even if you have training in another dance form, or even if you have familiarity with belly dance as Middle-Eastern social dance, I still recommend starting at Level 1. Level 1 vocabulary includes weighted swinging tilts, shifts in the horizontal plane, unweighted lifts and twists, basic footwork, and basic arm technique. Many students spend 2-4 months working through this material.
At Level 2/Continuing Beginner and Level 3/Advanced Beginner, students continue to acquire vocabulary. Level 2 movements include unweighted drops and double drops, Egyptian-style double drops, weighted pushes and twists, undulations, rib cage circles, and vertical-plane 8s. Movements added at Level 3 include weighted cresting tilts and Egyptian shimmies, ¾ shimmy, and upper-body and full-body undulations. Many students spend 4-8 months working through these levels.
In Level 4/Low Intermediate programs, I teach props, including finger cymbals, veil, and cane. We round out our knowledge of building blocks and turn our focus to layering, variations, intricate sequencing, and compound moves such as jewels. At this level we also begin to work with more physically challenging vocabulary such as backbends and floorwork. A student who is very proactive, or who is a quick study, might be at a low intermediate level in about six months. A student working at a more moderate pace might be at a low intermediate level in about a year.
Intermediate programs (Level 5) are for students who have worked through the full canon of belly dance vocabulary, but who are still building fluency. At this level we focus on taking ownership: using belly dance as a vehicle for self-expression; and unlocking an intuitive sense of sequencing and transitions, to build speed, and to foster independent improvisation and choreography creation. Level 5 classes may also use nontraditional music, nontraditional dance technique and vocabulary, and work for dance theater. Not every dancer progresses, or aspires to progress, beyond level 5. Time spent at this level, and progress beyond this level, is a highly personal and variable process that depends on a dancer’s aspirations, ambition, ability, and resources.
Dancers at Level 6 are accomplished performers engaged in the lifelong process of continuing education.