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Workshops with Rachel and friends

2017 Workshops

  • Nubian
  • Saidi Kapow!
  • Modern Egyptian

Stay tuned for details of these workshops and more to be taught in 2017!

2016 Workshops

  • Silk Enchantment
  • Modern Egyptian
  • Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed
  • Silken Dreams: Veil for Beginners
  • Fancy Footwork (2 parts)

Selected Past Workshops

2017 Workshops

Nubian: from the people to the stage

Farrah: The Egyptian Dance Artists at Amera's Palace, 5 March 2017

Music from Nubia is super popular in Egypt, and once you hear it, you’ll know why - the rhythms are infectious! And the dance that goes along with it is such fun. Although it’s quite different from what we know as bellydance, even Dina often includes a segment in her shows. In this workshop, Rachel will take you on a journey down the Nile to Nubia. We will discuss the relevant historical, cultural and political factors first. Then, be introduced to the relaxed, social dance style done at weddings and other celebrations. Then explore the way that performance groups add formations and structure to present it on stage. From there, we carry it back up the Nile to see how the famous Reda Troupe interpreted and modified traditional Nubian dance to make it appeal to a wider audience. You’ll learn core movements, technique and combinations for each aspect of the dance, all set to joyful music.

Level: Beyond Beginners through to Advanced / Professional

Saidi Kapow!

Newcastle Bellydance Festival, Saturday 8 April 2017
Rachel's powerful Saidi workshop is completely different from any other! She will share her favourite rarely-taught men’s moves, from poses and ways of holding the stick through to dynamic combinations that we will put together into a short choreography. Throw in some quintessential Tahtib (‘fighting’) moves, and your Saidi dancing will never be the same!

Bring: A stick, preferably the men’s style assaya with no hook (some available for loan)

Create Your Signature Sword

Western Australian Middle Eastern Dance Festival, Sunday 4 June 2017
One size doesn't always fit all, and nor does one choreography. Bring your existing sword skills (if any), and we'll hone them and add more ideas. But then, Rachel will guide you to develop a routine that uses your favourite moves to best effect. Understand how to select music and structure a routine to keep your audience in suspense; show off your best isolations; and make it suit your personal style. Each student will leave with the foundation of their own unique choreography.

Bring: a sword or substitute (eg wooden replica)


Previous Festival Workshops

Silk Enchantment

Newcastle Bellydance Festival, March 2015
Be enchanted by the ethereal qualities of silk! Learn how to hold, swirl, float, drape and dance with your silk veil so it looks effortless and elegant. Try some classic and new combinations, then consolidate them with a choreography to the fusion piece “I put a spell on you”, adaptable to both fusion and Oriental dance styles.
Level: Open           Bring: A silk veil

Contemporary Cairo Style

Sydney Middle Eastern Dance Festival, May 2016
It sometimes seems that every Oriental dancer in Egypt has tried to copy Dina since she burst onto the scene in the early 90s. The powerful aesthetic she created has thoroughly changed how today’s performers in Cairo move. Let’s explore how her style differs from her predecessors, including her teacher Raqia Hassan, and how contemporary dancers such as Randa Kamel have taken her influence in new directions. Learn their signature moves, excerpts from their choreographies. Video references included.

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed

Western Australian Middle Eastern Dance Festival, June 2015
Did you know that the 3⁄4 shimmy (Egyptian walk) comes from the folkloric dance Haggala? That’s just one of the many folkloric influences on bellydance. Let’s explore some of these traditional roots and put them in a modern context. Discover how movements, technique and styling from folklore can add texture – even when performing in a cabaret costume to modern music. Whether the mood is elegant, earthy, masculine or flirtatious, you can bring more character, variety and integrity to your dancing.

Silken Dreams: Veil for Beginners

Western Australian Middle Eastern Dance Festival, June 2015
Learn to entrance your audience with the ethereal floating quality of silk. Let’s explore the many ways it can be used: dynamic throws, spins and swooshes, mysterious wraps and drapes, and artful framing. Ideas and combinations for your next choreography or improvisation with veil. Suitable for beginner and beyond beginner bellydancers who are new to dancing with a vei

Don’t Forget your Feet!

Newcastle Bellydance Festival, February 2015
Add pizzazz to your dancing by incorporating more active footwork. Explore using steps rather than just torso movement to interpret music. Learn the kicks, points, flicks, flourishes and other popular moves in the current Cairo style, to adapt and use in your own choreographies of any genre. Drawing inspiration from such sources as the famous Mahmoud Reda (himself influenced by ballroom and Latin dance), Randa Kamel (influenced by contemporary dance) and Rachel's own tango training, this workshop offers concepts, moves and combinations to twinkle your toes.

Legends of Egyptian Dance

Middle Eastern Dance Association of New Zealand Festival, April 2015

You've heard their names: Samia Gamal, Fifi Abdo, Dina and more. You may even know the "Souheir Zaki hip drop". But what do you know about the style of these famous dancers, and how they contributed to the development of Raqs Sharqi? These workshops offer a chronological introduction to some of the most important names in Egyptian dance over the past 80 years. Learn their signature moves, excerpts from their choreographies. Video references included. This is a great opportunity for dancers of any level to expand their knowledge and belly dance repertoire.

Part 1: Golden Era Glam
Middle Eastern Dance Association of New Zealand 2015 Festival, April 2015
You know the names of the great dancers from the 40s to 70s – Tahia Carioca, Samia Gamal, Fifi Abdo and so on – and you’ve probably heard of the Souheir Zaki hip drop. So let’s delve into the golden age and discover these famous icon’s style and signature moves.

Part 2: Contemporary Cairo
It sometimes seems that every Oriental dancer in Egypt has tried to copy Dina since she burst onto the scene in the early 90s. The powerful aesthetic she created has thoroughly changed how today’s performers in Cairo move. Let’s explore how her style differs from her predecessors, including her teacher Raqia Hassan, and how contemporary dancers such as Randa Kamel have taken her influence in new directions.

Shamadan: Lighting Your Path

Middle Eastern Dance Association of New Zealand Festival, April 2015
The shamadan dance has become a tradition symbolizing lighting a new path for a newlywed couple as part of the “zeffah” procession. It’s also beautiful and challenging, requiring control and groundedness. Learn a routine involving interesting troupe formations and optional floorwork. Advanced students may add finger cymbals, which are also commonly played during shamadan dance. Can be done to a classic shamadan song or a modern piece.

Hipdrop Heaven plus Juicy Jewels

Sydney Middle Eastern Dance Festival 2015
One of the fascinating aspects of Bellydance is the contrast btween sharp, accented moves and smooth gooey moves. Learn how to activate the right muscles to create these two very different effects. Discover the technique behind the basic hip drop and how to create loads of variations. We then demystify the mesmerising yet elusive “jewel” move and discover its many variations, to add a whole new layer of texture to your dancing. Versatile combinations will be taught to incorporate into your next choreography or for use in practice.

Create Meaningful Choreography

Western Australian Middle Eastern Dance Festival, May 2015
Do you yearn to choreograph your own dances, but aren’t sure how to go about it? Rachel helps you demystify the process with a step-by-step system that can be applied to any music, any style, and by dancers of any level. Learn how to bring more emotion, story and drama or richer musicality to your choreographies, and create a dance that is uniquely personal.

Modern Egyptian

Scimitar Moon Bellydance, Townsville QLD, July 2015
A choreography to a rich modern instrumentation of the classic song "Nassam Alayna el Hawa". Full of moves fresh from Cairo, in the contemporary style. As well as technique, this routine teaches how to use your stage and structure the dance for maximum impact. Suitable for solo or troupe performances.

Saidi with Power!

Wollongong Bellydance Festival, September 2015
Saidi dance is a staple of the bellydancer’s repertoire, usually performed with a stick. While it can be danced in a soft and feminine way, your performance will be much more powerful if you can incorporate strong moves as well. The stick or assaya is an essential partner in daily life for the traditional men of the Saiid (Upper Egypt), carrying great symbolic power and pride: let’s capture some of this feeling! Learn to manipulate the stick in a more masculine way, with combinations that you can apply directly to your own dancing for contrast, authenticity, boldness and punch. Plus, we’ll try some Tahtib (‘fighting’) moves than can be be done with partners or modified for a solo stick dance.

Bring: a stick/cane. Men’s style preferred (long, thick and straight), otherwise a regular Saidi cane. Spares will be available for interstate visitors. False moustache optional!
Level: Open - all levels welcome. Some experience dancing with a stick is highly recommended.


Past Workshops

Shine on Stage

Some people are born performers, but performance is a skill like any other and one that you can learn if, like Rachel, you’re not a “natural”. Using these tips and techniques you will gain confidence and stage presence, whether dancing at the Christmas concert, for family and friends or on stage for the general public.

Learn to banish your frown or fake smile and discover your inner diva so that performances go from terrifying to exhilarating experiences. Suitable for all levels.

Saturday 3 May 2014, 2.30 - 4.30pm at Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL Club
Bahar Bayram Middle Eastern Dance and Music Camp, October 2014

Break the Improvisation Barrier

Do you ever feel stuck and unable to think of moves; or frantically dancing harder and harder? Learn to relax into improvising. We'll address common misconceptions and sticking points, and play with exercises on creativity & thinking outside the box for confident improvising. Bring a notepad and pen, and an open mind. Suitable for all levels.

Friday 30 May 2014, 10am-12pm at Regal Theatre, Perth
Preceded by Energising Warm-up, 9.15-9.45am

Feedback: "so good to meet you at WAMED, I'm really looking forward to doing more workshops with you, I hope you're back next year. Thanks for the notes, really helpful and very timely as I'm working on a solo with improv, which will be the first time I've ever done anything on my own like this and will definitely stretch me. Everything I learnt with you has been enormously helpful" - Rachel R

Elegant Egyptian Classic

The love song "Ganal Hawa" is a must-know for every Oriental dancer. Learn an elegant routine in the contemporary Egyptian style, featuring the latest moves from Cairo blended with classic styling to capture the essence of the beautiful music.
Level: Intermediate

Saturday 22 February 2014, 3:30pm to 5pm at Wallsend Diggers Club - part of Newcastle Bellydance Festival 2014

Technique Bootcamp

Do you ever feel clunky or unstable when you dance, or wish you could understand and control your moves better? Refresh and extend your awareness of the fundamentals, and learn to dance from the inside out. This workshop will improve your performances from wo to go and is also recommended for anyone who has gone straight to fusion styles without establishing the core bellydance moves first.
LEVEL: Suitable for all levels and genres.

Saturday 16th February 2013, 9.30-11am at Cardiff Panthers - part of Newcastle Bellydance Festival 2013

Shimmies and Egyptian Walks

Wiggle it – a lot, not a little! Shimmies are among the most crowd-pleasing bellydance moves, and shouldn’t be an effort. Create powerful yet relaxed hip and shoulder shimmies that go on forever. Match it to the music. Then take those hips for an Egyptian walk. This workshop for beginner and beyond beginner students gives you all the tools you need to shake, rattle and roll!

Open Level (recommended for Beginners and Beyond, or anyone who struggles with their shimmies)

Monday 14 January 2013, 6-8pm at Amera's Palace, Marrickville.

Fire in the Belly 2012 presents:

Technique Bootcamp (see below)

Secrets of Swashbuckling Sword (see below)

Technique & Combos from Mahmoud Reda
Want to add texture, elegance and flow to your dancing? Mahmoud Reda - the father of modern Egyptian dance - developed a graceful style and a unique way of combining moves. Enhance your choreographies and improvisation with some of his typical moves, flowing arms, and balletic footwork patterns. You’ll never be stuck on the spot again!
Bring: jiffies/ ballet shoes or socks so that you can turn easily.

Fire In The Belly was held in Albury/Wodonga on 20-21 October 2012.

Swashbuckling Sword

The sword is a weapon and a symbol of power, and must be handled carefully! Learn to manipulate it, balance it various ways, and create drama and anticipation. We then use our new skills to map out an effective choreography that has audiences holding their breath! The music is specially chosen for this routine, combining fast modern sections with slow, dramatic taksim for maximum effect. Bring your own balanced sword.

Presented at the Sydney Middle Eastern Dance Festival 2012

"Yes" You Can Play with Zills

Don't forget the PLAY in playing! This interactive workshop aims to make finger cymbals fun and accessible by teaching not only the basics, but also playful ways to develop and remember zill rhythms. As well as finger technique, you will learn several commonly used zill rhythms and tips on varying and combining them creatively. Using simple drills, you will be guided step by step through to being able to play while you dance!

Suitable for zill novices (with beyond beginner dance experience), and for more experienced players needing inspiration to play more than just triplets. Bring properly elasticised zills. See www.inspirebellydance.com.au/zills.html for advice on selecting and preparing zills.

Newcastle, 25/26 February 2012.

Egyptian Entrance Choreography: "Set el Hosen"

This classic song was originally composed for Nagwa Fouad, and Rachel’s modern Egyptian style choreography takes advantage of its dynamic sound and mood changes. We will begin by creating a strong entrance using a veil. Next, the heart of the song starts slowly with plenty of juicy moves and footwork combos including the latest steps from Cairo, before developing to a climax with sharp accents guaranteed to have your audience clapping along.

Music: “Set el Hosen”, an edited version from Samy Farag’s “Dunia el Raks” album.

Level: Intermediate, with options for more advanced students to incorporate more challenging technique and/or finger cymbals.

DVDs of this choreography are available for workshop participants.

Presesnted by Wollongong Belly Dance Festival 2011

Folkloric Cocktail

Want to learn about the dance's history, love dancing in a group, or just prefer to cover your tummy? Folklore is for you! Nubian is a fun style still danced at weddings and celebrations. Haggala, from Egypt's Western Desert, is the source of the Egyptian walk and gives a strong twist to familiar Oriental moves. Finally, Andalusian features graceful flowing movements inspired by ballet, Spanish dance, and beautiful Moorish poetry.

Sydney Middle Eastern Dance Festival 2011

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Inspire! Bellydance presents:

Swashbuckling Sword

The sword is a weapon and a symbol of power, and must be handled carefully! Learn to manipulate it, balance it various ways, and create drama and anticipation. We then use our new skills to map out an effective choreography that has audiences holding their breath! The music is specially cut for this routine, combining fast modern sections with slow, dramatic taksim for maximum effect. Bring your own balanced sword.

Sunday 30 May 2010, 3-5pm. Plus during lunchtime (2-3pm) we’ll have a costume bazaar. An opportunity to buy and sell new or used costumes and other goodies!

View the choreography as performed at the Festival on YouTube.

Inspire! Bellydance presents:

Saidi and Rakset al Assaya

Rachel Saidi

More than just dancing with a stick, Saidi is a masculine, earthy style from Upper Egypt. Experience its joy and power!

WORKSHOP 1: Saidi fundamentals
Learn to recognise Saidi music and dance it with a different flavour from classical bellydance. Discover how to hold, spin and work with the assaya (cane) and learn simple but effective moves and combinations. Suitable for Beyond Beginner dancers with little or no experience in Saidi, or for more experienced dancers as preparation for the choreography workshop.

WORKSHOP 2: Saidi combinations and choreography
For those already familiar with basic Saidi style and stick use, we delve deeper into technique. Add richness and groundedness to your dancing, and explore new ways to manipulate the assaya. Learn more challenging moves and combinations in a choreography to Daggat Galbi by Assi el Hellani.

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Inspire! Bellydance presents:

Competent and Creative Zills

Don't forget the PLAY in playing! This interactive workshop aims to make finger cymbals fun and accessible by teaching not only the basics, but also playful ways to develop and remember zill rhythms. As well as finger technique, you will learn several commonly used zill rhythms and tips on varying and combining them creatively. Using simple drills, you will be guided step by step through to being able to play while you dance!

Suitable for zill novices (with beyond beginner dance experience), and for more experienced players needing inspiration to play more than just triplets. Bring properly elasticised zills. See www.inspirebellydance.com.au/zills.html for advice on selecting and preparing zills.

The two-hour workshop was originally held as part of the 2009 Sydney Middle Eastern Dance Festival, where it sold out. Repeat workshops were held in Paddington on Saturday 27 June 2009 and in Rozelle on Sunday 30 May 2010.

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Inspire! Bellydance presents:

Alexander Technique for Dancers

A workshop with Brendan Bond

The Alexander Technique is a fun and practical way to improve our co-ordination in any activity. Dancers of all levels can use the Technique to increase their ease of movement, speed of learning and confidence, whether for dancing socially or performing.

Through the Alexander Technique, you will learn about the underlying patterns of co-ordination that determine our quality of movement in any activity. Dancing requires us to perform complex movements gracefully, powerfully and quickly, all the while co-ordinating our own movements with the music, our partner (for tango/salsa) and the audience (for performers). The clarity, poise, confidence, and ease of movement fostered by the Alexander Technique provide an invaluable foundation for the learning and refinement of your specific dance and performance skills.

11am-2pm, Sunday 26 April 2009

Brendan Bond is a certified Alexander Technique teacher and a teaching member of Alexander Technique International.

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Nubian

The Sydney Middle Eastern Dance Festival presents:

Mambo el Soudani (Nubian)

You can't help smiling when you hear the distinctive sound of Nubian music! Still a living art form in Southern Egypt and Northern Sudan, this dance style has very different technique from classical bellydance. It's usually a group dance that tells a story, as Farrah presented at the 2009 concert.

Learn the fundamentals of Nubian Dance through a fun choreography to this light-hearted song by Salamat. Bring a veil, a firm headband, and safety and/or bobby pins. DAY & TIME: Friday 9.30 - 11.30 am, 30 April 2010

View the choreography as performed at the Festival on YouTube.

Amera's Palace presents:

Improvised Accordion Balady

Everyone knows Shik Shak Shok – but did you know it’s an example of a feminine balady progression? A vital part of any dancer’s repertoire, this rich and beautiful old Egyptian form is how a dancer is judged in many Egyptian eyes. So how do you identify the music? How do you dance to it? And, if it’s improvised, how can we even teach it? Discover the keys to dancing accordion balady with respect and feeling.

Wednesday 20 January 2010, 6-8pm

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