Bellydance Workshops and Talks with Rachael

Dance workshops

The list below gives an idea of Rachael’s favourite topics, but if you would like to cover something different, she will be happy to create a class for you. All of these workshops can be tailored to the level of your group.

  • Fearless Improvisation – Improvise with confidence! Improvisation is at the heart of bellydance, and it’s also the key to creating beautiful choreography. In this class we’ll use musical layers and phrasing, to create dances in the moment whilst feeling relaxed and in control.
  • Rachael and Rhythmic Ginger live improvised drum solo in Bergen, Norway - January 2016. Photo by Andrew Aitken.

    Rachael and Adam in Bergen, Norway – January 2016. Photo by Andrew Aitken.

    Drum solos (with live drummer) – Rachael teaches these classes together with percussionist Adam Warne (Rhythmic Ginger). Possible topics include:

    • Introduction to live drum solos
    • Working with rhythms and accent patterns
    • Masterclass – performing solo with a drummer (including individual solos with feedback)
  • Dance with Feeling – In this workshop we’ll explore the deep emotional connection between dancer and music, and then work with expression, breath and body language to let your feeling shine through in performance.
  • The Art of Taqasim – Develop your skill and sensitivity as a dancer, to interpret taqasim beautifully. Learn to recognise the structure of an improvised taqsim, and the unique sounds of Arabic instruments.
  • Baladi Taqasim/’Ashra Baladi – Everything you need to know to enjoy dancing to the classic multi-part Egyptian baladi progression!
  • Dance Party! – In Egypt, bellydance is fun and sociable – danced at family celebrations or at home with friends. Whether you’re a seasoned performer or new to bellydance, Rachael will help you get back to these party dance roots, so you can relax and have a great time on the dance floor at your next hafla!
  • Saiidi stick – fun technique and combinations.
  • Classic song – explore a classic Arabic song in detail, with choreography and improvisation (discuss song choice with Rachael when arranging the workshop).

Interactive talks and lectures

A shelf of books about Middle Eastern history, culture and music

Just a fraction of Rachael’s library on Middle Eastern history, culture and music…

In these interactive talks, Rachael draws on her deep background knowledge of Middle Eastern dance, music, history and culture to bring you new dance inspiration!

  • Amazing Music: What makes Arabic music special? We’ll look at the differences between Arabic and Western music, why bellydance and Middle Eastern music fit together so well, and how you can use this knowledge to develop your dance.
  • Bellydance History: An exhilarating journey through the history of Middle Eastern dance, separating fact from fantasy as we go!
  • Raqs Sharqi from Shafiqa to Safinaz: The story of 20th century Egyptian bellydance – from the turn-of-the-century awalem to present-day Cairo cabarets…
  • Star of the East: a dancers’ introduction to the music of Oum Kalthoum.
  • The Dark Nightingale: a dancers’ introduction to the music of Abd el-Halim Hafez.
  • Cultural Sensitivity in Bellydance: a thoughtful look at how Western bellydancers can make art ethically, from the hot issue of ‘cultural appropriation’, to Arab stereotypes and harem fantasies…

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