Each one of Awalim’s workshops include 20 minutes of strengthening exercise and yoga to improve your posture, stamina, and flexibility. We believe that movement disciplines, such as yoga, dance and tai chi, make a person whole, creating connections between the mind, body and spirit.
Be prepared for a physical and mental workout!
Below is a selection of workshops that Ziah and the members of Awalim are available to teach.
Ziah Ali McKinney-Taylor
Dance Secrets Your Momma Didn’t Teach You: Each of the three below workshops work great individually, as monthly series or for a weekend combo.
Dance Secrets #1- Relearning How to Walk (2 to 3 hrs)
Students will be challenged with new concepts of posture and body mechanics to execute belly dance movements with more ease while traveling. You will be surprised at what doors open after examining these concepts:
Dance Secrets #2- Endurance Techniques (2 to 3 hrs)
Hours of rehearsal! Restaurant gigs that go all night only to have to get up to do it again that night! Back to back classes! Plus one of Bellydance’s most amazing aspects is the longevity that a dancer can have. All these aspects present special challenges that energy conservation can help with. I mean really, why do more work to produce a move than you need to?
Dance Secrets #3- How to Simplify What Seems Complex (2 to 3 hrs)
This class will give any dancer a good base to study with any international Bellydance star! Stop being frustrated when attending seminars, with a good foundation you can do anything. This workshop’s goal is to stop the “I paid $80 for this one move because it is all I can remember” syndrome.
Ala Carte Menu
Basic Technique Clean Up (2 hours)
A fun two hours of warm up with all the basic bellydance moves, cleaning them up while moving through them. Basic dance technique is also covered such as turn out, releve’, chasse’, arabesques and arms.
ATS technique via History (2 to 3 hours)
Ziah is what is called a “bellydance hacker”, meaning she studies the history, lineage and development of each move. In her role as “hacker” she can take the basic Tribal moves that everyone is well versed in, break them down and rebuild them so that you see them in the new light of their history.
The Infamous Zill Drill ( 2 to 3 hours)
Class begins with drills to connect feet, hands and arm movement together while playing zills. These drills are useful to integrate into your weekly classes. After we are warmed up we will go through breakdown of rhythms and learning appropriate accents within the rhythms to build improvisational skills. All students will be amazed at their zill playing at the end of the workshop.
To Infinity and Beyond: Spatial Skills (2 to 3 hours)
Do you think of an interior hip circle/umi as just one move? Or an undulation as just “regular” and “reverse”? This workshop will give your standard belly dance moves new life as we explore the fact that they literally have an infinite number of stopping and starting points. We will also explore all three dimensions when transitioning between moves.
Drills ‘n Skills and Don’t Forget Those Zills! (2 to 4 hours)
This workshop can be many things to many people from the Oriental dancer working to build endurance for a full solo show to the Tribal troupe working to produce a more cohesive product. Its basic components are traveling with across the floor drills which layer footwork with basic moves and zill patterns. Developing endurance is a main focus since, just like a musician who has to hit each note perfectly throughout a long concert, a dancer should hit each hip bump and chest drop with the same emphasis at the beginning of a show as at the end… along with playing a musical instrument, her zills.
Precision Spin Technique (2 hours)
Are you in awe of those precise spins Tribal troupes do? We will cover cross turns, paddle turns, three point turns, chaine’ turn, airplane turns and barrel spins. **Note to sponsor: This is best married with another workshop since few people can spin for two hours straight.
Veil Work Components (2 to 3 hours)
This workshop breaks down all the complexities of working with a veil into easy segments of moves with similar starting points and explores the geometry that creates the designs in the air. Aerodynamics will be discussed, 8 to 9mm silk is recommended for the air foil effect that Ziah employs in order to keep the veil from entangling in the heavy accoutrement a Tribal dancer wears. An excellent workshop for dancers wanting to created their own unique style of veil work. Stop dragging your silk through the air and let it dance for itself!
**Note to sponsor: This is a good pairing with the Spin Technique workshop.
Bubblegum (4 to 5 hours)
Our choreography to Tim Rayborn’s Veselba, a 7/8, makes a great full day workshop. It is a intermediate to advance choreography that is challenging because most people have never worked in seven.
Choreography and Technique Clinics
Want to take your dance to the next level? Preparing for an upcoming show? Awalim can help! Ziah spends many weekends during the year traveling to other cities to do Choreography and Technique clinics with other troupes and soloists. We can help clean up a choreography in the works or just focus on specific techniques you would like feedback on. This can be for one dancer or a troupe. **Can be paired with one of the workshops in the list.
BELLYDANCE! (aka Technique Smackdown) (4 to 6 hours)
Join Ziah Ali for an intense day in the studio. Attendees make a verbal agreement at the beginning of class and then work to make it reality -Flawless isolations? Beautiful zils? Intricate footwork? Yes? Yes. YES!
Anatomy, turns, footwork, across the floor drills, basic dance technique, zills and floorwork will all be covered. Committed to perpetuating bellydance in its pure, expressive and artistic form, Ziah will have us quivering with enthusiasm and exertion. A great resource to take your dance practice to the next level.
Exotic Stage Make Up for Normal Faces (2 to 3 hours)
How to make yourself look ethnic and dramatic. Beyond just making your features not disappear in stage lighting what do you do with a perfectly ordinary face in an extremely exotic world dance form with ornate jewelry and adornment? Ziah is a perfectly ordinary person who has made her living being the most interesting person in the room for the past 12 years.
Unique Sword Duet Formations (2 to 3 hours)
Awalim’s totally unique approach to dancing in pairs with the sword! **Note to sponsor: This workshop can include floor work or not.
Dramatic Spins, Level Changes and Floor Work (2 hours)
Class begins with exercises to help warm up, stretch and tone so that level changes and floorwork can be done smoothly and safely. Workshop covers jazz spins to the floor, sitting, rolling and traveling moves. Students should wear pants they can do yoga in. Knee pads are recommended if students are not use to floor work.
Dramatic Spins, Level Changes and Floor Work While Balancing Props (2 hours)
Class begins with exercises to help warm up, stretch and tone so that level changes and floorwork can be done smoothly and safely. Students will balance objects while going through sitting, rolling and traveling moves. Students should wear pants they can do yoga in and bring a basket or sword to balance. Knee pads are recommended if students are not use to floor work.
TribalCane (2 hours)
So fun we don’t know why nobody has thought of it before! Cane, like sword, is taking a tool that men use and subverting their power by making it feminine. Bring a stick of bamboo that comes to about an inch below your navel (available at all hardware and gardening supply stores). This workshop has a strong basis in ATS aka American Tribal Style Improvisational Choreography.
TurkishTribal (2 to 3 hours)
Turkish people call bellydance “throwing your belly” using the abdominal muscles to generate the movements. This internal creation of movement is also true with Tribal bellydance so they are a natural fusion. Intermediate to Advanced.
Fancy Folkloric Footwork (2 hours)
Want the musicality that dancers from “over there” have? They grew up doing folk dances to Eastern music and those experiences are layered into their “belly dance”. You can have the same skills! The class will cover folk dance patterns and putting belly dance moves on top, this will call on your mental and physical endurance.
How to Create Signature Combos (2 to 3 hours)
A unique workshop to create combos that interpret Maqaam structured Middle Eastern music. These exercises will develop the dancer’s skills using the tools she already has at not only understanding Middle Eastern music but they will have the tools to create signature combos.
This can be anything from writing it mostly myself with input from the dancer it is for, to just helping the dancer focus on writing a solo piece for themselves…it is usually something in between those two. I receive the music ahead of time along with any ethnographic information she may have. I also ask the dancer to write down the times of the breaks in the music and any ideas she may have for each portion. I put them in a spread sheet and do a bit more research on the music (sometimes attempting to contact the musician if it is possible). On the date we meet up we set aside at least three hours and hammer out a choreography! ** recommended for either a small group or for a weekend intensive.
Majida Anwar Qaqish
Sassy Saidii (2 to 3 hours)
This choreography is a short Oriental routine including folkloric steps as well as sassy, modern combinations. The Saiidi cane workshop includes historical and cultural background of Raqs al assaya and Tahtib.
Seeing Double – Double Veil Workshop (2 to 3 hours)
The veil is your dance partner, an extension of your dance. Dancing with the veil is an art to which strong foundations in belly dance and imagination play the most important role in mastering. In this workshop, you will learn how to use your veil to its fullest capacity through various combinations and choreography, and also how to explore your own interpretations of the music with veil. Single and double veil techniques and combinations will be explored. Students should being a properly sized, semi circle or rounded rectangular set of veils. Recommended silk weight is 8 to 9 momme.
Please note: Although spinning technique with be introduced, this is not a spinning intensive workshop.
Shimmy Drills (2 to 3 hours)
Every bellydancer has to be able to shimmy upwards, downwards, and every-which-way-wards. Come learn the theoretical techniques that can be applied to all the different types of shimmies from Majida Anwar of Awalim. In this workshop, Majda will cover the wide range of shimmies in terms of musicality and layer work, with an emphasis on flawless technique.
Drum Solo Construction Workshop (2 to 3 hours)
Drum solos are the heart and soul of all styles of belly dance. In this workshop, Majida will walk you through some of the essential showstoppers that will send your audience into a standing ovation! Clarity and preciseness of movement, building audience anticipation, and musicality are some of the essentials of a great drum solo. Particular attention will be paid to the usual framework of a drum solo, shimmy layering drills, and finale combos.
Oriental Survey (2 to 4 hours)
In this class, Majida focuses on the Classic Egyptian style, teaching the essence of belly dance from the Golden Age of its artistry in the vibrant city of Cairo, Egypt. Not only will students learn the classical Egyptian style of belly dance, but they will also be informed of all the cultural aspects that surround the Egyptian Style including music, costuming, etiquette, and style. Egyptian style combos will be taught at the end of the session either focusing on a folkloric aspect of the style or a modern interpretation to the classical music. All combos taught from this class come directly from Majda’s 6 month study in Cairo, Egypt in the latter part of 2008.
Dancers are musicians too! Zill Percussion and Rhythms (1 hour)
Bellydancers have the heavy responsibility of being musicians and dancers at the same time. This workshop focuses on the fact that zills are a percussion instrument and explores different ways to play them. We will then explore common rhythms a dancer encounters and how to elaborate on them so that they will accent your dancing. The workshop will go through an innovative breakdown of rhythms to build improvisational skills. Students will be amazed at their zill playing at the end. These drills are also useful to integrate into classes.
Naima’s Hip (3 hours)
Advanced drum solo featuring both Arabic style and American Tribal Style based combinations; directional and foot patterns are challenging and fun.
As Majda has years of experience as a violinist, her interest in Middle Eastern music has lead her to spread the love! Each class is meant to be introductory in level to help Western style musicians become acclimated to the sounds of the Middle East. Music workshops for dancers will focus on zills, but also introductory music theory will be taught to help dancers communicate to musicians.
Zill and Rhythms Teaser (4 hours)
The Zill and Rhythms workshop helps students become better accustomed to playing with zills. The workshop also incorporates 5 to 6 major rhythms used in Middle Eastern dance and how to play these rhythms on the zills. Students are then given a short choreography to help identify proper movements to each rhythm. Majda will teach the rhythms on the tabla and will play during class for the choreography brainteasers. Event sponsor can ask for certain rhythms to be taught.
Drumming for Dancers (1.5 to 3 hours)
If you’ve never picked up a drum, or have taken the cursory “whack” at it now and then, this workshop is for you! This class is an absolute introduction to the most basic concepts of drumming for the dancer who wishes to begin her study of rhythm. We will begin with hand and body posture for the DUM, TEK, and KA sounds as played on the Doumbek and Tar/Frame Drum. We will then discuss useful musical concepts and practice several popular rhythms including the beledi family, chiftitelli, and others.
Greco/Turkish/American 70’s Nightclub Style
Aziza Nawal will take participants on a journey through time with an introduction to the 5 and 7 part routines made popular in restaurants and night clubs in the 70’s. The style of this era drew from classical Arabic, Turkish and Greek dances that culminated into a very unique presentation. Part discussion and part technique. (1 to 3 hours, 4 hours for full routine, due to time constraints, a choreography will be a creative abbreviation of a multi-part routine.)
Raks al Assaya
Upper Egypt or Said regional dance that typically uses a cane or stick and is characterized by heavy, earthy movements. Basic combos can be covered or and advanced choreography, “Habibi Ya Eini”. (2 hours)
A women’s social dance as performed in the gulf region of the Middle East. This class will teach technique with a simple choreography. A fun class as students learn to interact with each other and is suitable for all levels. Aziza provides several thobe nashal (embroidered dress) for use in class. (2 hours)
Greek Line Dancing
Aziza teaches the step combinations to a variety of Greek line dances suitable for all levels. Please specify the level of dance most participants will possess if this topic is chosen. Easy dances includes Syrto/Kalamantiano and basic Hassapeiko. More advanced options are Pentozali, Advanced Hasapeiko and Ikariotiko. Cultural and regional information for these dances also provided. (2 hours)
Any Member of Awalim
Intro to Tribal Technique (2 to 3 hours)
In Tribal Basics, students will learn the foundation of ATS, or American Tribal Style form of belly dance. This style adapts styles from the Middle East, North Africa, India and Spain. This class will focus on posture and technique that are trademarks of the dance style.
Learning this new and innovative style of American belly dance allows you to speak the language to dancers throughout the United States.
ATS/Improvisational Choreography (3 to 5 hours)
Group Improvisational Choreography is one of the things that makes Tribal Style Bellydance unique. One dancer leads the group by a special system of cues until she is ready to rotate the group and another dancer comes forward to lead. This is exciting to watch and exhilarating to perform requiring concentration and attentiveness from all dancers. Being present in the music is what makes Improv Choreo so special. You are sharing what you a feeling and hearing in the music at that precise moment with your fellow dancers and the audience. Each time you perform that move it will have the same arms, feet and count. Most often you will do each a count of four or eight and then cue to transition to the next move. This can be exhilarating and frustrating at the same time but it is very bonding for the dancers because you are supporting and truly dancing with and for each other. Everyone is there with you in that moment. Awalim’s ATS is Fat Chance based.