JULY 20 - 22, 2018



Workshop and lecture topic details are listed below.  Topics include technique, combinations, folklore, tribal style, and much much more.

All workshops, lectures and the panel discussion will be held at the Monroe Convention Center


First Steps:  Understanding the Hidden Privileges in our Practices: When trying to understand cultural appropriation, there are some very elegant and profound questions that serve as insightful first steps.  Learning to situate ourselves within our dance practice inevitably requires we dialog with the attached history of Orientalist projections, caricature, gender norms, and standards of attractiveness.  Or perhaps these issues have been thrust upon you by others?  In this facilitated discussion Donna invites participants to investigate and share thoughts about what hidden values and messages are perpetuated by our dance industry. Hidden biases my surprise you, as we are all afflicted with them.  In addition to learning about the agency we have in art-making, we will also investigate strategies to interrupt questionable practices and construct new possibilities for ourselves.  Tough questions will lead us to courageous conversations... please come share your thoughts!


Panelists: Artemis Mourat, Donna Mejia, Jill Parker, and Sahra Saeeda
Panel Moderator: TBA


14 Rhythms Every Dancer Should Know: 
We will cover the 14 essential rhythms that every dancer should know and you will learn fun and easy techniques to help you to remember each of these rhythms. Regardless of what type of learner you are....all rhythms will be taught in terms of dums and teks, counting with “1 e & as,” and with funny pneumonic sayings that will stick in your mind forever. Once you know these rhythms, you will be able to create the perfect show for each population. The 14 rhythms we will cover are:  Ayoub, Masmoudi sagir (Belady), Masmoudi kabir, Ciftitelli (two versions), Saidi, Maqsoum, the universal 6/8, Saudi, Malfouf, Rhumba, Cabaret 9/8 "Karsilama," Romany 9/8 (Agir Roman slow), Tulum 9/8, Zuffa. 

Turkish Oriental Dance (workshop & lecture): The Turkish Oriental dance is less elegant than its sister dance, the Egyptian Oriental version. But what it lacks in elegance, it makes up for in passion and spontaneity. Its mother is the Turkish Romany dance which was said to "melt a stone." Its father is the rich and varied court dances of the Ottoman Empire. Its maternal aunts are the lovely Egyptian Oriental dance and the Ghawazee Romany dances from the Turkish occupation of Egypt. It was then modernized on the Europeanized stages of Post Ottoman Turkey. It is said that Turkish dancers sweat and Egyptian dancers glisten, that Turkish dancers strut and Egyptian dancers glide. I will compare and contrast Turkish Oriental, Egyptian Oriental and Turkish Romany dance, describe the features of a typical show. We will learn steps, turns, hip articulation, abdominal work, knee lifts, arm postures, backbends and full body undulations and we will dance to the Romany 9/8 and ciftetelli rhythms.  We will also see exciting DVD footage.


American Style Cabaret: This is the exciting dance that made America fall in love with belly dancing and it is making a big comeback. Vintage Orientale is a more accurate name for this vivacious and legitimate style of belly dance. It is commonly referred to as "American Cabaret" but there is very little about it that is American except for the pazzazz and some of the dramatic elements. It is made up of Middle Eastern dances and combines Pan Arabic and Turkish techniques to many different forms of Arabic, Turkish and Greek music. It includes a 5 to 8 part show, many props, extended veil work, floor work, audience participation and more. This workshop will teach you all about the history of Vintage Orientale dance and the multi part show concept, the elements of a typical show, lots of steps that typify this style of dance (time permitting).

The Art of Taksim: Regardless of your style of dance, the taksim is an essential part of what we do. The different instruments require different movements. Learn to listen to the music and to interpret it artistically and convincingly. I will teach you ways to access your movement vocabulary in a relaxed and expressive manner.

Theatricalized Skirt Dancing: Skirt dancing is a fusion form which combines Romany (Gypsy) skirt movements from Russia, Spain, India and Turkey with NON Romany interpretive dance movement. It is a highly theatricallized and visually appealing art form. This workshop includes a huge vocabulary of skirt dance movements to the Turkish 9/8 rhythm.

Topic Coming Soon!

Devil in the Details:  Correcting weak performance habits by infusing intention and feeling into the standard presentation style we take for granted as professional dancers. In this workshop we will experiment with changing our habits and scrambling things up -to see what's on the other side. We aim to eliminate unintentional movements, lack of facial expression, being glued to one spot of the floor, etc. Through facilitated exercises Jill will take you on a journey of exploration designed to bring your dancing and stage presentation to a much more intentional and embodied place!

Jill's Drills & Combos That Kill (Part 1 & Part 2):  In this workshop Jill demystifies challenging bellydance techniques with concise explanations, building blocks, visualizations and most importantly drills to tighten your bellydance technique. This class will be sweaty, focused, encouraging and fun! (Part 1 & Part 2 can be taken separately)

Signature Slippery Serpentine Choreo Workshop:  Learn a gorgeous Jill Parker original choreography! As time allows this workshop will cover drills, philosophy, and stage concepts. Over the course of hours spent together in the classroom under the watchful eye of Miss Parker you will assimilate many of Jill's signature sensuous moves, slinky combinations and preferences around stage presentation. Woven together and delivered in a masterful way moves and combos seamlessly become a dramatic serpentine choreography. You're in for the complete behind the scenes Jill Parker experience!

Spiral to the Core Stacking Bones in Your Favor:  Jill will introduce concepts and visualizations to better understand techniques for creating length, depth of movement, connection to the floor, safe posture, dependable balance, and controlled releve. This workshop will be filled with practical movement in which to drill these invaluable concepts that  ultimately make your belly dance moves more powerful and embodied.

The Shimmy Inspector's Shimmy Overhaul:  Percussive loose shimmies are a trademark of tribal bellydance. In this workshop we will drill varieties of shimmies until our bodies have no choice but to understand the mechanics we're after! Think loose and gooey, fluid-earthy, in the pocket, sure fire shimmies. Jill will deliver detailed instruction, visualizations and drills for wiggling more excellence into your shimmy!

Descriptions coming soon!
Baladi Awad & Tet Baladi (Workshop)
Delta / Fellahin or Western Desert / Hagallah (Workshop & Lecture)
Sa'idi for Oriental Dancers (Workshop)
Classic B&W Era / Transition Era Fifi & Suhair (Workshop)
Entrances & Traveling Steps (Workshop)
Lecture Topic TBA