Join Despina for a choreography class featuring a classic old-school Greek song that people dance Tsiftetelli to in the Greek nightclubs, Bouzoukia. The short choreography will be a medley of both vintage and modern belly dance vocabulary. When Despina choreographs to Greek music and instructs her students, she takes them on an immersive journey to feel and experience the music on a profound level. Her goal is to empower her students to dance freely, enabling them to incorporate what they learn from her into their own unique dance journeys. Despina provides the students with the translation/meaning of the music and even teaches a few words to sing along, which is highly encouraged! The choreography taught will consist of mini clusters of movement that dancers can use when dancing in social settings, also partnering up with their dance friends. -Dancers will be provided with Despina's Greek music Spotify list so they can practice to later on.


Innovative instructor and virtuoso performer Despina is obsessed with belly dance. The rich sounds of music from her Greek childhood and the tantalizing movements of belly dancers in the Greek night clubs awakened a passion within her to study the dance. Despina’s belly dance adventure started in 2005 in Fat Chance Belly Dance Style, a form of fusion belly dance. She later on discovered the Salimpour institute (AKA the *University of Belly Dance*) through her teacher Irina Bellyrina Wen. Her connection to the dance fueled her to continue her training and exploration by joining world renowned choreographer's Dalia Carella’s classes. 

Despina's unique dance style seamlessly blends modern and vintage belly dance influenced by her Greek heritage, Dalia Carella and the Salimpour format. You can find her performing and teaching in NYC and at various belly dance festival's within the US. Despina is also a proud member of the Dalia Carella Dance Collective.


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​Choreography 101 – Creating Your Own Performance Piece

Are you intimidated with the thought of writing your own choreography? Do you feel anxious wondering how you are going to fill a few minutes of music with interesting moves? Have you choreographed a routine but are looking for tips and techniques to fine tune it?

 Deborah, known for her vibrant and expressive solo and troupe choreographies, will guide

 you through a variety of tools and techniques to use in creating your own unique routine.

Bring paper, pen, and your imagination.  This workshop is a blend of lecture and exercises to get your brain juices flowing and your body dancing


Deborah is a belly dance performer, choreographer, and instructor from South Central PA.  Known for her versatile and imaginative dance compositions, she has provided artistic direction and choreography for several troupes.  Deborah’s belly dance style is eclectic.  She considers herself a fusion artist, intermingling her Vintage Oriental and Egyptian Raqs Sharqi roots with modern dance styles.  Deborah has performed at countless venues including haflas, festivals, and restaurants, as well as private parties.  Deborah enjoys providing opportunities for dancers to learn and grow and produces annual shows for dancers to shine. 

Deborah began her belly dance journey in 2005 and continues her own dance education through intensive programs and workshops in many styles.  She believes the best instructors are life-long students.


AOTB 2024


Vintage Orientale, The Magic of Om Kalthoum

Learn to dance to the soulful music of Om Kalthoum “Classic” Orientale. This will be a history and choreography based workshop exploring Om Kalthoum’s rendition of Al Atal – “The Ruins”, where you will learn combinations, technique and the subtle hallmarks of what comprises the classic interpretation of “The Diva’s” music. You will explore the vintage oriental dance vocabulary and the political, social and creative history that surrounded the dance. Some belly dance experience would be helpful but not absolutely necessary. Handouts will be provided.
Amustela Bio:
Amustela prides herself on being a “classic” example of the American Belly Dancer.  Currently based in Charlotte NC, she was a fixture of performance at restaurants and nightclubs in the DC area for over 20 years.   She has been a lifelong dancer and is considered a master instructor in the technique and etiquette of American Cabaret, Classic Dance Orientale’, and show production.  Amustela has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors for performance, instruction, and contribution to the dance.   She has studied many styles of Middle Eastern dance – Egyptian, Turkish, folkloric styles and beyond. Her performance repertoire and instruction specialties include Egyptian dance, Golden age techniques, veil, cane, various prop and balancing techniques, finger cymbals, musicality and stage dynamics. She has taught at many of the major festivals and events in the eastern United States and is an award-winning competition veteran and judge.    She has been sought after for film projects, show productions and dance instruction nationwide.   More recently, Amustela’s journey has been in the production of virtual shows through “Amustela Productions” that has delighted audiences, highlighted creative concepts and given dancers near and far a format to perform for a broader audience.  Although silver haired, with many dance years under her coin belt, Amustela promises to continue to evolve with the art while preserving the magic of tradition.

Turkish Style Bellydance 
Oryantal Dansi

Characterized by a lively and spirited dancer, Oryantal Dansi or Bellydance in the Turkish style is the stage or nightclub version with which most people are familiar. 
The typical set is usually 5 or 7 parts: A fast entrance, then a slow veil or taxim or floor work, moving into a fast song, then drum solo and an upbeat fast close which can be, but is not always, a 9/8.
Come explore this fabulous style! Learn dynamic combinations and essential elements that characterize this fiery dance.
This class is open to dancers of any style. Berna suggests that the dancers have a basic bellydance vocabulary or previous dance experience and want to try something out of the box. Be prepared to have your heart captured with the amazing music, fancy footwork, crisp isolations and power moves of Turkish style belly dance!


As a multi-award winning artist, Berna is a sought-after top professional who has taught and performed in numerous public and private events throughout the US and Canada. Now in Pittsburgh, PA, Berna is an instructor teaching classes online, an event producer and choreographer who has directed multiple troupes, including Raks Ayla Dance Company and her new show 1001 Nights and Fractured Fairy Tales - A Belly Dance Story. 

Berna has been a featured dancer in numerous restaurants in Washington DC, Maryland, Northern Virginia and Pittsburgh, PA.  She has graced the stage of the International Turkish Festival, Ravens Night at the Birchmere, the Byham Theater, Hard Rock Cafe, the Rex Theatre, University of Pittsburgh and many other universities and the Washington Symphony Orchestra.  She has also performed multiple times with the acclaimed Jillina’s Bellydance Evolution Experience.