LIVE EVENT -  MARCH 31-April 3, 2022




  • BIOS

Friday April 1 9:00- 10:30
Stage Craft

Want to know what makes a performer go from “good” to “great”?  Often, it’s knowledge of stagecraft. For this lecture based workshop, Maia Alexandra pulls from her unique experience as both a lifetime performer and as the second half of Candlelight Productions, a video company that specializes in theater. Stagecraft is the art of everything ELSE that goes on in a performance: the lighting, sound, sets, and story! Learn how to make the stage work for you and not against you. Your performances will never be the same old, same old again! This workshop is useful for everybody, from beginners to seasoned professionals.  Please bring a notebook and something to write with,

Friday April 1 1:00-2:30

Arms, Hands & Expressivity: Arms give you style. Many of the iconic dancers are defined in great measure by their arms. Hands are one of the three keys to expression, along with your gaze and chest. In this workshop we will do arms and hands drills deriving from flamenco and salsa to experiment with other ways of using and feeling arms and hands. Then we will dance two brief combos. One to a Fairuz song and one to an Egyptian song to feel different ways of using arms and hands with music, integrating aspects from the vocabulary we learned before and some theatrical elements.

Friday Aptil 1st 5:00-6:30

FIRE AND WATER, a flamenco and raqs sharki workshop by Diana Soto - In this workshop we'll explore arm paths, torso work, turns and gesture as traditionally used in each of these two movement traditions. We'll pay particular attention to the level of tension and quality of intention needed for each to fuse in a way that feels real, honest and unique. Come delve into some innovative fusion that burns the stage and flows like water!

Saturday April 2 9:00-10:30

STRENGTH & SENSUALITY: SAIDI - In this choreography based workshop, Diana shares her take on saidi, a celebration of contrasts of what’s powerful within the feminine were both strength and sensuality share dance space. Diana firmly believes that the best innovation is rooted in tradition and so this piece builds from a strong folkloric background into new stylizations for a piece that is both fierce and fun

Diana's Bio-  Fiery, unique, powerhouse. Diana is one of those larger than life presences on stage; her work is distinguished by a level of charisma and passion only matched by her dance precision and versatility. Diana Soto taught classes on Arab dance and intercultural dialogue at the University of Puerto Rico, directed the award-winning Phoenix Al Danse troupe, produced Raks Caribe international dance festival, and ran Belly Dance Para Tod@s dance school in Puerto Rico for seven years. Her commitment to this dance form and honoring its roots brought her to Lebanon where she lived and trained in dance and Arabic for two months. She has presented her work in Arab dance, fusion, and "dance for camera" in Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, and all over the USA and Puerto Rico. She is thrilled to call Houston home; you can catch her performing around town with Shunyata and Bella Donna Dance Company or wiggle about with her in her workshops, lectures and discussion at international belly dance events such as Yaa Halla Yall, Lebanese Love Affair, Raks Caribe, and Gulf Coast Raks, among others. You can train online with Diana at

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Kim Leary

Maia Alexandra

Maia Alexandra is a multi-award winning Belly Dance performer and teacher based in Buffalo, New York.  A dynamic dancer with a flair for fun, Maia is best known for her on stage charisma and technical ability. She has been a featured perfomer, instructor, and adjudicator for many prestigious festivals and events including AOTB, Rakkasah Festivals, the Las Vegas Bellydance Intensive, Raven's Night, Unmata’s Blood Moon Regale, and more. Maia began to study dance at the age of four.  In her career, she has been a member of several professional dance troupes and embraces styles as divergent as Jazz, Modern, Ballet, and even Hula Hoop as well as her love of Bellydance.  A natural stage performer, and her enchanting style is beloved by audiences everywhere she entertains. 

Diana Soto

Friday 5:00-6:30   5:00-6:300pm  EST

Fun(ky) Groove Merchant Combos with Finger Cymbals with Kim Leary – 

Get your groove on with Kim Leary in this funk inspired dance party!  Learn sassy moves and combinations that’ll make you glad you got up this morning!  Get in touch with your inner pulse with fun and easy polyrhythmic infused movements.   If you’ve ever wanted to experience the funky fun that Groove Merchant Drum & Dance Ensemble has on stage, you won’t want to miss this class.  Some experience recommended.

Kim Leary is a world dance performer, choreographer and dance educator.  She is Co-Artistic Director of Groove Merchant Drum & Dance Ensemble and of The Drum & Dance Learning Center.  Kim has been involved in the multi-cultural music and dance genre since 1989 and has performed at select venues such as Lincoln Center, The Ohio Theatre (SOHO), CAMI Hall (NYC), DanceSpace (NYC), FIT (NYC), The Evolving Arts Theatre (NYC), The Birchmere (DC), as a soloist and with SaZ Dance Theatre, Jamila Salimpour's Bal Anat and Dalia Carella's DNA Project.  Her acclaimed dance company, Groove Merchant Drum & Dance Ensemble has performed at festivals and theatres nationally and their performances have been supported by funds from the NJ State Council on the Arts. 

Kim holds a certification in Training & Development in Multiple Intelligences and the Arts and Bachelor of Arts Degree from Kean University and has earned her 200 RYT Yoga certification through Honor Yoga Princeton.