MARCH 21-24, 2019

Workshop Descriptions:

"PRESS PAUSE" The Art of Silence

FRIDAY MARCH 23   10:45-12:45            Room TBA

Emily Dickinson said, "Saying nothing...sometimes says the most." How often do we take opportunities for stillness in our dance? This workshop will focus on the breath between the "words" of our movement. We will learn a few unique combinations and then challenge our brains (and bodies) by adding silence and pause in different places throughout the combo, creating a sort of "musical chairs" game with dance!


FRIDAY MARCH 23   2:45-4:45pm           Room TBA
Arms are often the most neglected part of the body in belly dance. In this workshop, arms will be the focus! Learn how to use your arms to aid in conveying a feeling or telling a story and making them the highlight of your piece. You will essentially be “painting a picture” with them.


SATURDAY MARCH 24      10:45-12:45      Room TBA
In this workshop, we will explore the floor! The focus will be on maintaining an even flow of movement inspired by yoga and exotic dance, while incorporating belly dance isolations. Remember to dress appropriately for working on the ground, and bring knee-pads if you need them! This will be a physically challenging class, so come prepared to work!


SUNDAY MARCH 25         9:30-11:30am       Room TBA
How slow can you go? Start by learning a few combos at mid-tempo, then take parts or all of each and slow them waaaay down. Can you still command attention? It is the INTENTION. We will also talk about how subtle dynamic shifts using fast-twitch movement over stillness can bring your dance to the next level.


Workshop Descriptions:


FRIDAY MARCH 23             10:45-12:45        ICE RINK

Every Belly Dancer should know about the history and cultures of the Middle East. The region from which our dance comes. But it's easy to feel overwhelmed when researching this vast topic. This lecture is a fantastic overview of the political, social and cultural forces that have shaped the region and influenced the development of professional belly dance.       


FRIDAY MARCH 23               2:45-4:45pm    ROOM TBA 

If you're looking for a challenge for your brain and body, this workshop is for you! Learn the fundementals of layering belly dance movements.


SUNDAY MARCH 25            9:30-11:30am     ROOM TBA
There's more to the Jamila Salimpour Format than just 8 counts of this and 8 counts of that. Let's mix it up, and add some fun combinations to your dance toolbox. Bring your finger cymbals!

Abigail's Bio:
Abigail Keyes is a lifelong performer with a passion for education, cultural awareness, and the movement arts of the Middle East. She began her studies of Middle Eastern, North African, and Anatolian dances with Kim Leary, continued her core studies with Artemis Mourat, and currently studies under the guidance of master instructor Suhaila Salimpour. She has taught on five continents and is also an esteemed and respected dance writer.

She holds a B.A. in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University, has studied the Arabic language at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. Recently she earned an M.A. in Dance Studies from Mills College in Oakland, California. She is Assistant Director of the Salimpour School Repertoire Ensemble and Suhaila Dance Company, and is a current company member of Bal Anat--the longest running Middle Eastern dance company in the world. Abby has Suhaila Level 5 and Jamila Level 5 certifications, and is a staff instructor at the Salimpour School in Albany, California. Visit her website and read her writings on dance at

Photo courtesy of

The Dancers Eye

Michelle's Bio:

Based in Salt Lake City, UT, Michelle Sorensen is a professional Belly Dancer with nearly a decade of dedicated dance training. She began her studies under the direction of Kismet School of Dance (American), Kashmir Dance Company (ATS & Tribal Fusion), Trisha Mcbride (Tribal Fusion and Experimental) and more recently Rachel Brice (8 elements Phases 1 &2, Initiation and Cultivation Certified) and Stephanie Buranek (Cabaret/Egyptian). She has also sought continued instruction through workshops and other events from some of the most innovative dancers in and out of the belly dance scene. Along with bellydance, she has discovered a love for the Aerial Arts, Exotic Dance, Contemporary Dance and Dancehall/Twerk. “Cross-training” in these genres of dance has helped her with stamina, strength, flexibility and finding her own artistic voice. Her life is also occupied with being a mother of 2 sweet little girls who are a constant inspiration to push boundaries and a reminder to explore! She is available for instruction, private lessons and workshops both locally and internationally.


Michelle Sorensen