Internationally acclaimed dance star Princess Farhana (Pleasant Gehman) has performed, taught, researched and written about belly dance and burlesque since 1990. She has appeared in Egypt, Turkey, Hong Kong and Australia; toured several times across Europe and The United Kingdom, as well as throughout North America. An artistic chameleon and a boundary-pushing pioneer, she performs many styles of dance with ease, from ultra traditional to contemporary belly dance and burlesque. Her diverse talents encompass visual, literary, musical and dramatic arts as well as dance. She has fronted three bands, and is featured as an actor in several motion pictures and television shows, and has been interviewed for numerous feature-length documentaries, including director Steve Balderson's "Underbelly: A Year In The Life Of Princess Farhana".
Trained in Egyptian style belly dance by Zahra Zuhair in Los Angeles and Raqia Hassan in Cairo among many others, The Princess is well known as a theatrical belly dance fusion performer, conceiving and executing fantasy tableaux in minute detail, a dramatically recreating vintage styles of Oriental Dance from the Edwardian Era, the 1920's, The Egyptian Golden Age, and the American Cabaret Style of the Sixties and Seventies
She has starred in seventeen instructional and performance DVDs. Her most recent projects include her two new books, "The Belly Dance Handbook" (January 11, 2014) and the memoir "Showgirl Confidential: My Life Onstage, Backstage And On The Road" (published by Punk Hostage September, 2013). Her latest instructional DVD "Strike A Pose: How To Make The Camera Love You", was released in June 2013.
The Princess is known for her high-concept, innovative performances, dramatic stage presence, and incredible abdominal work. Her warmth, enthusiasm, extensive knowledge and her adventurous spirit -both on and off stage- captivate audiences worldwide.
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Lebanese Simon was born and raised in northern Lebanon. With a natural passion for cultural arts, he found himself drawn closer to dance. Simon has traveled internationally to teach, perform and learn, and has had the privilege to study with the legendary Amani of Lebanon, Yousry Sharif, Lubna Emam and Inspiring Caracalla Folklore Dance Teachers Sammy Khoury and Francois Rahme.
His style of Lebanese Folk Dabke is described as strong, captivating, and deeply heartfelt. Through oriental dance, Simon reveals his personal creative approach, drilling combinations with a focus on technique and rhythms. Most importantly, he focuses on executing the moves yet staying emotionally connected to the melody and the story line. His versatility in dance has brought him very close to the heart of a wide range of audience and followers around the world.
Since 2010, Simon has served artistic director and manager for the Al Awtar Zaffa Group based in Houston, Texas. He is also the Executive Producer and Artistic Advisor of the yearly Gulf Coast Raks (formerly the Houston Oriental Dance) Festival. Settled in Houston, Texas, Simon is a Structural Engineer and enjoys horseback riding and great long walks in nature.
MINI-INTENSIVE DUBKEAND BEDOUIN DANCE (2 PARTS)
THURSDAY 9AM-12 Noon
PLEASE SEE DESCRIPTION UNDER "INTENSIVES" TAB
LEBANESE POP COMBOS -Short Choreography
FRIDAY 5PM - 6:30PM
Hot, energizing, sexy, pop-modern choreography to music by Lebanon's greatest stars. Lebanese Simon will be bringing his personal style and most intricate and juicy combinations to the class
OCT 29-NOV 1, 2020 ONLINE
ART OF THE BELLY
GO WITH THE FLOW: musicality, sensuality, texture and fluid transitions
FRIDAY 10:45AM - 12:45
This workshop deals with the subtle yet esoteric dance mechanics that turn an average performance into a show-stopper, the stuff that isn't often addressed in a regular class.
You'll learn to indentify the place where each movement initiates from, to really listen to the music and translate it physically, making most out of every sound and movement. You'll find out when to "milk it" and when to move on, flowing into a new set of physical-and emotional- feelings. We'll add interesting texture to basic technique using layering, adding speed, directional and level changes, and relevant gestures that keep the audience riveted. We'll go over stationary and traveling combinations that will set the foundation for experimenting with seamless improvisation that literally melts into the music...any music!
GREATES HIPS: Raqqin' Combinations Hollywood Style
FRIDAY 2:45PM - 4:45PM
These sizzling combinations will enhance any type of belly dance performance, and can be used to improv or choreographed situations. These combinations might look complicated, but are broken down into clear, easy-to-follow segments. We will run the gamut from stationary "gooey" taxim combo's to cute traveling steps, entrances and exits, series of turns, level changes and sassy beledy moves complete with footwork, hand and arm embellishments and use of space. We will also explore adding shimmy layers and spicing the moves up with the level, speed and directional changes. This class is open to all levels.
KNOCK 'EM DEAD: Performance Prep and Stage Dynamics
SATURDAY 10:45AM - 12:45
The difference between a good dance and a great dancer lies in the performers abilities to transport the audience. In this workshop, we'll explore show-stopping entrances, exits, pauses and ending poses. We will concentrate on body language, narrative, stage presence and performance pacing. You'll learn how to create exciting, dramatic, multi-layered dance sets and how to enhance an existing piece. You will find out how to channel pre-show jitters and on-stage adrenalin surges into a textured, compelling performance that will have the crowd eating from the palm of your hand and clamoring for more! Open to advanced beginner through professional levels.
ORIENTAL NOIR: volatile combinations!
SUNDAY 9:30AM - 11:30AM
Add some dynamite to your dancing!
These dangerous, and somewhat naughty combinations fuse the very best elements of traditional belly dance with hot Fosse-style jazz and some seriously sassy showgirl attitude. From fan kicks to floor work, from gooey to glamorous, we will concentrate on incendiary fusion moves great for almost any style of dancing. We'll go over concepts for beautiful body lines, clean technique, intricate weight transfers plus level and speed changes that cause and audience to look twice, but never look away!