MARCH 21-24, 2019




Workshop Description:
RIGHT ON TIME: The Art of Finger Cymbals
FRIDAY MARCH 23    1:00-2:30pm    ROOM TBA

Strong, musical zilling is not just a happy accident. Learn exercises to improve strength, flexibility, and timing, as well as a fun and funky combo to test your new skills. It’s time to play your cymbals like you mean it! All levels welcome.

Finger cymbal recommendations: Cymbals with two slots for elastic (rather than one) are highly suggested for greater stability and control. I highly recommend the following:

* Suhaila cymbal –
* Turquoise International Size C –
* Saroyan Afghani –

Workshop Description:


FRIDAY MARCH 23     5:00-6:30pm   ROOM TBA
Discover your love for Latin fusion and learn to combine elements of salsa, bachata, and cha-cha into your bellydance! You will learn Latin technique basics (including a breakdown of the differences between on 1 and on 2 salsa), drill movement patterns to get comfortable with footwork, body motion, arms, and turns. Then we'll dive off the deep end and discover opportunities for intelligent fusion with your current bellydance toolbox. Work with fierce footwork, sassy body movement, and fiery energy to irresistible beats. Please bring water and a notebook. Be ready to sweat!

Latifa BIO:

Latifa is a sought-after dance educator who shares her passion for Middle Eastern Dance, history and culture with enthusiastic students through weekly classes at Latifa’s School of Middle Eastern Dance and focused private lessons. She also directs a 14-dancer troupe, Banat al-Beled. Latifa is a protégée of the late Ibrahim Farrah.

Donna Eileen Bio:

Known for her fiery stage presence rooted in joy and soulful empowerment, Donna Eileen is a dynamic performer and instructor with a focus on Middle Eastern folk dance and belly dance, West African dance, and Hip Hop. She strives to create innovative expression of music through movement, and it is her love of music that drives her to seek knowledge and inspiration from all forms of dance. Drawing from both Western and Eastern dance forms, she continually pursues new ways to express her musicality with both honesty and respect.

Donna Eileen has studied Middle Eastern dance and music (Alexia/Kim Leary) and West African dance (Audrey Davis) at The Drum & Dance Learning Center in Princeton, NJ, where she was also an instructor. Under the mentorship of Kim Leary, she served as Assistant Dance Director of Groove Merchant Drum & Dance Ensemble, Alexia's resident performance ensemble. Additionally, she has performed multiple times as a member of Suhaila Salimpour’s Bal Anat. As a Level 2 SSBD/Level 2 JSBD certified dancer, she is working toward Level 3 Certification in both the Suhaila Salimpour Belly Dance Format and the Jamila Salimpour Belly Dance Format. She has also studied the Gypsy Caravan Tribal Bellydance Format through the Collective Soul Certification Program and currently holds Level 1 – Apprentice certification in Belladonna’s Bohemian Blade Balancing Training.

Currently based in Sterling, VA, Donna Eileen is available for instruction and private lessons by request. Find her on Facebook –

Workshop Descriptions:

MEANINGFUL MOVEMENT: Ibrahim Farrah Technique

FRIDAY MARCH 23    1:00-2:30pm         ROOM TBA
The late “Bobby” Farrah was a charismatic performer and an effective instructor; his weeklong master classes were attended by master teachers from all over the United States, and later, all over the world. Many said that he had a gift for making the smallest movement look significant. Latifa will present Farrah theory, technique, and combinations so that you can do this, too. Suitable for all levels. Bring a veil.

“FLIRT HOWEVER YOU WANT:” An Introduction to Egyptian Milaya

SATURDAY MARCH 24   9:00-10:30am   ROOM TBA
The milaya is a large piece of black fabric worn wrapped over a dress. The milaya dance was invented for stage, drawing upon the character of the assertive lower-class beledi women who wore this modesty garment in the street in days gone by. Women wearing milayas are often described as Bint al-Beled (“daughter of the country”), embodying traditional Egyptian values. The dance is normally comedic and might include some mildly naughty bits.

Serena's Bio:

Serena Spears is an internationally renowned and award-winning fusion dance performer, teacher, and choreographer from Brooklyn, NY. As a solo artist and choreographer, she integrates decades of training in hip-hop, modern, African, ballet, and Latin dance forms with bellydance. Known for her boundless energy, athleticism, precise technique, and commanding stage presence, Serena focuses on creating exciting, seamless fusion that fascinates audiences around the world. In addition to her solo work, she has performed across the country as a principal dancer of Solstice Tribe, directed by Sera Solstice, as a satellite member of Sepiatonic, based out of Portland, OR, as a member of Balmir Latin Dance Company, and in recent collaborative projects with fusion dancers and choreographers including Ebony Qualls, Sharon Kihara, Rin Ajna, April Rose, and Sekou McMiller.

As a teacher, she brings her students extensive dance knowledge, clear explanations of steps and techniques, and a warm, encouraging personality. Serena has taught workshops across the US and in China at festivals such as Art of the Belly, Bridge the Gap in Portland, the Maryland Bellydance Convention, and the Oriental Dance Super Stars and she remains a beloved substitute teacher for Sera at Solstice Studio in New York City.

In addition to her seven years of deep training and collaboration with Sera Solstice, Serena has studied intensively under the leading ladies of fusion bellydance including Suhaila Salimpour, Rachel Brice, Zoe Jakes, Donna Mejia, Mira Betz, Sharon Kihara, and Jill Parker. Serena completed Rachel Brice's 8 Elements: Initiation in 2013 and attained her Suhaila and Jamila Level 1 Certifications in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Serena continues to expand her movement studies outside of bellydance with regular classes and intensives in ballet, Afro-Latin, modern, hip-hop, salsa, tango, poi, and aerial arts.

For more information about Serena or to contact her, please check out her Facebook dance page.