MARCH 22-25, 2018

ART OF THE BELLY

Simon's Bio​ - Lebanes [Simon-10] e 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 deep from the heart. Through oriental dance, Simon reveals his personal creative approach: He drills 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.

Simon says “It’s connecting with the music and letting it flow and radiate outwardly coming from deep within…. I feel the ground beneath me, dim the light in my eyes, and let the wind play…. my favorite musical instrument is the Nay.”

Since 2010, Simon is the artistic director and manager for the Al Awtar Zaffa Group based in Houston, Texas. He is also the executive director of the yearly Houston Oriental Dance Festival since 2012. Settled in Houston, Texas, Simon is a Structural Engineer and enjoys horseback riding and great long walks in nature.

  • SHERRI WHEATLEY
  • SIMON SAKO
  • DETAILED WORKSHOP DESCRIPTIONS & BIOS

Sherri's Bio: Sherri  specializes in Tribal Fusion bellydance and has had the honor of working with many innovative performance groups including Urban Tribal Dance Company, Desert Sin, Lucent Dossier Vaudeville Circus, Zen Arts and Living World Entertainment. She is distinguishable in her unique serpentine stylization, an interpretation that stylistically involves extreme muscle control and articulation. She is also an extremely versatile dancer and can morph from one extreme physical state to the next in an instant. Having moved to Los Angeles from San Diego in 2005, she continues to study dance in various incarnations and teaches tribal fusion classes and workshops both locally and abroad.

THE DABKE - Middle Eastern Folklore – Technique and Combinations 

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

This class begins with an introduction to Lebanese dabke: the basic 6 count line dance with three combinations of different levels of complexity, and the different rhythm and lyric dialect variations used. The class continues with dance combinations covering some of the Lebanese folk combinations vs. Palestinian folk combinations and other regions. We will cover the influence of theatre on folklore dance especially in the region of Lebanon.



Lebanese Pop Combos – Short Choreography 

SUNDAY March 25      9:30-11:30am  Room TBA

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!


WORKSHOP DESCRIPTIONS:

ACCENTUATE- The ins and outs of faster paced tribal fusion bellydance: Isolations, posture, extension and building choreography:

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

learn the fundamentals of faster paced tribal fusion bellydance.  Strong emphasis is placed on developing a correct posture, muscle conditioning and flexibility training. Sharp articulation emphasizing movement and rhythm. We will drill twists, locks, drops, squares, omis and shimmies working to develop the muscles in the lower abs and pelvic area to create crisp, strong hip articulation. We will then take it a step further and move on to drilling these movements within different planes of space, such as level changes and experimenting with variations on the left and right sides of the body. Special emphasis placed on drop turns and drop twists.  Students will learn how to create combinations and link them into short choreographies.  The goal is to give students the tools to more effectively help link movements together to create their own combinations and to ultimately create a very complete performance. We will also discuss the elements of good stage presence and methods to creating a very strong performance persona.


PREDATORY BELLY DANCE: Stalk Your Audience:

SATURDAY March 24   10:45-12:45  Room TBA

Wolf eye contact and cheetah shoulder rotations, just a few of the transformative elements we will utilize to effectively “stalk” our audience.  Essentially a playful way to employ a kind of alter ego to get comfortable with truly connecting to your audience, something that makes many feel very vulnerable at times.  By channeling our “predator” stage persona, we develop ways to use theatrical elements to break down the 4th wall in a way that both intrigues (and good-naturedly “terrorizes”) the audience and provides the performer with a whimsical and yet ultimately effective way to connect.  We will put this alter ego into practice with two distinctly different pieces of music. ‘Beautiful Pool’ by Neotropic and ‘Too Fine To Do Time by Pantyraid’.