Exploring the magic world of Middle Eastern Dance!


Class is now on line!

Warm greetings to all! Here’s hoping everyone is keeping safe and strong in these challenging times!  Creating a new “normal” is important to create a support structure in people’s lives, and this includes fun and healthy pursuits like dance!  So since we can’t get back into the actual studio, our classes will be on line via ZOOM going forward!  

Classes follow a format that our current and previous students are familiar with:  Morocco’s famous Warmup (dubbed by some as the “Belly Barre”), followed by workouts including rotating focus on a variety of: drills, combinations, shimmy technique, transitions, expression,  cultural context, choreography, and more.   Initially, Monday and Wednesday evening classes are offered with open enrollment. (See all details on my Classes Page).  This will likely be the case through year’s end.  If demand or need arises, additional classes may be added, class times may be moved, or content may be complemented with additional on line offerings.  We invite you to join us in class and look forward to hearing your feedback! 

Warmest wishes, Karima Nadira 

Don’t Forget to Dance!

During these challenging times, our usual routines are seriously disrupted, to the point where we can’t figure out how to include some of the soul satisfying endeavors we previously participated in. If dance is the thing that lights your soul, it is possible to find new ways to fit it into your life. Listening to music, watching dance videos, engaging in virtual cultural exploration, are all good! One advantage of this dance vocabulary, which is torso based, is that it does not need a lot of space for expression: so you can shimmy and shake and undulate — go ahead and express yourself — standing in one place! Check out my Classes Page: From time to time I will post links and suggestions to help you keep dance in your life! All the best to everyone! Karima Nadira

Performance at Rakkasah East 2017

October 15, 2017

This year I had the opportunity to co-teach with Morocco at Rakkasah East 2017:  this special occasion was the first public demonstration of Morocco’s:  “The Fundamental Movement Vocabulary of Raqs Sharqi”, although there was only time enough for the     “appetizer” version of the explanations and demonstrations!   It is soon to be presented in full for the first time in Vancouver in April.  I also got to show off on stage, doing a rendition of Morocco’s choreography for “Basboussa,” and having fun on top of my drum!  Photos here; video to be posted soon.

Many thanks to the Morocco, the organizers of Rakkasah East, and Carl Sermon, who took these fine photos!


The Prague Dance Symposium: SHRQ – December 4 – 7, 2014

Many dancers struggle with how best to gain cultural knowledge about Raqs Sharqi and other Middle Eastern folk forms, especially since most dance workshops, weeklongs, and festivals, have only a limited verbal cultural component. You may even learn the movements of culturally specific dances like Raqs al Nashaat or Saiidi or Kabeyle, but without much context.   While many responsible teachers include cultural information in the classes, there is only so much you can impart and still have time to dance, so it often takes a back seat. Where, how, why are these dances performed in their own countries? How are the movements executed in a culturally recognizable way? Why do Western interpretations frequently fail to communicate the essence of the Eastern dances?


In Prague, Czech dancer Katerina Shereen Safrova has stepped forward to organize an event around cultural knowledge. Even before I got there, I knew that SHRQ would be different from most other dance events I’ve ever attended. Organized by Czech dancer Katerina Shereen Safrova, the focus was specifically on the cultural context of the dance.


****See Part 1 of my full report on my Articles Page****

Istanbul Trip 2013

Landscape from restaurant -Full Size

OK, So a whole year managed to go by without my posting about my trip to Istanbul, Turkey, in September 2013 with Morocco. Well, I’m almost done editing and organizing the photos (over 2000!- blame digital), so by this time next month, they’ll be up, and there will be more to tell!

Istanbul is an amazing crossroads and cultural cauldron, with opportunities to explore rich past history and traditions, as well as to enjoy the best of modern arts and music. This is my 4th trip there but it still felt like discovering it all over again. The biggest problem was how to squeeze as much as possible into the 2 week time frame. Of course I saw at least 4 dance shows, sampled the delicious cuisine, and spent time at iconic must see places, even though I’d been there before. My experience with repeat visits is that you notice different things each time you go, more subtle details, a better understanding of what I am looking at, etc. Of course the Turks are super welcoming, and there were lots of friendly street cats for us to get our “kitty fix!”

We happened to be there in time for the Istanbul Biennial art exposition and caught a Korean-Turkish festival in a park near the Hagia Sofia. Also, thanks to 2 of Morocco’s closest friends in Istanbul, we got off the beaten track to the Asian side, local hangouts, and a fabulous new hamam (Ahhhhhhhhhhhh….). I’ll be posting more next month, so stay tuned!

Karima Nadira with Khariyya Maazin

Karima Nadira with Khariyya Maazin in June 2004: Khariyya, one of the last of the real Ghawazee, teaches the traditional way: She dances, repeating the movement sequences, and we follow her until we get it- no breakdown, no explanation – the same way we learned things as children.

See my new article:  Qualifying your teachers: Is Raqs Sharqi “in the blood?”



Karima in Clinton Md

karimaClinton7-13Karima Nadira performing in Clinton Md July 2013

Hello, Dance Fans!

Instead of an e-newsletter this month, I’ve posted 2 new titles on my “articles” page, in conjunction with what we have been working on in class:

Developing Your Own Dance Style

Tips For Beginning Choreography

Anticipating spring, our Friday class will be working on a new choreography, exploring the eastern concepts of dalla & tarab, and working out with veils.  We are also looking forward to the upcoming visit to NY of the highly respected A’isha Azar on April 6 & April 7.  A’isha is an expert on dances of the Arabian Gulf and Egyptian Raqs Sharqi. She will be teaching Raqs Samri and Raqs Nejdi Hadith from the Arabian Gulf and Raqs Sharqi.  This is an excellent opportunity to learn Gulf style dance.  I hope to see you there!

Info here: http://www.markbalahadia.com/?p=367

Yours in dance,

Karima Nadira



Dancing on the drum in Anchorage… photo by Frank Kovalchek

Cairo or bust!

Karima Nadira at Ahlan Wa Sahlan

Karima Nadira at Ahlan Wa Sahlan, Cairo, Egypt

More than 10 trips to Egypt, including 7 trips to the Ahlan wa Sahlan Festival, completion of Raqia’s Teachers’ intensive, classes with leading Egyptian dancers and instructors, and immersion in the culture and people, have given me a rich perspective on Oriental Dance.  Thanks to Morocco, whose always instructive trips opened doors and created many learning opportunities, I have acquired an excellent understanding of the roots of this dance and its solid grounding in the culture of the people of Egypt.