9th Annual Shimmyathon Festival!

9th Annual Shimmyathon Festival!
Saturday & Sunday, October 20th & 21st, 2018
Raq-On Dance Studio (track 1) & White River Ballet Academy (track 2), 58 Bridge St, White River Junction, VT

To Register:
Cost: $200 for the entire weekend (including show ticket)

Monthly auto-payment plans available! Cost is $22 per month for 10 months. Sign by emailing raqondance@gmail.com on January 1st at 10 a.m. with your name, email, and day of month you would like the withdrawal.

Full Workshop Registration opens January 1, 2018 at 10:00 AM. Track 1 and 2 are decided by date timestamp (track 1 is a smaller studio, limited to 10 dancers, track 2 is the larger group). First 8 registered workshop attendees receive a performance slot in the Shimmyathon Showcase.

Single Class & One Day Workshop registrations open June 1st, 2018, space permitting

To register: Link will magically appear here at 10:00 A.M.!

Raq-On Dance Studio opens Saturday and Sunday at 10:00 AM for registration, shopping, and stretching.


Shaabi with Shamilar

Track 1: Saturday 10:45 AM-12:00 PM

Track 2: Saturday 12:15-1:30 PM

Fun Egyptian style street dance choreography.

BIO: Shalimar (Robin Kelsey) has been involved in Middle Eastern dance since 1974 as an accomplished performer, choreographer, and teacher. Throughout her career, she has had the opportunity to study with many notable instructors and has performed for many nightclubs, restaurants, and private parties.

Shalimar has taught the art of Middle Eastern dance since 1978. She had mastered many styles of both cabaret and ethnic styles of dance, but her particular specialty is the traditional style of dance incorporating the extensive use of finger cymbals, strong abdominal work, isolations, and combinations.

She still bases her teaching on the strong fundamental element of the so-called traditional style, but she also enjoys incorporating a variety of current trends in Middle Eastern dance, such as fusion and the usage of props.

For more information visit www.bellydanceconnecticut.com.

Classical Turns & Transitions with Aria Michaels Paradise

Track 1: Saturday 12:15-1:30 PM

Track 2: Saturday 10:45-12:00 PM

Flawless turns and transitions are one of the hallmarks of a refined, polished, and seasoned dancer. In this workshop, we will deconstruct the anatomy of turns and transitions, breaking them down and focusing on the technique behind a flawless turn. We will start with a challenging series of conditioning exercises for the core, ankles, and feet to help the dancer attain proper balance necessary to execute effortless turns. We will also explore turns from a ballet-based vocabulary including soutenu, chaine, and piqué, along with some modern and lyrical turns and transitions. Finally, we will discuss the importance of utilizing visualization techniques to attain balanced and crisp turns. This workshop is designed for all levels of dancer. Advanced and professional dancers will be challenged by practicing technique for multiple rotations in space, quick turns and transitions, and turning while changing levels. We will not be discussing turns specific only to belly dance in this workshop; however, the techniques and conditioning explored will be transferable to other styles and genres of dance.

BIO: Aria Michaels Paradise is a dancer, choreographer, and artistic director of ABRAXAS Dance Theatre. A depth psychology oriented psychotherapist, art historian, and Reiki Master, she inhabits the ethereal, liminal, and indefinable realm of air: mercurial, shapeshifting, ever inspired, and ever evolving. As director of ABRAXAS, Aria produces large scale theatrical events inspired by a seemingly paradoxical amalgam of contemporary bellydance, classic Hollywood musicals, and the haunting tragic beauty of ballet. She performs both nationally and internationally, and is known for her effortlessly graceful, sylph-like movement and character based narratives. Aria offers her audience an immersive and psychically charged experience.

Melodic Musicality with Sahina and Dan

Track 1: Saturday 2:30-3:45 PM

Track 2: Saturday 4:00-5:15 PM

This workshop will be a little bit of everything- musicality, music theory, dance improvisation, and history. We will work with 2 different melodic instruments with live musical accompaniment by Dan Muscat. For each instrument we will discuss its history and context within Middle Eastern music and culture, as well as its musical range. Understanding the instruments we dance to will help us as dancers to respond to the variety of sounds, moods, and emotions they convey. We will use dance improvisation exercises for hearing and responding to each instrument's unique flavor so that we can reach our goal as dancers of being the embodiment of the music we hear. This workshop will provide a unique opportunity to hear perspectives on these beautiful melodic instruments from the perspective of both a dancer and a musician.

BIO: Sahina discovered bellydance in 2005 and instantly fell in love with the movements, music, and beautiful community she discovered. She is based in western Massachusetts where she teaches and performs regularly. She was a founding member of the Middle Eastern bands Manavi and Zay-Tunes, co-producer of Dancing into the Dark and Dancing into the Light, and dance partner to Felicia Malachite and Kenna. She loves to share her passion for music and dance with her students, dance partners, and audiences around New England.

Dan Muscat is a qanun, viola, and piano player. He plays many styles of music including rock, Old Time, ragtime, klezmer, as well as European, Arabic, and Turkish classical repertoire. He has studied Arabic music at Simon Shaheen's Arabic Music Retreat at Mount Holyoke College, and played for three years in the New York Arabic Orchestra.

Different Every Time (even when the music is the same) with Alia Thabit

Track 1: Saturday 4:00-5:15 PM

Track 2: Saturday 2:30-3:45 PM

How do we make every performance unique, even when we choreograph to recorded music? In this class, we will each make a unique dance as we learn Alia's simple composition process. You can use it over and over to make fun, easy to remember, exciting dances that leave plenty of room for your feeling and expression--even when the music is the same!

BIO: Alia Thabit, a Levantine-American dance artist, writer, and teacher, celebrates belly dance's cultural ideals of feeling, playfulness, and joy. An international and online instructor with decades of experience, Alia believes that each of us is filled with our own unique beauty and magic, treasure waiting to be found. Come find your treasure at aliathabit.com


Dancing to 7/8 with Aslahan

Track 1: Sunday 10:45 AM-12:00 PM

Track 2: Sunday 12:15-1:30 PM

7/8s are less well known to North American dancers than 9/8s, but make for some of the loveliest, most distinctive music in Turkey. These usually lively, staccato tunes lend themselves to footwork, sharply twisting hips, and hops alternated with grounding movements to mark the beat. The result is a dance that's lilting and fun, with a sense of almost skimming over the earth. In this workshop, we'll start out exploring the rhythm itself (bring your finger cymbals), then move on to footwork, add hips, and finally build some combos you can use.

BIO: Aslahan is one of the most recognized artists in Turkish Oryantal dance in New England. Involved in Middle Eastern dance arts since 1992, she is known for her fiery stage presence, mastery of finger cymbals, and love of odd time signatures, as well as her research and insightful articles on the culture and history of the dance in Turkey. In 2013 she won First Place in the Turkish Professional category of the Midwest Dance Competition. Her instructional video on finger cymbals was released on DVD in 2014. Based in Boston, she continues to lecture, teach, perform, and study all over the United States and abroad.

Quick and Dynamic Combos with Amity Alize
Track 1: Sunday 12:15-1:30 PM

Track 2: Sunday 10:45 AM-12:00 PM

Join Amity in short combinations to classic Belly Dance songs. These can be used to spice up your entrances, 5 part routines, or just to help you get out of your head! Drink lots of caffeine and eat your Wheaties!

BIO: Amity Alize has studied Middle Eastern and Oriental Dances since 2001. Focusing on tying the folkloric and modern styles together through her own research, she travels internationally studying dance on an ongoing basis. Her mission is to empower others through performances, workshops, and classes to step out of their boxes, increase their self-esteem and positive self-image, live through the music, and most of all, just have fun and be authentically themselves.

As the founder and director of Raq-On Dance, Amity has taught over a thousand people to learn Belly Dance. In 2015 she was invited to teach and perform in Cairo, Egypt, as part of the Camp Negum Dance Festival. She is the Director of the annual Shimmyathon Dance Festival and has hosted over fifty events including national and international dancers. She has written three ebooks on the business, teaching, and event management side of performing arts for dancers.

Amity Alize performs at weddings, celebrations, theatre shows, fundraisers, and venues with Middle Eastern Bands. Her style can be best described as Classical Golden Era Egyptian fused with Vintage American Oriental. She manages Raq-On Dance’s student Troupe, the Raq-ettes, which perform folkloric and modern Middle Eastern Dance styles throughout the Northeast. For more information visit www.raq-on.net

Dance Photo Session Basics with Peter Paradise

Track 1: Sunday 2:30-3:45 PM

Track 2: Sunday 4:00-5:15 PM

Dance Photo Session Basics Building a mystique is a critical part of marketing and promotion. Having a current and active collection of professional quality images will help enhance your visibility. In this workshop we will explore how to prepare for a location or studio photo session to guarantee the best possible images! Peter will reveal and discuss various steps for a successful photo session. Dozens of samples will be examined and time allotted for questions and open discussion. Topics include planning and shot list ideas, studio vs. location, using assistants, music, live performance photos, and post-production.

BIO: Peter Paradise Michaels is a fine art photographer who specializes in performers, events and portraits. His work has been featured in the Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, Huffington Post, Fuse, Dark Beauty Magazine, The Metro and many others. He has worked with dancers and covered events in New York City, Montreal, Maryland, California, Portland Oregon and all over New England, Peter is pleased to join Amity for his second Shimmyathon.

Introduction to Middle Eastern Music and In-Depth Discussion on Mergences for Dancers with Ann Lucas

Track 1: Sunday 4:00-5:15 P.M

Track 2: Sunday 2:30-3:45 PM

Live belly dance performances in Egypt do not use very much music that is unique for the professional dance stage. One belly dance performance by a single performer encompasses several different genres that highlight different styles of dance, yet these genres can usually be heard in other settings, performed for either casual dancing audiences or for listening audiences with no professional dancer. One key exception to this situation is the Mergence, a musical form developed for live professional belly dance in the twentieth century. The Mergence is now a standard opening piece of music for the professional belly dance show, and its style has been standardized around a few key musical features that are meant to create a certain visual presentation for all dancers. Conversely, dancers can have their own personal Mergence composed for them, which can also give them some musical features that allow them to showcase their own personal style. This talk will break down and demonstrate the key musical features of the mergence and look at how these standard features determine how the dancer open’s her show. This form applies the basic building blocks of Arabic music in some standard ways to make it an identifiable form, which in turn determine the parameters of the dance. Beyond the basic musical and dance features of the mergence, this talk will also examine how composers add unique musical features to different mergence to make each one unique, whether composing for a specific dancer or writing a mergence for general use.

BIO: Ann E. Lucas is Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology at Boston College, where she also teaches in the program for Islamic Civilizations and Societies. Prof. Lucas specializes in music and culture in the Middle East. both historiography of music in the Persian-speaking world and the relationship between music and dance in Egypt. Her short works include contributions to Journal of Asian Music (University of Texas Press, 2012) Global Muslims in the Age of Steam and Print (University of California Press, 2013) and Theory and Method in Historical Ethnomusicology (Lexington Books, 2014). Her first book, Music of A Thousand Years, is due to be published with the University of California Press next year. Prof. Lucas was the recipient of the New Faculty Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies and received a postdoctoral appointment at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University. She is the founder of the Historical Ethnomusicology Section within the Society for Ethnomusicology in the United States and currently an associate editor for the journal Review of Middle East Studies. In addition to being a scholar of music in the Middle East, Prof. Lucas is also an avid performer. She plays the Middle Eastern reed flute (nai) and has performed with such groups as Layali Zaman in Los Angeles and the National Arabic Orchestra in Michigan. She currently runs Ustaza!, the Boston College Middle Eastern music project. This project teaches music traditions of the region to students and provides them with opportunities to perform with and for Middle Eastern communities of New England.

$200 for the entire weekend (including show ticket)

Full Workshop Registration

opens January 1, 2018 at 10:00 AM. Dancers who register for

the entire weekend

by February 1


will receive Raq-On Swag!

First 8 registered workshop attendees receive a perfo

rmance slot in

the Shimmyathon Showcase.

Single Class & One Day Workshop

registrations open June 1st, 2018, space permitting

To register:

Please visit www.r


-on.net or call (603) 304-8676

Raq-On Dance Studio opens Saturday and Sunday at 10:00


for registration, shopping, and stretching.
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