Art/ Dance Academy

  Keep the Culture in Arabic Dance. Open Borders for ALL Movement!



Posted by [email protected] on July 1, 2020 at 3:50 PM Comments comments (0)


by Morwenna Assaf, Director

"The basics you need to look and perform your best."

Before you get into performance you need to hone your skills in class and practice. The skills are the same. It is all one working curve. To perform well in any area of your life you need to develop these qualities.

You will use these qualities whether you are cleaning house, performing or whatever. You will look better and feel better. Whether you are a beginner, professional or anywhere in between develop the essentials for having it all. They will help you build a strong, balanced body, which not only looks good but functions better. Think of them as the alphabet. You will never read well if you don’t learn the alphabet first.

These skills will help you acquire all the skills you need in life in the order that you need them. Make them a habit. Do it right!

Balance: The foundation of the qualities. Required for everything you do from walking to performing.

Coordination: This point allows you to have control over your body and makes you less likely to get injured.

Flexibility: Makes you look young and graceful through efficient movement.

Endurance: Allows you to keep going. You cannot live without this.

Speed: This isn’t about moving fast. It is about how fast you move and react. The one thing that will give you an edge.

Strength: Without strength you cannot help yourself or help others. You cannot survive without this point either.

These are the six points of achievement that all need to strive for, especially dancers. To achieve this you need to workout a minimum of 30-minutes 3-4 times per week. Plus extra strength training 2-3 times per week is recommended.

Step 1: Warm -Up—Do a 5-10 minute low intensity total body movement. Breathe deeply from the diaphragm.

Step 2: The Workout—Make sure you work right and left side. Do your moves at three speeds. Vary the moves at these different speeds. Use a slow pace to learn movements. This helps integrate various muscle fibers and increases coordination, balance and power.

Step 3: Cool Down—Stretch all major muscle groups.

Technique is the dancer’s "home base". Technique is the dancer’s main tool for accomplishment. Technique should not work on but through a dancer’s body. Technique arises from the necessity of knowing how to do something. Express through movement both physically and expressively. Sometimes we need more than just plain technique. We need something in dance called "somatics". According to the dictionary this means relating to or affecting the psyche.

How do we do this? Here is just a few key phrases to set you thinking.

Be aware of the subtlety of movement. Movement does not have to be big and bold. Over working leads to injury. Decreased body connectedness can lead to impaired emotional content. Know from where a movement starts, follows through and finishes.

Develop skills of self observation.

Learn how to learn.

Maintain a flexible mind-body map. Be kind to yourself.

Learn a balance of use and rest.

Discuss with others where and how you are. This is what teachers and peers are for.

Build a vocabulary of dance and kinesthetic sensations. Learn how to move mechanically, physically and expressively.

Build a support system - if not with others, with yourself.

Have fun. Play with the dance.

Just keep dancing.

Hope this gives you something to ponder for the next month or so. Dance is the one field where there is always something new to research and learn.

Do You Want To Dance Forever? Here Is How!

Posted by [email protected] on May 15, 2020 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Do You Want to Dance Forever? Here is How!

Posted on May 13, 2020 by Tales1001 Edit

At any level of dance there are certain thing you should know. You should include cardio and and weight training to prepare you for the demands of dance. This is true, no matter the style. This will make you stronger, have more endurance and better technique. You will not gain bulk but will have more developed muscles for what comes in your dance training. Do not stop your other activities. Have outside activities, than just dance. Try a yoga class, Somatics, or Pilates class. People who do keep healthier and can help make you a better dancer. So, have a life! Early retirement is no longer a given. Caring properly for your body will ensure that you can dance as long as you want.

If you are very supple, take heed. You must control your range of motion to prevent injury. If you are tight you have to be careful too. You are the other end of the spectrum. It is all about control. Be patient and focus on good technique! No one wants an injury. Always warm up before you dance. Dance training can become very repetitious. Do not let it become mundane. Listen to your body. Learn the difference between soreness that comes from working hard and getting stronger and pain from overdoing. There is a difference. Recognize it! Overdoing will affect your ability to perform and limit your future. Do not be afraid to try new things. Investigate any injuries. Do not ignore them. Plan your recovery. Ask yourself how you feel in your body every day. If not up to it, do not go to class. “Experience gives you more choices” says Risa Steinberg, so find them. Remember flexibility declines as you get older. Be prepared. Be realistic on how you need to adapt without losing your technique.

Make sure you eat properly. You need the energy. Under-nutrition can affect dancers of all levels. It creates a hormonal imbalance and a slow healing from injuries due to low bone density. Make the necessary adjustments to your classes. As you get older it is harder to dance with no discomfort. Make sure you are breathing properly. Breathe fully and think of moving with less force. Use your emotions and feelings while maintaining your technique. Make sure you have a health care team that understand your needs. Maybe, seek advice from a dietician. Maintain your body. Take two days a week off from dancing. Sleep at least 8 hours a night. Dancers usually have busy schedules. As you age you might want or should cut back. Be extra vigilant to rest and recover. Work with your body, do not ignore it.

Remember experience gives you more choices. Your years of study and good technique are there to support you. Rather than focusing on things you may not be able to do anymore, listen to your instincts and use other moves and feelings. “Play the instrument you have” says Gus Solomon. Remember when you first learned to do improvisation? Get that feeling back. Create! We are performing Middle Easter Dance of one form or another so pace yourself. We are always dancing! There really is no stopping. Follow your dream but just be sensible.

Morwenna Assaf

[email protected]

760-715-2276/865-375-0446 Morwenna & Walid Assaf




Getting Out of A Dance Rut

Posted by [email protected] on February 12, 2020 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (0)



No matter what your situation or your level of dance, this is inevitable at any stage of your career. Maybe you just got a job? It has been fine so far but you do not feel like you are growing as an artist. You are in a rut! These slumps hit hard no matter at what level you are. They are difficult to shake but with the correct mindset you can and will find your love for dance again.


The way of a dancer’s life


Why does this happen? Maybe you are focusing on the things you have given up for dance and not focusing on your accomplishments. At first you are really excited, then at some point you lose momentum. You start looking at what you left behind and not on what you have accomplished. It can be frustrating. You feel stagnant. You are in a motivational hole.


Initially you are grateful but then the excitement wears off. The mind-set changes. You want more out of this life. It is a natural part of the developmental process. Dancers need the tools but also the strength to be able to face all the challenges that come with the territory. You have to be more independent to be successful. It is part of the education and journey. Sometimes you will feel invisible but that does not mean you are doing something wrong. You are just not the main topic of conversation. At times you need help adjusting to a move or a situation. At other times you do not.




With practice you can overcome this set back and get back on track.


1. Set Reasonable and productive goals:

Focus on what you put into your work. Not, what you get out of it. Goals should be centered on things you can control: Applying corrections. Etc. Work on it.


2. Sit in on rehearsals and classes:

See shows – you need to be inspired. Look for other inspirational outlets. Take a class in another style. Another teacher maybe. But, make sure you take classes.


3. Expand your horizons:

Most people start dance as a hobby but then it becomes work, the joyful escape is gone. Find something else for a hobby. I happen to write.


4. Do not forget your value:

Realize you are needed where you are. You are valued.


Hopefully, these suggestions will help you. Even after 40 plus years in this business I have my days. After a week or so of doing nothing, I realize I am here for the long haul and will always be a part of the dance world. It is who I am!


A working artist at that!


Morwenna Assaf



[email protected]


865-375-0446 or760-715-2276

Categories: Author, Belly Dance, Dance, Dance Coaching for ME Dancers, Educator, Egyptian Dance, Ethnic Dance, Events, Health, Intensive Classes, Lebanese Dance, Middle Eastern Dance, Music & Rhythm, Orientale Dance and Folklore, Uncategorized, Workshops, Zills | Leave a

How Does Appreciation Become Appropriation

Posted by [email protected] on December 8, 2019 at 2:05 PM Comments comments (0)


How Does Appreciation Become Appropriation

Posted on December 8, 2019 by Tales1001 Edit


After being in the business of Arabic Dance styles for over 45 years this business of appropriation has become a huge subject. It puzzles me. When I started it was not even suggested. I lived in a primarily Lebanese community and danced in every club in the Boston/Rhode Island/New Hampshire area. They were clubs where the Middle Eastern people attended any night of the week. I was never accused by the natives of Lebanon as appropriating their culture. They helped me in every way. Even after moving away across country in 1996 we are still friends. I am British by birth and my husband is Lebanese and a percussionist. I believe that no one of our era in the area ever got accused of this. Today it is everywhere by native dancers and non-native dancers. In those days we were a community. We were all one.

Onstage Beirut LebanonYes, I still have friends who are of the culture who are dancers. We all respected each other. So, now I have delved into this subject I will try to unravel it. Let us start with hip hop. This dance form has made global impact and a voice for so many around the world. Yes, sometimes it is used in ways the culture does not benefit from it. This includes marketing, including products, music, videos, classes to sell an attitude. It has become an energy that has been stripped of its history and significance. It is sprinkled in everything including Broadway shows to fashion and even spices. Sound familiar?

People think all they have to do is have certain steps, wear certain costumes, dance to certain music and that makes it a cultural dance. Donning toe shoes, and a tutu and dancing to Swan Lake music does not make one a ballet dancer. This is a disconnect from the origins of the culture and the people who created the style. This is problematic.

This shallow aesthetic of borrowing and disconnect is “cultural appropriation”. It has a long history in dance. Ballets like L Bayadere, Le Cosaire, tap in vaudeville. Even Ruth St Denis who found inspiration in Egyptian and Indian cultures. Cultural appropriation is taking the external trappings of cultural traditions and using them for decorations on your own history without developing mutually supporting relationships in the community that you are taking from.


It is not a matter of ethnic dances as all dance forms are an ethnic dance form. This includes ballet, modern and jazz. What matters is the power of dynamics. It should not be from a position of privilege to just borrow from a marginalized community. That is imperialism! One has to enter a cultural identity in a respectful way.


There has been a history of America appropriating cultural forms of dance and then enacting cultural imperialism. One has to study not only the movement but the culture around the movement and to build relationships in that culture. Even if you cannot move abroad, visiting a dance country’s roots is important. Go and experience the country and learn from different teachers so you understand what the culture is all about. Gain first hand exposure to the culture. Have continuous recognition of the dance forms pioneers and the teachers that have guided you. Always give recognition to to where dances come from and where you learned it.


Crediting teachers and trail blazers on social media, in program notes, and in interviews is a way of acknowledging a lineage of the culture and gratitude and humility. This is often a step people miss and it leads to conflict that is not intended. But immersion and recognition is not always enough. Often it is the entertainment business, cultural institutions, and private dance studios that do not uphold high enough standards for incoming and upcoming dancers.

Study with teachers who know the culture and the dance. Study with those willing to share the culture and the knowledge. Not just the pretty young girl at the local club. What is her history? Just taking a few classes or being born into it is not enough. One has to understand dance, the culture, the costuming, the mannerisms and the music.


I hope this article helps in some way. When I started we were committed to all of the above. We know we had to keep on learning and striving. This has to be a way of life. Not just a fun excursion. We are missing a big piece of the equation if we do not have better intent. Think about what you are creating and the audience/students you wish to attract.


ROOTS: The story line has to change. When on stage we have to get rid of the stereotypical style of a exotic body .

Ancient Phoenician Dancers


CHANGE OF NARRATIVE: Encourage productive discussions for everyone including instructors, staff and students.


TRUST THE NEXT GENERATION: Let new dancers have an enhanced vocabulary. The training and teaching of dancers is not the same as what we brought with us when we came as immigrants. We are all valued.


I am appalled at the lack of knowledge that the average student get from their instructors. This is a complex business. We need to know the culture the dance and more. We have let people with no background in any of these areas. A few lessons with a teacher who knows no more than they do. Workshops are not studying. This is exposure to something. This is wrong. We need to raise the barre and keep it high or this beloved dance form will die away.

Morwenna Assaf has run Art/Dance Academy for almost 40 years. She is married to Walid Assaf one of the finest percussionists in the USA. She studied in NYC for 20 years under the tutelage of Ibrahim “Bobby” Farrah. She has taught internationally in Canada, Mexico and Lebanon plus across the USA. C

Contact information = [email protected]

Morwenna Assaf = 760-715-2276 Walid Assaf = 760-715-2220

Art/Dance Academy = 865-375-0446


De Stress - Get Out of the Gloom

Posted by [email protected] on November 7, 2019 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (0)


Along with all the rewards of a dancing career comes numerous sources of stress. Those of us who have been in this business for a long time understand and realize it is just part of the game. I think dancers have this idea that everything has to be perfect. This is unreasonable thinking. We all have moments of being over loaded but when it becomes a day in and day out situation, it is a problem.







Yes, the occasional stress point will come up. Will I get the job? How will I make ends meet. Praying people will show up for a rehearsal. Praying the show will go well. But, long term problems like not enough money to survive, being injured, can and will contribute to chronic stress. This is turn can be a really dangerous situation. Health problems ranging from depression and heart problems to prolonged injury recovery. So, how will we handle this?







  1. Meditation: Focus on your breathing. Be non-judgmental about your thoughts and feelings.. Accept all! This takes a lot of practice but can be so beneficial. Take a deep breath!
  2. Cognitive Behavior Skills: Make sure you recognize distorted or harmful thoughts. Stop it in its tracks.
  3. Connect With Others: Reach out to others. Socializing has a habit of setting things straight.
  4. Do Non-Dance Activities: Go to a play , concert, take a free class. Sample something new. Give yourself a new interest.
  5. Express Yourself: Keep a journal, write stories or poetry, play misic, draw, paint sculpt. You might have another hidden talent.
  6. Take Time Out for You: Have a special time for you, be it a soak in a hot tub, a special breakfast, lunch or supper. Playing your favorite music. Reading or taking a nap. You are special. Celebrate it!
  7. Reflect on Your Priorities: What would you like to do? Think it over!
  8. Practice Saying "No": Have healthy boundaries. Realize you need to take care of you not the whole world. Do what you can do without getting overwhelmed.
  9. Remind Yourself Why You Dance: You started out just loving dancing. Then, you became a professional and a whole lot of other things came into the picture. Responsibility and having to be good. Plus not letting people down. Refresh on those early days.
  10. Reach Out For Help: If the above does not make you realize that it is dance and you should be loving it and you cannot manage effectively then search out a therapist to help you.




Dance has been with us forever. Orientalist view of the Oriental Dance.




My favorite saying is "It is not brain surgery". Relax! We are only hear for a short while. Do not get bogged down.

[email protected]




Morwenna & Walid Assaf
760-715-2276 or 865-375-0446




Morwenna Assaf






Winging It - Improvisation

Posted by [email protected] on October 18, 2019 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Winging It - Improvisation

Middle Eastern dance styles are made up of both choreography and improvisation. Theater dance and group are done with choreography. Restaurant and night club dance, commonly called belly dance in America but is really Oriental Dance or Danse Orientale in the rest of the world is done by improvisation. Winging it is actually a misnomer. It is planned! Why improvisation when in this situation? Mainly because you as a performer are working with musicians. This is the ultimate in performing for this style. Today many clubs have closed as owners do not want to pay musicians and dancers. This is a travesty and harming our business. But, if you are lucky enough to live in an area where live music is available or you get the opportunity to work with musicians, take it. It is so worth it.

After being in Los Angeles and seeing a theater performance with live music where 9 out of 10 dancers just did not know what they were doing. All dancers were excellent, not just students. After analyzing and talking with musicians around the country, I realized it is because most dancers do not have the opportunity to dance with live music. Everyone, choreographs and then cannot deviate. This was sad to see. It is a test for individual artistry , a test of decision making skills in a high pressure environment. Improvisation is rooted in spontaneity but needs to be fine tuned to make it ready for the stage.

Most dancers have spent years perfecting their technique and learning how to execute the choreography with exact detail as to the instructors demands. Improvisation, on the other hand encourages free thinking and artistry. It adds a bigger picture of of elements. Dancers have to think how the audience will perceive the art and the dancers have to shape the piece in the moment. The challenge of improv is different for each dancer. Shy people will be timid. Technical dancers will fall back on their generic favorite steps. Outgoing dancers may try to overpower the music.


You really have to check your ego at the door. One needs to feel the people around them while still working with the music. You need to know how to improv in a high in a high pressure environment. You have to put yourself inside your dance. You need to make the audience forget and not realize it is improv.



A huge part of improvisation is connecting with the music From entrance to finale connect with the music. Use movements that are unique to you or are your favorites. Be individual! Do not just string steps together. Be an authentic dancer from inside you. Make sure you include build a movement with intensity or structure. It is no just a free for all. Not every time you dance will be wonderful. Practice performing depends on trial and error.


1. Have a beginning: Plan your entrance. Not choreograph but planning where you are going to be where you need to be to start the dance.

2. Think of what makes a dance successful: Use the whole stage and vary the heights- on the ground to the space above the head. Have texture in your dance.

3. Set goals for the dance: It is always a good idea to come into the dance space for specific tasks. Do not move for movement's sake. Have a purpose. Include slow and rhythmic moves. Have a loose checklist. Cover the ground in all aspects.

4. Less is more: Sometimes you are part of the dance by not moving by just being in the space and standing there. Let the energy guide you.

5. Work with musicians: Ask for music you are familiar with. If you are polite with the leader and the guys, they will help you. Also, know your instrumentation as this will tell you what type of moves to use.

6. Stage your dance: No, you do not choreograph each step but you plan where you are going at different points. First plan your entrance. Plan your drum solo. Then plan your finale. The rest will come to you.Do not let an opportunity pass to not dance this way. It is the ultimate for this type of dance.


Morwenna Assaf- Director of Art/Dance Academy [email protected] of Tales 1001 [email protected]

Walid Assaf – Director of Cedar Productions [email protected]


Morwenna Assaf- Director of Art/Dance Academy [email protected]

Author of Tales 1001 [email protected]

Walid Assaf – Director of Cedar Productions [email protected]



Reviewing Your Work

Posted by [email protected] on October 9, 2019 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (0)


Reviewing Your Work

Posted on September 14, 2019 by Tales1001

The work does not end when you bow at the end of a piece. It is not over! It is the beginning of getting better. Your post performance analysis can help you progress and grow. After show take some time to calm down and be grateful for what you have just done. Taking time to reflect gives you a chance to recognize the full value of the work you just did and take control of how you want to proceed in the future. Use each show as an opportunity to evolve. It is only a means to an end, not the end. Learn how to calmly evaluate your work will make sure you do not turn into a machine that dances by rote. You will actually learn and improve each time you perform. Real growth as a dancer comes once you have learned to evaluate productively. Just give yourself a chance to calm down before trying to fig-ure out what happened, good or bad.

1. Start with the Good Stuff:

Yes, start with the being positive! Think about all the things that went well before dwelling on the not so good. Have a moment for yourself. Pat yourself on the back a little. Have a feeling of gratitude. Feel positive, it will help you have more momentum and energy to improve. Did you enjoy the show? Also reflect on the things you did right in leading up to the show. The preparation you did. Even diet and before the show rest. Think about what went well in the performance. Where you improved? What you nailed! What can you learn from this performance? People are naturally inclined to reflect on the negative. Being overly negative is not productive.


2. Put Your Thoughts on Paper:

Get in that positive frame of mind. Writing gets problems good and bad out of your head and onto the page. From there be an outsider and be honest with yourself. Then you can move on.

Make three columns: 1. Things that worked. 2. The things that did not work. 3. Things to work on. This way you will not just fixate on the things that went wrong. Seeing all sides and a place to work and will help you not to fixate on just what was not up to par. Always ask yourself, Is this a produc-tive thought?


3. Take Criticism Calmly:

Getting others’ opinions is essential. You might not like what you will hear but it gives you thought. Your own subjective thoughts of what you did, do not give you the full picture You might feel some-thing went wrong but not why. Someone else’s perspective may give you insight. Then you can work in fixing it! It is very easy to get defensive. Remember you are a performing artist. How many times have you heard “Breathe”? Develop the skill of deep breathing. Breathing deeply occupies space in your brain and allows you to reset. Yes, feedback can be overwhelming. Decide on a few people to really listen to.

4. Watch A Replay:

Seeing yourself dance is really important. Get comfortable using video as a tool. Video helps you un-derstand what sort of dancer you are. Just, try not to focus on all the things you do not like. You have to look at yourself and understand how to make things look better. Step back and think less about yourself and more about the whole thing. You are just part of it. Be able to understand your role in the big picture is important and helpful. Trust that the sky will not fall. You are part of a bigger experi-ence. That is art!

Contact: Morwenna Assaf / Walid Assaf

Art/Dance academy/Tales1001/ Cedar Productions

[email protected] – 760-715-2276

[email protected] or Cedar [email protected]






Identity Crisis! To Be Or NotTo Be

Posted by [email protected] on August 28, 2019 at 4:40 PM Comments comments (0)


After being a professional dancer and instructor for over 40 years I realized the pain that I had been feeling for the past 5 years was not going away. I had been ignoring the signs of an aging dancer. I had never stopped dancing. Had never taken time off. In fact even vacations were always dance vacations. Then it dawned on me that this is the beginning of the end of my dance career. At some point in our lives all dancers face this in one form or another.




So, I cut back. Started just coaching instead of teaching classes. Cut back on teaching workshops when I broke my right big toe 3 days before a workshop in San Diego. Taught the first day in excruciating pain. The next day it was a no can do. My husband ended up running the class for me. Figured a rest and healing of my foot would take care of it. Guess what? I was wrong! The pain did get better with rest of both the foot and the Periphiral Neuropathy. I did learn that I was overdoing things and that by letting up some the pain eased off.




Our lives are intertwined forever. In life, in love and in our careersMorwenna & Walid




At first it was nice, no pressure but then I realized things were not getting done. I really had no idea what to do with myself. I felt lonely. I was terrified! Who am I? I felt like I had lost everything. I did not know who I was. I was losing everything. Or at least anything that meant anything to me. Although unplanned, it made me think seriously about my career and what I really wanted out of life at this time of my life. It has left me in a situation where I am dealing with insurance, doctors, and unable to pay bills. I realize I am not a kid anymore. Had my 79th birthday last week. So I have had to ask, what do I really want?




These are all questions that need to be answered.




  1. What do I do with myself? - What other dance related things can I do? Movement classes like Pilates, Somatics or Yoga. Nutrition has always been a thing I was interested in. Writing dance books and blogging. learn podcasting and video casting. Prepare for retirement show in Ct next April
  2. Give yourself space to rest. - Get healthy again.
  3. Stay involved with dance in other ways? Writing is one way. Running things on line. Taking a trip to Lebanon again to do research. Help husband set up his side of the business. Talk to other dancers.
  4. Remove yourself entirely? - This is not an option for me. How about you?
  5. Stay on a schedule - As a dancer and teacher our lives are very regimented. Structure your days. This helps combat symptoms of depression.
  6. Celebrate small victories? - Mentally maintain a sense of momentum. Somatics are my main source of exercises which keeps me sane. I need to move and it is healthy for me.
  7. Find other creative outlets? - Write, blog, paint, podcast, sing. Use the same amount of energy you used in the dance
  8. Cross-train? - Do something physical. Again somatics, pilates or yoga. Look for ways to keep your body in shape and moving forward. Use it or lose it!
  9. Find a group? Do not allow yourself to get isolated. Find a friend or group that holds your interest. Even a book club.
  10. Take advantage of the time off. - Take classes, socialize Build other parts of your personality regardless of age.







Yes, this is my future plan for my retirement. No more classes. Coaching instead. I am done running from state to state teaching. Yes, even country to country. I have loved every moment of it but now it is too exhausting. I look at what is written above and realize I have so many choices to make and still be in the dance I love so. I have had a wonderful career and do not regret one moment of it. It is time for family and loved ones. I thank God for my love of this dance form, my talent and the people it has brought into my life. It will always be a part of me.




So anyone who is going through a similar situation. Sit down and ask yourself the above questions. Turn yourself around and see where you can be aiming. By being calm and rational you can find the answers. Yes, sometimes one has to dig deep. But, the answers are there, inside you. The only thing I ask is that you treat dance with respect. There is a time when we each have to step aside and leave the stage and classroom to the younger ones we have trained. We leave its destiny in their hands. Our job is done. I have done my best and hope you have too. That is all that is important. Yes, I am still a dancer at heart.







Written by Morwenna Assaf, owner/Choreographer and Producer of Art/Dance Academy-El Fen, being located in Jefferson County, TN., Oceanside, CA & South Eastern MA and Rhode Island. 760-715-2276
[email protected] [email protected] [email protected]



Posted by [email protected] on July 19, 2019 at 5:40 PM Comments comments (0)


I am a firm believer that dance classes at all levels should really be held in person. The student and instructor need to be together in the same room. Yet, on the other hand there are times and situations where this is impossible. So, yes, there is a need for on line coaching and classes. As time goes by and as I have moved from a city where cultural development was everywhere to a location where culture might as well be a foreign word. Today, I see a need for online teaching. While not a replacement for studio training, Online classes gain a particular following.

Musicians can learn from a sore but dancers have always learned from person to person. The true work of dancers still remains solidly in the studio. A dance student needs personal feedback. It is the older generation of students not the kids who go for online classes. They are far less experienced and confident in their abilities but are fascinated by dance. So the appeal is there, especially for beginners. It suits their timetable, their level and held in the comfort and privacy of their own home.

These particular students find that they may make fools of themselves in a dance classroom. At home there is little risk of embarrassment. Afterwards they might sign up for an in studio class. These aging students are realizing a new consciousness of exercise, nutrition, and fitness. An adult beginner class is a big seller. For a lot of adults a beginner class in a studio is too advanced. Classes need to be developed for these people

There are also adults who want to learn how to dance, but many of them do not have access to a studio who offers these classes for adults. It takes a lot from the instructor who already has to have the knowledge to teach good classes in technique and knows how to work with adults and not children and teens. An instructor needs to start posting instructional videos, teaching herself how to film, edit and post material. These classes need to be paid for. They need to be in an interactive format, where you can see the student and she can see the instructor. It needs to be a a completely judgment-free zone for the student. The instructor does not want the student/students to feel self-conscious or that they have to be perfect before even starting.

Classes can be run on Skype or Zoom depending on the preference. Chat boxes are great where students can ask questions, get answers and then can be saved saved to website so students in different time zones can watch later. Classes can be offered from 30 minutes to 1 & 1/2 hrs. I offer coaching sessions that work this way. Classes can be scheduled from weekly to anything the teacher decides.

Dance classes of all types are offered. Everything from Ballet, Yoga, and Pilates. International dance styles like Flamenco, Arabic Style/Belly Dance, Folk styles, and Hula etc. can all be found. Plus anything else you might be interested in. The technology can be frustrating at times but it connects with a global audience which is a bonus.

There are also platforms that offer on line systems. Research places like Yes Course, Teachable, Thinkific and Course Craft. Do your home work and decide from there if teaching this way or taking classes this way is for you. My studio is called Art/Dance Academy. I offer a variety of classes that are designed just for the student. YOU! I do coaching for students of any level on Skype or Zoom. My classes on a platform are based on my books. So, everything from playing Finger Cymbals to Choreography or Improvisation and everything in between. Contact [email protected] for information. Check our website at https://Art/DanceAcademy-El Call us at 760-715-2276 or 865-375-0446. Please leave a message. We are always expanding our services. Arabic Drumming and Musicality will be offered the autumn of 2019.



Posted by [email protected] on June 6, 2019 at 6:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Using Your Upper Body in Dance


Epaulement should be a natural part of your dancing. This term epaulement actually means shouldering in French. This is in fact a fallacy as it has nothing to do with the shoulders per se. Using epaulement can elevate your technical proficiency. It can be a be subtle dynamic and exciting. It is the punctuation at the end of a sentence. The head and eyes are the exclamation point.


Epaulement gives gives a third dimension to the dance. It shades what you are doing and gives it depth and color. It creates energy from the inside out. Yes, the shoulders move. But it is movement that involves the rib cage upwards. The whole upper body is utilized – ribs, shoulders, neck, head, arms, hands and even the eyes. Look a beautiful statue (say Venus) and flatten out the front, remove the angling of the torso and shoulders. Now it is just plain uninteresting!


Tricks of the Trade:

1. Do a combination with a fan. This will give you the feeling of having to lift chest, shoulders and head in opposition. The pretend you have a fan and do the same combination.

2. Do not overturn your body to the corner. It makes you look like a washing machine, throwing yourself from side to side. Why? Because there is no opposition.

3. Do not let your movement end at the neck. Energy needs to run through your complete torso, lengthened waist, lifted chest, swan neck, and eyes that look and see.

4. Do not forget epaulement in fast work. This makes your work even more exciting.

5. Do not sacrifice epaulement for height in extensions. See where the head and arms should be. Put these in your muscle memory. Now extend!

6. Do not let your collarbone be parallel to the floor. Strive for it to be on a diagonal. This comes from having life in the waist, back and chest.

7. Do not overturn your chin to your downstage shoulder when on a diagonal/croise. Turn your face ahead, then tilt the head allowing the jaw to move in space as the chest lifts simultaneously.