Ellen is available to teach workshops and classes on a wide variety of bellydance and Middle Eastern folk dance topics. See past workshop descriptions below for examples.
Ellen does not currently have any upcoming workshops scheduled. Interested in hosting? Check out past workshop descriptions below!
Past Workshop Topics
Intro to American Cabaret
Dramatic entrances, sensual floorwork, enchanting veil, and vivacious drum solos, all accompanied by the cheerful music of finger cymbals; an American Cabaret routine is what most audiences imagine as the quintessential American bellydancer. Born in the multicultural Middle Eastern nightclubs of the 1950’s through 1980’s, this style is rooted in the traditional music and dances of Turkey, Greece, Lebanon, Syria, Armenia, Egypt, and more. In this workshop we will journey through an entire five part classic American Cabaret set together, including veil, floorwork, improvisation, and finger cymbals.
American Cabaret Floorwork
One of the most captivating sections of a classic American Cabaret set is the slow, sensual floorwork routine. In this class we will go through a series of exercises designed to build the strength and mobility necessary for seamless floorwork. We will then explore classic poses and layouts, transitions, belly work, and (most importantly!) getting up and down with grace and ease, before linking it all together into a beautiful routine.
Persian Classical Dance
Learn the graceful, feminine, romantic art of Persian classical dance! This fluid style emphasizes hand and arm movements with a distinctly Persian aesthetic. Besides learning a beautiful new dance form, dancers of all backgrounds can benefit from the flowing arms and elevated posture that come from studying Persian dance.
Intro to Middle Eastern Rhythms
Do you know the difference between a Maqsoum and a Masmoudi? What kind of moves go best with Saidi? In this workshop, we will learn to recognize several of the most common drum rhythms in Middle Eastern music, and experiment with different moves and combinations that complement each rhythm. After this workshop, you’ll be able to tackle your next drum solo with confidence!
Energetic and sassy, Saidi dance comes from Upper Egypt and is one of the most widely performed Middle Eastern folkoric dance styles. In this workshop we will explore the history and technique of both Saidi footwork and the iconic Raks al Assaya cane dance, then put it all together in a fun cane choreography. Bring your own cane, or Ellen will suggest affordable ideas for cane substitutes closer to the event date.
Shimmies are hard enough – what about shimmying with a water pot balanced on your head?? This workshop will test your balance and coordination, combining the sharp, horizontal hip twists of Tunisian folk dance with the challenge of prop balancing. No need to sacrifice your fine china – bring an empty 1 liter plastic water jug so we can practice without breaking something valuable!
Dramatic hair tosses, rhythmic foot patterns, and intricately embroidered thobes are just part of the beautiful Khaleegi dance style of the Persian Gulf. We will explore the history and culture behind this folkloric style, and learn a simple choreography as well.