Katayoun's Raqs Mosaique

Northern Virginia Belly Dance Instruction, Performance & Inspiration!

Specialty Workshops

“Katayoun is an incredible teacher and cultural resource! I highly recommend her instruction!”
Sharon Kihara, Bellydance Superstar

“I had the pleasure of organizing a workshop with Katayoun, teaching beautiful Persian style belly dance, and I proudly hold the Raqs Mosaique Belly Dance Format and Teacher Training certificate (Level 1). Katayoun has a vast amount of knowledge on all belly dance related topics. I wholeheartedly agree with all the positive feedback others have already left. And I would like to add something that stood out to me: there is no doubt that Katayoun takes our art form very, very serious. Yet she has the ability to teach in a way that inspires and makes it all seem like nothing but fun and games. Time flies at Katayoun’s classes and the ambience and mood are super. And suddenly you notice, that you just learned a lot and received valuable information.”
Carmen Nolte, 2012 workshop sponsor

“We truly enjoyed your workshop and performance and have had numerous compliments. Everyone I spoke to wants to have you back again and I think some more of the Persian technique would be fantastic. Your hand and arm movements are spectacular and so very graceful.”
Melina 2009 workshop sponsor

“Your workshop was extremely well received …your instruction was very clear … I have only good comments about the workshop and show experience. Your dances were deeply inspiring and totally beautiful!”
Iara “Samra” Kendrick, 2007 and 2012 workshop sponsor

Cultural Styles

baladycharmEgyptian Balady Concepts and Improvisation Skills

In this workshop we will explore technique, musicality and performance skills of this beloved popular dance. Raqs al Baladi, is the improvisational dance, most often seen as a women’s solo dance. In Arabic, baladi means ‘of my country.’ Each country has its own unique, traditional form of dance, often thought of as more folkloric or rural. Baladi dance styles are among the foundation forms which gave rise to Raks Sharqi (dance of the East/Oriental Dance), or modern staged belly dance.
Explore Katayoun’s method for creating dynamic improvised dances as well as choreography. We will review variations of essential movements and steps then we will combine them into movement patterns. Then we will stylize the combinations to season our combinations and sprinkle them nuances, pivots and turns. Using the music as our guide, you will learn how to highlight the music to create an exciting and fun performance for you and your audience, whether choreographed or improvised.

We will explore:

  • Movement Vocabulary: Multi-dimensional abdominal movements and hip articulations, shimmies, step combinations and transitions.
  • Music: Instruments, rhythms, structure, interpretation and musicality
  • Performance Skills: Staging, blocking, improvisation and choreographic concepts, dancer persona, and how to perform it as a stand-alone piece and as part of show set.
  • Costuming & Fashion: Traditional vs. modern

Multilevel: Suitable for dancers proficient in basic belly dance vocabulary. Modifications will be offered for more advanced students who would like a challenge.

Egyptian Classics & Choreography

Explore the fascinating genre of classical Egyptian music through the popular songs of the legendary artists. We’ll focus on foundational movement vocabulary within relaxed choreographic frameworks in Katayoun’s signature format. We’ll explore Arabic musical concepts and themes within the historical cultural context of songs. This topic may be studied through several short choreographic sequences from different songs, or intensive study of one complete choreography. Song selections and samples include Laylot Hob, Alf Layla We Layla, Batwanes Beek, Enta el Hob, Noura Noura, Zeina, Bahlam Beek, Ahwak, Ya M’safer Wahdak, Ana Fi Intizarak, among others.

We will explore:

  • Fundamental Egyptian movement vocabulary and combinations
  • Musicality, instruments, rhythms, structure, and interpretation
  • Staging, improvisation and choreographic concepts
  • Costuming & fashion trends

Multilevel: Suitable for dancers proficient in basic belly dance vocabulary. Modifications will be offered for more advanced students who would like a challenge.

Fit & Fabulous with Folklore

This workshop is designed to be a non-stop dance party! Explore elegant high-energy and joyous steps of popular folkloric dances in a series of drill routines and fun choreographies. The combination of music and movement will energize and excite dancers of all levels and styles. Folkloric inspirations with both modern and traditional music may include Saidi, Fellahi, Bandari, Azari, Khaleejy and belly dance. We’ll start slow with muscle engagement and belly exercises then build up to hip articulations, fancy footwork and dynamic step combinations. Be prepared to have a blast and dance your booty off! Multilevel: Suitable for dancers proficient in basic belly dance vocabulary. Modifications will be offered for more advanced students who would like a challenge.

Balady Choreography & Improvisation Skills

This workshop is suitable for all dancers who are proficient in basic dance vocabulary.  Explore technique, musicality and performance skills of this beloved popular dance.Raqs al Baladi, is the improvisational dance, most often seen as a women’s solo dance. In Arabic, baladi means ‘of my country.’ Each country has its own unique, traditional form of dance, often thought of as more folkloric or rural. Baladi dance styles are among the foundation forms which gave rise to Raks Sharqi (dance of the East/Oriental Dance), or modern staged belly dance.
Explore Katayoun’s method for creating dynamic improvised dances as well as choreography. We will review variations of essential movements and steps then we will combine them into movement patterns. Then we will stylize the combinations to season our combinations and sprinkle them nuances, pivots and turns. Using the music as our guide, you will learn how to highlight the music to create an exciting and fun performance for you and your audience, whether choreographed or improvised.
We will explore:

  • Movement Vocabulary: Multi-dimensional abdominal movements and hip articulations, shimmies, step combinations and transitions.
  • Music: Instruments, rhythms, structure, interpretation and musicality
  • Performance Skills: Staging, blocking, improvisation and choreographic concepts, dancer persona, and how to perform it as a stand-alone piece and as part of show set.
  • Costuming & Fashion: Traditional vs. modern

Contemporary Persian Choreography

Raqhs-eh Bazak, The Make Up Dance

In this workshop, Katayoun shares a modern interpretation of a traditional Persian dance, depicting a woman’s ritual of preparing herself to meet a suitor. Inspired by the teachings of Dr. Robyn Friend, Katayoun adapts the ritual to reflect both the act of primping and the mental preparation women and girls practice before a special event. In this original choreography, gestures and expressions are derived from traditional Persian dance and convey feelings and tell a story with layers of interpretation. Elegant Persian dance steps, poses and turns add dynamic characterization to this stage-worthy dance that will help dancers of all levels and styles improve their posture, poise and stage presence. This workshop is suitable for all levels. Advanced students who wish to attempt the level change to the floor work should bring knee-pads. If attempting the floor work, you may wish to bring a long circle skirt to practice the turn concept. Multilevel: Suitable for dancers proficient in the fundamental Persian dance vocabulary.

“Eshveh” Modern Classical Persian Dance

Persian gardens have been revered for thousands of years as examples of “paradise on earth.” These expressive gardens were created to serve as places of meditation and relaxation. The Persian gardener harmonizes geometrical patterns, sunlight, and flowing water with fragrant flowers, bright greenery, and fruit-bearing trees to create these exquisite places. The attentive gardener nurtures the beautiful blossoms to help them thrive and dances through the garden to its sweet melody. Multilevel: Suitable for dancers proficient in the fundamental Persian dance vocabulary.

Iranian Folklore Choreography

Modern Bandari Choreography

This spirited folk dance originates in the Persian Gulf region of southern Iran. The dance reflects the cultural influences of Persian, Arab and African traditions of the region. Highly energetic, bandari is a solo and group dance with movements of the hips, torso, arms, hands, shoulders, and head, layered over earthy steps and tribal formations. In contrast to the classical Persian dances of Iran, bandari movements resemble belly dance, particularly the hip and pelvic articulations.
In this workshop, Katayoun will lead you through a variety of flavors of bandari stylization through her signature choreography to “Dokh Bandar,” a modern pop song. The choreography depicts movements and moods from celebratory to ritualistic, reflecting bandari’s mixed cultural origins.
We will explore:

  • Movement Vocabulary: traditional/popular vs. stylized/fusion
  • Music: rhythms, instruments, famous songs, themes, musicality/interpretation, traditional vs. modern/pop
  • Performance Skills: Staging for solo and group, floor patterns and group formations
  • Costuming & Fashion: historical, modern and fusion

Be prepared for a high-energy class that is both core-intensive and aerobic! Bring a chiffon veil, wrap or any piece of light sheer fabric; we will use it briefly in the entrance of choreography. Multilevel: Suitable for all levels proficient in general dance movement vocabulary.

Gilaki/Ghassemabadi Group Dance (Rice Harvest Dance)

Dance style from Northern Iran, this dance depicts women’s work of the planting and harvesting of rice. This ancient folkloric dance tells a story that continues to resonate with the modern woman. In this workshop, students will become familiar with the distinct flavor of this fun and popular dance. Learn the story of the working woman as it is told through the choreography utilizing many gestures and arm movements. Participants also have the opportunity to learn and refine group formations, turns and floor work. Knee-pads recommended if dancers would like to do the floorwork. Multilevel: Suitable for all levels proficient in general dance movement vocabulary.

“Sozaleh” Modern Iranian Folklore

Learn a spectacular fast-paced high energy choreography to the popular song Sozaleh, a mash-up of Azari and Kordi dance styles! Strengthen your dance foundation with Katayoun’s core-based vocabulary of Persian dance combining the energetic steps of these popular Iranian folk styles. This is a fast-paced, high energy dance combining fancy footwork and fluid controlled body movements. Interm/Adv: This workshop is best suited for dancers proficient in general dance vocabulary and above average fitness level. A few modifications may be available for students with injuries. Ballet shoes or other dance footwear is recommended.

Myths, Legends & Mysteries: Theatrical Choreography

Sunrise on the Nile: Modern Group Veil

The Nile Delta awakens as the still of night fades with the rising sun.  In ancient Egyptian mythology, it was believed that the sun was reborn in the sky each morning as Ra sailed through the underworld and into the sky on a solar boat. In this workshop, students will learn a complete group veil choreography to music from Desert Wind. In addition to popular veil maneuvers, we will explore the technique and concepts for beautiful turns and transitions. This is a simple yet powerful group performance choreography designed for the stage. As you learn the choreography, you will learn about performance concepts, musicality, story-telling and using the stage as a group. Suitable for all levels. Bring a 3-yard silk veil. (2hrs) Optional: Participants may perform this choreography in the evening show.  One-hour rehearsal before show is required.

Cleopatra: Classical Egyptian Dance

Magnetic and vivacious, the Ptolemaic Queen Cleopatra VII is perhaps one of the most famous female rulers in history. Fashioning herself as the reincarnation of the goddess Isis, Cleopatra was a cunning politician who sought to revive Egypt by adopting its traditions. Multilevel: Suitable for dancers proficient in basic belly dance movement vocabulary.

Sacred Fire: Persian Candle Dance

In the Zoroastrian religion of Ancient Persia, fire, is an agent of cleansing and ritual purity. Zoroastrians revere fire in all its forms. A fire temple in Zoroastrianism is the place of worship. Clean, white ash for the purification ceremonies is regarded as the basis of ritual life, “For one who sacrifices unto fire with fuel in his hand is given happiness.” Suitable for all levels. Bring two small battery-operated candles. Some will be available to borrow in class.

Technique & Artistry

Express Yourself: Beautiful Arms and HandsScreen Shot 2017-09-01 at 10.46.54 PM

Elegant wrist circles, dramatic arm sweeps and delicate hand undulations…each movement can express a feeling, mood or action. Like words that have meaning when strung together, they can tell a story. We will explore Persian dance technique and transitions for beautiful expressive arms, hands and upper body fluidity that you can apply to any dance style. Suitable for all levels.

Raise Your CQ (Cultural Intelligence)

Learn how to dance with meaning and appropriate cultural expression. Drawing from Persian and Arab dance aesthetics as well as theatrical concepts, we’ll explore non-verbal language for intuitive communication and cultural expression that is respectful and endearing to your audience. Use these concepts to add depth to your dancing and breathe new life into old choreographies with the art of cultural expression. Suitable for all levels.

Folkloric Flair

Explore the movements, flavors and energies of a variety of cultural flavors, infused with the flair of modern world music! Add folkloric flavor to modern belly dance moves you already know to create energetic and exciting combinations. The folkloric concepts and movements of this workshop will spice up any dancer’s repertoire.
Multilevel: Suitable for dancers proficient in basic belly dance vocabulary.

Embrace the Jiggle: Shimmy Technique Through Dynamic Alignment

Ride the wave of an energetic, earthy and elegant hip and leg workout and settle into a relaxed state of controlled confident shimmies! Regular continuous shimmy practice offers the same cardiovascular benefits as aerobic activities such as running, while remaining joint-friendly and body-positive. In this workshop, you will learn how to power your shimmies with dynamic alignment and focused muscle engagement. We’ll explore the concepts of pelvic alignment and body positions for layering, traveling, aesthetics and musicality. Suitable for all levels.

feelingTo Infinity and Beyond: Figures 8’s & Undulations Every Which Way

Master the belly in “belly dance” as you explore figure 8’s and body undulations in a variety of dynamics, including layering and the elusive “Jewel.” Core strength and flexibility are the secrets to fluid controlled movements and seamless transitions. They are also the keys to safe dancing. Learn how to liberate your back, knees and shoulders for injury-free dancing for years to come. Suitable for all levels.

Poetry in Motion: Traveling, Turns & Transitions

Learn how to dominate your dance space while exploring fancy footwork. This course aims to challenge you to think about footwork and steps musically, while training your body to move intentionally and gracefully with ease in any space! We’ll explore dynamic drills and creative concepts designed to fashion basic footwork into exciting steps and fun yet purposeful floor patterns. Drawing from Persian and Oriental dance, we will explore how to create a variety of seamless steps and transitions to use in choreography or improvisation. Then we’ll add finishing touches with expressive arm movements and hand gestures. Like words that have meaning when strung together, elegant steps and fluid body movements, can tell a story, or simply create beautiful poetry in motion. Multi-level: Suitable for dancers proficient in general dance movement vocabulary.

All workshop topics are customized. If you have an idea or request for a workshop, email Katayoun.

Seminar Fees and Packages
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