Katayoun's Raqs Mosaique

Northern Virginia Belly Dance Instruction, Performance & Inspiration!

Specialty Workshops

“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!”
Samra, 2007 and 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

Katayoun’s Raqs Mosaique

A contemporary vision of Oriental dance, infinitely inspired by cultural roots.



Express Yourself: Beautiful Arms and Hands

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. (1 – 2 hrs)

“Raks eh-Bazak,” Persian Dance Choreography (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. (2 hrs)StarsOverSilkRoad_LowRes_149

Poetry in Motion: Traveling, Turns & Transitions

Transform simple movements into poetry in motion in any dance style. Drawing from Persian and Oriental dance, we will explore how to create seamless transitions you can use in choreography or improvisation with core balance and control. Elegant wrist circles, dramatic arm sweeps, and delicate use of space…each concept expresses a feeling, mood or action. Like words that have meaning when strung together, they can tell a story, or simply create beautiful poetry. Learn how to use your dance space, no matter how small or big, to empower and liberate your musicality through elegant controlled steps, fluid body movement and elegant arms and hands. (1 -2 hours)

Persian Dance Choreography: Ghassemabadi/Gilaki “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. Ballet shoes and knee-pads recommended. (2 – 3 hrs)

Assets & Liabilities: Hip Articulation Do’s and Don’ts of Persian Dance

Persian dance is characterized by delicate hands movements, elegant arm sweeps and upper body fluidity. While hip articulation does exist in Persian and Iranian dances, the flavors are quite different from hip movements in belly dance. In this workshop you will learn about the musicality and technique of hip articulation in classical, social and folkloric Iranian dance styles, plus when, how and when NOT to use hip movements in popular Persian dance music, often heard in celebrations and concerts. The information in this workshop is invaluable to belly dancers who perform at Persian restaurants and private events. (1 hour)

Bandari Iranian Folklore 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

Bring a chiffon veil, wrap or any piece of light sheer fabric; we will use it briefly in the choreography.
This workshop is suitable for all levels. Be prepared for a high-energy class that is both core-intensive and aerobic!

This is Your Brain on Drums: Rhythm & Raqs

Take the mystery out of Arabic music. “Doum Tek,” the heartbeat of belly dance, are the distinctive sounds of the Arabic tabla. Learn about the tempos, movements and steps associated with each rhythm. Then we will explore combinations and styling that will capture the flavor of each rhythm and help ignite your creativity. Dancers can also learn to play these infectious rhythms with finger cymbals. Part 1: Learn about the structure and flavor of the 4 most common dance rhythms, Maqsoum, Fellahi, Saidi and Masmoudi Saghir or Balady. Part 2: We will explore other popular rhythms heard in modern and classical dance music, such as Masmoud Kebir, Wahda Sonbati and the romantic waltz-inspired rhythm known as 3/4. (Each part is 2 hours. Choose one or both.)

Synchronicity: Zill Drills and Thrills

Finger cymbals can add excitement to any dancer’s performance. It is regarded in many circles a dying art and the artist who can play well AND dance well is admired and respected greatly. In this class we will learn basic finger cymbal patterns using the same timing format we use to count choreography and music to coordinate our feet, hips and hands. We will explore how the same timing format works with the accents (dums and teks) of popular Middle Eastern Rhythms. By the end of the workshop, we’ll be dancing, playing and laughing in time to the music. (2 – 3 hrs)

Romantic Interlude: Oriental Waltzcymbals2

Learn dance combinations for the Oriental dance rhythms inspired by the Walz. These rhythms are heard in modern and classical belly dance music such as Laylot Hob and Layali al Sharq. Learn to master the technique for creating the romantic mood often associated with these pieces as we explore the dynamics of rhythm and melody. You will learn excepts of choreography from Katayoun’s personal repertoire, step-by-step, for a deeper, more confident understanding of the rhythm structure, mood and styling that you can apply to any similar rhythm or dance style. Ballet shoes recommended. (1 – 2 hours)

Folkloric Flair!

Explore the movements, flavors and energies of a variety of cultural flavors, infused with the flair of modern world music! Technique and concepts will include the intricate articulated hip work of Egyptian folklore, and pelvic/body articulations and fancy footwork of Iranian folklore. We will 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. Be prepared to have a blast and dance your booty off! (1 – 3 hours)

Fly by the Seat of Your Pants: Folkloric Shimmies

Controlled yet uninhibited…these are the characteristics of flawless walking shimmies; a delicate balance of complete core engagement and total relaxation, moving in perfect time to the music. In this workshop, we will explore several varieties of traveling hip shimmies derived from the folkloric roots of belly dance, known as three-quarter shimmies. Learn to channel their common components, while exploring accents and variations, offering a variety of choices to interpret a diverse range of music and dance styles. Explore tempos, floor patterns, level changes, transitions, accents and punctuations! We will then apply these elements to a variety of Oriental and folkloric excerpts to interpret both the percussive and melodic layers of the music. (1 – 2 hours)

saidistrengthRaks al Assaya: Women’s Egyptian Stick Dance

Inspired by the men’s martial arts ritual “Tahteeb,” this playfully imitative dance is a joyful expression of feminine strength and softness. The spirited and popular folkloric steps teach balance, coordination and control. In this workshop, we will explore the cultural expression, music and typical maneuvers of this fun acrobatic dance. Explore ways to capture the unique flavor of this dance while adding your own flair. Practice assaya maneuvers with the energetic Saidi steps, and explore performance concepts and costuming to incorporate Raks al Assaya into a belly dance show. Basic maneuvers and concepts may progress to more challenging combinations, as time and student ability allow, such as a short group or solo choreography, staging, and double cane maneuvers. Participants should bring one or two dance canes. (2 hours)

“What Would Fifi Do?” Folkloric Drum Solo

Do you have a Love-Hate relationship with drum solos? Do you find them exciting yet challenging? You may just need to try a new approach. Learn the difference between modern drum solo interpretation and folkloric drum solo interpretation à la Fifi Abdo. Explore different ways to listen to drum solos that will allow you more freedom of interpretation, musicality and enjoyment for you and your audience.

Fall in Love with Folklore: Khaleeji & Bandari (Persian Gulf)

These dance styles from opposite sides of Khaleej Fars, or Persian Gulf, share nearly identical steps, but each has a different flavor of movements and music. In this compare-and-contrast workshop, you will learn steps used in both dances as well as steps that are unique to each dance, complete with distinct nuance and cultural expression of each style. Explore these variations of music and movement flavors as we discuss costuming, context and presentation for a stand-alone folkloric number and how to incorporate these dances into your Oriental show. (2-hrs)

Sunrise on the Nile: Fusion Veil Choreography

In this workshop, you will learn a complete group veil choreography to music from Desert Wind, which fuses elements of New Age and Middle Eastern music. 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, such as musicality, story-telling and using the stage as a group. Bring a 3-yard silk veil. (2hrs)  Optional: Participants may perform this choreography in the evening show. One-hour rehearsal before show is required.

Mayhem to Mastery: Head to Toe Technique & Artistry

An introduction to Katayoun’s Raqs Mosaique™ format, this workshop teaches you how to improve your personal practice and teaching. Then ignite your creativity through build-up and layering of movements, steps, phrasing, timing, tempos, turns and floor patterns. An extravaganza of cultural movement vocabulary infused with universal dance principles to propel your technique and artistry to a new dimension. Bonus material includes Katayoun’s Persian dance format, applicable to all levels and styles. (2-4hrs)

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

Core control and fluidity is the key to crisp clean movements and seamless transitions. It’s also the key to safe dancing. Learn how to use your core muscles to create snaky controlled movements that will liberate your back, knees and shoulders for injury-free dancing for years to come. We will explore four types of figure 8’s, and body waves, and up to eight variations, including the multi-dimensional Egyptian Eight, and the elusive “Jewel.” Each variation has a different alignment. By gaining proficiency of the movements in different alignments, you will be able to incorporate fluid figure 8’s and undulations to traveling, turns and other dynamic movements. We will put it all together in the music with combinations for choreography or improvisation. (1- 2 hours)

Earth Benders: Shimmy Technique & Artistry

Surrender to the shake and embrace the jiggle! Power your shimmies with better alignment and dynamic muscle engagement. Ride the wave of strong, earthy and elegant hip work and settle into a relaxed state of controlled confident shimmies! The goal of this workshop is to help you understand flawless shimmies and achieve a delicate balance of conscious core engagement with total relaxation. We’ll move in perfect time to the music as we explore many variations, including layering and interpretation of rhythms and instruments. We will explore four types of standing and traveling lower body shimmies, each powered with different muscles and different alignment. By gaining proficiency in all four dynamics, you will be able to layer shimmies on any move or traveling step. This workshop is suitable for all levels. (1 -2 hours)

Balady Choreography and 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
Seminar Fees and Packages
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