Helene Eriksen
and the
SF Bay Area

Please visit our
 for more information:


a unique opportunity to experience several styles of Eastern dance in depth, with a master teacher, choreographer, and dance ethnologist...

ADSF 2015

"ANAR means pomegranate and symbolizes the crystalline beauty of collective
traditions, where each kernel (DANA) is unique and luminous, yet together they form a fruit that is celebrated in the Middle East as a symbol of beauty, fertility and culture."  --Helene Eriksen
About the ANAR DANA SF Bay Area Project:

Helene Eriksen brings her vast and detailed knowledge of Eastern dances and her impeccable professionalism to form a cohesive and supportive Performance Group for presenting authentic and informed Dances of the Orient. Within the Project, members form a tightly-knit community as they learn the dance styles and strive together towards a high-quality performance.

Learn Technique, Choreography, Dance Notation, Music Analysis, Yoga, Staging, Costuming, Stage Make-up, Historical and Cultural backgrounds for seven different styles of women's dance from the regions spanning North Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans, the Caucasus, Iran, Central Asia and Northern India.

Each ANAR DANA Project begins with an Introductory Weekend, which is open to anyone who wants to acquaint themselves with Helene's work and the Project. Intro attendees will try out many different dance styles, look at videos, and see photos of previous training programs which Helene has led. Attendees will have the chance to ask any and all questions about the work, and then, together, the Intro attendees and Helene will pick seven dance styles that will form the basis for the coming Project.

The Project itself then becomes a series of 9 intensive training weekends of 12 hours each weekend. The repertoire consists of the seven dances decided upon in the introductory weekend, and attendees must decide whether to participate and commit by contract. Project members learn the techniques of each of the dance styles decided upon, do dance training and yoga, learn about the cultural and historical backgrounds for the different dance styles, learn about choreography, staging, stage make-up and costumes. All Project members learn seven different group choreographies, and each member will be in approximately four of these choreographies, but will be expected to be able to stand in for the other three, if necessary. 

The end of the Project culminates in a show-length Recital featuring the Project members presenting the choreographies they have learned, as well as solos by Helene. There is a certificate of participation for all who complete the program.

In addition to the training aspect of the Project, Helene also offers Cultural Evenings attached to each Project training weekend. The Cultural Evenings are open to the general public as well as Project members. At each Evening, Helene presents music, videos, costuming, and cultrual background for one of the seven dance styles studied in the Project. These are also "potluck seminars" in which everyone can bring a dish to share, and are usually held at one of the Project member's home for a cozy family atmosphere.

To hear former ANAR DANA dancers talk about their experiences, please visit these links:

Become part of the ANAR DANA SF Bay Area Family:
Join the Project, take part in the Cultural Evenings, or attend the Show!

To receive information on the ANAR DANA SF Bay Area Project, Cultural Evenings, and Performances,
please subscribe to the mailing list OR email anardanasf <at> gmail <dot> com

Helene: Naz Helene Eriksen is a teacher and choreographer of traditional dances of the Balkans and Islamic Orient. She lectures and publishes on dance ethnology and costume studies. In order to do this she has conducted many research projects in Bulgaria, ex-Yugoslavia, Hungary, Romania, Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, Egypt, the ex-USSR, Tunisia and Morocco as well as with immigrants in Germany, Canada and the USA. She speaks several languages. She is an active member of the Study Group on Ethnochoreology (ICTM/UNESCO). For many years she has been leading dance and culture study tours and now she is the director of her own travel agency Window on the World Voyages.

Helene studied Dance Ethnology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and was later a doctoral candidate in Folklore, Slavistics and Turcology at the Georg-August University in Göttingen, Germany. In Los Angeles she performed with AVAZ International Dance Theater, Gypsy Dance Company and Jasna Planina Ensemble. After a year at the Folkdance Academy in Plovdiv, Bulgaria she was a guest of the Turkish State Folkdance Ensemble in Ankara. She directed her own ensemble Raqs-e Hilal for several years in Germany and is currently directing her new project, Helene Eriksen's Traditional Dance Theater, in Seattle. As a dancer she is in demand internationally with performances in Germany, Austria, England, Denmark, Sweden, Holland, France, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Croatia, Turkey, Russia, Canada, Norway, the USA, Pakistan, Algeria, Slovenia, and Mexico.

this page last updated June 5, 2019