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Amanda in red - photo by Michael Baxter  
Classes with Amanda

Near Eastern Dance: Bellydance and Beyond
Classes in Traditional Bellydance and Folk Dances of the Near East

Group Classes:

for Beginners: Bellydance Basics Saturdays 9:30am-10:30am
for Intermediate/Advanced students: Bellydance & Beyond Saturdays 10:30am-12pm  

Company Rehearsal:

Karavansaray Dance Company RehearsalMondays 8pm-10pm  

Click on links above to view information about each class, including location and registration.

Download a Class Information Flier Here

For more information, please contact Amanda.

New students: please check here for useful information prior to attending classes.

Registration for any class:
Please fill out the Reg Form and bring to your first class.

 Saturdays 9:30am-10:30am
Learn and master basic moves for the beautiful artform of Bellydance. We will break down new movements each class and practice them in combinations. A new Near Eastern rhythm each session provides the basis for the movements and combinations so students will become familiar with the key rhythms that underlie Bellydance. Each class begins with a thorough warm-up and workout to prepare the body for dance, as well as drills to improve isolations. Throughout class, Amanda emphasizes proper posture and mindful movement to execute moves correctly and to avoid injury. 

Perfect for Beginners to Bellydance, as well as Intermediate students who want to hone dance technique. No prior dance experience needed. New sessions for Bellydance Basics begin every two months. Students may join any time.

Please note: Amanda does not incorporate Finger Cymbals (zills) in the Basics class so students can focus on body movements, but all Basics students are welcome to join Finger Cymbal warm-up/practice during the first 15 minutes of the Saturday 10:30am class for no extra charge.

Session Information:
January/February Session 2020
Session Dates: Jan. 4 through Feb. 22   (8 weeks - No class Feb. 29)         
Session Rhythms: Maqsum and Baladi 
Learn "bedrock" Bellydance movements, traveling steps, and combinations, while exploring the most common rhythm, Maqsum, and the earthy Baladi rhythm.

New students should check here for useful information prior to attending classes.

Class times: Saturdays 9:30am-10:30am
Location: Roundhill Studios1043A Garland Avenue, San Jose, CA 95126 - Studio C
        (Studio C:
turn left inside studio entrance and enter Studio C through first door down the hall)
Class fees:   
$14 for single class
$60 for 5 classes pre-paid ($12/class)
$100 for 10 classes pre-paid  ($10/class)  
Tuition Policy: All class pre-payments are valid for 6 months from purchase date. 
Registration: Please fill out the Reg Form and bring to your first class. Payment is taken in class. Cash or Check only.
BELLYDANCE & BEYOND - Intermediate/Adv
anced:  Saturdays 10:30am-12pm

Expand your knowledge of Bellydance... and Beyond!

Bellydance & Beyond aims to improve each student's technical abilities, train skilled performers, and deepen students' understanding of Near Eastern dance.

Similar to the Basics class, Amanda leads students through a warm-up and isolation drills, and teaches steps and combinations. This class, however, takes students to the next level with layering of movements, incorporating finger cymbals, emphasizing presentational skills, and working towards making the student comfortable with dancing improvisationally. The class also explores topics with a wider geographical and musical breadth, including brief discussions of cultural context when relevant. In addition, Amanda teaches a new choreography each session; performance opportunities will be available for interested students (performing is entirely optional). Each class also begins with a 10-15 minute zill practice to learn rhythms covered in that class.

Topics will include Oriental Dance (Bellydance) technique, including layering and improvisation; Near Eastern rhythms; Zill technique; Taqsim; Veil work; Drum Solo; Turkish and Egyptian Oriental dance styles; Upper Egyptian Folkloric styles; Turkish Romani dance; Khaliji dance; Sword dance; Folk dances of Turkey, Lebanon, Greece, and Armenia; Classical dance influences from Armenia, Persia, Central Asia, and Western ballet; Cultural context and awareness.

New sessions for Bellydance & Beyond begin every three months. Students may join any time during a session, although early and regular attendance is encouraged in order to progress in each subject and the choreographies.  

Recommended: Competence with Basic Bellydance movements: hip and shoulder shimmies, 3/4 shimmy, bodywaves, chest and hip articulations (circles, figure-8s), snake arms, simple turns. Students should complete a year of Basics (or equivalent) before joining Bellydance & Beyond.

Session Information:
January/February/March Session 2020
Session Dates: Jan. 4 through March 14   (10 weeks - No class on Feb. 29, Mar. 21, or Mar. 28) 
Session Topic: Maqsum and Baladi
This session we play with the most common rhythm, Maqsum (D T T D T), and the earthy Baladi rhythm (D D T D T). Learn movement layering techniques, combinations with zill practice, and a fun choreography. Possible performance opportunity for interested students (not required). 
Folk dance: TBA
Please bring finger cymbals.

Class times: Saturdays, 10:30am-12pm  
Location:  Roundhill Studios, 1043A Garland Avenue, San Jose, CA 95126 - Studio C
(Studio C: turn left inside studio entrance and enter Studio C through first door down the hall)
Class fees:   
$14 for single class
$60 for 5 classes pre-paid ($12/class)
$100 for 10 classes pre-paid  ($10/class)

Tuition Policy:  All class pre-payments are valid for 6 months from purchase date. 
Registration: Please fill out the Reg Form and bring to your first class. Payment is taken in class. Cash or Check only.
Karavansaray Dance Company Rehearsal
: Mondays 8pm-10pm

Rehearsal for members of Amanda's dance troupe, Karavansaray Dance Company, to prepare for troupe performances. Karavansaray presents traditional, folkloric, and classical dance styles from throughout the Near East: from North Africa, Egypt, the Levant, the Arabian Peninsula, the Balkans, Turkey, Armenia, Iran, and Central Asia. Prior dance experience is required. Company membership is subject to director approval, but welcomes experienced dancers who seek performance opportunities in Near Eastern dKDC at SF City Hall Nov. 2014ance and who enjoy working within a troupe environment. Please contact Amanda to discuss joining Karavansaray. 

Karavansaray Dance Company members are expected to know the dances thoroughly prior to any performance, and the Company will focus on polishing performance pieces in rehearsal prior to any upcoming shows. Performers are also expected to attend weekly rehearsals to support everyone in the Company, to learn the continually expanding troupe repertoire, and to maintain performance readiness of the Company's existing dances. 

Rehearsal time: Mondays, 8pm-10pm   
Location: studio in San Jose -- please contact Amanda for details
Class fees: $25/month (to help cover rehearsal space rental)

Notes for New Students

Welcome to Bellydance and Near Eastern Dance with Amanda!

We will have a great time exploring this beautiful artform and taking this cultural journey together!
If you are new to Bellydance, the following information will help you prepare for your first class.
If you have taken Bellydance but are new to Amanda's classes, this information will give you an idea of what to expect.

What to wear:
Comfortable, movable, breathable workout wear:
e.g. yoga pants and leotard or t-shirt OR unitard
skirts or loose pants (AKA harem pants or shalwar) are also okay
clothes are preferably close-fitting so instructor can see body movements more clearly

optional -- some students prefer bare feet -- but light ballet slippers or jazz shoes are very good to have, particularly for folk dance sections; also good are "Hermes" or "Grecian" sandals

Hip Scarf:
also optional, but fun to wear and very common in Bellydance classes
preferably without small beads as these often end up on the floor and will embed into bare feet (ouch!) 

What to bring:
Finger Cymbals, AKA Zills or Sagat
available at Adira's Dance (Willow Glen)   [tell Adira Amanda says Hi!]
Amanda will also have a few sets to borrow

Props (e.g., veil, cane, etc.), if needed for the session topic (details above)
OPTIONAL -- Amanda will have any relevant props available to borrow in class

Patience, Perserverance, and a Positive Attitude
You will discover muscles you did not know you had, develop new connections between mind and body, explore movement "isolations," and work toward "multi-tasking" body movements. Depending on your backgound and intensity of study, mastering basic Bellydance technique can take months or years, so be patient with yourself. Use only your personal progress as a metric. Every class has a range of abilities among the students, and each student progresses at her or his own pace, so celebrate your own breakthroughs as they come. And be sure to smile!
: - )

What to expect in Amanda's classes:
In all classes, Amanda emphasizes understanding the rhythms and music of each style as the basis for expressive interpretation and improvisation. Her dance style is traditional, but often includes modern music and always a sense of fun. Amanda takes the teaching and learning of these beautiful dance forms very seriously. Her goals are to give each student a thorough grounding in dance technique, to provide an appreciation of the cultural context of the dances and music, and for each student to become comfortable with the movements, music, and rhythms -- and thereby, ultimately, be able to perform improvisationally. Just as important is that the student enjoys the learning experience, because above all, these dances are about Joy. Therefore, Amanda keeps the tone light and encourages smiling and projecting enjoyment even as students focus on difficult movements. So, let's work hard and have fun together!

This page last updated Jan. 1, 2020.
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