Long overdue updates!

Greetings dancers and friends!

It may seem that I have disappeared, but I have been busy with my own personal training and development as a dancer and performer.  Sometimes we must put our performances and teaching on the back burner so that we can focus on our own progress, growth, and experience. Truly diving into being a student of dance has been incredibly inspiring, and I am looking forward to sharing my discoveries with all of you in workshops, discussions, and on my blogs.

This past summer, I earned my Level 4 certification in the Suhaila Salimpour format, and I am currently one of only eight dancers to have ever earned that accolade.

Currently, I am in graduate school, earning my Master of Arts in Dance at Mills College in Oakland, California, with a focus on dance history, culture, and pedagogy.

I am still traveling and teaching occasionally, as it fits my school schedule.  You’ll see me teaching and performing at the Rakkasah Winter Moon festival, where I will be sharing with you some of the dance improvisation techniques used in the post-modern dance communities and applying them to Middle Eastern dance. I’ll also be appearing in various events with the one and only Bal Anat, under the direction of Suhaila Salimpour.

In the meantime, you can keep up with me through my blogs. I have started an occasional blog on which I am sharing my more personal experiences of being a non-Western-trained dancer in a very Western-focused graduate program. You can read it at withsavagegrace.blogspot.com. Of course, I am continuing to blog belly dance-related and more philosophical musings at bdpaladin.com.

You can also find me teaching twice a week at the Salimpour School of Belly Dance in Albany, California. I teach Suhaila Salimpour Format Level 1 on Saturday mornings, 9:30am – 11:00am. No previous experience required!  I also teach Jamila Salimpour Format Level 1 on Tuesday nights, 8:15pm – 9:30pm. Experience in Suhaila Format Level 1 highly encouraged. Bring your finger cymbals!

If you are interested in booking me for a workshop in your city, I am taking select opportunities as they fit in with my studies for the next year and a half. Summer months are free in 2015, as well as short weekends. Send me an email at info@asharah.com.

Hope to see you all very soon!  Happy dancing!

– Asharah


Autumn is here…

Even though in the Bay Area, the weather is still relatively warm, the days are definitely shorter, and the holidays are fast approaching.  I wrote a little blog post about preparing your body for winter and keeping yourself healthy.  Check it out over at my blog: www.bdpaladin.com.

And speaking of holidays, I have opened a new Amazon aStore, featuring belly dance-related products that I love, including books, DVDs, and music.  When you buy through my aStore, you get all of the service of Amazon.com, and (i admit), I get a portion of the proceeds.  You might find a few things for that belly dancer on your holiday shopping list…

I’m continuing to teacher assist at the Suhaila Salimpour School of Dance on Tuesday nights.  We also started holding Jamila Salimpour format classes, which is so exciting.  Suhaila Format Level 1: 6:30pm – 8:00pm; Jamila Format Level 1: 8:15pm – 9:45pm.  In addition, if you’re in the Bay Area, we now have live music student nights at the SSSD every first Sunday of the month at 6:00pm, and admission is free.  Our Arabic band is stellar; come join us!

And… 2014 is right around the corner.  If you have an event or workshop weekend, my workshops appeal to dancers of all levels and stylizations. I love to travel, and I’d love to come to your event!  I’m also available for private lessons (in the Bay Area) as well as Skype instruction.  Send me an email: asharah@asharah.com

I hope to see you on my travels very soon!


Spring is just around the corner!

Spring is just around the corner, and that means new beginnings, longer days, and more dancing!


I recently started Teacher Assisting at the Suhaila Salimpour School of Dance. Come to Level 1 on Tuesday nights at 6:30pm or Dance Movement on Saturday mornings at 10:45am to dance with me!

In March, I will be performing with Bal Anat at Rakkasah West as a sassy Ghawazee.  We have dancers traveling in from around the United States and Taiwan for our 40-minute set! You REALLY don’t want to miss this one.  Richmond Auditorium, Richmond, California; Saturday, March 16 at 6:00pm on the Main Stage.  I’ll also be performing a solo set at Rakkasah with live music by Al-Azifoon on Sunday on the Cabaret Stage at 2:48pm.

April brings me to the East Coast for a series of workshops and performances.  I’ll be at at Waking Persephone: Dancing Through the Dark and Unusual, teaching a workshop on vintage oriental stylization and creative traveling steps.  The event features live music; a variety of workshops ranging from technique, stylization, props, fusion, and the esoteric; and vending by talented, independent artisans. April 11-14 at Roots Cultural Center in Providence, Rhode Island.  I’ll also be teaching workshops in New York City; Princeton, NJ; and Lawrenceville, NJ on April 16, 17, and 18, respectively.  For more information about these evening workshops, check out my workshop schedule.

In May, I’ll be heading to Charlottesville, Virginia, to join Zoe Jakes and crew as a guest performer with Beats Antique. For tickets and more information, head to the Jefferson Theater’s website.  Thursday, May 2 at 9:00pm at the Jefferson Theater.  Then, that weekend, I’ll be teaching a weekend intensive in Richmond, Virginia.  Workshop topics include my (very) brief introduction to the history and culture of the Middle East for dancers, as well as workshops on technique, vintage oriental stylization, creative approaches to choreography, and more!  May 3-5, Richmond, Virginia.  Contact Khalima or check out her website.

Also in May, I’ll be teaching and performing at Tribal Fest 13!  Jump start your week of dancing with a down-home technique workshop full of creative drills for strong muscle memory and fluid movement.  Strong technique is the foundation for expressive performance! Tribal Fest 13, Sebastopol Community Center; May 14, 2:30pm-4:30pm.  I will also be performing solo, date and time to be announced.  Also that weekend, I’ll be joining Zoe Jakes’ Bhoomi Girls for a performance at the Tribal Fest Afterparty on Saturday night, and I’ll be performing with the Nathaniel Johnstone Band on Sunday night!  Information about all of these events is on the Tribal Fest 13 website.

In June, I’ll be appearing at Tribal Solstice, for a weekend of stellar workshops and performances.  Other featured instructors include Anasma, Kami Liddle, Sherri Wheatley, Jill Parker, Donna Mejia, April Rose, Kajira Djoumahna, and more! June 27-30, Hampton Inn Fort Lauderdale City Center, Fort Lauderdale, FL.

The summer also brings me to Omaha, Nebraska, for a weekend of workshops and performance for the second Sizzlin’ Summer Shimmy, presented by On The Fringe!  Saturday, July 13; Sokol Auditorium, Omaha.

July also brings me to Marseille, France, for Tribal Umrah.  I’m honored to be joining such a wonderful line-up of instructors for a full week of instruction, picnics, sightseeing, haflas, and performance.  July 22-28, Marseille, France.  I’m also hoping to set up a workshop in Paris, France; date and time to be determined.


Over a year ago while I was attending the Monterey Institute of International Studies’ Summer Intensive Language Program for Arabic, I had this idea… Raqs Nerdy shirts, in ARABIC!  It’s, like, meta-nerdy!  So, I’m finally making them a reality.  Black babydoll and tanks with red and metallic gold, as well as full-color stickers!  I’ll have these in stock in the next few weeks just in time for my spring workshops.


Full-color stickers!


Tank and Babydoll Front


Tank and Babydoll Back

…and that’s all for now! I hope to see you soon on one of my many adventures!


Headlong into spring.

Welcome 2013 and a new year of dance, training, creativity, and growth!

In past news, I joined up with Zoe Jakes and Ashley Lopez for three shows in the Pacific Northwest with Beats Antique, including an insane New Year’s Eve show that included stilt walkers, golden horse head helmets, endless confetti cannons, and an inflatable giant squid.  Thank you to everyone who came to the shows and brought your love and energy!

This month I started teacher assisting at the Suhaila Salimpour School of Dance, and you might even see me assisting Suhaila in her out-of-town workshops.  I’ll be assisting in Level 1 on Tuesday nights at 6:30pm and Dance Movement at 10:45am on Saturday mornings.

In other news, I will be performing with Bal Anat (OMG) at Rakkasah West this March as a Ghawazi dancer.  Dancers from all around the world are joining us for this show, so you really don’t want to miss it.  It’s an honor to be a part of such an important and influential belly dance legacy.

I’ll also be traveling a bit this spring and summer, including teaching and performing at Waking Persephone in Providence, RI; and teaching workshops in Manhattan; Princeton, NJ; Baltimore, MD; Sebastopol, CA, for Tribal Fest 12; and Richmond, VA.  The summer brings me to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for Tribal Solstice, and Marseille, France, for Tribal Umrah.

I hope to see some of you on my travels!


Booking for 2013!

My schedule for next spring and summer is starting to fill up very quickly!  I am also tentatively returning to the academic world next fall, which means that my touring schedule will be very limited after August 2013.  If you’d like to host me in your city, please send me an email!



Tribal Fest 13

Registration for Tribal Fest 13 goes up November 1!

I’ll be teaching a straight-up technique workshop.  What does that mean?  It means more than drills.  It means movement, training, and polish.  Technique is more than just knowing how to do a movement.  It means knowing how to own it, mean it, and use it to express yourself as an artist.

The technique, invisible for the spectator, forgotten in these moments by the artist herself, runs beneath her art like a stream of water which renders the expression, the geometry of the dance soft and succulent.

– Antonia Mercé, Flamenco dancer

Won’t you join me?  Tuesday, May 14, 2:30-4:30, in Sebastopol, California.


Baltimore workshops… next Saturday!

Next Saturday (storm permitting, of course) in Baltimore, I’ll be teaching my workshop on the Salimpour legacy in tribal style belly dance. This workshop is near and dear to my heart, as I study regularly at the Salimpour school, and I have seen first-hand how both Jamila and Suhaila have not only influenced and inspired the creation of tribal style belly dance, but also how these two women have influenced how so many of us dance, regardless of style. If you use dance terminology such as “Basic Egyptian”, “Arabic”, or “Maya”, you have been influenced by these women. Please, won’t you join me for a few hours of important history on how our dance has developed?

Clicky clicky: Workshops with Asharah in Baltimore.


Special performance with Beats Antique in Massachusetts!

This just in… I’ll be performing with Beats Antique on 22 September in Northampton at the Calvin Theater.  Get your tickets today!

The following Sunday, I’ll be teaching two workshops focusing on clean hip work and precise upper body articulation.  Register for workshops through Venus Rising Belly Dance.

Come join us for a dance- and music-filled weekend!




Autumn is nearly here…

Summer is winding to a close here in the northern hemisphere, although in the San Francisco Bay Area, that means that it will finally get warm for about a month before the rainy season begins.

Late spring and early summer were full of grand adventures around the world, including teaching and performing for the first time in South America, at Rara Avis: Gothla AR, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  This fall will see me traveling again, this time throughout the United States, including a first-time visit to Fairbanks, Alaska!

This fall also brings a few big deal performances for me close to home: First, I’ll be dancing with Zoe Jakes’ Bhoomi Project and Beats Antique at the Shoreline Amphitheater.  For Bay Area residents, the Shoreline is one of two huge outdoor concert venues, and where my partner and I spent our second date seeing my favorite band of all time, Rush. (Ahh, memories!)  Later in the year, I’ll be performing in Suhaila Salimpour’s Belly Dance Nights, with a live Arabic band (be still my heart). This is Suhaila’s showcase for her advanced students, and it’s truly an honor that she invited me to perform.  Really, it’s an honor to perform at both of these shows, and in an area of the country that is so near and dear to me.

I’ll be teaching quite a bit on the East Coast this autumn, including Baltimore, MD; Western Massachusetts; possibly Philadelphia, PA.  I’ll also be teaching along the California coast, up in Arcata at the Redwood Coast Belly Dance Festival, and in San Luis Obispo at Tribal Fusion Faire.

My schedule is kept (mostly) up-to-date on my website, here.  Should you want updates sent directly to your email inbox, all you need to do is clicky clicky and fill out the form.  I strongly suggest that you sign up for the newsletter, because if you follow me on Facebook, Facebook is now only showing my updates to about 35% of the people who have “Liked” my Asharah fan page.

I hope to see you along my travels, and have a wonderful autumn.


Summer news…

This spring has been a whirlwind!

After earning my Level 3 certification in the Suhaila Salimpour Format, I jumped right into rehearsals with Zoe Jakes’ Bhoomi Project for our performance at Tribal Fest 12. Then there was Rakkasah West, Art of the Belly in Maryland, Waking Persephone in Rhode Island, and Tribal Fest back in California. In March I had the pleasure of taking both part 1 and 2 of Sahra Saeeda’s Journey Through Egypt workshops, in which we learned about the various folk dance traditions throughout the country, as well as gender roles, ethnicities, and how the modernization of Egypt has affected the dances there. I highly recommend this series of workshops to all belly dancers, and once you complete the first two workshops, you are eligible to travel with Sahra to Egypt for parts three and four!

On my horizon is Tribal Revolution in Chicago and Gothla Argentina: Rara Avis in Buenos Aires (where I’ll be debuting some new work in the more theatrical vein)! I’ll also be returning to the East Coast of the US a few times, hitting up Woodstock, New York; Providence, Rhode Island; and Springfield, Massachusetts; I’ll also be heading to Fairbanks, Alaska for the first time this autumn, too! This winter, I’ll be heading south for Tribal Fusion Faire, in San Luis Obispo, California.

In the mean time, I’m available for private lessons in the San Francisco Bay Area as well as Skype/Google Video lessons and consultations.

Happy dancing!

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