Cambridge YMCA Family Theater 820 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA
Snake Dance Theater presents a vintage belly dance show inspired by
America's fascination with all things Egyptian and Egypt's adaptations
of Hollywood style and western music. Sequin-studded performance by some
of New England's most acclaimed soloists and companies from the world of
Middle Eastern and tribal fusion dance.
More than 25 million children have been orphaned and made vulnerable
in sub-Saharan Africa by HIV, AIDS, and poverty. The Bantwana Initiative
('children' in Zulu) builds the abilities, skills, and networks of communities
to support these vulnerable children and their families to access a range of
support and comprehensive care they need to grow into healthy adults. Bantwana's
programs create access to primary health care, nutrition, child protection,
psychosocial support, education, and economic strengthening services for children
and their families.Today, Bantwana partners with more than 100 local organizations
in Swaziland, Uganda, Tanzania and Zimbabwe and will offer services to approximately
100,000 vulnerable children in 2014. Bantwana is an initiative of World Education, Inc.,
a Boston-based nonprofit organization founded in 1951 to meet the needs of vulnerable and
disadvantaged populations through social and economic development programs.
Organically Grown Egyptian Oriental
Salsa Y Control Studio, 161 Harvard Street 13b Allston, MA
Ranya will bring us back into a slightly retro vibe, one that never goes out of style, to mine the gold from a traditional
approach to Egyptian rhythms and steps in Oriental dance. We'll start with a juicy old-school baladi-shaabi warmup, to get
the body's internal relationships cooking between floor and hips, and work posturally for elegant support all the way up.
Then we'll move into organic Oriental in-place and traveling combinations, working with different types of steps that are
traditionally applied to specific rhythms, in the context of melodic phrasing... also how to travel without traveling far,
and how to travel farther but still get back home in time. Many dancers stick with just the rhythmic cycles and the usual
counts of 8, but focusing on the melody line brings out the romantic essence of the dance and allows for greater personal
expression. Strong and graceful use of the hands and arms will aid physical phrasing of the melody and direct the audience's
attention. Breathing along with the musical phrases will bring out the overarching melody line, helping to avoid a choppy look
and smoothing transitions between phrases and sections. We'll address how to count so that it doesn't look "count-y," and also
how to stop counting to focus on the feeling and directionality of the music. In terms of music selections, we'll dance to a
variety of classy, tasteful pieces...plus a few raunchy numbers to spice things up for ya. J Exercises will include technique
drills workout, guided combination and evolution of key steps within and between different rhythms, musicality practice, and
Some history on this topic:
Ranya had a mind-blowing 8-hour-long private-lesson marathon with the legendary Mona el Saeed in Egypt several years ago.
As they worked on baladi material, Mona noted several steps that were tied to different rhythms in the music, and this was
something of a revelation. For traditionally trained Oriental dancers in Egypt (like Mona), certain steps go well with certain
rhythms, while others just don't work as well-and this is a bit different from the typical approach to the dance seen in the US,
and even in some cases, in Westernized Egyptian folklore, where movements may be mixed-and-matched. The "organic" approach is typically
seen in Egyptian Oriental dancers who don't come from a folklore background. Since many top teachers today did come from folkloric
companies, it is harder to find trained teachers that focus strongly on the more (ironically) "native" approach to interpreting Oriental
dance music. This is the approach we'll work with today, building confidence on how to choose authentic tried-and-true movements on the spot,
and how to make these movement choices look crisp and comfortable even when they are improvised.
Breathwork For Performance - Class and Coaching
Salsa Y Control Studio, 161 Harvard Street 13b Allston, MA
This will be a focused master class for -all levels- of dancers and other performers, leading into individual short coaching
sessions in a supportive group environment. We'll begin with an hourlong practical introduction to Ranya's signature "Breathwork
for Performance" method for the group. Then, dancers may stay after to receive coaching (in 15-minute and 30-minute slots) and watch
others get coached, for a complete learning experience. In these sessions, Ranya helps dancers identify what is happening in their minds
when they lose focus, to try to maintain connection in a flowing way; she offers practical tools for freeing up energy and releasing technical
and mental blocks, along with appropriate advice about dance form and musical interpretation. Dancers who'd like to receive personalized coaching
should bring a short piece of music (we'll use about 2 minutes of it; bring it on iPod or mp3 player) that they are working with, or be open to
improvising; it does not need to be choreography, but it can be. Ranya packs a lot of feedback into the coaching sessions, so bring a pen and paper
to take notes!
Ranya began developing her breathwork method in 1996 as a way to maintain upper back posture for Egyptian dance, discovered its potential for
connection with audiences, and has been performing with it and teaching it to dancers and other artists around the world ever since. Breathwork for
Performance draws on energizing and calming uses of the breath from body-mind practices and theater, and applies them to an in-the-moment way of
dancing, moving and being present. This method creates a heightened sense of awareness on the part of both the performer and the audience, creating a
bridge of energy between them.
If you want to increase your onstage charisma, develop more spontaneity and openness in your dance, or if you have ever struggled with stage fright
or nervousness, feeling disconnected with an audience, difficulty relaxing into your dance, or feeling like your energy wasn't filling the room, this
workshop is for you. You'll learn tools of how to reach out to an audience while relaxing yourself at the same time, and how to incorporate the physical
techniques of breathwork and pelvic floor energy work into your own technique. This work is appropriate for dancers and performers of all genres.
RANYA RENÉE began her career more than thirty years ago as a theater actress and
comedienne, and has been bellydancing since 1990. One of New York City's leading Egyptian-
style instructors, Ranya specializes in juicy, holistic technique, theatrical performance skills and
coaching centered around her Breathwork for Performance method. She presents live Arabic
music and dance events and workshop series in New York, and tours internationally. Ranya's
instructional DVDs (The Baladi, Modern Oriental, and Bellydance Taqasim) have earned rave
reviews from dancers worldwide. Ranya is also the co-founder and co-director of the Theatrical
Bellydance Project and the New York Theatrical Bellydance Conference (next to be held in
2016). Concurrent with her dance life, Ranya is pursuing a master's degree in psychology at the
New School for Social Research in New York, focusing on embodied cognition and affect,
mulling over the neuroscience of consciousness in between relished moments of booty-shaking.
organizes theatrical productions, belly dance events and
haflis in the Boston area. She has brought international
dancers such as Amir Thaleb, Virgina Mendez, and Jehan Kamal
to teach and perform in Boston. Joahara’s events also
feature the incredible talents of New Entgandd dancers and
rising stars of the scene.
"Venus and Mars" presented by Johara and Snake Dance Theater
Sunday, June 16, 2013 6-8pm
Regent Theater 7 Medford St, Arlington, MA Event Flyer
An evening of Theatrical Bellydance - from Middle Eastern to fantasy and Fusion - to help
empower women in Uganda
Featuring Johara & Snake Dance Theater Company
(Sabbi, Alashiya, Lene, Kelly, Lissette, and Katia)
"Into The Fire" presented by Johara and Snake Dance Theater
Sunday, March 11, 2012 7-9pm
YMCA Theater 820 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA Event Flyer
A Passionate Evening of Middle Eastern and Belly Dance Fusion, Along with Flamenco, Salsa, and Brazilian Capoeira
A Fundraiser for Maiti Nepal and its founder, CNN Hero 2010 Anuradha Koirala, in their fight against Human Trafficking in Nepal and India
Featuring new choreography by Johara & Snake Dance Theater Company (Jenny, Alashiya, Raquel, Sabbi, Lene, Katia and Kelly)
Special Guests: Za-Beth, Nepenthe, Lady Snake, Naraya, Capoeira Brasil Boston Academy, Middle Eastern Drum Ensemble,
Salsa y Control Dance Fusion Company, Eve Agush, Axcent Dance Co.
"A Maiti Voice" presented by Johara and Snake Dance Theater
Sunday, March 6, 2011 7-9pm
YMCA 820 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA Event Flyer
A dance concert and benefit for Maiti Nepal and founder
Anuradha Koirala, CNN Hero 2010, in their fight against
human trafficking in Nepal and India
An evening of Middle Eastern and Fusion Belly Dance, traditional Nepali, and Modern dance
Johara and Snake Dance Theater performed: Egyptian Raqs Sharqi, Turkish Rom (Gypsy), Andalusian,
Lyrical Belly Dance, and Tribal Fusion
Special Guests: Nepali Folk Troupe,
Susi and her youth dancers, Za-Beth, The Ahlam Selene Dance Company
The Brookline Academy Dancers, Naraya, and Inaya Nour
THE JULIE INCE THOMPSON THEATRE (The Dance Complex)
536 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA.
Don’t miss this one night only show with its Maypole dance finale!
Featuring some of Boston’s best belly dance artists in traditional and fusion oriental dance styles--Johara and Snake Dance Theater along with
Special guests: Susi, Sabrina and Odalisque, Zabeth, and Mellisa Taylor The Brookline Academy Dancers Aria, Erin J Washington, and Inaya from Snake Dance Theater
The inaugural Festival highlights many of Massachusetts’ professional companies. It is a preview of artistic and educational collaboration occurring throughout the state, which will flourish under the umbrella of Massachusetts Dance Festival. Our goal is to draw current residents – students, teachers, families, artists, businessmen and women – and tourists – to our great state. It is our hope that through our statewide efforts, dance and other arts professions will imbibe communities aesthetically, socially, and culturally, while increasing employment opportunities across industries.
the world of Belly Dance: Classic Egptian, Turkish Rom Gypsy,
Middle Eastern Techno, and Theatrical story dance like the Gothic
'Vampire Bride' and Hollywood-esq 'Dances of the Sultan' featuring
Snake Dance Theater and some of New England's finest belly dance
soloists and dance troupes!
Evening of Contemporary Middle Eastern Belly Dance and Fusion," was presented Sunday April 27th 2008 at the Julie
Ince Thompson Theater in Cambridge, MA. This sold out event
featured new work by Johara and Snake Dance Theater Company,
local stars of Oriental and fusion Belly Dance, along with
traditional Chinese dance -- Chu-Ling Dance Academy. Audience
members familiar with Johara’s unique choreography
and divers program were not disappointed. Her new work covered
a wide range of styles: Contemporary Egyptian (Cane and
Oriental Duet), lyrical solo to a Sezen Aksu balad by johara
with wings, electrifying (space-age) Turkish techno, Isis
Wings trio to Led Zeplin's Kashmere, and Hip Hop and Latin
fusions (Beyonce, Shakira).
April 1st, 2007 at the Regent Theater in Arlington, MA.
Featuring some of New Engalnds top belly dancers, new work
by Johara for Snake Dance Theater Company, workshop in Bharata
Natyam Indian Dance with Mary Koperski.
Johara and Snake Dance Theater's third production "A
Gypsy in Cairo' is a magical tale told through dance. It
premiered April 15, 2005 at the Regent Theater in Arlington,
Massachusetts before an audience of 400. The presentation
featured Johara and a cast of over thirty Middle Eastern-style
dancers, actors, and narration by Jennifer Bliss. Johara's
theatrical production was inspired by the classic Egyptian
musicals of the 1950s and 60s and includes all facets of
Middle-Eastern dance and music: Turkish, Egyptian, Oriental,
folkloric and fusion.
"A Gypsy in Cairo" brings together colorful choreography,
humor, and sensuality in a unique blend of tradition and
innovation reminiscent of what "Lord of the Dance"
created with Irish Step. Even the newcomers to this dance
style were swept away by the strong story line-complete
with romance, intrigue, and comic relief-- in addition to
The story transports you to a world beyond where magic bracelets
and serpentine dancers invoke the power of the Indian goddess
to bring together two lost souls and where the golden Phoenix
illuminates the path towards their destiny. Follow our lovers
on their stormy journey through gypsy camps, crowded Egyptian
market-places, and seedy cafes with Arabesque dancing girls.
You will rejoice as fate reunites our lovers in Cairo during
this Hollywood-style grand finale.
Meets West: Arabia American Style
Johara's second show, East East Meets West Arabia American
Style in 2003, was a Retro Bellydance Show full of fun,
colorful costumes, and fabulous performances by over twenty
Middle Eastern "belly" dancers. From 20th century
orientalist visions to present-day techno-Arabic fusion,
the show looked back at the western world's interpretation
of the East and Eastern adaptations of the West. The choreographies
by Johara and guest artist such as Melina of Daughters of
Rhea, Zari of San Francisco, Goddess Dancing, and Sabrina,
combined elements of Middle Eastern Bellydance and American
popular culture over the last decade through the use of
music, dance movements, and costuming. More humorous and
extraverted than her first work, this production nevertheless
carried a message. It endeavored to reveal how Eastern and
Western cultures-experiencing intense conflict and mutual
mistrust have a long history of cultural exchange. The show
appeared before a sold-out audience of 275 at the McCormick
Theater of the University of Massachussetts, Boston campus.
A second show was added with a new 1970s medley the following
month at the Karoun restaurant in Newton, Massachusetts.
Bodies: 2001 Bellydance Odyssey
In January 2001 (the Chinese year of the snake) Johara founded
Snakedance Theater Company. Johara's first production, Celestial
Bodies:2001 Bellydance Odyssey, was an exploration of the
five elemental forces-water, ail, earth, fire, and ether-which
underlie every aspect of our lives from our movemnts to
our ideas. This introspective, yet celebratory work incorporated
Middle Eastern, modern, and African dance styles. The show
featured original choreography and poetry by Johara and
involved 11 professional and students dancers from Boston,
New York, and LA including: Anita Cristina of The Goddess
DancingI, Sabrina, Najmat, Jennifer Sears, and drumming
by Micheal Gregian and Abes. They enchanted two sold-out
audiences in Cambridge with its new approach to an ancient
First Annual Belly Dance Awards was held in September
of 2004. The Second and Third Annual Belly Dance Awards
were held at Baladi (Greek American Club) on Green Street
in Cambridge on Novemer 5th of 2005 and 2006. The ceremonies
are also available for purchase on DVD through MDH Productions.