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Host a Workshop

I am currently teaching the workshop topics listed below.  Abbreviated descriptions for some topics are included here (click on the subtly green links in the Topics Index, or scroll down for expanded information); full descriptions are available on request to prospective event sponsors/hosts and employers.  Times given are suggestions -- most offerings can be expanded or condensed to fit in a longer or shorter time frame.  My most-requested topics are nontraditional belly dance choreography and "clean lines" technique intensives.

I generally negotiate based on a flat-fee day or multi-day rate.  I'm open to discussing percentage-split arrangements, particularly for regional events, but ask workshop organizers to guarantee my airfare, food, and lodging for events that require overnight or air travel.

If you're interested in organizing an event, please email me:  Autumn@AutumnWard.com.  Looking for a topic not listed here?  Please let me know -- I know at least a little about a lot of things, and may be able to either custom design a program for you or provide a referral to a qualified instructor.

Topics Index

Choreography
     Oriental Dance and Theatrical Folklore
•  Luscious Oriental: Modern Egyptian Steps and Old-School Glamour with Optional Floorwork
•  Drum Solo: Poised and Powerful
•  Lamma Bada (10/8 Rhythm)
•  Erev Shel Shoshanim with veil
•  Saidi with cane
•  Joyful Oriental: High-Spirited, Light-Hearted, Folklore-Inspired Egyptian Raqs Sharqi with Optional Finger Cymbals
•  Lyrical Rumba: Elegant Oriental Choreography with Gliding Footwork and Turns
•  Introduction to Oriental Dance

     Nontraditional Belly Dance
•  Raqs Europa
•  Halcyon
•  Dream Waltz
•  Between Worlds (Choreography Titled “Enchantress” on the World Dance New York DVD Fantasy Bellydance Magic)

Technique Intensives
     Clean Lines
•  Clean Lines: Elegant Artistry for Center Stage
•  The Illusion of Relaxed Effortlessness: Clean, Fluid, and Supple Lines for the Arms, Hands, and Shoulders
•  Best Foot Forward: Clean and Confident Footwork, Transitions, Travel Steps, and Turns
•  Belly Dance Deconstructed: Technical Excellence from Step One
•  From the Ground Up: Leg-based Vocabulary for “Crystal Clean” Isolations
•  From the Inside Out: Egyptian Alignment and Core-Initiated Hipwork
•  Sinuous Spine: Perfectly Articulated Undulations, Vertical 8s, and Ribcage Isolations

Theory and Laboratory
•  Creating Dance: A Pen-and-Paper Approach to Artistic Choreography and Structured Improvisation
•  Quality of Movement: A Musical and Somatic Approach to Building Versatility and Transcending Genre
•  Music Interpretation Clinic: Inspiration and Choreography for Works-in-Progress and New Directions

Special Topics
     Theatrical Belly Dance
•   Effortless Flow: Mastering the Energetic Currents of Belly Dance
•  “Cymbalic” Story Telling: Gestural Technique for Finger Cymbals

     Props and Specialties
•  Floorwork Basics
•  Saidi Building Blocks: Footwork, Cane, adapted Men's Styling, Cabaret Styling, and Reda Styling
•  Rhythmic Gymnastics Ball for Nontraditional and Fusion Belly Dance
•  Introduction to Persian Classical Dance
•  Persian and Central Asian Armwork forTribal Fusion and Nontraditional Belly Dance
•  Sex Appeal: Attention-Attracting Secrets of Alluring Feminine Body Language
•  Introduction to Veil Technique and Vocabulary

     Self-Care
•  Yin Yoga Stretch for Belly Dance: Mobility and Flexibility for Supple Fluid Movement

Choreography:  Oriental Dance and Theatrical Folklore

Luscious Oriental: Modern Egyptian Steps and Old-School Glamour with Optional Floorwork

This short but varied dance includes an entrance with graceful swirling steps, a heavier section with a beledi feeling, a fast-tempo passage of footwork and modern isolations, and a chiftitelli that can be taught two ways: with variations for standing and floorwork (in an elegant Egyptian "golden age" style).
  • Music: Sahar, Setrak Sarkissian – choreography for the beginning of the track, ending at the clean break at 3:26
  • 3 – 5 hours
  • Very challenging choreography; adventurous advanced beginners welcome, but intended for intermediate – professional levels.
  • Floorwork variation for this choreography can be omitted, and/or taught as part of a separate Floorwork workshop on the same day/weekend.

Drum Solo: Poised and Powerful

Put a “velvet glove” on your drum solo, and learn a complete choreography that commands attention without aggressive styling or hard edges. Going light on the shimmies and locks, we’ll instead use a mixture of crisp and juicy movements that reflect the musicality of the drum, showcasing isolations without sacrificing warmth and expressivity.
  • Music: Ismail, Beata & Horacio Cifuentes, Oriental Fantasy Vol. 9 – Heartbeat of Cairo
  • 2 – 5 hours: music can start at halfway point for "complete" choreography for shorter workshops.
  • Very challenging choreography; adventurous advanced beginners welcome, but intended for intermediate – professional levels.

Lamma Bada (10/8 Rhythm)

  • Music: Lamma Bada, Constantinople, Carrefour de la Méditerranée
  • 2.5 – 4 hours
  • Advanced beginner – professional levels

Erev Shel Shoshanim with veil

  • Music: Erev Shel Shoshanim, Mimi Spencer and Mary Ellen Donald
  • 2.5 – 4 hours
  • For advanced beginner – professional students with previous veil experience.
  • May be presented on the same day or weekend as Introduction to Veil Technique and Vocabulary.

Saidi with cane

  • Music: Afrah Al Said, Aboud Abdel Al 
  • 3 – 4 hours
  • For advanced beginner – professional students with previous cane experience.
  • May be presented on the same day or weekend as Saidi Building Blocks.

Joyful Oriental: High-Spirited, Light-Hearted, Folklore-Inspired Egyptian Raqs Sharqi with Optional Finger Cymbals

  • Music: Saidi Routine, Sahra Saeeda/Ashrak Zakaria (to break at 3:27)
  • 2 – 4 hours without finger cymbals; 3 – 4 hours with finger cymbals
  • For advanced-beginner – professional students; if taught with finger cymbals, previous finger-cymbal experience is required.
  • May be presented on the same day or weekend as Saidi Building Blocks

Lyrical Rumba: Elegant Oriental Choreography with Gliding Footwork and Turns

  • Music: Rumba (track 13), Hamouda Ali, Belly Dance – A Gift from Cairo
  • 2 – 4 hours
  • Adventurous advanced beginners welcome, but the footwork in this dance is best suited to intermediate – professional levels.
  • This is a footwork-intensive choreography.  May be offered on the same day/weekend as Clean Lines:  Best Foot Forward technique intensive.

Introduction to Oriental Dance

  • Music: Ana Fi Intizaarak, A Tribute to Om Kalsoum
  • 1 – 2 hour single-day workshop, or can be presented as a multi-week course.
  • For students with no previous belly dance experience.
  • Appropriate for teenagers and school programs as well as adult students.

Choreography:  Nontraditional Belly Dance

Raqs Europa

Set in a time and place that “wasn’t,” Raqs Europa imagines cabaret belly dance infused with the splendor and opulence of art nouveau, belle époque Paris, and 1930s Hollywood. Unlike tribal fusion, this “cabaret fusion” style uses lyrical extensions and swirling footwork to create an elegant and alluring belly dance fantasy.

Halcyon

This musical and intricate dance combines soft feminine styling with challenging precision technique. Inspired by romantic depictions of antiquity in the works of John William Waterhouse and Lawrence Alma-Tadema, this choreography may be adapted to a variety of sunlit or moonlit conceptual fusions, fantasy characters, and themes: nymphs and fairies; fairy tales, heroic legends, and pastoral romance; the intoxication of springtime or new love.
  • Music: Keridwen and Gwion, Faun
  • 3 – 4 hours
  • Very challenging choreography; adventurous advanced beginners welcome, but intended for intermediate – professional levels.

Dream Waltz

Set to a sweet nostalgic melody reminiscent of a music box or of Yann Tiersen’s score for the film Amélie, Dream Waltz is belly dance as magical realism: a glimpse of the extraordinary shimmering through everyday reality. Adaptable to a variety of fantasy concepts: carnival, midway, or circus; Victorian, music hall, or "steampunk;" fantasy "gypsy;" or historical fantasy cabaret fusion.

Between Worlds (Choreography Titled “Enchantress” on the World Dance New York DVD Fantasy Bellydance Magic)

Using layered but earthy movement, “Between Worlds” invites you to close your eyes, slip through the twilight, and awake deep in the starlit forest. This theatrical choreography can be adapted to a variety of narratives, characters, and fantasy transpositions, including pagan, gothic, or medieval belly dance.
  • Music: Garden Play, Earthbeat
  • 3 – 4 hours without finger cymbals; 4 – 5 with
  • Advanced-beginner through professional levels

Technique Intensives

Clean Lines

Clean Lines: Elegant Artistry for Center Stage

Advance your technical excellence with a blueprint to create the sleek poise that distinguishes a “trained” dancer. With a special focus on finishing the arms, hands, legs, and feet, this information-packed technique intensive empowers dancers with a master-level understanding of foundation placement and alignment, guiding you to improved balance and stability, confident transitions, and the appearance of relaxed effortlessness.

Classwork includes:
  • Technique to elongate the feet and ankles for clean footwork, better balance, and graceful travel;
  • How and when to use subtle turn-out to stabilize heel lifts and one-footed stances, and for elegant lines in arabesques, double drops, and other extensions;
  • Creating an expressive upper body with “spiraling,” the belly dance adaptation of ballet’s épaulement;
  • Transitioning weight or direction of travel with unfolding leg extensions;
  • Differentiating between Western leg-initiated turn technique and the grounded torso-initiated pivots that are unique to belly dance;
  • Punctuating pivots and travel steps with layered accent and countertwist isolations;
  • A special step-by-step breakdown for turns across the floor (guaranteed to help even the most turn-challenged, and helpful for teachers looking for a new approach to presenting this material);
  • Incorporating turns and layered ball-change and step-ball-change sequences into travel combinations.
And, for the arms:
  • Permanent ownership of “shoulders down and back” posture through a somatic understanding of how natural scapulohumeral rhythm affects the lines of the chest and throat;
  • Perfect positioning for relaxed graceful hands;
  • Positioning and pathway transitions, using technique from Oriental and tribal belly dance, Persian dance, flamenco, and ballet;
  • Understanding the kinesthetic anatomy of shoulder rotation and radio-ulnar rotation to create beautifully articulated snake arms and arm undulations.
This material may also be split into two more comprehensive workshops that may be offered together or individually:

The Illusion of Relaxed Effortlessness: Clean, Fluid, and Supple Lines for the Arms, Hands, and Shoulders

In addition to the content presented in "Elegant Artistry," this workshop covers:

  • Punctuations, flourishes, and accents for the arms that build dynamic counterpoint in movement;
  • Amplification and echoing technique for hip circles and upper body circles;
  • Varying the style of shoulder accents and shimmies;
  • The simple secret to authentic Egyptian arms.

Best Foot Forward: Clean and Confident Footwork, Transitions, Travel Steps, and Turns 

“Best Foot Forward” guides you through footwork as both a foundation and a finishing detail, illustrating how elements combine to transform weight changes into full lush belly dance movements. Starting with the most basic timing units of “step” and “hold,” dancers will progress through ball-change, step-ball-change, and other sequence variations that create travelling and time marking patterns. Layered variations include the nuances of accents and countertwists; traditional hipwork and upper body isolations; and movements for the feet and legs—pivots, hops, heel lifts, knee lifts, arabesques and other leg extensions—danced with grounded bellydance technique that keeps a strong connection to the floor.

Belly Dance Deconstructed

Belly Dance Deconstructed: Technical Excellence from Step One

Boost your dance fluency by deepening your understanding of dance at its most fundamental level: vocabulary and syntax. Coursework elucidates the language of belly dance with detailed mechanical breakdowns and contextual analysis—how belly dance components build on and relate to one another, and how, when, and why movements are used in a variety of styles. Participants will learn new movements and new options for variations and layering; sculpt cleaner isolations and transitions; and refine their instincts for both improvisation and choreography.

This material may also be split into three more comprehensive workshops that may be offered together or individually:

From the Ground Up: Leg-based Vocabulary for “Crystal Clean” Isolations


From the Inside Out: Egyptian Alignment and Core-Initiated Hipwork


Sinuous Spine: Perfectly Articulated Undulations, Vertical 8s, and Ribcage Isolations


Clean Lines and Belly Dance Deconstructed workshops draw from and expand on the material presented in my instructional-reference DVDs Beautiful Technique from Step One and Travel Steps . For video clips and more information, please see: http://naturalbeautybellydance.blogspot.com/p/merchandise.html

All technique intensives are “talky.” These analytical presentations are information-based, and rely heavily on students' being able to understand and follow verbal instruction. These topics are not recommended for international dancers who lack English-language proficiency, unless a translator is provided.

All technique intensives are open-level; recommended time is 2 – 3 hours, except for Relaxed Effortlessness (clean lines for arms), which works best as a 1 – 1.5 hour workshop.

Theory and Laboratory

Creating Dance: A Pen-and-Paper Approach to Artistic Choreography and Structured Improvisation

Participants will learn Autumn’s technique for diagramming music, examine strategies for sequencing movements (including conceptual, narrative, and music-based approaches), consider the constraints and conventions that can focus or inhibit the creative process, and work toward the development of self-expression and personal style.
  • 1.5 – 2 hours
  • Open level

Quality of Movement: A Musical and Somatic Approach to Building Versatility and Transcending Genre

Just as intonation, inflection, and emphasis affect meaning in speech, varying movement quality can dramatically alter the appearance and effect of dance steps Working with several selections of both traditional and nontraditional music, we'll touch on the most basic strategies to create variations (changes in direction, level, timing, body orientation, etc.), but focus on qualitative changes that affect the style, mood, persona, and fundamental texture of dance, including muscle recruitment, phrasing, punctuation, breath, energetic focus, and expressivity.
  • 1.5 – 2 hours
  • Advanced-beginner through professional levels

Music Interpretation Clinic: Inspiration and Choreography for Works-in-Progress and New Directions

Stuck? In a rut? Need an infusion of fresh ideas? Bring a selection (1-2 minutes) of any piece of music, and “Dr. Autumn” will share her expertise, offering musical analysis, conceptual and staging suggestions, and a custom combo or outline for structured improvisation. Creators of Oriental, tribal, nightclub, cultural, nontraditional/fusion, and theatrical dances are equally welcome, as are oddball or challenging musical selections.
  • 1 – 2 hours
  • Open level

Special Topics: Theatrical Belly Dance

Effortless Flow: Mastering the Energetic Currents of Belly Dance

Dance steps can do more than create pleasing visual patterns of lines and shapes; with attention to how energy is circulated through our bodies and out through the space that surrounds us, we can use dance movements to communicate deep emotion and meaning. In short passages of choreography, we'll contrast different approaches to executing movements—“making waves,” “riding waves,” and “funneling.” Classwork will specifically focus on movements and combinations that can show character or narrative in theatrical work.
  • 2 hours
  • Advanced-beginner through professional levels

“Cymbalic” Story Telling: Gestural Technique for Finger Cymbals

Go beyond tek-a-tek, tek-a-tek, tek-a-tek, tek-a-tek with flashy and expressive technique that makes the most of finger cymbals as both an auditory and visual prop.
  • 1 – 1.5 hours
  • Open level; previous finger cymbal experience suggested but not required.
  • Students must purchase or provide finger cymbals.

Special Topics:  Props and Specialties

Floorwork Basics

Learn technique, vocabulary, and two short floorwork combos:  one that can be adapted for Tribal Fusion or American Vintage ("American Cabaret") style; and another in a demure Egyptian "golden age" style. Both combos are adaptable for balancing props such as a sword or candle tray; our second combo can also be adapted for shamadan.
  • 2 hours
  • Open to physically fit students at all levels with: ability and stamina to comfortably and repeatedly get up and down from the floor; ability to sit on the floor and/or kneel; common sense; patience; a non-competitive attitude; ability and willingness to move slowly, carefully, intentionally, and mindfully.  Kneepads are required.
  • May be presented on the same day or weekend as Luscious Oriental choreography.
  • Not appropriate for venues with carpeted floors.

Saidi Building Blocks: Footwork, Cane, adapted Men's Styling, Cabaret Styling, and Reda Styling

  • 2 hours
  • Open level
  • May be presented on the same day or weekend as Saidi choreography with cane.
  • Students must provide their own canes to participate in cane segment.

Rhythmic Gymnastics Ball for Nontraditional Fusion Belly Dance

  • 2 hours
  • Open level, but workshop includes options for non-strenuous floorwork. Not appropriate for dancers who can not comfortably descend/ascend and sit on the floor.
  • Video clips: here and here.
  • Balls provided for loan/sale; event host may need to assist with ball provisioning or inflation.

Introduction to Persian Classical Dance

  • 2 hours
  • Open level

Persian and Central Asian Armwork for Tribal Fusion and Nontraditional Belly Dance

  • 1.5 – 2 hours
  • Open level

Sex Appeal: Attention-Attracting Secrets of Alluring Feminine Body Language

Not just for belly dancers, this workshop teaches movements, poses, gestures, and body language that joyfully communicate the sensual and sexual apects of femininity and female physicality. Taught from a pro-woman perspective, this workshop disregards Hollywood's approval-seeking “sexy” stereotype, instead focusing on an aesthetic of warmth, confidence, charisma, and relaxation.
  • 1.5 – 2 hours
  • Open level

Introduction to Veil Technique and Vocabulary

  • 2 hours
  • Open level
  • May be presented on the same day or weekend as Erev Shel Shoshanim choreography with veil.
  • Students must purchase or provide their own veils.

Self-Care

Yin Yoga Stretch for Belly Dance: Mobility and Flexibility for Supple Fluid Movement

  • 1 – 1.5 hours
  • Open to physically fit students at all levels with: common sense; patience; a non-competitive attitude; ability and willingness to move slowly, carefully, intentionally, and mindfully.
  • Should be the last workshop scheduled for the day.



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