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A Dancers Journey 2018 – Into the Maghreb w/ Amel Tafsout

Jun 1

dancers journey 2018June 1-3, 2018 Arabesque World Dance Productions is excited to be hosting Amel Tafsout as our next instructor for ‘A Dancers Journey‘ workshops & Gala Show.

The legendary Amel Tafsout, meaning ‘Hopes of Spring’, is an inspirational first source master dance artist, choreographer, instructor, frame drummer, singer, energy worker and one of the finest exponents of North African traditional and contemporary Maghreb Dance of our time. With a research in dance anthropology, and a long training in various healing practices, Tafsout’s knowledge of her culture and her experience in many dance styles and music make her very unique.

The knowledge of her culture and her experience in many dance styles and music make her very unique. Amel’s signature arm work is reminiscent of Flamenco yet also retains the grounded feel of the Amazigh-Berber tradition – combined with her fabulous hip work creates an ethereal dance that is powerful from the Earth. She explores the rich tapestry of movement and rhythm that has woven over time between Spain and the Maghreb, Africa and the Middle East, The Mediterranean Sea and Europe. She has mesmerized audiences around the world with the earthy fluidity of her dance, her expression, her stunning stage presence and great spirituality. Fluent in 5 languages she is always aware of the impact that cultures have in art and how that can be expressed in dance.

Raised in Algeria among the finest traditional dancers and musicians, Tafsout was fascinated by dance and music since childhood. In her early twenties, Tafsout moved to Germany where she founded the Pan Arabic dance company ‘Banat As Sahra’. In the late 80s, she moved to London, U.K. where she taught and performed at various dance and music festivals and founded ‘The Tafsoutettes’ Dance Company. While currently living in the U.S.A. she is still performing and teaching worldwide.

Tafsout is like a voyager between countries, culture and languages. Having worked and lived all over the world, unsurprisingly, migration has been a constant theme in her work. Fluent in 5 languages, she is always aware of the impact that cultures have in art and how that can be expressed in dance.

Amel has lectured, danced, taught, sung and conducted anthropological research in many countries. She has been featured in various TV programs in Europe and North Africa. She also published many articles related to dance and Maghreb women in academic and popular magazines. Her research focuses on the Ritual in Maghreb dances as well as looking at dance as a healing form. She explores the rich tapestry of movement and rhythm that has woven over time between Spain and the Maghreb, Africa and the Middle East, the Mediterranean Sea and Europe.

Tafsout developed, reconstructed and stylised the Maghreb dances through her dance experience, her research, her teaching and performances. She had mesmerized audiences around the world with the earthy fluidity of her dance, her stunning stage presence and great spirituality.


Friday, June 1st - Lecture with Amel Tafsout: Dance & Rituals

6:30-7:00pm  Registration & Shopping

studio2Come out and join us for an exciting exciting and informative evening with Amel Tafsout. Lecture will take place at our studio in downtown Lexington.

We are located at:
451B Chair Ave.
Lexington, Ky. 40508

7:00-9:00pm Lecture with Amel Tafsout: Dance & Rituals


Saturday, June 2nd Workshops - Andalusian Court Scarf Dance - Tunisian Dance

9-9:30am Registration

studio2Come out and join us for two amazing workshops with Shahira. Registration and Workshops will take place at our studio in downtown Lexington.

We are located at:
451B Chair Ave.
Lexington, Ky. 40508

9:30am-11:30am Andalusian Court Scarf Dance

From the eighth to the fifteenth century, Arabs occupied and controlled much of southern Spain, establishing the Muslim-ruled empire known as al-Andalus, or Andalusia. Regarded by many as a golden age of tolerance and cultural exchange, these eight centuries were a time when Christians, Jews and Muslims lived together in an atmosphere of intellectual and cultural symbiosis despite the existence of political tensions and religious differences.

Most of the musical traditions from Andalusia were brought to the Maghreb, or North Africa, when the Arabs were forced out of Spain with the fall of Granada in 1492. Today, vestiges of Andalusian musical developments can be found across much of the Arab world, despite wide variations in form and style among the music of these cultures. Some of the musical differences date back to the days of Andalusia and may be attributed to divisions among schools of music theory of that time; others occurred after the exodus to North Africa, as a result of musical schools settling in different isolated environments subject to local influences. The sholar Ziryab is credited with developing the concept of nubah, a suite form containing pieces composed in a single mode, and grouped according to rhythmic structure. Each of the twenty-four nubat supposedly corresponded in quality with an hour of the day, and with different temporal, seasonal and emotional characteristics. The unique culture of Al Andalus endured for almost 800 years, ending with the Catholic reconquista (re-conquest) of Spain which began to take hold in the 13th century and was completed on the 2nd of January 1492 with the defeat of Grenada, the last Arab stronghold. When Arabs and Jews were expelled from Al Andalus en masse during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, many of them relocated to North Africa and elsewhere in the Mediterranean basin, taking their musical traditions with them.

Andalusian Dance: The dancers known as “jariya” were slave girls who performed in the noble houses of Andalusian Spain and throughout the Arab world. Based on the classical music and dance that originated in Andalusian Spain and traveled to North Africa when the Arabs were expelled. The dance emphasizes the elegant arm and hand movements of the court dancer.

Andalusian Court dances in the Maghreb (North Africa) originate from Arab-Andalusian traditions in ancient cities, such as Fes, Algiers and Tunis, and have a Turkish element especially in Tunisia and Algeria.  These dances are performed by women only at various festivities such as weddings. During the workshop Amel Tafsout will focus on the various techniques of dancing with scarves and how to keep the rhythm while improvising. She will also teach a choreography. (Please bring two scarves for the workshops).

11:30-12:30 Lunchbreak

12:30pm-2:30pm Tunisian Dance

Dancing in Tunisia is characterized by a multitude of forms at festive events. The dance reflects a social phenomenon born in the working classes of Tunisian cities.

Tunisian dance is distinguished mainly by its dynamic, since it is faster with more staccato, and the multitude of forms, with each region having its own “style. The variety of dances performed by the Tunisians probably reflects the migration flows that have traversed the country throughout the centuries. This dance insists on the movements of the pelvis in rhythm, movement highlighted by the elevation of the arms to horizontal, and feet moving in rhythm and transferring weight onto the right leg or left; danced almost entirely on demi-point (on the toes) with arms held in a “w” shape. This dance is seen at weddings and parties, festivals and circumcision ceremonies or marriage in the neighborhoods of big cities. In the southern islands of Kerkennah and Djerba, the dance is often performed with a clay water pot balanced on the head.

These traditional dancers wear a blouse, a “khamisa,” underneath a large rectangular wrap, a “melia,” fastened at the shoulder with two large pins, with a belt of woollen yard around their waists. Additionally, married women wear a “khul-khal,” a famous Tunisian ankle bracelet, to ward off snakes with its rattle-like noise. (Unmarried virgins are believed to have inherent protection from snake bites.)


Sunday, June 3rd Workshops - Moroccan Chikhat Dance - Chaoui'Abaoui Fertility Dance of the Famous 'Azriyat

9:30am-10:00am Registration

studio2Come out and join us for two amazing workshops with Shahira. Registration and Workshops will take place at our studio in downtown Lexington.

We are located at:
451B Chair Ave.
Lexington, Ky. 40508

10:00 AM-12:00pm Moroccan Chikhat Dance

In Classical Arabic, the word Cheikha is the feminine of Cheikh: a person with knowledge, experience, and wisdom. The Chichi are female professional dancers and singers, who perform together in cities and villages for men and women, singing and dancing at various festivities Professional shisha dancers wear colorful costumes with tight, midriff-baring sequined tops and long loose skirts or pants. One woman may dance in the middle of a circle while other women stand around her clapping to the beat of the music. Sensual hip movements, pelvic undulations and flowing hand movements characterize the dance. Often a hip scarf is worn to bring attention to the movements of the lower body with quick, sharp body movements and fluid string sections that prompt more graceful, flowing movements. A troupe sometimes includes up to ten women. Once these women become famous and start recording, they start a solo career.

12-1pm Lunchbreak

1-4pm Chaoui’Abaoui Fertility Dance of the Famous ‘Azriyat

Amel Tafsout will introduce this dance from her home region of the Northern East-Algerian Aures mountains.

The Shawia people, or Chaouis are a Amazigh Berber people who live mainly in the regions located in and surrounded by the Aures Mountains, a large part of North Eastern Algeria known in ancient times as Numidia. They call themselves Išawiyen/Icawiyen and speak the Shawiya/ Chaouiya language.

The ‘Azriyat (literally, “Women without men”) are professional dancers and singers, who performed at various festivities such as the harvest, circumcisions, weddings and specially during the Bendou festival in order to celebrate the fertility of Mother Earth.

Amel will be teaching choreography based on the dance tradition but integrating the “partridge” steps in innovating the dance for the stage. Please bring fabric or long veil for the dance.

Gala Show

Saturday, June 2nd Gala Show Details

6:30pm Doors
7pm Curtains

Saturday, June 2nd, 2018 Gala Show at Arabesque World Dance. Doors 6:30pm Show 7pm

(Students Registered for at Least one day of workshops can apply for a performance spot in the show.)

Show Ticket Selections


Lodging and Food


A number of nice hotels and restaurants are within easy access of the studio.

campbellHere is my first recommended Hotel, very close to the class and show location. The Campbell House is a Four Star Hotel, the accommodations are great and they have very nice suites, so if you are traveling with a group of friends and want to share a room its great for you. (Checking out prices on booking.com they have lower than usual prices available for our weekend if you book ASAP! You can reserve a room and pay nothing now, and cancel later if you find something better, and they do not charge your credit card.
Now…if you are trying to pinch pennies, and/or do not want to share a room, I’d recommend you skip this hotel.

broadwayHere is my second recommendation, great reviews and close to both the class and show locations! A bit more affordable, a bit less fancy. Inn on Broadway is a three star hotel…
Check them out HERE




The Springhill Suites Lexington is our third recommendation, midway between the first and second in both cost and accommodations…more suites, so great for groups traveling together, and again….very close to both the class and show locations!




Fourth on our list is the Red Roof Inn, lower rates, less amenities, not as close to class and show locations. I have used this hotel before, for business and visiting friends. It is clean, fairly newly renovated and in a good location….lots of restaurants, shopping, etc close by and its about 10-15 minute drive to the studio.


Fifth recommendation is Guesthouse Inn and Suites Lexington, right off the interstate on the East side of Lexington, pretty much the same info as the Red Roof Inn…except it is within a group if hotels, restaurants and a strip club…lol….but the staff are friendly, the rooms clean, and the place comes well recommended, and is more affordable!


And last, but certainly not least, is the Baymont Inn Lexington…..cheapest on the list, just a few yards away from the Guesthouse Suites…..just a little less fancy, but good reviews and great for penny pinchers;)

About a 10-15 minute drive to downtown where both the classes and show take place.



Lexington Cuisine

Average dinner per person:
$ $14 and under
$$ $15 to $30
$$$ $31 to $50
$$$$ More than $50

Alfalfa – 141 East Main Street – 859.253.0014
Brick-walled, art-filled cafe serving Southern & global fare made with local ingredients. ($-$$)

Atomic Café – 265 N. Limestone – 859.254.1969
Caribbean-inspired fare & specialty drinks amid colorful, tropical murals. ($-$$)

Banana Leaf – 102 West High Street (upstairs in Bombay Bar and Grill) – 859.389.7107
South Indian staples like dosa, a savory pancake, & Malaysian dishes are served in simple surroundings. ($-$$)

Bombay Bar & Grill – 102 West High Street – 859.389.7107
Northern & Southern Indian dishes, including family-style options plus drinks in a modern setting. ($-$$)

Bourbon n’ Toulousehttp: – 829 Euclid Ave – 859.335.0300
Cajun & Creole specialties (including many vegetarian and gluten-free options) in simple, colorful surroundings. ($-$$)

Charlie Brown’s Restaurant & Lounge – 816 Euclid Ave – 859.269.5701
American. Rustic spot for sandwiches, appetizers & beer in a cozy setting with books, a fireplace & a patio. ($-$$)

Cheapside Bar & Grill – 131 Cheapside Street- 859.254.0046
Southwest inspired menu, drink specials, and a Victorian pub inside with a lively patio and deck outside. Live music on the weekends and never a cover charge. Brunch, lunch, and dinner. ($-$$)

Common Grounds Coffee House – 343 East High Street – 859.233.9761
Coffees, specialty coffee drinks, smoothies, chais/teas, International breakfast, sandwhiches, wraps, salads. Vegetarian offerings. ($)

Dudley’s on Short – 259 West Short Street, Suite, 125 – 859.252.1010
American: Along with the cozy dining room, it boasts an outdoor patio, and a great bar. The restaurant serves dinner quite late, a boon to folks with busy schedules. ($-$$)

The Grey Goose – 170 Jefferson Street – 859.233.1500
American: Brunch and dinner. ($-$$)

Gumbo Ya Ya – 1080 South Broadway, #107 – 859.252.9292
Creole. Gumbo, crawfish Creole, jambalaya & beer are dished out at this counter-serve Cajun-Creole spot. Vegetarian friendly. ($)

Joe Bologna’s Restaurant & Pizzeria, Inc – 120 West Maxwell St. – 859.252.4933
Italian: Longtime pizza parlor with a casual vibe housed in a former synagogue with stained-glass windows. ($-$$)

Josie’s – 821 Chevy Chase Pl – 859.8328
American. Breakfast mainstay serving pancakes, cheese grits & other American eats, as well as lunch & dinner. ($-$$)

King Tut’s Mediterranean Grill – 341 South Limestone – 859.243.0768
Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Indian. Vegetarian and Vegan friendly. ($)

Lexington Diner – 124 N. Upper St – 859.303.7308
All-American breakfast and lunch made with locally grown ingredients. ($)

The Local Taco – 315 South Limestone – 859.523.3700
An eclectic and unique restaurant serving up Tex-Mex cuisine, the traditions and character of Southern food culture, and distinct flavors of the communities in which it resides. ($-$$)

Magee’s Bakery/Deli – 726 East Main Street – 859.255.9481
Cozy bakery and deli offering breakfast and brunch. ($)

McAlister’s Deli – 836 Euclid Avenue – 859.368.9880
American. Easygoing counter-service chain known for its sandwiches, stuffed baked potatoes & sweet tea. ($)

Mellow Mushroom – 503 South Upper Street – 859.281.6111
American: Funky, art-filled chain pizzeria featuring craft beer, calzones & creative stone-baked pizzas. ($-$$)

Nick Ryan’s Saloon – 157 Jefferson Street – 859.233.7900
American: Lunch and dinner fare from locally sourced ingredients served in an renovated Victorian house with an interesting history.

Oasis Mediterranean Restaurant – 837 Chevy Chase Place – 859.269.6440
Mediterranean. Comfortable go-to plating classic eats, including baba ghanoush & shawarma, with a lunch buffet too. ($$)

Saul Good Restaurant & Pub – 123 North Broadway – 859.252.4663
American cuisine served in a casual setting. ($-$$)

Sav’s West African Grille – 304 S. Limestone Street – 859.369.7287
West-African stews, platters, salads, sides. ($)

Sawyer’s Downtown – 325 West Main Street – 859.281.6022
American: Chili, burger bar & other American classics served in a bright, casual space with neon decorations. ($-$$)

Shakespeare & Co. – 67 West Short Street- 859.367.0413
U.S. outpost of a Dubai-based cafe chain serving an all-day global menu amid Victorian-themed decor. ($-$$)

Stella’s Kentucky Deli – 143 Jefferson Street – 859-255-3354
Local food-oriented brunch & lunch deli, plus end-of-the-week dinner & cocktails, set in a historic house. ($-$$)

Table 310 – 310 West Short Street – 859.309.3901
Rustic, farm-driven American fare served in a loftlike, industrial-chic venue with sidewalk seating. ($-$$)

Taste of Thai – 101 West Main Street – 859.255.1155
Thai food in a casual dining atmosphere. Lunch and dinner. ($-$$)

Third Street Stuff – 257 North Limestone #1 – 859.255.5301
American. Funky coffeehouse & retail shop offering hot drinks, sandwiches, desserts & a unique gift selection. ($)

Tolly-Ho Restaurants – 606 South Broadway – 859.253.2007
Classic American burgers, sandwiches, breakfast all day . Open 24 hours. ($)

Tomo – 848 East High Street – 859.269.9291
Japanese. Sushi specialist also offers traditional Japanese dishes & cocktails in contemporary quarters. ($$)

The Village Idiot – 307 West Short Street – 859.252.0099
Lexington’s first upscale gastropub serving Local and high-end beer and locally sourced food in an renovated post office from 1825. Dinner and Brunch served. ($$-$$$)


Vendors At A Dancers Journey

The ‘Souk’ at Arabesque will be open during Workshop hours and carries new and used belly dance apparel for every genre. We will have additional, but limited, space available for other vendors that may be interested in selling their wares during our event.

Fill out the Vendor Application below if you are interested in displaying or selling your wares at our event.

VISITING VENDORS announcements coming soon!


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Register & Pay!

Registration, Pricing & Payment
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Early Bird registration is now open!
Inquiries concerning PAYMENT PLANS should be directed to Safiya

Purchase Selections for Journey 2018

*Space IS limited for these Workshop, so Preregistration is recommended!


Jun 1


Safiya Nawaar


Arabesque World Dance
451-B Chair Ave
Lexington,KYUnited States
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