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Specialty Classes in Persian Dance with Gail Corrado

Jul 31

12741923_1123357157716841_2626626472799027030_nArabesque will be offering classes in Persian Dance on March 13th. 2016. Come learn this elegant, feminine and refined dance form with our visiting instructor.

Our Teacher…

Gail Corrado Okafor is a choreographer and producer specializing in dances from the Middle East and the Silk Road. She performed for five years with Ballet Afsaneh, an internationally acclaimed Silk Road Company based in the SF Bay Area and was also a member of the award-winning bellydance troupe, Lunatique, based in Berkeley, CA which went on to tour China in 2006 as ambassadors of Egyptian dance in the Beijing International Cultural Festival. Gail is committed to creating connection and community by sharing the art of dance. In addition to performing she also produced and hosted the Cafe Bellie bellydance show for 7 years which not only featured some of the biggest artist in American bellydance today, but also benefited a local women’s shelter. Her upcoming projects include a forthcoming collaborative video dance project entitled “The Whispers of Trees” produced by Lisa Thornbury Clark and a Moroccan Shikhatt dance workshop at Al Kahina Dance Studio in Yellow Springs Ohio.

Specialty Classes in Persian Dance

History of Persian Dance

Persian dance refers to the dance styles indigenous to Iran. Genres of dance in Iran vary depending on the area, culture, and language of the local people, and can range from sophisticated reconstructions of refined court dances to energetic folk dances. The population of Iran includes many ethnicities, such as Kurds, Azerbaijanis, Turkmen, Jews, Armenian, Georgian peoples, in addition to numerous Iranian tribal groups which can be found within the borders of modern-day Iran. Each group, region, and historical epoch has specific dance styles associated with it Raghs (also spelled as Raqs) is the Arabic word for dance, and is almost exclusively the word used for dance in Persian, as the Persian word for dance,paykubi, is no longer in common usage. It’s also the word in Azerbaijani for dance (Reqs). The Kurdish word for dance is Halperke, and the Lurs from Lorestan use the word Bākhten (or Bāzee) for dance.

The earliest researched Persian dance is a dance worshiping Mithra (as in the Cult of Mithras) in which a bull was sacrificed. This cult later became highly adhered in the Roman Empire. This dance was to promote vigor in life. Ancient Persian dance was significantly researched by Greek historian from Herodotus of Halikarnassos, in his work Book IX (Calliope), in which he describes the history of Asian empires and Persian wars until 478 BC. Ancient Persia was occupied by foreign powers, first Greeks, then Arabs, and then Mongols and in turn political instability and civil wars occurred. Throughout these changes a slow disappearance of heritage dance traditions occurred.

After the fall of Persian Empire, when the country was torn into pieces, Iranian women and young girls were enslaved by the new conquerors, often forced into sexual slavery and required to perform erotic dance for new rulers. Religious prohibition of dancing in Iran came with the spread of Islam, but it was spurred by historical events. Religious prohibition to dancing waxed and waned over the years, but after the Iranian Revolution in 1979 dancing was no longer allowed due to its frequent mixing of the sexes. The Islamic Revolution of 1979, was the end of a successful era for dancing and the art of ballet in Iran. The Iranian national ballet company was dissolved and its members emigrated to different countries. According to the principles of the “cultural revolution” in Iran, dancing was considered to be perverse, a great sin, immoral and corrupting. As a result, many of the talented Persian dancers moved to the West and spread out mainly in Europe and the United States and new generation of Iranian dancers and ballet artists have grown up in the Diaspora.


Sunday July 31st -Classical Persian Dance Movements & Combinations - Contemporary & Mystical Persian Dance


studio2Registration and Workshops will take place at Arabesque World Dance studio in Downtown Lexington. We are located at:
451-B Chair Ave.
Lexington, Ky. 40508

Our Souk will be open during classes.

Hope to see you there!

10:30-12:00 AM Classical Persian Dance Movements & Combinations

This class will focus on movements and music most often defined as Persian Classical Dance. Persian music is highly classified and defined, with great lineages of teacher (or Ostad) to student
Classical Persian Dance is not so rigorously defined and is largely the composition of contemporary dance artists, virtually none of whom currently live in Iran. Still, Classical Persian Dance has a quality of its own, which we will explore in this class.

12:00AM-12:30PM – Short Break

For dining options checkout the Lodging and Food Tab below.

12:30-2:00 PM Contemporary & Mystical Persian Dance

An emerging category in the dances of Iran, Mystical Dance borrows movements and traditions from folk dance, classical dance, and Sufi traditions. We will explore whirling turns, circle dances, and poetry.

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. ($$-$$$)

Registration, Pricing & Payment Details
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Class Selections

Cost: $25.00 per class or $40.00 for both classes.
(Current Arabesque Month Unlimited Passholders get a $10.00 Discount)

Early Bird Registration $30.00 if Paid by July 1st!!
Use the Paypal button above or Mail Check or Money Order to:
Arabesque World Dance
451-B Chair Ave
Lexington, KY 40508


Jul 31


Safiya Nawaar


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