Program Requirement Key:
S = Student Program Only
T = Teacher Program Only
B = Both Programs
N = Suggested, but not required
Beginner Belly Dance (N), (Level 1)
This is where the fun begins! Beginner Belly Dance takes you through all the foundational techniques of Middle Eastern Dance. You will learn beginner level combinations in each class to show you how the movements work together. The combinations taught in class can then be put together into full choreographies that you may perform with the Ahlam Student Troupe. Basic finger cymbal patterns will also be covered in these classes.
Beginner Belly Dance will prepare participants for Student and Teacher Skills Assessment 1
Technique, Drills, and Zills (N), (Level 1-3)
Got it? Now, let’s play with it! Technique, Drills, and Zills takes your technique to the next level. This is where we hone the basics, embellish, and layer all those great moves. Here we work on more complex finger cymbal patterns and start dancing while playing at the same time. A great multi-level class to keep your skills sharp!
Technique, Drills, and Zills will prepare participants for Student and Teacher Skills Assessments 2 & 3.
Master Class (B) (Level 2-3)
The heart of AAMED’s curriculum, the “Master Class” covers 12 essential Middle Eastern dance topics, one each month. Each class may contain lecture, audio/visual demonstrations, technique breakdown, combinations, full choreography, or guided improvisation drills.
These classes are required by all enrolled participants to move through the AAMED program, but you don’t have to be an AAMED student to participate.
Student / Teacher Level 1
Middle Eastern Rhythms for Belly Dancing Workshop (B)
Gain a better understanding of Middle Eastern music by learning to recognize and play many of the most common rhythms used in belly dance music on the Egyptian tabla, also known as the doumbek. Whether you are an aspiring drummer wanting to learn the basic strikes and rhythms in this music genre or you are a dancer looking to enrich your music knowledge, this workshop will help you gain greater enjoyment in playing and dancing to the exciting sounds of Middle Eastern music.
Zill Intensive 1/2 (B)
Master the metal! These workshops will increase your playing skills and raise your knowledge of Middle Eastern Rhythms. This series has two levels, one for newer zill players and one for those that can play but want to play more creatively and feel more freedom while dancing.
Rhythm Identification Study Guide (N)
An invaluable 10-page booklet with accompanying sample CD for you to listen and learn to identify 20 of the most common rhythms used in Oriental dance music. The Rhythm Identification Study Guide includes descriptions of each rhythm, as well as diagrams showing the structure of each rhythm. Though not required, it is recommended TL1 students get this guide to help prepare them for the TL1 required “Rhythm Identification Exam”
Rhythm Identification Exam (T)
Two-part exam for TL1 students. In Part I of the exam, students have to identify 12 rhythms from audio samples. Rhythm names are provided to help the student match the name with the correct rhythm. In Part II of the exam, students have to describe and draw, in drum language, eight of the most common rhythms. Must have a grade of 75% or above to pass the exam.
History & Geography of Egyptian Oriental Dance Workshop (B)
Take an educational journey with me, to mysterious lands and discover the origins and history of Egyptian Oriental dance. From ancient Egypt to modern Cairo, we will uncover the development of dance entertainment through time, unveiling the many influences, to reveal the important people and places that have shaped modern Egyptian Oriental dance today.
Dress for Success: Complete Belly Dance Costuming Workshop (B)
Know the ins and outs of belly dance costuming before you make a costume purchase or begin your own costume project. This workshop will discuss common costuming mistakes new dancers make, available costuming options, dressing for different dance styles, purchasing a costume that will fit you, costume alteration, caring and storing your costumes, costume distractions, performance essentials and much more.
Teaching Belly Dance I (T)
Learn to share your passion for Egyptian Oriental Dance with others! Teaching Belly Dance I is an essential study guide for anyone wanting to teach belly dancing. You will learn what it takes to become a great teacher, anatomy for belly dance, curriculum design, fundamentals of movement, providing a sensory-rich learning environment, pacing, music selection tips, a sample warm-up routine and so much more.
Student Beginner Skills Assessment 1 (S)
In this exam, the student will be tested and graded on all beginner level technique, the basic zill strikes, and simple zill patterns. Feedback will be provided, if necessary, to help you in any areas of needed improvement. Please visit the AAMED website to download a copy of the Level 1 assessment. Must have a grade of 75% or above to pass the exam.
Teacher Beginner Skills Assessment & Practical Demonstration Evaluation 1 (T)
This exam is made up of two parts. Part I is the same as the SL1 Skills Assessment, except the student will demonstrate each item by performing the movement and teaching about it (to the exam administrator) simultaneously. Must have a grade of 75% or above to pass the exam and move on to Part II. In Part II of the exam, the student will teach a LIVE “Level 1 Skills Assessment Review” class. Evaluation and helpful feedback for improvement will be provided by the exam administrator.
Mentorship Plan I (T)
Each Teacher Program candidate comes with their own set of assets and challenges. The administrator will evaluate each candidate’s dance, knowledge, and teaching history to customize a “Mentorship Plan” to help develop the new teacher. Students will be required to complete all of the customized assignments before the student may apply for Teacher Level 1 Certification.
Student / Teacher Level 2
Classical Egyptian (B), (January)
Study the moods and movements of “Golden Era” classical Egyptian dancers that have inspired us for nearly a century. Classical Egyptian style is characterized as sweet, graceful, and flirty. We are going for a ride in the belly dance time machine and experiencing this pivotal period in our dance’s history when “baladi” first meets the casino stage and where we find western influence becoming a mainstay in Egyptian style.
Raqs al Assaya / Saidi (B), (April)
Learn the Egyptian folkloric dance that has been adapted from Tahtib, a stick-wielding martial art, from the Said region of Upper Egypt. Raqs al Assaya, meaning “dance of the stick or cane”, is an earthy, lively style often accompanied by Saidi music playing the distinctive Saidi rhythm on large Tabl Beledi drums and high-pitched Mizmars.
Drum Solo (B), (October)
Everyone loves the exciting drum solo! Learn to show off your hard-earned technique with a bad ass drum solo. Learn the elements of belly dance drum solos, as well as how to dance and improvise to them through drum loop drills and choreography.
Veil / Slow (B), (December)
Float like a butterfly, as students learn the art of silk manipulation with beautiful veil work and slow dramatic body movement. This class will focus on veil technique, sensual movement, improvising within a flow, and choreography.
Choreography Project (B)
Create your own dynamic belly dance choreography! Whether you have done this before or you are creating your first, this class will offer you new ways to be creative. These semi-private classes run for six weeks. You will discover important aspects of creating creative choreographies from inception to completion. Learn how to listen to music to gain inspiration, stage dynamics, use of space and shape, and much more. All you need is an open mind, some time set aside to work on your choreography every week, and a song you want to use. Students may focus on making combinations or a full choreography.
Teachers must create a full choreography.
Teaching Belly Dance II (T)
Knowing how to teach is not enough to be a successful teacher. Surprise! You are now a business owner. So, let’s pick up where we left off in “Teaching Belly Dance I” and delve into the business side of teaching belly dance. In this study guide, you will learn about customer service, student retention, marketing and much more.
Student Intermediate Skills Assessment 2 (S)
In this exam, the student will be tested and graded on all intermediate technique and zill patterns. Feedback will be provided, if necessary, to help you in any areas of needed improvement. Must have a grade of 75% or above to pass the exam.
Teacher Intermediate Skills Assessment & Practical Demonstration Evaluation 2 (T)
This exam is made up of two parts. Part I is the same as the SL2 Skills Assessment, except the student will demonstrate each item by performing the movement and teaching about it (to the exam administrator) simultaneously. Must have a grade of 75% or above to pass the exam. and move on to Part II. In Part II of the exam, the student will teach a LIVE “Level 2 Skills Assessment Review” class. Evaluation and helpful feedback for improvement will be provided by the exam administrator.
Mentorship Plan II (T)
There is more to teaching than curriculums and class times. The administrator will evaluate each candidate in this next phase of their teacher development with a customized “Mentorship Plan” to help further develop their dance teaching skills. Students will be required to complete all of the customized assignments before the student may apply for Teacher Level 2 Certification.
Student / Teacher Level 3
Taqsim / Maqam (B), (March)
Become one with the music, as you listen to the oud soloist play their taqsim in a particular maqam. Taqsims are improvised melodic solos. A maqam is an Arabic musical mode, much like a scale in western music that gives a certain feeling when the listener hears it. Learn how to identify the most common maqamat and how to dance to taqsims.
Baladi Progression (B), (May)
Beledi is the very soul of Egypt and nothing shows off the Egyptian spirit better than a beledi progression. Explore the structure of traditional beledi progression music. You will practice dancing to the different sections of the typical beledi progression, with improvisation drills, technique and choreography.
Modern Egyptian (B), (September)
Smooth technicality can be used to describe the evolution of modern belly dance. Get your fill of quick turns, eye-catching accents, and bold dramatic movement from Cairo’s hottest Egyptian performers, as we practice with the latest Shaabi and Mahraganat music.
Egyptian Folkloric (B), (November)
Survey the folkloric (and “fakeloric”) movement of Egypt. We will explore the different regions of Egypt through dance movement including Bedouin, Nubian, Melaya Leff, Fellahin, and Ghawazee. Learn about important people, like Mahmoud Reda, who have shaped how we represent Egyptian folkloric dance.
Improvisation Project (B)
Imagine being able to perform without having to prepare something beforehand. Wouldn’t it be great, if you could just put on your favorite music and just dance? Well, let’s take the improvisation skills that you already have and get you stage ready. Pressure makes diamonds, so we are going to work on some drills to help you to do something when you don’t know what to do and provide you a framework to make even your improv look choreographed. You will gain new perspectives on why improvising is actually much “safer” than choreography, build your self-trust, and overcome fears that you will freeze up during performances.
This project will include a set of 5 semi-private lessons, 4 performance assignments, and 4 written critiques of your performances with personalized feedback and practical advice to help you dance with complete freedom!
Performance Project (B)
Now, its time to become the dancer you always wanted to be? Do you ever wonder what separates a good dancer from a great one? What is that elusive mixture of technique and showpersonship that leaves a lasting impression with audiences? What do some dancers have that others do not? Find out the answers to these questions and more as we explore the characteristics great dancers share through lectures, drills, and practice, to help develop those same qualities in you.
This project will include a set of 5 semi-private lessons, 4 performance assignments, and 4 written critiques of your performances with personalized feedback and practical advice to help take your dancing to the next level!
Art & Business of Belly Dance Entertainment Manual (T)
Learn how to design an exciting belly dance performance set for restaurants, private and corporate events. Market yourself as a professional performer and start getting paid for your passion. Build a strong reputation as a professional dancer within your dance community and beyond.
Student Advanced Skills Assessment 3 (S)
In this exam, the student will be tested and graded on all advanced technique and zill patterns. Feedback will be provided, if necessary, to help you in any areas of needed improvement. Must have a grade of 75% or above to pass the exam.
Teacher Advanced Skills Assessment & Practical Demonstration Evaluation 3 (T)
This exam is made up of two parts. Part I is the same as the SL3 Skills Assessment, except the student will demonstrate each item by performing the movement and teaching about it (to the exam administrator) simultaneously. Must have a grade of 75% or above to pass the exam and move on to Part II. In Part II of the exam, the student will teach a LIVE “Level 1 Skills Assessment Review” class. Evaluation and helpful feedback for improvement will be provided by the exam administrator.
Mentorship Plan III (T)
Aspire to inspire! Go beyond your classroom and affect your dance community. The administrator will evaluate each candidate in this next phase of their teacher development with a customized “Mentorship Plan” to help further develop their dance teaching skills. Students will be required to complete all of the customized assignments before the student may apply for Teacher Level 3 Certification.
Middle Eastern Specialty Electives for Honors
Turkish Oriental & Romani (February)
Learn about Egyptian style’s sister from another mister. Turkish dance is known for its liveliness and sensuality, having roots from the Middle East, as well as a strong Romani tradition, gives this version of Oriental dance a unique flavor not found elsewhere. We will delve into Romani movement and see how it weaves into the Turkish dance tapestry.
Debke is a Levantine circle/line dance with exciting steps, kicks, and hops. Commonly done at weddings and celebratory events, this energetic dance embodies the spirit of the Levant region. You will learn the basic – advanced steps, so you can join any dabke line confidently.
The word “Khaleeji” refers to the Arabian Gulf region, but is also more commonly known as the “hair dance” Raqs al Nasha’at, to Oriental dancers. Traditionally, this dance was performed in a long, ornately decorated thobe called a nasha’al. Students will learn regional movement, as well as country-specific stylization.
Balancing / Floorwork (August)
From swords and tea trays to Shamadans, dance entertainers from around the Middle East and North Africa have been balancing something on their heads, historically, for at least the last century. In this class, you will learn everything you need to know to pull off a great balancing act with exciting dance props that audiences love including sword, Moroccan Tea Tray (w/ Sheikhat style), and Egyptian Shamadan. In August, we will also explore movement to slow tempo chiftitelli music.