Tonya & Atlantis Site
TEACHERS / WORKSHOP INSTRUCTORS / CELEBRITY JUDGES FOR 2008 BDUC
Please read the Workshop Instructors Bios below, and the description of classes. Then sign a waiver/release form and continue to the Workshop Application.
Celebrity Judge and
Saturday, Feb 16, 2008, 9:00-11:00 am
"Oriental: Classical Egyptian: In the style of TARAB"
-- Emphasis on instrumentation with technique used from legendary dancers fused with modern movements from the stars of today. As well as useful tips for improvisation will be addressed. Handouts will be available.
SUNDAY, FEB 17, 2008, 9:00-11:00 am
RM 203A- JILLINA
"NEW 2007 HIPALISCIOUS Drum Solo"
Dynamic drum solo using layered and percussive movements as well as numerous types of shimmies and strong hip technique. This drum solo will add attitude to your performance and will keep your audience at the edge of their seats. Handouts available
A disciplined professional with tight and powerful technique, Jillina has devoted her life to dance. As artistic director and main choreographer for the Bellydance Superstars and Desert Roses, audiences admire Jillina for her artistic interpretations, her understanding of the culture, her musicality and innovative style.
She is a spellbinding and gregarious performer whose passion for dance amazes audiences everywhere. Founder and director of the Award winning Sahlala Dancers, Jillina pulls from a strong background in Jazz, Ballet, and Hip Hop to create a colorful Middle Eastern and world fusion repertoire. Her talents have taken her around the world to Japan, Argentina, U.K., Europe, Taiwan, Brazil, Mexico, Czech Republic, Hungary, Monaco, Canada, Germany, Paris, Ireland and Egypt, gaining her recognition by the dance community worldwide. Jillina has won numerous awards including "Best Modern Egyptian Dancer," "Best Instructional Video." "Best Dance Company" and "Dancer of the Year."
In addition to appearing on a number of television programs, and co-producing a line of instructional and performance dvds that due to their success are now offered in 5 different languages, Jillina travels the world extensively teaching seminars and performing in concerts. Through her years of professional and teaching experience, Jillina has mastered the art of dance instruction to artists of all levels. Jillina’s annual trips to Egypt allow her to progress in her art as well as keep up with all the modern trends, which she graciously shares with students and peers. As a master instructor, she upholds the integrity and tradition as well as incorporating her signature style. Currently Jillina recently acquired Evolution Dance Studios located in Universal City, California and will also be releasing her latest line of instructional dvds set to release in 2007.
Celebrity Judge and
Saturday, Feb 16, 2008, 9:00-11:00 am.
"Tribal Terminology, or What Style Is That?”
Type of Class: Part Discussion and Part Movement:
Skill Level: Open to All
As 'they' say, “The only constant is change.” Our beloved Art of BellyDance is not exempt to this Universal Law, and has been growing, fusing and mutating so fast lately it may be difficult to know exactly what to call your style, especially if you enjoy all that “Tribal” has to offer. This class is sure to leave us with tons of food for thought, as it is part Discussion and part Movement. (more)
Sunday, Feb 17, 2008, 9:00-11:00 am.
"Fun and Easy Hand Percussion for Traditional and Alternative Styles of Belly Dance." Type of Class: Learning how to play Kashiklar and Cymbals in an incredibly easy manner! Skill Level: Open to All Skill Levels and Dance Style Preferences (more)
Specializing in American Tribal Style Bellydance
Kajira has devoted her career to the proliferation of American Tribal Style (ATS) BellyDance. Though skilled in many other traditional dance forms, this specialty chose her due to its “no borders” sense of creativity, its modern approach to ancient ways and its capacity to bring dancers together nearly psychically through its unique structured group improvisational dancing. After 8 years under the tutelage of Carolena Nericcio (creatrix of the form and director of FatChanceBellyDance), Kajira went on to develop her own particular format for the ATS Style that sets it apart from that of her teacher’s and others in the genre.
This is the Kajira Djoumahna/BlackSheep BellyDance format, for which she offers teacher certifications in order to keep the format alive and well the world over. Among Kajira’s many accomplishments, some include being a staff member of the highly esteemed Mendocino Middle Eastern Music and Dance Camp for 7 years (before relocating to Maui, HI from Northern CA); teaching aboard the Arabian Nights at Sea cruise for bellydancers in 2001, 2002, 2003 and again in 2006; judging the Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition twice; teaching in Germany (2004) and in England (2006) with more confirmed dates for 2007 in Austria, Germany and Taiwan; 3 times at Folk Tours Camp in PA; all over the U.S. and in HI where her ongoing classes are held.
She is the author and publisher of The Tribal Bible (published in 2003, sold out in 2006 except for a few copies for future teachers), and besides ATS performs and teaches Moroccan Guedra, American Classical Belly Dance, Tribal Fusion Belly Dance, Turkish Romani and Romani-Oriental Dance, theatrical dance and Gothic Belly Dance. Kajira writes an ongoing tribal Q-&-A column in the international dance magazine “Zaghareet!” and has 2 instructional DVDs. She has been the recipient of numerous awards, including 2 for Instruction, 2 for Event Production and for Outstanding Achievement in Middle Eastern Dance and the Arts.
Kajira is the producer of the first and largest Tribal BellyDance festival in the world, Tribal Fest (held in the Northern SF Bay Area of CA each May), as well as the Maui Intensives (held on the paradisaical island of Maui, HI each July). Kajira oversees BlackSheep BellyDance - CA and BSBD - HI, and is involved somewhat in the BSBD alumni troupes Tribal Zone and Evil Eye Belly Dance. Currently Kajira studies the classical East Indian dance form from the temples of Orissa, Odissi, 2 - 3 times weekly with Sarala Dandekar, an Odissi master teacher from the U.S. and India. In the works besides all this are new instructional DVDs and a performance DVD. Her goal in life is to HAVE FUN and to spread JOY and INSPIRATION through Dance! Visit her website www.blacksheepbellydance.com --
Prince Andrew: Celebrity Judge and
Saturday, Feb 16, 2008. 1:30-3:00 pm
"Belly to Bollywood" -
The delight of Hindi film dancing is that it incorporates a wonderful masala of dance spices. Modern Indian movie choreographers incorporate dance steps from many disciplines including bellydance, classical Indian, Indian folk (Bhangra), hip-hop, jazz, salsa, etc. This class will explore classical and other Indian dance steps and combine them with bellydance moves to create dance drama to classical and Bollywood songs.
"As a teen I managed to get into a public alternative school. Our physical education classes started with yoga, Sufi dancing and massage! On my own I began also studying meditation and the pranayama techniques of Self-Realization Fellowship. This became my lifelong path.
In Los Angeles I performed at some of the well-known restaurants like Dar Magreb, did a couple of bellygrams at Moun of Tunis and danced for a short time at Marrakesh in Studio City.
In 1985, I was blessed to see a very spiritually uplifting performance of the Shakti dance company, which performed in the South Indian Classical dance style, Bharata Natyam. I approached the director of the dance company, Viji Prakash, after the show and discussed the possibility of studying with her. I decided that studying Bharata Natyam would be a sublime way of bringing together my meditation practice and my love for dance. In 1986, I began the arduous spiritual journey into the heady discipline of this ancient dance form. It is a powerful blend of spiritual storytelling and channeling of the Divine creative force, Shakti, into dance. I did Bharata Natyam performances of Buddha, Shiva, Krishna and various deities at temples and performing arts centers for several years.
In the mid-90s I began to feel a greater pull toward my dancing and the healing arts as my main focus of expression. I seemed to be harkening back to my high school days where I first learned massage, yoga and belly dancing! I began studying more bodywork techniques and enrolled in both an Oriental medical school for acupuncture and herbology training and in the American University of Complementary Medicine to study homeopathy and Ayurvedic medicine.
In 1998, I decided to return to college and began studying in graduate programs for natural medicine: Chinese medicine, Homeopathy and Ayurvedic medicine. In the study of the channels, meridians and points that are common to Eastern healing, I found a profound link to the movements and healing power of Eastern dances.
Finally, in 2002, I decided it was time to perform for “my community” and danced at MECDA’s Cairo Carnivale held in Glendale with Juliette. Juliette and I were tickled to have our picture featured in the L.A. Times from that performance; but, oddly, the accompanying article was all about belly dance being a “celebration of femininity” and mentioned nothing of the men involved.
In 2003, I did the unthinkable and actually participated in a competition, “Belly Dancer of the Universe!” The name of that always makes me smile. I competed in the “Fusion” category and blended belly dancing with Bharata Natyam. I was awarded the championship for that category and tied for a “People’s Choice” award.
In 2004, I continued to expand my performances and explored more fusion with Indian dance, even choreographing some group performances that tell the stories of ancient India with both dance styles.
I had the opportunity to learn some Dabke dancing from male Lebanese dancer, Karim Cheikh-Ali, and performed in a group dance in a production called "Arabesque" produced by Juliet Arroyo at the Alex Theatre.
Over the years of studying Indian dance and being strongly connected with the South Asian community, I was heavily exposed to Hindi Filmi "Bollywood" dances featured in many of the movies produced in India. I have often performed to these songs and enjoy their choreographies. These dances are a wonderful fusion/masala of North and South Indian dance styles, belly dancing, pop, jazz and hip-hop. While I am not especially trained in jazz or hip-hop, I do like to blend belly dance, Bharata Natyam and other dance styles in performances to these very invigorating songs. I began teaching a "Belly to Bollywood" dance class for those who are interested in exploring this fusion of exciting styles. In 2005, I also joined blue13dance company and began to perform in group Bollywood shows. Our group has danced at various venues in Southern California and in Arizona. The highlight was dancing in the invigorating Bollywood fairytale, "Karishma," which was inspired by Shakespeare's "A Midsummer's Night's Dream." It premiered at the Ford Amphitheatre to a packed and appreciative audience and received glowing reviews.
Also, in 2005, I began expanding my performances and instruction to international venues. To date I have danced in Costa Rica, Spain and Toronto, Canada. It is wonderful to travel, dance and meet new friends.
As I mature and see more and more men explore this art form, I am pleased to witness the climate increasingly welcoming us. The internet also connects us and offers us role models and opportunities to share, connect and learn from one another. Gradually we are coming together and celebrating the force of Spirit and Nature intertwining together in profound and magical ways as dancers and friends."
John and Helen Bilezikjian (Workshop Instructors)
Saturday, 6:30-8:30 PM.
RM TBA -- International Music and Folk dance class. Learn line and solo dances
from Armenia, Assyria, Greece and Jerusalem, their history, and stylization and understand the comprehensive rhythms for each. Truly an evening of international music and dance .John Bilezikjian will accompany and lecture on oud and Helen will instruct the dances. Suitable
for all - men, women and children 6 and up!
John and Helen are consummate performers in Classical as well as Contemporary music. They perform for movies and television. John plays and sings music from around the world including the Russian Balalaika, the Greek Bouzouki, the Turkish Saz and many other instruments, but his primary instrument is the "OUD." John has recently returned from Boston as soloist with the "Boston Pops." He has completed a book on "How to Pay the Oud," published by the Hal Leonard Publishing Co. Helen is a well-known concert singer who teaches privately. She is also an accomplished teacher of folk dance and they present dance and music workshops. She is currently a church soloist in Orange County, CA. Together they have their own recording and entertainment company. They both teach and live in Orange County. They have many CD's of their music and if you would like more information, contact them through their web site at www.dantzrecords.com.
Tasha Banat, New Mexico
Celebrity Judge and Workshop Instructor
Sat, Feb 16, 2008 - 12:00-1:30 pm
"Know the Difference: Egyptian and Lebanese Style Dance Combinations and Techniques with Debke."
TASHA BANAT: Middle Eastern and American; It is hard to describe where one personality ends with her and where the other begins.
Her accomplishments vary greatly as she has always been very much on the political scene with TV Talk Shows, magazine articles and newspapers commentaries in both English and translated to Arabic.
Then there is the cultural blend of Belly Dance and Debka (Lebanese, Palestinian, Jordanian, Syrian, and Iraqi) folk dance that has been her trademark in Arabic nightclubs for more than 40 years.
Unlike most Belly Dance Instructors, Tasha Banat is more about preserving the cultural artistic accomplishments that her people have lost touch with during the last century.
When Tasha performs, you see what Arab pride is all about. You know you are watching an artist in motion, not a diva.
The most interesting aspect of Tasha's style of teaching, is that her classes are fun, logical, encouraging and interesting. No matter what level of study you are at, you will learn new and interesting movements, dance steps, combinations and so much more.
You can go to her simple web site www.TashaBanat.com and there is no doubt that what you see is what you get.
AMY SIGIL OF UNMATA
Celebrity Judge and Workshop Instructor
Sun, Feb 17, 2008, 12:00-1:30 pm
RM 203 A
"ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES FOR A BORING DANCE CLASS!" -- The first 1/2 of this workshop will introduce you to 5 dance and movement games designed to get you out of your box and quite possibly into somebody else's! The second 1/2 of this workshop will feature a short choreography full of fast n' fun. And once we get it down we'll add a special little twist. This workshop is brand new and designed especially for Bellydancer of the Universe 2008. Come prepared to laugh and have a good time and walk away with some new fun stuff for your classes! 90min workshop.
Amy Sigil, artistic director and owner of WORLD Studio in Sacramento, California, instructs captivating classes in Modern Bellydance Fusion. Each of her inventive choreographies take shape on the stages of many venues. Amy has been bellydancing for the past 8 years, working hard to develop her own entrancing style.
Inspired by her experience in American Tribal Style, Egyptian Cabaret, Bharat Natyam, Polynesian dance and more, Amy brings to the stage an innovative dance experience.Amy opened up WORLD (womb of real life dance) Studio in 2002. She has also been feeding creative energy into her solo performance and her troupe, UNMATA, developed in 2003. Amy's charismatic disposition and liquid technique set her style apart from other bellydance forms, throwing a ritualistic and theatrical twist into her interpretation of music through dance. "My vision is to organize a community safe for personal expression, creativity, and growth. My purpose is to provide a home for alternative dance and rhythm.”
Amy and UNMATA have taught workshops and performed nationwide at events such as The Spirit of the Tribes, Northern Migration, Tribal Fest, Tribal Quest Northwest, and Tribal Café. Each October Amy Sigil, UNMATA, and Hot Pot Studio host The Blood Moon Regale, a themed weekend of workshops, dance fellowship, and a fully produced showcase of student and professional dancers.
UNMATA is a professional, multi-award-winning, bellydance fusion troupe based in Sacramento, CA. Formed in 2003 by Hot Pot Studio’s artistic director, Amy Sigil, UNMATA is Shelly DeCant, Luna Taylor, Casey Staub, Tina Boyer, Kristina Zajic, Kari VanderZwaag, and April Rose Wilson. The team force of UNMATA is known for extreme choreography layered with inventive movement, and for tapping into an unmistakable divine inebriation on and off stage. UNMATA has spent 2006 performing and teaching workshops cross-country at such events as The Spirit of the Tribes in Ft Lauderdale, Tribal Fest in Sebastopol, Northern Migration in Buffalo, Tribal Café in Los Angeles, and Tribal Quest Northwest in Portland.
UNMATA was Tribal Group Champion at BDUC 2007.
Currently, UNMATA is preparing for the sixth annual Blood Moon Regale, a weekend celebration of workshops and dance theater hosted by Hot Pot Studio each Halloween.
Visit the web site: www.unmata.com
LEE ALI , California
Celebrity Judge and Workshop Instructor
Sun, Feb 17, 2008 - 3:30-5:00 pm
RM 203 C
"Moroccan Tray Dance"
Lee Ali will perform this demonstration during the Saturday Evening Performance.
Sassy and Show-stopping! Learn authentic tray dancing as it is performed in Morocco! Learn traveling steps, floor work and exercises to keep you in shape and flexible for performing this show-stopping dance. We will dance to Moroccan chaabi rhythms, using only traditional bendirs (vibrating drums) and explore the history and traditions of tea tray dancing including: what to wear, dancing with multiple trays; and what items to place on your tray to create an authentic ritual dance with the proper sassy attitude. Please bring knee pads and a tray. A limited number of trays will be available for sale in class.
Lee Ali is a specialist in Moroccan dance and folklore. With a Moroccan dancer mom and a Turkish drummer dad, Lee was born into the Middle Eastern performing community. She began as a child performer in the 1970’s, the golden era of “old style” belly dance. On stage, she’s delivered more than 2,000 performances in theater, festivals, cabaret and film. Lee has studied dance in Morocco, Turkey, Greece and Egypt. A skillful drummer and percussionist, Lee plays the t’bal, (a double-sided drum traditionally played by men) and sings in Arabic and Greek.
By age 20, Lee was artistic director of her own dance studio in the Arab quarter of Brooklyn, New York, where she perfected her colorful teaching style and her commitment to building community thru dance. 1996, she produced the documentary film, Belly Dancing In America: Importing Middle Eastern Dance. In 2001, she formed The Berber Ballet, a dance and drum ensemble specializing in 6/8 rhythms and theatricalized dances of the Maghreb. Lee holds a bachelors degree in Psychology from UC, Irvine and she is currently writing a book on Moroccan dance and trance rituals
Visit Lee Ali's Web site http://moroccandance.com
MA*SHUQA MIRA MIRJAN - California
Celebrity Judge and Workshop Instructor
Sat, Feb 16, 2007 - 3:30-5:00 pm
RM 203C - "Universally Yours" -
4/4 rhythm, 6/8 rhythm, and Turkish 9/8 rhythm. Combinations for the stage and zill review.
International Performer and Instructor - The Professional Difference - Elegance of Style
Ma*Shuqa has been the featured dancer in special productions: at the San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts, for special parties in Greece and Egypt, on German national TV, at the famous nightclub, The Apropos, in the alstaadt in Koln, and an evening’s showcase of dance choreography at the Comedia Colonia Theatre in Koln, Germany. Be it at a hafla or on the stage, Ma*Shuqa's performances radiate high energy, love for dance orientale, a warm personality, and a display of masterful talent with “elegance of style”. ™
Ma*Shuqa is known internationally as the “elegant” performer with a unique style of dancing which blends the music and dance into a compelling art form. Her colleagues have called her performances creatively unique and inspiring. For an innovative performance, Ma*Shuqa designed an original “high technology” costume with specially commissioned electronic circuitry powering hundreds of tiny incandescent lights. Ma*Shuqa is a prominent representative of the innovation and creativity born of her native “Silicon Valley”—the home of the Internet and computer revolution.
An Accomplished Performer and Instructor, Ma*Shuqa's dance style and teaching repertoire reflect years of study evident in her dazzling performances to Egyptian, Greek, Arabic, Turkish, Armenian, Moroccan, Persian, and Lebanese music. A comment often heard from her audiences in Cairo, Germany, and Athens; "She understands our music and our culture...in her dancing, we see the expression of joy and emotions of our culture."
Ma*Shuqa’s dance style is synthesized from a background of music, dance, and mental and physical conditioning. Ma*Shuqa’s instructional methodology is specifically designed to meet the dancer’s learning objectives and goals. Dance style coaching is transformational. Through coaching she addresses your uniqueness—your special talents and personality, and assists you in weaving these into a unified dance persona. When you dance you will experience the joy of your own special style that you develop with coaching assistance from Ma*Shuqa that facilitates the integration of your personality, mind, and body into a unique dance style.
Ma*Shuqa, is known as the performing dancer’s instructor, and provides style and performance coaching to assist dancers create unique performance signatures. Ma*Shuqa teaches dancers to understand the music and transform steps and technique into a performance with the magical essence of style. In her classes, you can expect to receive professional attention and performance tips from a performer’s point of view.
ATLANTIS: Workshop Instructor
Sun, Feb 17, 2008, 1:30-3:00 pm - Improvisational taxim for the stage. Traditional and alternative music featured.
ATLANTIS is Vice President of the Middle Eastern Culture and Dance Association (MECDA Beach Cities Chapter). Member of Middle Eastern Culture and Dance Association "Hall of Fame."
Best Oriental Dancer,
Best Cabaret Dancer - International Academy of Middle Eastern Dance.
Promoter of the year, Zaghareet Magazine
Best Event - Belly Dancer of the Universe Competitions, Zaghareet Magazine
Atlantis' year has been most exciting with her company "Belly Dancers of the Universe," providing entertainment for the stars and special events. Hollywood luminaries such as Jerry Bruckheimer and Lawrence Kazden marveled; Coach Phil Jackson of Laker's fame proclaimed Atlantis "His Beautiful Baby!" Even USC Coach Pete Carol got up and mamboed about with Atlantis after their championship win against Oklahoma. Geena Davis and Paula Abdul also found time to take a swing of the hips! Also, Atlantis landed a great spot on a "Good Morning America" feature "Spotlight in Long Beach," showing "What's Hot in Long Beach." Currently Atlantis is working on the new DVD "Mega Stars of the Universe" featuring Champions of the BDUC.
MOTHER / DAUGHTER DUO: Tonya and Atlantis have produced over 100 bellydance videos and DVDs. The Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition series featuring Tonya and Atlantis with talents from across the Universe, competing for the most coveted title in our field, "The Belly Dancer of the Universe."
"NEW" MEGA STARS DVD series with featured champions of the Belly Dancer of the Universe Competitions past and present in their award-winning once-in-a-lifetime performances. All this along with Tonya, Atlantis and their dance company "Of Veils & Incense with Essence of Veils" - a DVD sure to please. Worthy of anyone's DVD collection, student or professional. NEW Belly Dancer of the Universe DVD Series for the Universal Stylist. Volume Two, Coming Soon! Features all new music written and vocalized by Tonya herself, along with an all star musician lineup TBA.
"Innovation not Imitation" is their motto.
Tonya and Atlantis are also musically accomplished with their CD "Ecstacy in Bellydance, Volume I, featuring Tonya's lyrics and vocals along with Clarinet and Bouzouki artistry by Andreas Chianis, Greek Musician Extraordinaire! This CD has a 27 minute routine for the Professional Universal Dance Stylist.
The NEW CD "Atlantis" - Ecstasy in bellydancing Volume 2 features routines for the Universal, Egyptian and Fusion artists.
TONYA: Tonya will be Mistress of Ceremonies both days of the Competition.
Biography - Tonya, Southern California Bellydancer, Premier Teacher, Talented Performer, Choreographer, MC and Promoter. Tonya has captured
the highest awards possible in the field of Middle Eastern Dance from across the
nation. Among them: Best Teacher; Promoter; Achiever; MC and others. Tonya is the producer and co-producer of the Belly Dancer of the Universe Competitions held annually in Long Beach, CA. She has alternated holding the offices of President and Vice President of the Middle Eastern Culture and Dance Association (MECDA) Beach Cities Chapter.
Tonya presently teaches belly dancing (Le Danse Oriental) or Middle Eastern Dance, at Golden West College, Cerritos College and Santa Monica College, and the Southern California Dance Academy in Long Beach as well as private coaching for competitions, performances, etc.
Also a fabulous costume designer, she designs for the dancer's unique personal style.
Tonya is a practitioner of Religious Science as well as a published author of Insights and Inspirations for Dancers - a book of spiritual healing for dancers
Tonya is the creator of Tonya's original Bellydance Showcase now in its 18th year at the Crowne Plaza Los Angeles Harbor Hotel, featuring live music and spontaneous dance performance for all levels and styles. Showcases are held across Los Angeles and Orange County monthly as well and have something to offer the whole family.
Tonya's classes are always well attended and one of her greatest attributes is her ability to give a complete understanding of this dance in six weeks, thus giving the student the opportunity to know what is ahead should she wish to continue. She has the ability to give personalized attention no matter how large the class and takes great pride in sharing her vast knowledge with all her students. ###