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Spring 2017 Khoreography Class Descriptions
(as written by Karen)

Karavan Studio | GBDAC 2016 | Come Dance With Us
Karavan Spring Semester 2017
Music Sample Mix

Click here for a sample of the music that will be used in the choreography classes at Karavan Studio (San Antonio, Texas) beginning beginning January 2, 2017.
  0:00  Miguel Drum Solo - Mondays at 7:15pm
  0:34  Awa'a Tarouhi - Tuesdays at 8:30pm
  1:09  Yo Borni - Tuesdays at 6:00pm
  1:45  Kaskas Warak - Wed. at 6:00pm
  2:23  Contemporary Drum Solo - Wed. at 7:15pm
  2:57  Gitana - Thursdays at 7:15pm
  3:38  Laylah (Khaleegy) - Thursdays at 8:30pm


“Miguel Drum Solo” – by Miguel Crespo of Bogata, Colombia

Mondays with Karen at 7:15pm

We’re still not quite sure how long this will be.   Contact Karen for music.  The choreography will be Advanced.

Miguel Crespo is a talented, creative, brilliant percussionist that I met when teaching a workshop in Colombia.  He and I have taught and performed together at Belly Dance Masters in Orlando, Fl. and at Ya Halla Ya’ll in Grapevine, Tx.  Miguel will be visiting us here at Karavan in San Antonio (Feb 2017) for some instruction but he will ALSO be joining us for performance at GBDAC 2017.

This is a drum solo that Miguel is composing just for us here at Karavan!  He will be playing it live for us at GBDAC (on both Friday and Saturday nights!)


Awa’a Tarouhi – by Melhem Zein

Mondays with Karen at 8:30pm

3:19 in length.  Music is available on itunes.  This choreography does not lend itself to the standard Karavan level-labeling system.  It is open to everyone.  You can even bring your boyfriend or husband! :-)

Debke/Dabka/Dabke/Debki/etc. – a circle or line dance performed in the fertile crescent area of the Middle East (Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan) and in some areas of Iraq and northern Saudi Arabia.  It’s principle characteristics are rhythmic footwork and stomping.

THIS debke dance is being choreographed by the master Hassan Harfouche and is similar to what he choreographed for his nephew’s wedding in Lebanon!  It will be all footwork and that beautiful debke “vibe”; NO torso-focused belly dancing moves.  

BONUS:  Hassan will be joining us at GBDAC 2017 and will be in San Antonio for rehearsals in July to help us sharpen up this dance!!


“Yo Borni”  - Fares Karam

Tuesdays with Karen at 6:00pm

3:21 in length.  Music is available on itunes.  The choreography will be Int level.

This is a fun pop song by Lebanese singer Fares Karam.  Medium tempo and beautifully symmetrical in its arrangement – it really is, in many ways, just a string of fun combinations that can be easily lifted and used in other music.  

Second to “Gitana”, this could also be a good dance for first-time performers.


“Kaskas Warak” by the Rahbani Brothers – (translated to “Cut Pieces of Paper”)

Wednesdays with Karen at 6:00pm

4:00 in length.  The choreography will be Int/Adv level.  

This music is from a play written by the Rahbani Brothers of Lebanon.  The play is entitled Nass min Wara’ (“People Made of Paper”).  The arrangement that we will use will not be sung, but the lyrics are “Cut paper to pieces and give them names to represent people.  As they fly away in life, each one tells a story.” 

The tempo of our arrangement is slow/medium which will make this dance an excellent exercise in pacing our movements.   Additionally, the melody is very simple and quite repetitious which will allow us to explore multiple interpretations of the same musical phrase. Finally, as individual instruments are featured throughout the piece, we can expand our ability to vary interpretation based on sound and texture.

BONUS:  We will learn this dance to a recording of the music BUT it will be played LIVE for us at GBDAC in the Saturday night show!  


“Contemporary Drum Solo” – arranged by Samer Issa

Wednesdays with Karen at 7:15pm

3:30 in length.  Music is available on itunes.  Int/Adv level (as most drum solos tend to be around here!)

This is the Indian/Arabic Drum Solo off of my Mastery and Mystery Double CD (now available on itunes).  I do NOT purport to be an expert in Indian dance – having taken only a few classes in my life – so this dance is primarily belly dance movement with some slight acknowledgement of the cross-cultural sound.

Really – we just need to do a drum solo now and then to keep our isolations tight and sharp!!  If the “Miguel Drum Solo” on the schedule doesn’t work for you, perhaps this one will! 


“Gitana” by Light Rain

Thursdays with Karen at 7:15pm

4:43 in length.  Music is available on itunes.  The choreography will be Beg/Int level.

This is a beautiful piece of music with a haunting, flowing, gypsy feel by the band who holds the claim to being the first American band to record music for Belly Dancing.  I believe it.  I had several of their albums in the 70s!  

This will be an excellent “first dance” for any new performers.  If you think about the types of combinations that you learn in a Beginner class, this dance will simply be asking you to remember SEVERAL of them and to focus on how they relate to this specific piece of music.  Other great things about this music:  You will WANT to listen to this music over and over because it is so beautiful – so remembering your dance will be easy.  There is a tiny drum solo embedded in the piece providing interesting variety!  It has enough of a western sound so as to NOT make family/roommates/animals crazy when you practice.  


“Laylah” (Khaleegy music) by Naser Musa and Sohail Kaspar

Thursdays with Karen at 8:30pm

8:29 in length.  Music is available on itunes.  The choreography will be open to everyone.

Don’t let the time scare you!  We will be dancing to 6 minutes of this.  

Khaleegy/Khaleegi/Khaliji dance is the traditional folkloric dance performed in the Persian Gulf area of the Middle East. (khaleeg = “gulf” in Arabic) The American expert on this dance form is Kay Hardy Campbell and she has written an excellent article on the dance here:  http://thebestofhabibi.com/vol-16-no-3-fall-1997/loosening-their-tresses/

Anyone who knows me knows that Khaleegy style dance is not my usual thing – heh – but for this dance, I want to emulate the “women dancing for women” party scene by having a stage (and screen) full of women with pairs/groups/soloists taking turns at dancing in this style (THIS will be the choreography that we all learn).  I would LOVE for a few to have thobes (the traditional costume), but we will discuss this.   <photo – screen print – Dahlal>

Anyway – this is an opportunity to delve a bit deeper into this specific dance style, learn the basics, learn the difference, and ultimately be a part of our “girls only party” at GBDAC.  

BONUS: Oh – and – this music will be performed LIVE on Saturday night and sung by Naser!    


“Miguel Drum Solo” – by Miguel Crespo of Bogata, Colombia

Fridays with Karen at 12:00pm

We’re still not quite sure how long this will be.    Contact Karen for music.  The choreography will be Advanced.

Miguel Crespo is a talented, creative, brilliant percussionist that I met when teaching a workshop in Colombia.  He and I have taught and performed together at Belly Dance Masters in Orlando, Fl. and at Ya Halla Ya’ll in Grapevine, Tx.  Miguel will be visiting us here at Karavan in San Antonio (Feb 2017) for some instruction but he will ALSO be joining us for performance at GBDAC 2017.

This is a drum solo that Miguel is composing just for us here at Karavan!  He will be playing it live for us at GBDAC (on both Friday and Saturday nights!)


“Karen, all of your students have a Gold Mine with you as their instructor. I always knew [since 1989] that you were a GOLD MINE in the making. They just don’t make them like you anymore!!”
— Mercedes

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