SOLD OUT - Saturday & Sunday November 7th & 8th, 2020

Performance Saturday at 7 PM; Show Tickets $20

Location-Central NH/VT location TBA


Join us for our 11th annual festival! We’re having live music in every class to celebrate!

Cost: $300 for the entire weekend (including show ticket and daily lunch) Monthly payment plan of $30 per month is available by emailing raqondance@gmail.com when registration opens.  

Full Workshop Registration opens January 1, 2020 at 12:00 PM. Performance spots are first come, first serve.


To pay in full: click here

For payment plans: Atfer noon on January first only, please email raqondance@gmail.com with your request for a payment plan ($30 per month for 10 months) and the date you'd like the payment to auto withdraw each month. Payment plans will be set up via square autopayment. You will receive an email from square on how to set up your debit or credit card. 

Shimmyathon opens Saturday and Sunday at 10:00 AM for registration, shopping, and stretching.



Saturday Band: Mitch Kaltsunas, Mohammed Mejaour, and Jamal Sinno


Mitch Kaltsunas has been delighting Arabic music fans in the United States with his singing for over two decades. Kaltsunas, who comes from Greek, Egyptian, and Syrian heritage, started playing guitar at nine years old. Soon, however, the Western string instrument lost out to the Middle Eastern oud and derbakke (tablah) for the young musician's attention. Kaltsunas credits his Near Eastern roots for putting him close to Arabic music. FMI: http://mitchkaltsunas.com/

Mohammed Mejaour is a Moroccan Drummer and Nay musician from the Boston area. With decades of experience, he shares his skills and joy like no other while playing, usually with the biggest grin!





Lebanese-born Jamal Sinno studied qanun at the Lebanese National Conservatory under virtuoso Mohammad Sabsabi. Since moving to the U.S. in 1981, Jamal has performed with leading song stars of the Middle East including George Wassouf and Kazem Al-Sahar. He performs with Simon Shaheen’s Near Eastern Music Ensemble.


Live Music 101 with Amity Alize (NH) 

Saturday 10:45AM-12:00PM

To start us off on a weekend of live music, Amity will cover the basics of what’s expected of dancers when dancing to a live band. We’ll cover how to travel when the music is at different speeds, how to interact with the band and audience, how to enter and exit, and the basics of the American five “plus” part routines.

BIO: Amity Alize has studied Middle Eastern and Oriental Dances since 2001. Focusing on tying the folkloric and modern styles together through her own research, she travels internationally studying dance on an ongoing basis. Her mission is to empower others through performances, workshops, and classes to step out of their boxes, increase their self-esteem and positive self-image, live through the music, and most of all, just have fun and be authentically themselves. As the founder and director of Raq-On Dance, Amity has taught over a thousand people to learn Belly Dance. In 2015 she was invited to teach and perform in Cairo, Egypt, as part of the Camp Negum Dance Festival. She is the Director of the annual Shimmyathon Dance Festival and has hosted over fifty events including national and international dancers. She has written three ebooks on the business, teaching, and event management side of performing arts for dancers. Amity Alize performs at weddings, celebrations, theatre shows, fundraisers, and venues with Middle Eastern Bands. Her style can be best described as Classical Golden Era Egyptian fused with Vintage American Oriental. She manages Raq-On Dance’s student Troupe, the Raq-ettes, which perform folkloric and modern Middle Eastern Dance styles throughout the Northeast. For more information visit www.raq-on.net


Strong, Sinuous, and Sultry with Elishiva (CT)

Saturday 12:15PM-1:30PM

The trifecta that creates ooey-gooey lusciousness on stage. In this workshop we work on the physical and emotional connections that call forth that strong yet feminine belly dance quality. Drills, stylization, and combinations and a short sensory exercise comprise this workshop.

BIO:Elisheva dedicated herself to the study of bellydance in 2008, responding strongly to the dance's capacity to transcend barriers and connect dancer and audience at the heart and soul level. She is regarded for her riveting performances and thorough instruction style. Based out of Hartford, Connecticut, Elisheva travels to teach and perform while locally fostering the dance community through instruction, a busy performance schedule, collaborations, and show production. Elisheva directs student troupe Heart Beat Belly Dance, co-hosts the CT Bellydance Salon, produces an annual theatrical stage show, and is an alumni cast member of Jillina's Bellydance Evolution. She has been featured in Bellydance Quickies, A Little Lighter podcast, The Belly Dance Chronicles, Better Connecticut, numerous publications, and in the film, Us Din Boston Mein. Fore more information visit http://www.elishevabellydancer.com/




Debke with Shadia (MA) 

Saturday 2:30PM-3:45PM

Shadia will give a brief background of debke (ME line dances) and teach  basic interlocking body formations and steps. Then will teach some upper body movements that are done in  Eastern Bedouin style. Iraqi Chobi, Palestinian and Lebanese Debke steps will also be taught!

BIO:  I grew up social dancing ( Lebanese Debke and Turkish Halay) and involved in Turkish and Lebanese communities through my father.  He was my first instructor in Azeri men's and women's  social dances. In my early twenties I became more interested in my own cultural dances as I felt that I should as I had danced many other ethnic dances. I and my late husband and a group of ME folk dancers created Baalbeck Folklorique in 1975 which focused on Egyptian and Lebanese Folkdances. We performed in ethnic festivals around New England.  I then moved with my husband to Lebanon and had the most amazing learning experience watching and sometimes rehearsing with  the government sponsored folk troupe my husband was a member of.  This group did traditional Lebanese folk dances and plays using only traditional instruments, costuming and dances. Armenian, Greek and Syrian folk dances were additional folk dances I learned along the way.  In 1981 my husband and I trained a Lebanese volley ball group to perform for Boston Tricentennial Celebration and they so enjoyed performing their cultural dances that this troupe stayed together for ten years until my husband's passing.  He made me promise that I would always be involved in dance and especially continue with Lebanese folk dances.  it was shortly after that I created Mirza Dance Ensemble (so named after my father)  and  choreographed, costumed and  directed this troupe till 2015. I also trained a youth group of the Lebanese World Cultural Union from 2006 to 2009. I trained and passed on costumes and choreos of Alwan Dance Ensemble, several of which were member of Mirza Dance Ensemble. Currently I am involved with CAC (Center forArabic Culture and teach at their location and at their annual Spring Fling event


Band Time/ Q & A with the Band

Saturday 4:00PM-5:15 PM

Amity will lead a Q&A with questions from dancers about working with a band, the band will share their history, favorite stories, and what things they feel important for dancers to know. Most importantly, there will be time for everyone to free dance to the band’s favorite songs.




Saturday Band: George and Nick Kokoras & Mike Gregian

BIO:For over 30 years, The Kokoras Ensemble has delighted Greek audiences throughout New England and the rest of the country performing at special events. Their extensive repertoire of songs includes all of the traditional regional folk songs of Greece, as well as the most popular hits from Greek nightclubs. The Kokoras Ensemble prides itself on using only the latest, state-of-the-art technology to enhance their finely-honed musical talents. George and Nick Kokoras are brothers with impressive musical backgrounds, both graduates of the Gavianni School of Music. The brothers played with The Athenians for several years, and by 1965, they began appearing together in nightclubs and at functions throughout the United States.

Mike Gregian is a dancer’s drummer, clarinet player, singer, and musician of many talents. Mike has been performing up and down the East Coast for Decades, including the Fred Elias Ensemble and the Mosaic Ensemble.


Mood Management with Farha (NY)

Sunday 10:45 AM-12:00 PM

Drama in a performance comes from contrast. In this workshop, you'll learn about managing energy and pacing during each part of a full set. With the live band, we’ll explore the bravery of stillness, the excitement of explosive energy, and how to make use of what’s in between to feel confident, engaging, and to keep your audience’s eyes on you.

BIO:  Farha means "Joy" in Arabic and She teaches and performs in the Central New York area in order to share the joy of this dance with anyone who needs a little more sparkle in their lives (and don't we all?). She particularly loves bellydance's ability to bridge cultural gaps and to provide a way to learn and practice confidence that can carry over into our everyday lives.   


Classic Veil with Zobeida (NY)

Sunday 12:15-1:30 PM

In this workshop, we will explore classic veil wraps, slow and flowy veil movements and elegant veil retrieval when the veil fails you

BIO:  Zobeida Ghattas is a New York city-based belly dancer of Russian and Arabic origins. After studying with legendary teachers Anahid Sofian and Morocco from the age of seven, she started working as a professional belly dancer at the age of 15 in clubs, restaurants and special event venues. Since then, Zobeida has worked with many talented NYC artists, musicians and dancers. Currently, besides gigging she runs weekly classes, teaches workshops at festivals and belly dance events and owns the costume jewelry boutique, Esme's Closet.


Exploring Complex Geometry: Beyond the Basic Shapes with Mahsati Janan (VT)

Saturday 2:30PM-3:45PM

Circles, lines, squares. So many shapes! Even with so many options, are you feeling a little boxed in when bringing your dance to life? In learning dance movements and isolations, we often train ourselves into evenly repeated patterns like perfectly round circles or balanced figure eights, but once we have those skills “what’s the next step”? Using basic shapes as starting guides, we'll work with the music and morph our shapes and timing by visualizing how our movements intersect with the music in a three-dimensional framework to add depth and interest through your lines, curves, and angles.
BIO: Mahsati Janan is an instructor and performer specializing in dances of the Middle East, North Africa, and related stage and folkloric dances inspired by the cultures of the MENAHT regions. With a teaching style that joins dance theory with cultural foundations, Mahsati’s classes offer students an opportunity both to learn the necessary technique and understand the cultural contexts of these dance forms. Since beginning her belly dance journey in 1996, Mahsati has taught and performed throughout the U.S. and been fortunate enough to work with many wonderful dancers and musicians from around the world. As an instructor, Mahsati's educational background focuses on technique, dance theory, and cultural traditions. Her anthropology background and research emphases are also strongly represented in her classes as you learn about history and traditions while enjoying yourself dancing. For more information about classes or performances, please visit www.mahsati.com.


Band Time/ Q & A with the Band

Sunday 4:00-5:15 PM

Amity will lead a Q&A with questions from dancers about working with a band, the band will share their history, favorite stories, and what things they feel important for dancers to know. Most importantly, there will be time for everyone to free dance to the band’s favorite songs.


Would you like to teach at Shimmyathon 2021? Applications open November 2020 right on this page (a magic link will appear!)