LEARN TO DANCE WITH A DEDICATED TEACHER

Teaching Philosophy

 

Amity Alize takes an honest, sincere, and engaged approach in teaching Middle Eastern Dance and its Westernized styles. Understanding that everyone learns differently, she teaches each technique visually, while explaining through verbal and hands on application. Students will never be called out, shamed, or discouraged. Instead, students will be provided a warm, encouraging environment to learn and grow as dancers. Amity teaches beyond technique, including lessons on history, musicality, and theory in every class.

Commonly referred to as a Dancer for Dancers, Amity believes that in order for the dance to become visual on the body, a dancer has to hear the music, feel the history, absorb it into their heart, and feel it in their own way within their soul. 

Testimonials

"Amity Alize has devoted her life to belly dance and community building. Her intelligence, humor, drive, and compassion enrich the world. She is a talented, creative artist, an empowering teacher, and the magnetic charge that holds our dance community together. She's a damn fine dancer, too." -Alia Thabit

"Thank you so much -I am very inspired to practice and attempt new adventures!"

"Amity, awesome thank you. Lots of good feedback to work on and stuff to be happy about, I’ve never met anyone who makes me feel good about things that need improvement on anything in my life."

"One thing that always struck me is the enthusiasm and absolute spark you have when you're teaching about the history of dance, that causes us to share in that excitement..."

 

Workshop & Class Menu

 

Foundation Classes

Looking for the Raq-On Dance Studio experience? The Raq-On Dance Studio technique classes by level can be offered at any location. These can be offered as a single offering or a multi-week session. Offerings can also be accompanied by a combination or choreography.

 

Belly Dance Level I (Beginner Belly Dance Foundations)

The Beginner Foundation class provides the basic movements of Belly Dance as well as an introduction on the everyday benefits of dance: safe stretching, stronger arms and core, correct posture, better balance and coordination, and of course having fun and just enjoying movement and dance!

Belly Dance Level II (Advanced Beginner)

In this class we continue to work on drilling movements while adding combinations, isolations, layering, and various dance steps in order to build your dance vocabulary. Please bring your zills (finger cymbals) and veil (loaners available at every class). Most people enjoy this level from one to three years. This class is geared toward those who have taken Level I or have obtained instructor approval to transfer from other studios and instructors.

Belly Dance Level III (Intermediate)

This class is for the serious student who has achieved a Level II status. We'll work on individual growth while focusing not just on technique and drills, but different styles, props, history, and performance methods. You must be willing to take constructive criticism from your instructor and work as a team player with your peers. Please note, in order to join this class, you must get instructor permission and take Level II.

Level IV (Advanced)

This class is for the serious student who has achieved a Level III status. We'll work on individual growth while focusing not just on technique and drills, but different styles, props, history, and performance methods. All dancers are required to work on solos (whether you perform them out of class is completely up to you). You must be willing to take constructive criticism from your instructor and work as a team player with your peers.

Level V (Budding Performer)

At this level, dancers are able to execute the dance at a level where they can obtain performance opportunities externally at local venues and are a positive and ever-growing representative of the dance form in the community.

Special Workshop Topics

Goo & Layers (2 hours)

Gooey explains movements that just melt. It’s about connecting, completing, and melting movements. We’ll spend an entire class making you ooze through detailed explanations of muscle versus skeletal movements, weight transitions, and combinations.  Once you’re gooey we’ll add the next “layer”, demystifying layering technique. Handouts included. (Suitable for: all levels)

Egyptian Oriental & Modern Egyptian (2 hours)    

Egyptian style today is one of the most popular styles of Belly Dance. This style relies heavily on the music to define the emotion of the dance (also known as Tarab). Egyptian dance has evolved significantly over the last forty years. We’ll go through some basic Egyptian techniques from the Golden Era to modern stylings including weight changes, internalizing movements, and combinations, to Egyptian music to help you feel your way into the style. Handouts included. (Suitable for: all levels)

Choreography & Stage Dynamics 101 (2-4 hours)

Need some tips on creating your own piece? When you start creating choreography do you feel overwhelmed or automatically forget everything you know? This workshop goes over basic stage dynamics such as understanding your audience, staging techniques, dance dynamics, and creative drills to spice up your performance and bring your choreographies to the next level. You’ll also receive Amity’s comprehensive mini book to help you along the way. (Suitable for: all levels)

But Weight! Get More from your Core (2 hours)

As Belly Dance students we learn a generalized technique involving both muscular and skeletal movements. Each style of Belly Dance uses the same movement technique, however, sometimes the movements are generated with a different weight or muscular intention. We’ll compare and contrast styles and eras of Belly Dance along with new “angles” on traditional Belly Dance technique! (Suitable for: all levels)

Hearty Hips/All About the Hips (2 hours)

Gain more depth and flexibility in your movements through the use of drills, technique breakdown, and comparison of weight placement among the various styles of Belly Dance. We’ll practice hip articulations, piston hips, lifts, drops, shimmies, bounces, and more while playing with skeletal and muscular variations. In other words, you’ll be one hip chick! (Suitable for: all levels)

Technique Tune Up and Goal Setting (2 hours)

Ready to get back into dancing after the holiday season? We’ll drill technique and combos, and complete self-assessments. Each dancer will leave with 2-3 goals as well as a technique work plan!

Using Dance dynamics to create your own style, juicy performances, and new technique patterns (2 hours)

The Dance Dynamic methodology has been used at the studio and in Amity’s own practice for years. Dancers always leave this workshop changed and with enough homework for a year. The invaluable techniques learned in this workshop can be used for improvisation, personal dance drills, and creating choreography. You’ll no longer need to memorize combinations you learned in workshops or from other dancers; you'll have your own unique movement vocabulary that you can pull from memory at the flick of a zill!

Elegant Arms, Transitions, and Body Lines (2-4 hours)

Elegant Arms, Transitions, and Body Lines are the three hardest technique items for most dancers. We’ll work on technique and combinations, while Amity Alize shares some pointers and common body composition changes to help you switch between various characters in Middle Eastern and North African Dance styles.

Belly Dance Drills and Combinations-Amity Alize Style (2 hours)

Similar to Bootcamp class, this class is meant to challenge the brain, the body, and the dancer! Bring water, dance shoes, and eat your Wheaties!

Props

Just Winging It (2 hours)

Do you have a set of Isis Wings but have no idea how to incorporate them into your dancing? No problem! In this workshop we'll work on both traditional and non-traditional ideas to spice up your routines for Isis wings. We'll also nail down those tricky barrel turns and learn how to spin different ways to vary your performance. Bring a veil and 2 wooden dowels if you do not have a set of wings.

Elegant Veilwork (2 hours)

Dancing with a veil is an American Belly Dance staple. We’ll practice vintage wrapping and entrances, spins and turns, elegant body lines and transitions, and more. We’ll demystify beautiful barrel turns too!

Cane & Tahtib (2 hours)

Dancing with a cane (assaya) or stick (tahtib) originated in Upper Egypt in an area known as the Said. Men used tahtib as weapons and eventually evolved into a stylized martial arts-like dance. The rhythm (known as Saidi) and movements include footwork and skillful use of the cane. These movements were framed as a folkloric dance in the early 1900’s on stages for tourists in Egypt and soon after Belly Dancers began fusing the style into their routines.

 Musicality

Improvisation “Technique” (2 hours)

Many dancers fear improvisation. Let’s face it, letting go is hard! However, improvisation plays a historical role in this dance in nightclubs, parties, and in its original folkloric form. In this workshop we’ll break down dynamics used in improvisation to help you “take the plunge”, as well as learning drills to help you let go and improvise! Handouts included. (Suitable for: all levels)

Beauty and the Beat (2-4 hours)

Make your dance shine by aligning travelling steps, floor patterns, body lines, and arms to the various rhythms of the Middle East. As dancers, we must let the music come in our ears and out our bodies. We are most happy when we are connected to the music. It is common for dancers to find themselves dancing over the music in response to their personal fear of being boring or feeling like they are not “doing enough.” What happens is that we end up overloading performances with technique to compensate. This leaves us feeling unfulfilled or unhappy with our pieces. This class will help simplify and ground your dancing to common Egyptian/North African and Middle Eastern Rhythms Belly Dancers often dance to. We’ll add body lines, arm paths, hand exercises, and put it all together (even while breathing and smiling too!)

 BelediMusic & Progressions (2 hours)

 The Egyptian word meaning “country” or “home” has become a dance style in itself. Known for its juicy, earthy, and less westernized staged performance style, a dancer’s personality can shine. We’ll cover the family of rhythms (Beladi, also known as Masmoudi) and variations and characteristics of what makes this style Egyptian by studying the culture from where it is derived. (Difficulty Level: Intermediate/Advanced)

 Finding Rhythms and Dancing to Live Music with Special Guest Drummer (2-4 hours)

Come dance to live drumming and really hear and dance to the common rhythms used by belly dancers in performances. You’ll learn what to expect when dancing with a drummer, how to successfully enter and exit the stage, and other fun drills build your dance skills!

History & Folklore

Dancing Through the Eras (2-4 hours)

Have you ever noticed differences in dancers among generations? Egyptian and American Belly Dance stylizations have morphed due to a variety of reasons including pop culture, music, and societal changes. In this class we'll explore weight changes, body carriage, and popular moves by decade starting with the Golden Era of Egyptian Cinema through today's popularity of Shaabi and street dances.

 Folklore Soirée (2-4 hours)

Guaranteed to put a smile on your face, folkloric dances are meant for celebration and fun. In this class we’ll introduce you to various folkloric combinations including Khaleegi, Saidi, Nubian, Hagallah, Moroccan, and more. We’ll then take these steps and introduce them into combinations you can absorb into modern day routines!

 Introduction to Beledi and Shaabi Styles (2-4 hours)

Belly Dancers often spend a lot of time focusing on clean, long, lines and perfecting performances to fit the traditional mold. It can be stressful, and we can forget what it feels like to just dance like an average person. Adding the human response of just dancing for joy and earthiness can actually connect you to your audience more. Nothing compares to the feeling dancing Beladi (Country) or Shaabi (Street) styles. In this class, we’ll cover the basic concepts of what is Beledi vs. Shaabi styles, and even where they cross. We’ll play with everything from smooth rhythmic Beledi progressions to techno hip hop street music of today.

 Folkloric Ghawazee& Sagat (2 hours)

Learn about the dancers, technique, and history behind the style of dance that pre-dated what we know as modern Belly Dance today. Some Ghawazee families still perform in the Middle East today, with roots dating back into the 18thcenturies! Dancers will also work on sagat (finger cymbal or zill) playing skills.

Folkloric HagallahDance (2 hours)

Hagallah is one of the least known folkloric dances from Western Egypt. A celebratory dance with Bedouin roots, the dancing is characterized by clapping, swaying hips, and smiles!

Folkloric Saidi/Cane (2-4 hours)

Dancing with a cane (assaya) or stick (tahtib) originated in Upper Egypt in an area known as the Said. Men used tahtib as weapons and eventually evolved into a stylized martial arts-like dance. The rhythm (known as Saidi) and movements include footwork and skillful use of the cane. These movements were framed as a folkloric dance in the early 1900’s on stages for tourists in Egypt and soon after Belly Dancers began fusing the style into their routines.

 The Business of Dance

Teaching Middle Eastern Dance (2-4 hours)

Amity has taught classes consecutively since 2007. Learn from a decade’s worth of her trials, tribulations, and successes on how to teach classes. We’ll cover class structure, how to create lesson plans, how to teach for different learning styles, dealing with difficult situations and dynamics, how to market your classes, student recitals, basic business information, and more.

Hosting Dance Workshops and Events 101 (2 hours)

We’ll cover all of the basics and need to know information to help you become a professional, organized, and successful event organizer. Participants will receive a book and spreadsheets to help with their events.

Full Day/Weekend/Semester Intensives

Dedicated Dancer: 10-12 Hours

This intensive is perfect for dancers who cannot make regular classes, do not have a readily accessible instructor, or want to expand by studying with other dancers. This course is for dancers who want to continue growth not only on technique, but building on other soft skills such as history, musicality, styles, dance dynamics, etc.

 

Items covered include:

  • Understanding weight changes and movement quality

  • Personal goal setting

  • Belly dance knowledge quiz

  • Technique tune-up and evaluation part 2

  • Introduction to Middle Eastern rhythms and musicality

  • Improvisational skills and dance dynamics

  • History of Middle Eastern Dance

  • Differences between the various styles of Belly Dance

  • Props: finger cymbals

  • The art of propping (Using props such as veil, sword, & cane)

  • Use of body lines and emotional connection

  • Understanding your learning style and application in dance

  • The Western “traditional” five and seven part dance routine components

  • Wild card combos and jeopardy (with prizes!)

  • Folkloric medley (an introduction to folkloric styles commonly used by Belly Dancers)

Performance Intensive: 10-12 hours, includes a workbook for participants

The performance intensive introduces dancers to tools and performance technique which is totally different than dance technique. Some of the items covered include:

  • Selecting music & style

  • Musicality-understanding Middle Eastern music structure

  • Creating choreography

  • Creating character/stage presence

  • Stage dynamics

  • Dance dynamics to spice up your performance

  • Improvisation techniques

  • Choosing costuming

Level I: Introduction to Performance Technique

Level I is perfect for dancers who have never completed a solo, trying a new Belly Dance style, or desire a personal coach and support of fellow committed dancers to help them get to the next level in their dance goals.

Here’s a snippet of what you’ll leave with:

  • How to select music and Belly Dance style specifically for you

  • An introduction to basic Middle Eastern music structure and musicality to help you dive into your piece and get that authentic feel.

  • Tips and helpful “tried and true” techniques on how to create choreography for yourself (without having a complete meltdown).

  • How to create a character or develop your personal stage presence

  • Staging dynamics to make your piece pop and yet not overwhelm your audience

  • Dance dynamics to spice up your performances without having overwhelming your piece with the “kitchen sink”

  • Improvisation techniques to allow you to not have to rely on choreography

  • Choosing costuming for your piece, body type, and style

Level II: A Deeper Dive into your Personal Performance Style

Based on requests from Level I graduates, we’ve added a Level II! Once you’ve gotten your feet wet in performing in our Level I course, we’ll dive deeper into your individual dance technique and style by applying a more hands-on application in Level II. Within your personal solos and individual lessons, Amity will assign more challenging personal goals and technique to help you grow as a dancer.

  • Group drills to enhance your growth as a performer in a safe, non-competitive environment

  • How to create goals for performances to grow as a dancer

  • A deeper look at Middle Eastern musicality, feeling, and structure  

  • Understanding sub-styles within each style of dance

  • A deeper dive into improvisation “on the fly”

  • How to connect emotion and power to your dance through movement variation and technique

History of Belly Dance (Lecture, 10 to 12 hours)

This intensive is part sit down, part presentation, and part dancing. Over the course of seven months, you’ll be introduced to Middle Eastern history, music, and culture through four, three-hour long group meetings and sharing of information via a private Facebook group. Amity Alize will share her personal research on the dancers of the past, their history, and how their contributions shaped the dance we know today. By the end of the intensive, you will have a timeline of dance among the various countries including Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon, and America. Dancers will be required to post homework online and attend four, three-hour long classes. Dancers are encouraged to pick a style, dancer, or era to research and present findings as part of an informal performance/presentation with the Folkloric Dance Intensive participants at the end of the course.

Folkloric Dance Crash Course (Lecture and Technique 4 to 12 hours)

In this intensive, we’ll cover some common (and not so common) Folkloric Dance styles many Belly Dancers incorporate into their sets. Dancers will be taught the history as well as the technique on dances from Upper Egypt (Assaya and Tahtib), Gulf (Khaleegy), Libya & Egypt (Hagallah), Lebanon (Debke), and more! Dancers will be required to post homework online via a private Facebook Group and attend four, three-hour long classes. Dancers are encouraged to select a folkloric dance to perform as part of an informal performance/presentation with the History of Belly Dance Intensive participants at the end of the course.

Choreography Workshops

Choreography classes and workshops are available in a variety of styles. Below are a couple of samples:

Fan Veil Fusion

Learn soulful, somber, and deep, fusion choreography to Apocalyptica’s cover of “Nothing Else Matters”. Full of spins, turns, and theatrical stage presence, this piece is for those who want to explore a totally different feel onstage. (Difficulty Level: Intermediate/Advanced)

Classic Egyptian Oriental

An elegant, yet challenging choreography with full traveling steps and balletic arms, all while keeping a smile and humming along with a classical, moody, Egyptian orchestrated piece. (Difficulty Level: Intermediate/Advanced)

 

Egyptian Mergence/Entrance

Learn a fast-paced, dynamic piece to the classic entrance song, “Set El Hosen.” Eat your Wheaties! (Difficulty Level: Advanced)

Khaleegi

Draped in a beautiful thobe, you’ll enjoy the contagious rhythms of the Gulf! (Difficulty Level: Advanced Beginner/Intermediate)

Folkloric Saidi/Cane

 Dancing with a cane (assaya) or stick (tahtib) originated in Upper Egypt in an area known as the Said. Men used tahtib as weapons and eventually evolved into a stylized martial arts-like dance. The rhythm (known as Saidi) and movements include footwork and skillful use of the cane. These movements were framed as a folkloric dance in the early 1900’s on stages for tourists in Egypt, and soon after Belly Dancers began fusing the style into their routines. In this class, we’ll work on a sassy and strong cane piece! 

Egyptian Street Shaabi

 Shaabi simply means, “street,” or “of the people”. Although Shaabi dancing has been around for decades, the more modern style of Egyptian dance post revolution has taken on more of a techno, hip hop feel, also referred to as Mahragnat or Mahraghan. Eat your Wheaties and prepared to bust out your inner tough street persona! 

Sound of Silence Modern Fusion

 A fusion piece to Disturbed’scover of “Sound of Silence”, by Simon and Garfunkel. With the goal of taking the audience on a theatrical, layered, meditative journey, this piece is full of emotional ranges, spinning, balancing, and floor work. This piece is for those who want to explore a totally different feel onstage. Dancers must be willing to work up to spinning for 1 minute.  

Drum Solo Choreography

 Drum solos are one of the most difficult and technical portions of a typical Belly Dance routine. They signify a strong commitment to the drummer as they go through changes of rhythms, accents, tone, and strength. This class will cover must know rhythms for dancers, drum solo technique, sass, and endurance!  

Classic American Veil Choreography

 A necessary prop for all Belly Dancers, learn about the history and basics of veil work, including use in the American Traditional 5-Part Routine and modern twists!

Sword “Immortal Egypt”

Dancing with a sword and its history is as varied as the folklore of where Belly Dance originated. Although rarely done in the Middle East, dancing with a sword can be seen in many individual and group pieces in Tribal Style, Tribal Fusion, and Vintage Orientale (American Cabaret) styles of Belly Dance.

 

Information for Event Organizers & Workshop Hosts

Rates: $140 per hour, or event split of 70/30%. Host covers travel and accommodation costs. Amity Alize is insured and will provide a w-9 and contract upon request.

Short Bio:

Amity Alize has studied Middle Eastern Folkloric and Oriental Dance since 2001. Focusing on tying the folkloric and modern styles together through her own research, she travels internationally studying dance ongoing basis. She is the founder of Raq-On Dance Studio, Director of the Annual Shimmyathon Festival in the Northeast, and manages her Student Troupe, the Raq-ettes. Her dance studio, Raq-On Dance, has won multiple arts and educational awards for programming in the Northeast. She has written three ebooks for dancers on the business side for dancers and entertainers. Amity Alize has performed internationally and recently taught and performed at Camp Negum in Cairo, Egypt. She performs at weddings, celebrations, in theatre shows, and with Middle Eastern Bands. FMI Visit raq-on.net 

Long Bio:

Amity means "friend" in Latin, "truth" in Hebrew, and "peace" in most Middle Eastern and European languages. Alize means joyful. 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. Raq-On Dance Studio has won multiple arts and educational awards for programming in the Northeast. Preferred to be called a mentor, she encourages her students to study with various teachers and various styles in order to find their "own 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 have 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.

 

High-resolution photos and media kit download: Click here to download a zip file of all of the information included on this page

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/AmityO

References and CV available upon request.

Contact Information

Email: raqondance@gmail.com

Telephone: (603) 304-8676

Mailing Address:

Raq-On Dance

58 Bridge Street Suite 5

White River Junction, VT 05001