Spokane’s BellyFest, 2015

Belly Dan6468216cce Workshops with Lee Ali,

Belly Dance and Music Classes by Local Instructors,

Belly Dance Performances by Lots of Lovelies, &

Clothing Drive for Teen Closet

(Photo of Lee Ali)

When:  June 6-7, 2015
Where:  Focused Fitness Community Center, 2426 S. Dishman Mica Rd., Spokane Valley, WA

Workshops with Lee Ali
1970’s Greek-Style Bellydance
Saturday, June 6, 2015/ 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm ~ $40.00

-1970’s 7-Part Show
Sunday, June 7, 2015/ 10:00 am -1:00 pm ~ $50.00
   (Scroll Down for the Workshop Descriptions & Instructor Bios)

Belly Dance, Middle Eastern Music, & Yoga Classes ~ Saturday

– Yoga Rise & Shine with Kate Altaira/ 9:15 – 9:45 am 
– Intro to Bhangra with Sue Duffey / 10:00 – 10:45 am
– Stage Presence with Rebecca Liao/ 11:00 – 11:45 am
– Intro to Egyptian-Style Belly Dance with Marya Nowakowski/ 2:30 – 3:15 pm
– Creative Choreography Building with Kate Altaira/ 3:30 – 4:15 pm

– Intro to ATS with Cindy Moonbear/ 10:00-10:45 am
– Middle Eastern Rhythms with Yasmin/ 11:00 – 11:45 am
– Intro to Tribal Fusion with Paloma Skye/ 2:30 – 3:15 pm
– Intro to Flamenco Arabe with Nadiyah Vahdahty & Miguel de Alonso/ 3:30 – 4:15 pm
– Intro to Middle Eastern String Instruments with Miguel de Alonso/  4:30 – 5:15 pm
(Scroll Down for the Class Descriptions & Instructor Bios)

Hafla (Performances) / 6:00 – 9:00 pm

$10.00 or FREE with Toiletry, Socks, or Sweatshirt Donation for the Teen Closet
(There is no charge for performers, but they are most welcome to donate toiletries, socks, and sweatshirts to the Teen Closet.)  Teen Closet is an organization that helps children in foster care. To learn more about Teen Closet, visit http://teencloset.org/.

10481938_1612281795723124_3688246417820745840_n1970’s Greek Style Bellydance with Lee Ali
Greek style bellydance began during a fascinating musical era known as Rembetika. Using traditional bouzouki music we will learn the history and movements of the Greek bellydance style that was so popular in nightclubs during the 70’s. Students will also learn another important dance of the period called Zembekiko. Finger cymbals patterns will be studied as well.



1970’s 7-Part Show with Lee Ali
Students will have the opportunity to d11391549_1609170172700953_5908129439167317986_nance to a complete 7-part bellydance routine(including the Sultan Act) that was typical of 1970’s bellydance shows. The parts include: entrance, veil, transitions, slow work, drum solo, tip collection, and a finale using 9/8 Turkish rhythm. (This workshop takes place on Sunday after the hafla is done, so its content has nothing to do with what the lovelies perform in the hafla.)


Class Descriptions

Introduction to ATS® (American Tribal Style) Dance  with Cindy Moon Bear

BellyFest 2015 008In this class, participants will get introduced to the ATS® improvisational format. After a brief overview of the concepts, structure,and posture, participants will learn some of the core ATS® vocabulary and cues and be dancing ATS® before the class is over! This class is suitable for beginning dancers or any experienced dancer wanting to explore this style. It is fun, and challenging for any level.

Intro to Bhangra with Sue Duffey
In this class, participants will be introduced to concepts in Bhangra.  Bhangra is a style of music and also refers to a dance from the Punjab region of northern India.  It was originally a folk dance conducted by Punjabis in the central northern areas of the region to celebrate the harvest.  It has become a lively dance celebrated around the world that most importantly, can be fused with belly dance in an Improvisational Tribal Style.


Introduction to Egyptian-Style Belly Dance (Raks Sharki or Dance of the East) with Marya Nowakowski
Marya will teach fundamentals and share the key points that will make your dance look Egyptian. This class is suitable for the absolute beginner as well as students who want to learn more about the Essence of Egyptian style Belly Dance.

Introduction to Flamenco Arabe with Nadiyah Vahdahty & Miguel de Alonso
Nadiyah will break down soft moves found in Flamenco and Arabic dance (Belly Dance) and pair them into a few combinations.  Miguel de Alonso will provide beautiful accompaniment.  This class is suitable for those brand new to dance and for those looking to expand their dance knowledge.

Introduction to Middle Eastern String Instruments with Miguel de Alonso
IBellyFest 2015 054n this class, participants explored the following instruments:  Arabic Oud, Turkish Baglama, Greek Bouzouki, Turkish Perdesiz Guitar, Flamenco Guitar, and Arabic Violin.

While learning about these instruments, class participants touched on the following questions:


  • Why are Middle Eastern Instruments sounds “different”?
  • What elements of the construction and interpretation technique in Middle Eastern instruments are responsible for each instrument’s very characteristic sonority?
  • What are some notions about Middle Eastern system of music?
  • What are Modes, Melody, and Rhythm?
  • What is the relation between Middle Eastern String Instruments and Western ones?

Finally, the class will learn about music from East to West and back again.

Introduction to Tribal Fusion with Paloma Skye
Paloma Skye will take the base movements universal to most forms of belly dance and explore how to give it that special tribal fusion aesthetic.  Emphasis will be placed on training for “muscle eloquence,” gaining control and strength for seamless, and liquid movement.

Creative Choreography Building with Kate Altaira
Creating dance choreographies is more than simply stringing moves together!  In this workshop, class participants will explore various aspects of choreography building, will examine musical theory in context to movement, and will play with tools to develop challenging and unique phrases of choreography.  Participants should be prepared to work as a group and in pairs, and to challenge their own movement pathways and beliefs about what moves can’t – or can – be layered together.  This class will give them some simple tools to easily begin creating dances when you’re stuck, frustrated, or uninspired, as well as challenge them to push the envelope and truly dive into their dance.

Middle Eastern Rhythms & The Power of One
with Yasmin Edwards
BellyFest 2015 013One Down beat is all it takes to understand the many rhythms you can accomplish with your favorite percussion instrument. This class will help the beginner percussionist (and dancer) simplify the many complex rhythms of Middle Eastern and African rhythms. Bring your zils or drum.  (Nadiyah highly recommends  all belly dancers take this class.)


Stage Presence: Bigger than Counting Beats with Rebecca Liao
The journey to creating a stage persona is more than learning the steps to match the beats.  Students will learn the ingredients that connect one with self, music, and the audience.  Class participants will explore ways to synchronize the emotions of the music with oneself, further creating a confident dancer.


Instructor Bios

Lee Ali’s Bio
Lee Ali became a professional oriental dancer in the 1970’s, the “golden era” of live music and cabaret style belly dance in America. As a child performer, Lee learned to dance, drum, sing, play musical instruments, and to design and sew her own costumes for stage. At age 15, Lee left high school to work as a star attraction in the historic ethnic supper clubs of Philadelphia’s “Greektown”. There, Lee performed 6 nights a week, up to 4 shows a night, and always with live music. Lee learned to perform Greek, Armenian, Turkish, and Arabic styles of dance while working closely with first generation immigrant musicians and dancers, from those homelands.

At age 20, Lee opened her first dance studio in New York, where she perfected her colorful teaching style and her commitment to spreading joy and cultural awareness thru dance. Lee has lead workshops in five different countries on 3 continents, and delights in working with students of all backgrounds, from beginners to professionals, from fusionists to dance purists, Lee’s teaching speaks to everyone. Lee’s passion for preserving traditional folk dances has lead her to Morocco, Turkey, Greece and Egypt, where she enjoys “living among the people” immersing herself in native cultures, music and dance. On stage, Lee Ali is a dynamic multi-cultural shape shifter, who has delivered more than 2,000 performances internationally in theater, festivals, cabaret, and film. On Facebook, you may know her as the moderator of the popular 1970’s Bellydance Group. To learn more, please visit Lee’s website: www.lee-ali.com.

Cindy Moonbear’s Bio
Cindy_Oct_2013Cindy Moon Bear began her study of belly dance in Saudi Arabia. Many years later she discovered FatChance BellyDance (FCBD) and was immediately taken by this group’s improvisational style and costuming. After several years of training with Tribal Style originators and innovators at Tribal Fest, and Tribal Quest NW, she was able to travel to San Francisco and study personally with Carolena Nericcio, the founder/originator of American Tribal Style Bellydance (commonly known as ATS®). Cindy found her dance home with ATS® and has taught in Spokane at her studio, MALIDOMA!, for the last 10 years. She travels regularly to study with her mentor, Carolena and other FCBD instructors. Cindy has completed Teacher Training at the FCBD studio in San Francisco, and her MALIDOMA! Dance Studio is an official Sister Studio of FatChance BellyDance. She is also an 8 Elements Initiate through Rachel Brice’s 8 Elements Program. Cindy formed MALIDOMA!
World Dance in 2007, and they have been performing throughout the Inland Northwest for the last 8 years. MALIDOMA means to “make a friend of a stranger”(from the Dagara people of Burkina Faso, West Africa), and Cindy extends that wish to everyone she teaches and dances for! She can be reached at her website:www.malidoma.biz or moonraqs@malidoma.biz.

Kate Altaira’s Bio
10904174_324908474364621_763702683_nKate Altaira spent a majority of her life studying various forms of expressive movement and dance. She fuses contemporary dance forms with American Cabaret, American Tribal Style® and Tribal Fusions of belly dance, creating an earthy, bohemian, and expressive approach to the divine feminine. She is a certified yoga teacher with a strong foundation in Vinyasa Flow and a combat veteran who seeks to soon offer free yoga classes to Veterans and other sufferers of trauma-related anxiety disorders. She is one of the Co-Directors of the dance company, Picaresque, a Spokane-based fusion belly dance troupe, and is the creator, designer, and hard laborer behind Furious Fancies, a wild and artful adornment boutique. She’s a house dancer at Chan’s Red Dragon, performing in their Friday belly dance shows, and travels to perform in revues across the Inland and Pacific Northwest. Currently, she has completed Phases I and II in Rachel Brice’s 8 Elements training program, and continues to seek belly dance education from some of the best teachers across the country.

Marya Nowakowski’s Bio
001_1Marya Nowakowski has been studying Middle Eastern Dance since 1993. She has studied many different styles including American Cabaret, American Tribal Style, and California Tribal Style (Jamilia Salimpour style). Most recently, she has focused on Egyptian Style Belly Dance, Egyptian, Balkan, Turkish and Central Asian folk dances.  Marya started teaching Egyptian Style Belly Dance in 2000. She is available for workshops or private classes but does not have a regular class at this time. She also continues her own studies as a dancer by taking workshops and private classes.  Marya can be reached at lostinemn@gmail.com.

Miguel de Alonso’s Bio
MiguelMiguel de Alonso plays instrumental Latin Jazz on Guitar and Violin. He also plays Oud and other Middle Eastern instruments like the Baglama and Bouzouki. This multi-instrumentalist and composer began performing at the age of 12 playing Latin American folk instruments from most regions of the Continent. He is an Ethno-musicologist who studied music in Mexico, France, Germany, and Canada. The music he plays is characterized by extensive use of Latin percussion, lively rumba flamenco rhythms, and his own brilliant soloing techniques. In California, he plays with his “In Tempo Band” for festivals like the Festival of the Arts, the Sawdust Arts Festival, and the Orange County Fair, among others. In Oregon, he is a member of the Middle Eastern Band, Imzadi, and, as a soloist; he is a regular in events like the Bend Spring and Fall Festivals.

Nadiyah Vahdahty’s Bio
11046849_615274331905901_5328212990654015225_oNadiyah Vahdahty has been involved in music and dance, since she was 4 years old. Her training includes belly dance and dances from a variety of countries, yoga, tap, ballet, piano, saxophone, percussion, and choir. She has also earned a MBA, a Medical Assisting Certificate, and two Arbitrator’s certificates. She has taken classes and workshops with many internationally known instructors including Amina Goodyear, Carmen de Torres (Spain), Helene Eriksen, Egyptian Master Mahmoud Reda, Morocco, and Suhaila Salimpour. Her most recent studies include Hula and Tahitian with Spokane Hula. Nadiyah previously directed Troupe Shalimar; danced with the Sisters of Selket and Baharat!; contributed articles to The Belly Dancer, Gilded Serpent, Jareeda, and Zaghareet; and sponsored several instructors in events, including Aisha Ali, Alexandra King, Eva Cernik, Hala Fauzi, Kami Liddle, Margo Abdo O’Dell, Rachel Brice, Shareen el Safy, Sonia Ochoa, and Zoe Jakes.  Nadiyah currently leads the Hasna Haddiyah team at The Warehouse Athletic Facility in Spokane, WA. For more information on her, visit www.culturesdance.com/facilitator.

Paloma Skye’s Bio
PSkyePaloma Skye is based in Spokane, Washington and performs regularly throughout the Pacific Northwest. Her work ethic and endless devotion to her craft stems from a lifelong participation with the arts in the mediums of paint, writing, and costume design. After practicing in solitude for a period of time, she became courageous enough to attend her first formal classes in 2001. Her hometown teachers include Kendra Searls, Cindy Moon Bear, A’isha Azar, Arika Devi, and Nefabit Miew. She also travels frequently to expand her training and to perform. Her workshop experience include notables such as Zoe Jakes, Rachel Brice, Violet Scrap, Aubre Hill, Mira Betz, April Rose, Ashley Lopez, Colleena Shakti, Caroleena Nericcio, Sabah, Henna, DaVid of Scandinavia, Mardi Love, Yasmin Edwards, and Hiba. Paloma performs monthly at many local venues and is regularly featured with steampunk band Abney park. To learn more about her classes, visit http://www.luckyhanddance.com.

Rebecca Liao’s Bio
LiaoRebecca Liao found her love for belly dance when she saw a Youtube video of Rachel Brice at Tribal Fest in 2006. She started with Middle Eastern belly dance classes and explored tribal fusion style on her own. Soon after, Rebecca took American Tribal Style® belly dance from Katrina Ji in Seattle, and attended several workshops from Rachel Brice, Mardi Love, and Zoe Jakes. Rebecca established the Washington State University Belly Dance Club and is also the cofounder of the student troupe called Crimson Grayce. Her Master’s degree in counseling influences her approach to dance as a deeper experience of oneself. Rebecca has taught classes for the WSU Belly Dance club and at the WSU Student Recreation Center, she is also a regular performer at the university, local events, and Nomad’s Hookah Lounge. For more information about Rebecca, visit http://rebeccaliao.wix.com/bellydance.

Sue Duffey’s Bio
SSue-1ue Duffey has been studying and performing for a number of years in a variety of styles as a soloist and in many local troupes. She has studied Egyptian Style Belly Dance, American Cabaret Style, and American and Improvisational Tribal Styles, as well as a variety of folkloric styles from India and the Middle East.



Yasmin’s Bio
Yasmin Drumming on a Slow NightYasmin has been performing and teaching professionally for 36 years. She has performed in nightclubs, at street fairs, festivals, private parties and community functions.  She has dance with the MB Orchestra, Saqra’ Raqs Band, Takis Dotis Greek Band, Americanistan, David Saee, and Ay Yildiz Turkish band. You can also hear Yasmin’s castanets in the movie, “Crocodile Tears.”  She has travelled to North Africa to learn these dances and music.  The places in which she has danced, played percussion, and taught workshops are Washington, Idaho, Maine, Montana, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York states, Morocco and Mexico.  She is also featured in a book, “The Belly Dance Book” by Tazz Richards.  She is a member of the Winchester Museum and was percussionist and choreographer in the dance and drum play during the Smithsonian’s Traveling event, “Key Ingredients” at the museum.  Yasmin is also the winner of the University of Idaho’s “So You Think You Can Dance Idaho” dance competition and Fall concert held Dec. 2006.  Yasmin now holds a Middle Eastern Dance certificate.  She is also lead percussionist for three Middle Eastern bands, Hejira, Ek Balaam, and Pax Luminia.  She currently teaches at Lewis and Clark State College, in Lewiston, ID and can be reached at skeeter12@juno.com.

Check out our Facebook page for more details:  http://www.facebook.com/CulturesDance or https://www.facebook.com/events/575114549289328/


Leave a Reply

Presenting Dances from around the World, including those from Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey, and India.