WAMED Festival Teachers
Kaouther Ben Amor
2023 Guest Artist
WAMED is delighted to introduce to you – Kaouther Ben Amor from Paris!
Literally a stone’s throw from the Moulin Rouge in Mont Martre Paris, there lies a studio called the Academic des Arts Choreographiques, Kaouther’s home base.
Tunisian born, Kaouther grew up in Paris and started her career with Mayodi’s Ballet el Noujoum with whom she worked for many years before deciding to become a solo artist. Aiming at perfecting her style
she studied with some of the Egyptian masters, such as Yousry Sharif, Raqia Hassan, Dina, Randa Kamel and many others. She has performed and taught all over the world from Europe, the US, Japan and the Middle
East. Kaouther’s name and reputation grew and she became a regular teacher at the Ahlan we Sahlan festival in Cairo.
Kaouther is particularly known for the theatrical dimension she gives to her expressive interpretations and original choreographies. She created dances for Rachid Bouchared’s film Outside the Law from the Cannes
Film Festival 2010 and for the Tunisian Director Elyes Baccar in the movie Tunis By Night.
We are delighted to host Kaouther as our guest artist for the 2023 festival!
Alison Turner (NSW)
Isolations and Intentional Foundations
Alison has been studying and performing Raqs Sharqi for 17 years. She started her bellydance journey in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her years of experience dancing in California continues to influence her style as a dancer. Alison has experience dancing in many different venues such as restaurants, cafes, festivals, and competitions. Alison won 2nd place in the semi-pro category at the Jewel of the Sierra competition in 2011 and 3rd place in 2012. She currently lives in Sydney and dances whenever the opportunity arises. Alison has also been working in the field of mental health as a Psychotherapist for 17 years and is planning to do more teaching combining both her background as a bellydancer and as a therapist to teach in a way that enhances body image, confidence, self expression and self development.
Alma Sarhan (WA)
Strike a Pose
Alma Sarhan’s photography needs no introduction as she is one of the top dance bellydance photographers in the country. Her work was a regular feature in Bellydance Oasis Magazine and she has photographed the WAMED concerts for many years. Alma has also been a bellydance performer and teacher for 30 years and was a finalist in the Fremantle International Portrait Prize in 2017 with one of her dance photographs. Her work featured in The Art of Bellydance exhibition as part of WAMED Festival 2019.
She is a Fremantle-based artist and advertising art director. She specialises in photographing dancers (in particular belly dancers), musicians and cats.
Alma is a graduate of the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, Ireland
Amanda Pooley-Brand (VIC)
Let's Get Twisted
Amanda is a self professed dance nerd from Melbourne who runs APB Dance. She is involved in supporting dancers at all levels with her community and fundraising events including being the ShimmyMob Melbourne team leader for the past 4 years.
She is also a dance student herself having recently completed her Intermediate level dancer certification with the Salimpour School and is currently working on her Teaching and Advanced dancer certificates.
Aside from dance, Amanda is an avid learner, taking classes on several other dance formats and in Arabic language and history.
Enter the Voi
Andriya started her bellydance tutelage under Perth’s own Shaheena almost 20 years ago, and had been a key member of the Mystique Dance Company until its recent hiatus. She is a founding member of, and a choreographer for, the Iridescence Belly Dance Collective. Andriya is a consummate costume maker and engaging performer, ready to tackle any challenge with a smile. Having dabbled in a wide range of belly dance styles, she is most drawn to the earthy Egyptian and prop-driven theatrical styles. She has experienced a number of forms of 'poi' props in recent years, the elegance, flow and visual impact of the Voi has captured Andriya's attention and driven her to develop choreographies using their beauty to frame Middle-Eastern Dance on stage.
Aradia is a passionately intense performer and dedicated teacher with a thirst for challenging the body/mind and breaking boundaries. An unconventional dancer, teacher and performer, she is always challenging the understanding of movement.
After studying biomechanics, dance, choreography, group fitness and a career spanning over 40 years of dance of many styles from ballet, tap, ballroom, jazz, hip hop to contemporary, lyrical and must more, Aradia has integrated her learnings and musings into her own style ~ Industrial Bellydance.
Grateful to have studied under Rachel Brice, Zoe Jakes, Amera, Jrisi, Suhaila, Paiivi, Amy Sigil, Sadie, Jillina and Aziza Raks - Aradia has a well-rounded approach and understanding of all realms of bellydance from traditional to fusion. Seen on So You Think You Can Dance and Australia's Got Talent, there is nowhere Aradia won't venture!
Part cyborg, part goddess, part lover, part Mother - Aradia strives to leave her audience as well as her students curious, spellbound and amazed at their own movement in dance.
Telling your story through dance
Becky has journeyed with Global Caravan Tribal Bellydance for over 20 years. Certified Level 1 Principal Teacher. Level 5 Teacher Training and Level 7 Collective Soul. Pre-COVID, training annually in the USA to train with Paulette Rees-Denis creator, founder of this style. She combines this with over 30 years in counselling and group facilitation therapeutics.
Becky believes dance and movement provide a space, capacity and a vehicle through which we can connect to who we are and what we are becoming. Create opportunities to be empowered, vulnerable, creative, to accept and appreciate who we are as individuals and when we come together. It fosters community building, bringing people together from diverse lived experiences. It is a source of joy, play, growth, learning, self discovery, inspiration and love.
Musicality for bellydance
From a young age, dance and music have been woven through Cat's life. She started to dance at three years of age, and over the years has dabbled with many different styles including jazz ballet, African, Samba, and more recently, tribal bellydance. She has learned instruments since primary school, with percussion mostly featuring, playing in orchestras, jazz bands, samba batucadas, African drumming groups, and bellydance circles.
Cat's understanding of the structure of dance and music provides a foundation for her improvisation, choreography, floor plans, and teaching. By integrating musicality, the dance can act as a story, taking the dancer and audience on a journey.
Clay McDonald (SA)
Ganna Tekfena - A Romantic Veil / Making Sentences, Not Words.
Director and principal of Belly Dance Amethyst, Adelaide, Claire/Clay has taught for over a decade. Gifted choreographer, working both lyrically and structurally, but always the emphasis is to respond to how the music feels. Able to adapt choreography, technique and instructions to suit her students, be they children, youth, beginners, advanced, older adults or injured. Encouraging all to dance.
Veil has always been a favourite prop, indeed any version of silk! Loving the way it responds to the dancer's movement and flows, sometimes like water, sometimes like fire...
After my first Bellydance class in Kununurra many, many years ago, I was hooked. When I arrived back in Perth I danced with a few teachers until I found my home with Shaheena and the Mystique Troupe at Bellydance Central. Life saw me back in Kununurra for a few more years, where I danced with Monsoon Nights. These days I have been back in Perth since 2015 where I danced again with Mystique Troupe but with Shaheena’s daughter Nikki at the helm, and more recently in Princess Fee’s Sayyida Troupe. I am also a regular attendee and performer at the annual Western Australian Middle Eastern Dance Festival (WAMED).
I like to combine my love of dance with my love of travel, having been to Egypt seven times and Turkey three times. During these trips I have immersed myself in music and dance.
Emily’s journey into the world of Arabic Dance began when she was 15, it was on a rug, under the stars Int he middle of a desert in Dubai that she saw her first Bellydance performance and has not looked back since! Fast forward 16 years and Emily is now an established and sought after professional Bellydance Performer and Teacher, who owns her own school of Arabic dance and performs regularly at events across Perth. With a background working in the fitness industry as a personal trainer for the past 10+ years, technique and safe dance practices are of utmost importance to Emily, as well as a dance experience filled with many shimmies, giggles and sparkles!
Finding flow in the movement, the music and the moment
Kiri is known as an enthusiastic and passionate dancer with a good knowledge of body mechanics.
Watching her students self confidence and creative expression develop and grow, keeps her constantly inspired. She prides herself on providing a supportive, safe dance environment for connection and community.
As an adult learner of the cello, her interest in the science of flow was aroused. Both teaching and performing dance for over 20 years, she is capable of entering a 'flow state' while dancing. To her disappointment, this skill was not transferable to her music, so she started to delve into the science of flow and this workshop has developed from that curiosity and new skills learnt."
Marta is an award-winning, professional fusion and oriental bellydancer and brand strategist specialising in the health and wellness industry. She secures lucrative back-to-back weekend gigs with massive corporate clients, restaurants, and private occasions in river-view penthouses. Marta continuously produces sold-out classes and workshops Australia-wide. Marta is known for her swords, hypnotizing layering and cheeky personality. Previously based in Perth, WA, Marta is now based in Brisbane, QLD and celebrating her 20th year in bellydance.
Michael Edelby (WA)
Live Music Workshop
Michael is an Oud player.
Michael was born and raised in Beirut Lebanon where he developed his passion for music and all things alike. His passion started when he was 11 years old in Scouts first learning the Trombone. At age 13 Michael discovered his love for the Oud and he studied at Conservatoire of Music in Beirut and then further continued his studies in music and graduated with a Diploma at Beirut School of Fine Art in 2007. Michael also has a Bachelor Degree in Business/Accounting. Michael has performed with many well-known Lebanese Singers and even had the great honour of performing for the Lebanese Army where they awarded him with an Army Appreciation Award. Michael moved to Perth in 2014 and has already had the pleasure of performing with several Ensembles that play around perth introducing them to the beauty of Middle Eastern music in playing his Oud.
Expressive arms and gestures
Michelle loves all forms of dancing and has been bellydancing for over 15 years. She has travelled to Egypt, Turkey, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan and has trained with a variety of master teachers in order to expand and develop her knowledge and technique. Michelle particularly enjoys exploring the unique regional styles of the Silk Road from the Middle East into Central Asia and beyond. Michelle regularly teaches Bellydance, Bollywood and Persian dance. Michelle is a polished performer with an infectious energy who has been placed in competitions both nationally and in Asia. Michelle is a regular performer in Perth and founder of the popular Bollywood Dhamaka! performance troupe known for high energy entertainment.
Prue Schafferius - The Dance Safe Project
Managing Back Pain with The Dance Safe Project
Dance had been a prominent part of Prue's entire life. She is passionate not only about performing and sharing dance with others, but also in the areas of anatomy and Pilates. Prue uses her qualifications and experience in both Dance Teaching and Pilates Movement Therapy, to teach others about safe dance practices through her business The Dance Safe Project. Prue enjoys working with dancers from all over the world, assisting them in pain and injury management, as well as personalised warm up and cool down programs!
Rachel Bond (NSW)
From Guts To Glory / Teaching Beginners
Sydney-based dancer Rachel is the founder of Inspire Bellydance, and an experienced teacher and performer. She is passionate about sharing the joy of Oriental dance with audiences and students alike. Learning, teaching and performing throughout her adult life have shaped who she is: helping her get out of her brain and into her body. She wants to help you do the same. Rachel believes good technique is not an end in itself; it's there to give us tools to serve in our personal expression. Her students know that Rachel isn't afraid to be a total nerd about these topics if it'll help them find more connection and joy in their dance.
Rachel quit her day job in 2008 and hasn't looked back. Realising that dance was the thing that had brought her most joy, she decided to share that joy by teaching. Thus Inspire Bellydance was born. 15 years and thousands of lessons on, it has grown into Sydney's largest Oriental dance school, but it's no McDonalds: quality and integrity are its key values. Though Rachel is no longer officially a scientist, that analytical streak is hard-wired into her. She strives to keep improving in her quest, of inspiring people to cultivate joy, health, culture, community and creative expression through dance.
Bad Ass Combos
Regan is the Director of Belly Dance Arabesque Dance and Yoga Studio and Director of the Divine Elements Belly Dance Company in Adelaide. Her passion for dance has taken her to teach, train and perform all over Australia, New Zealand, the USA and France. Her depth of skill is diverse with influences from traditional styles of Belly Dance and Turkish Romani to Tribal Style Improvisation and World Fusion. She is also a certified Yoga Teacher and Yoga Therapist. Along with teaching and performing she has produced many shows including sell out Adelaide Fringe shows and was invited to perform a 14-show season with her company at the Festival Le Off in Avignon France in 2011. Regan is a dedicated teacher and passionate artist always striving to learn more and share more.
Live music workshop
Rose, is regarded as one of Australia's most sought after performers and instructors, whose technique and innovative choreography have garnered international regard. A disciplined professional, she has extensive experience in performing and entertaining audiences from restaurants to gala openings and large theatrical settings both in Australia and overseas. Rose is the pinnacle of passion, technique and powerful creative expression, She combines grace and elegance with an intensity that grabs you and doesn’t let you go till the end of the dance!
Valerie Curtis (NSW)
Divine Chaos Tribal Skirt Format