Traditional & Fusion Bellydance Artistry

(Listed in alphabetical order by title, all content protected by copyright, 2005-2015)

A Gothic Trilogy

Discover the diversity and depth of expression found within the realm of Dark Fusion Bellydance with a

trio of darkly fabulous presentations! The Gothic subculture is quite expansive, and depending on which branch you chose, it will heavily affect not only your music and costuming, but also movement application and character portrayal.  We will work with Romantic/Classic Goth, Industrial/Cyber Goth, and Neo-Victorian/Steampunk for our inspirations through concise combinations that accentuate both movement and attitude. We will also discuss aids for creating coherent choreography and inspiring improv. Please bring a veil!


Adventures In Steampunk!

Steampunk is considered by many to be a subdivision of the Gothic Culture, or its crazy next-door neighbor – regardless, it’s an exciting and inspiring genre, blending Neo-Victorian, Science Fiction, and Fantasy that offers a lot of opportunity in the realm of bellydance fusion.  But it’s not about just having the look, but also capturing the true quality and character of Steampunk in your movement and presentation.  Students will explore 3 different “personas” with original and fun combinations that resonate with the essence of Steampunk: “Airship Pirate”, “Lady Adventurer” and “Coin-Operated Girl”. In addition, students will not only learn about Steampunk music and fashion, but also be able to incorporate the material into their own style and create their own personas.


Anatomy of a Song and Dance (co-taught with musician Nathaniel Johnstone)

Are you hearing the music when you dance? Are you REALLY listening? Most importantly, when you dance, does the audience see the music through you? A key task of a dancer is to be a visual representation and interpretation of the music they are performing to. To achieve this, you need to be able to recognize the layers present in your music, and choose what to work with and how to translate it into movement. We will work with original music by Nathaniel Johnstone, take it apart layer by layer, address the musicality of each part, how it translates into movement on stage, and then put it back together into a solid dance. This workshop will aid you in learning to listen more effectively, identify instrumentation, and make more fabulous choices about what to use as a foundation and what to accent in any piece of music you wish to dance to.


Applying Artistry: From Concept to Performance (co-taught with musician Nathaniel Johnstone) - When we consider the dance as art, we open ourselves up to being able to say more through our movement, deepen our sense of expression, and make a conscious effort to connect more fully and profoundly with our audience. Art is not an abstract concept to be used to cover a mishmash of thoughts - but rather it's a precise application of multiple techniques, orchestrated together with thought and purpose. In this workshop, dancers will learn to more effectively incorporate artistry into their dance, give better evaluation & critique, and push their own boundaries and style, within the realm of bellydance. Students will be especially challenged to build their creative thinking processes, apply them directly to their dance, and exercise new critique skills in class.


Bellydance Decopunk: Where Gutter & Glitter Collide

Continuing in Tempest's signature "Nouveau Noir" style of bellydance fusion, this workshop focuses on movements, arm positions, and combinations that blend the elegance and grace of Art Deco, sassy earthy elements of North African, Romany (Gypsy), and Turkish dances, with an unapologetic punk attitude. A modern mix of classy meets trashy, this workshop will add all new fabulous moves to your dance, as well as strengthen the connection between emotion, persona, and movement. Be prepared to have fun!


Between the Veils

Discover the darker side of veilwork, from dramatic entrances, intricate and intimate veilplay, to exiting with a flourish that will leave 'em wanting more. Learn to truly dance with your veil and tame its inner cat, see it as a partner and not a prop. We'll cover proper veil technique, fusion movements and accents, pros and cons of materials and presentations, and making effective use of your veil. Be sure to bring at least one three yard veil-rectangular or circular - can be silk, chiffon, or other light, flowing material. All levels welcome.


Body of Dance

Are you dancing your body to its best advantage? The most successful dancers know it's not about how many moves they know, but how to select moves that flatter their bodies. This workshop intensive is designed to help you use what you have to the best of your body - to create more effective and powerful dance using your existing vocabulary (as well as some new combinations and accents) for understanding YOUR body lines for the most flattering look and finish. This workshop is for ALL body types and styles. Learn to use what nature has given you NOW (not where you hope to be), and RAK it!

Breaking The Mold - How to Counteract Clone Culture (new for 2016)

What does it take to develop unique personal style in your dancing? Where's the line between imitation and inspiration? In this workshop, through combined lecture and hips-on technique, we'll look at what fosters positive growth, helps develop individuality and distinct creativity, and what to avoid in both teaching and learning to avoid cloning.


Dancing Darkly: THE Introduction to the Art of Gothic Bellydance

Gothic Belly Dance is the union of Middle Eastern Dance with the aesthetic, sound, and emotion of the Gothic subculture. More than just a look or a sojourn into alternative music, discover the theatrical elegance and drama that truly gives "Raks Gothique" its soul essence, from Tempest - creator of the Gothic Belly Dance Resource (www.gothicbellydance.com). We'll discuss and illustrate the concepts that create the necessary foundation for this dance, and focus on key technical elements for performance, including movement, attitude, aesthetic, and presentation. All levels welcome.


Dancing Heartbeat of Light & Shadow

This workshop focuses on a balance between "light" and "dark" concepts - particularly sacred vs. daily movement, invigorating vs. calming - rooted in Arabic/folkloric dances from North Africa (Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, etc) and the Mediterranean. In this workshop, you will not only deepen your understanding of the folkloric dances we will explore - especially their key movements and music, but you will also take home with you practices and exercises that will energize and renew your dance! Suitable for all levels and styles of dancers. Please bring a 3 yard rectangular veil and water.


Dancing on the Right Side of the Brain

Artists, writers, and other creative folk are said to be “right-brained” –they think in pictures, images, and random patterns. Engineers, accountants, and other number/fact people are said to be “left-brained”—meaning they think more mathematically, linearly, orderly.  Learn to unleash your creative side and truly be "in the moment" with your dancing. Often, a dancer can get too focused on a choreography, counting of steps, beats, and therefore become “left-brained” in their dancing –meaning they’re being technical, and not dancing creatively, spontaneously, from the heart!  In this unusual workshop, we’re going to do some mental and physical exercises that will help you engage your right brain in your dancing!


Genderblending in Bellydance: Balancing Masculine & Feminine

Throughout North Africa, the Middle & Far East & the Mediterranean, you will find dances done by both men and women where they impersonate the opposite sex, retelling treasured stories, playing with courtship rituals, working with the spirits, and just having a lot of fun - part of these cultures for centuries. Fast forward to the many issues facing modern society as we continue to sort out and break away from traditional gender roles, explore diverse sexual orientation and their related social implications, and balance sexual power and rights. What does it mean to be a bellydancer in this day and age? Where does fusion take us? Sexuality vs. sensuality?From bold and aggressive, sassy and playful, strong and iconic, to delicate and sensual - how do these movements translate energy and change perception? In this unique workshop, we will explore folkloric and fusion dances, movements, and gestures that push boundaries and see how these can generate different energies in how we dance and who we present ourselves.


Infusing Dance With Ritual

This offering is about adding sacred meaning and intent with dance movement-- geared to dancers as well as for Pagans looking to invigorate their workspace, there are two options:

 -For Pagans: Movement in Ritual: Ritual is a dynamic union of self and spirit, above and below—so why should it be static? Learn to incorporate movement into your ritual with focused intention and discover a much more powerful experience.  We’ll look at the parts of various rituals from start to end, and how different sacred movements (gestures and dance steps) can be applied –for groups, covens, as well as solitary practitioners.

 -For Dancers: Creating Sacred Space With Your Dance: Using ritual concepts from mystical spiritual traditions from both the East and West, we’ll examine how the structure of a ritual can create a deeper sense of meaning and purpose in your performance.  We'll also look at how every moment can be used to add meaning and direct energy to your work. A basic understanding of Pagan spirituality is helpful, but not required (however, an open mind and creativity is!).


Journey to the Underworld

When is the last time you broke down your own facades and explored the truth of what lays bare underneath? Are you brave enough to look and become stronger as a dancer for it? Being a part of the bellydance community for any length of time affects us in so many ways, many below the surface that can influence how we look and feel about ourselves and others.  In this dynamic and unusual workshop, we will explore through exercises and movement combinations the mythic concept of the Descent and Encounter in Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Indian cultures.  This is a safe and supportive opportunity to challenge yourself mentally and physically, while discovering who you are or wish to be as a dancer.  Warning: This is not a “woo-woo” or “new-agey” class, but it will ask you to push your boundaries.


Mesmerize! Exquisite Arms & Captivating Hands

In this workshop, we will unlock Tempest's secrets to having truly beautiful arms and expressive hands. Having amazing arms and hands is one of those vital elements to looking truly polished and professional. We will cover drills and exercises that will enable you to gain the most potential out of your arms, from shoulders to fingertips. We will also explore the variety of expression that can be found within the realm of bellydance: the "relaxed" feeling of folkloric arms, the strength and fluidity of tribal arms, the elegance and sensuality of oriental arms, as well as incorporating dramatic fusion elements. Find out what works best with your body type, style, and personality so that you too will possess arms and hands to frame and empower your dance!


Musicality & ‘Motion (co-taught with musician Nathaniel Johnstone)

Essentially, the dancer is the music made manifest. When a dancer’s movements truly evoke visually for the audience the sound and feel of the music, something amazing has been achieved.  In this workshop we will open our ears in order to see the music, identify it, translate it to our bodies, and apply emotional content effectively.  We will make the connection beyond emoting and movement technique, where the expression is genuine and real for the audience.  For all styles of bellydancers.


Nouveau Noir Dance

Haunting audiences around the globe, Tempest’s area of specialty within the realm of Dark Fusion

Bellydance is “Nouveau Noir” – dances that reflect the art and society of the early 1900’s, pulling inspiration from silent film and film noir, flappers, vaudeville, Denishawn (Ruth St. Denis), Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and the Orientalist craze. Students will learn sassy combinations that capture the elegant form, fluid movement, and dramatic stylings of these eras, while being taught in a format that will enable them to absorb them into their own personal repertoire.


Shimmies - Sassy to Sizzling!

There's more to bellydance than a 3/4 Shimmy. Utilizing North African, Egyptian, and Turkish techniques, we'll cover a diverse array of shimmies for both the upper and lower body. From stationary to traveling, subtle to powerful, we'll focus on drills and exercises to provide you with a solid, sustainable shimmy that's a show-stopper in all the right ways! Freezes, vibrations, syncopated, layered, and traveling - from earthy and sensual to sassy and fast! We'll also cover how to incorporate shimmies into your performance, when, where, and why!


Slower Than A Turtle In Molasses

Ever notice that time moves at a different (and faster) pace on stage, than when you're practicing at home?

Learn how to be a Time Lord on stage: finishing your movements, drawing in the audience, and be in control of what happens on stage.  In addition to stagecraft, we'll focus on how to make movements slower, smaller, slinkier, yet more powerful!

So You Want To Be A Pro...

Want to be on the path to being a professional dancer? Being a professional isn’t just about being paid to do your job, or how many hours you spend practicing in the studio.  We’ll look at the crucial business elements every dancer needs to compete and collaborate effectively and responsibly - choosing the right photos, writing the best biography, having an online presence that works, networking, community participation, ethics, rates, and much more. Students are encouraged to bring a laptop, tablet, or print out with information they'd like feedback on.


Strange Presence

It’s all about bleeding your soul out to audience, serving it to them on a platter, and then eating THEM for lunch instead.  A truly successful performance does more than show how well you can do the moves—it should really speak to your audience and exude expression. You CAN learn how to have a stronger personality on stage and channel that energy for a more dynamic performance. Discover the key aspects of capturing your audience with your stage presence and develop your own onstage drama!  We’ll particularly focus on improvisational technique, character development, and learning to be more “in the moment.”  This class is especially for any dancer who is ready to perform or is considering it.


A Teacher Workshop with Tempest (how to give more & get more out of your students)

Not only is bellydance itself an art that takes years to develop and refine, but teaching it is also an art that takes skill to really reach your students. Are you giving your students the most out of your own experience, fostering positive habits and really connecting with them? In this workshop, we will cover key concepts and exercises that will help you teach core movements and accents, stage presence, fluidity and grace with more effectiveness to a variety of students.  There will also be question/answer discussion time, focusing on professionalism and working with the community.


Tempest's Guide To Style

An excellent performance is not just dancing well, but how you present yourself, and how your look reflects your music, movements, and expression.  We’ll cover tailoring costuming to your personality and the level of dance you're at, while discovering what works best in terms of lines, color, and pattern for your figure and presentation. Learn how to integrate your favorite elements without looking like a curbside alert or a copycat. Students are encouraged to bring favorite costume pieces, and inspiration photos.


What Makes It Dark?

There are a lot of misconceptions about what Gothic Fusion means: how it can be done, how it came to be, and why is it done anyway? This leads to much confusion about what it is and how to do it successfully. It's not specific to one style of bellydance (not just tribal!), it doesn't have to involve over-the-top props (fangs, blood, daggers, gravestones, skulls, etc..), kill your eyeliner budget, nor does it even have to involve black costuming! Surprised? Come discover the true heart of Gothic Bellydance with Tempest, a major pioneer and leader of the movement for over a dozen years. We will cover a short history/background of the movement, and work with hips-on technique for movement modification, performance crafting, and key elements for making it dark on stage! Whether you're looking to capture of the essence of Dark Fusion in your own performance, or want to be able to competently explain it to your students for style identification, you will leave this workshop well-armed!




“Possessing The Dark: Spirit, Body + Mind” (a 3 day long intensive) is designed to be the most comprehensive workshop exploration of Gothic/Ritual/Dark Fusion in existence. To truly and effectively perform this fusion form of bellydance, a dancer must go beyond just looking gothic, dancing creepily to weird music, and/or being dramatic/shocking. Over the course of the intensive, dancers will be challenged in a threefold approach to deepen their understanding of dark concepts, strengthen their technique, and refine their stagecraft.  More information.


Museum Quality: Art School for Bellydancers (a 2, 3 or 4-day long intensive, co-taught with musician Nathaniel Johnstone):

Museum Quality is a unique kind of workshop intensive experience that combines visual/fine arts concepts, processes, and techniques with bellydance; training dancers to focus their development beyond just the physical, incorporating mental, visual, and emotional elements as well, and working to elevate the dance personally and professionally. This intensive is accessible to all styles of bellydance and is especially geared towards dancers who wish to advance the artistic quality of their dancing. More information.


Tempest’s Instructional Workshop Offerings

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