Ovation: Gala featuring Kamala Almanzar

Ovation Gala

I am very excited that the Raqs Ayana Dance Collective is hosting Kamala Almanzar in Portland, OR for a day of workshops and an evening gala, Ovation! We’ve all been dreaming of producing a theater show for some time and are excited to see that dream come to reality. Besides of lovely featured instructor, we will have many Pacific Northwest artists performing flamenco, fusion, Saudi gulf dance, American Tribal style, and more. Click here to get your tickets!

Workshops

Oriental Dance Kamala Style!
11:15 – 1:15 p.m.
Kamala has been admired for her smooth moves & intricate choreographies. Her style has developed over 40 years, from a Ballet & Jazz foundation, dancing in Arabic Nightclubs with Egyptian Orchestras, to working with Farida Fahmy of the Reda Troupe & studies with Middle Eastern dance luminaries. Kamala’s main objective as a teacher is to give away everything she knows, blending old style with modern, and a few special signature moves. Click here for more information or to sign up!

Graceful Combinations
2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Add some Egyptian Elegance to your repertoire with Kamala Almanzar, combining original Reda Troupe combinations with Reda inspired modern movement. Stylish traveling steps, fluid turns and graceful arms. Beautiful for Oriental solos, stage and troupe performances. Click here for more information or to sign up!

Kamala Almanzar

Kamala has been called a “living legend”, “icon”, and “an inspiration” in the Middle Eastern dance community. Throughout her 40 year career, Kamala keeps up to date with the latest dance trends, while keeping a solid foundation in the classic styles. Kamala is known for her unique choreographies, and for coaching competition champions. She continues her education by visiting Egypt, and attending and sponsoring workshops with masters from around the world.

Kamala has worked with the tops in the field, including “Arabesque Dance Company”, directed by “Reda Troupe” principal dancer Farida Fahmy, alongside Sahra Saeeda. She was Assistant Artistic Director of “The Flowers of the Desert”, innovators of experimental styles, with a prestigious dance roster. She has performed for dignitaries and celebrities, including the Saudi royal family, First Lady Hillary Clinton, Liz Taylor, and Mikhail Baryshnikov, to name a few.

Currently Kamala’s focus is choreography for professional dance companies, and producing theater. Kamala’s productions of “Choreographers’ Collective”, “Choreographers’ Eclectic” and “Shaabi Chic”, featured luminaries Sahra Kent, Zahra Zuhair, Jillina Carlano, Mandala Dance Worlds, Tamra-henna, and Hungary’s Katalin Schaefer. Kamala produces and choreographs for the evening gala at LA’s largest festival – “Cairo ShimmyQuake”, featuring world class performers including Tito, Aziza of Cairo, Sadie, and Kami Liddle.

Kamala is on staff at Dance GardenLA, California’s most prestigious studio, and travels as a workshop teachers. She was the first teacher to be named “Teacher of the Year” in 2017 by BDUC (Bellydancer of the Universe”), and is a master instructor at “Legends of LA Bellydance”.

Find out more about Kamala on her website: https://kamaladance.com/

Check out more about the workshops and show on facebook.

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Owning it #2: Tips and what expect at my shows

Copy of Copy of spring collection (6)

Unfortunately in the U.S. the predominant image of a belly dancer is an exotic, over-sexed woman who is dancing to excite men. I assure you that this cannot be further from the truth for 99.9% of belly dancers, but you, understandably, may not know this if you haven’t been around many belly dancers or seen a lot of belly dance performances.

So, if you’ve been wondering whether it’d be awkward to take your kids or your loved one to see a belly dance show I’m here to help! Below is information about what to expect from my shows at Al-Amir in Portland, OR.

If you’re wanting to attend another show, I’d suggest contacting the individual belly dancer at that particular venue and ask him or her to share details about what you can expect from their show. Many dancers have their information online with details about what to expect from their shows, so even contacting them directly may not be necessary.

Each belly dancer runs his/her show a little differently, so, again, I’m going to share with you what to expect if you come to my regular show at Al-Amir:

1. I perform a roughly 20 minute set of upbeat modern music, mostly Egyptian and Lebanese. I usually perform with a veil at the beginning. Sometimes I play sagat (little finger cymbals), but sometimes I don’t. It honestly depends on the song, the atmosphere, etc. I like to keep things fresh and change it up! 

2. I encourage audience members to get up and dance with me throughout the show, particularly women and children. Don’t worry if you feel uncertain about what to do. I will also show you basic movements, or I’ll just encourage you to dance however makes you feel most comfortable. This isn’t a “let’s embarrass the audience” type of moment, but intended to be a moment of friendly joy and celebration. I will NEVER force you to dance with me and will always respect your desire not to dance if that is your preference.

3. It’s typically acceptable, and even encouraged, to tip belly dancers. However, each belly dancer does this differently, so I encourage you always to ask about what each dancer prefers. I do accept tips when performing at Al-Amir, but unlike most dancers I prefer not to accept them in my costume. There is nothing wrong with this practice, but I have found it misleads my audience so decided to not do it anymore. You may hand any tip to me or give it to the wait staff. I occasionally have envelopes available for bigger parties with instructions on how to tip printed on the envelope itself.

4. I am not dancing to flirt with or otherwise offer any sort of titillation for you, your significant other, friend, etc. Inappropriate behavior is completely off limits and not tolerated by me in any way; my shows have been and always will be a family friendly event. If you have something else in mind I suggest you look elsewhere.

I encourage you to educate yourself and learn more about the history of belly dance in the US and in general. To start, I recommend articles and research by Shira, Morocco, Sahra Saeeda, and articles published in Habibi magazine. If you’re more of a podcast person, check out Belly Dance Geek Clubhouse.

There are also a great number of books out there. Contact me if you’d like some suggestions!


Kate performs at 8pm every Friday and Saturday night at Al-Amir Lebanese Restaurant located in downtown Portland, OR, USA.

Follow Kate on facebook and instagram for most up to date information about weekly performances. You can also sign up for her newsletter here!