Amara Dances
  • Austin, TX
  • United States
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November 24, 2012
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Amara, PhD, is one of the most versatile and diverse Middle Eastern dancers in the United States. She is well known for her entertaining and dynamic American belly dance style that is interspersed with sword, veil, double veil, and zil work. She is equally skilled in many Middle Eastern folk dances. Amara is also a leading innovator in theatrical and experimental Middle Eastern dance.
Amara has performed as a soloist and in Middle Eastern Dance companies all over the United States. She has held long-term dance engagements at several Middle Eastern restaurants and nightclubs including Pars (LA), Elbasha (LA), Mamounia (LV), and Alborz (Austin). She has also been highlighted in over 15 commercial videos including IAMED, BDTV, and the EEMED series and on Austin Live.
Amara is also known for her innovative teaching methods. In her studio classes, she stresses strong foundational technique while she helps students explore the workings of Middle Eastern dance in their own way. She has taught accredited courses on dance appreciation and Middle Eastern dance at UCLA, UCR, and Cal Poly, Pomona and workshops at a number of universities and colleges.
Amara is the Director and Choreographer of Ya Helewa!, a Middle Eastern dance company, which performs a diverse repertory of traditional and experimental improvisations and choreographies. Ya Helewa! has held a long-term dance engagements at Moun of Tunis and Pars in Los Angeles and are featured on several commercial videos. Ya Helewa!'s appearances also include numerous concerts in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Diego, and Austin.
In addition to teaching and performing, Amara is also deeply involved with studying and researching Middle Eastern dance. Her interest began while getting her degree in Music History and Literature and a certificate in Ethnomusicology from The Florida State University. Amara’s pursuit deepened when at UCLA she worked towards an M.A. in Dance Ethnology and an MFA in Dance Performance. She finished her PhD in Dance History and Theory at UC Riverside. She has published articles in numerous Middle Eastern dance magazines and has presented papers at leading international dance conferences including, Congress on Research and Dance (CORD), Society for Dance History Scholars (SDHS), International Belly Dance Conference of Canada, and International Conference on Middle Eastern Dance.

Amara produces numerous events, such as “An Evening of Experimental Middle Eastern Dance” concerts, “X-MED,” a workshop series presenting tools and methods for creating experimental Middle Eastern dances, and “How to Teach Middle Eastern Dance,” a seminar series designed for new and seasoned teachers to learn and practice new pedagogical styles. She has also hosted a monthly showcase and co-founded “Dance Under Construction,” a UC system wide dance conference.
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