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Algerian Chaoui Dance

Learn the African roots of belly dance! This workshop will explore an indigenous North African dance form the Amazigh (often referred to as berber) ethnic group of Eastern Algeria called the "Chaouiya" (pronounced Sha-wee-ya). This dance is quite unique as most of it happens in your belly! Chaoui people hold high respect for agriculture, land, nature and fertility. It is for this reason that the stomach/womb area is highlighted in their traditional dances. As is common with African-rooted dance traditions, Algerian Chaoui Dance is body positive, women-centered, improvisational, and communal. You will learn the rhythms and of course how to "bounce" your belly Chaoui style!

Esraa Warda Bio:

Esraa Warda is a North African performer and teaching artist originally from Algeria. Having grown up between Brooklyn and Algeria, she was introduced to dance within informal women's spaces and weddings and was quickly acknowledged as a talented dancer within her community and family. She now teaches and performs professionally, specializing in styles such as Moroccan Chaabi and other Algerian dances such as Rai, Chaoui, Kabyle, and Allaoui. Esraa strives to keep North African dance authentic and reflective of how her people dance back home.

Esraa’s artistic pedagogy is centered around politicizing cultural work to keep North African dance technique authentic (and African-centered!) in the face of cultural imperialism/appropriation. She continues to perform at dozens of local Moroccan traditional gatherings and cultural festivals, political festivals such as the May Day Festival of Resistance, and at transnational feminist events such as the Havana Habibi Festival in Cuba. She routinely curates and coordinates cultural events highlighting the musical link between different African diasporic communities in effort to emphasize the global “African-ness” that underlines our cultures. Esraa will be hosting dance and music workshops in Morocco in Spring 2019 as her “Roots and Rhythms” initiative and continues to travel around the US and Europe to teach, perform, and share her pedagogy. She also runs grassroots political African centric and anti-colonialist artistic projects around New York, such as the North African Radical Education Project and The Chaâb Lab, an Algerian/Moroccan music ensemble that uses participatory performances to engage African diasporic communities in cultural solidarity.

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