I am so excited to say that Helene Eriksen will be teaching the 2018-2019 season of Anar Dana Seattle at Studio Deep Roots. Helene is a font of knowledge, fostering enthusiastic curiosity about the intersection of dance and culture through teaching and performing around the world.
If you’re not familiar with Anar Dana, it is a year-long program to intensively study dances of the Levant, particularly Middle Eastern and North African dance. The format is unique–dancers commit to one weekend per month to study in all-day intensives, then spend the time in between in self-guided rehearsal and study. Project members learn the techniques of each of the dance styles decided upon, do dance training and yoga, learn about the cultural and historical backgrounds for the different dance styles, learn about choreography, staging, stage make-up and costumes. All Project members learn seven different group choreographies, and each member will be in approximately four of these choreographies, but will be expected to be able to stand in for the other three, if necessary.
The end of the Project culminates in a show-length Recital featuring the Project members presenting the choreographies they have learned, as well as solos by Helene. There is a certificate of participation for all who complete the program.
In addition to the training aspect of the Project, Helene also offers Cultural Evenings attached to each Project training weekend. The Cultural Evenings are open to the general public as well as Project members. At each Evening, Helene presents music, videos, costuming, and cultural background for one of the seven dance styles studied in the Project. These are also “potluck seminars” in which everyone can bring a dish to share, and are usually held at one of the Project member’s home for a cozy family atmosphere.
The first weekend of the project has already passed, but it’s not too late to join! Even if you’re not sure, you can register for the next weekend to come and see for yourself what participation entails. This opportunity to bond with other women while you learn from a master instructor is a rare thing, and we’re so lucky to have this, and Helene, here in Seattle.
This season’s repertoire has been chosen; check it out!
1) Tunisian Wedding celebration (with a spot for two soloist advanced dancers)
2) Classical Arab Sama’i 10/8
3) Dansul Fetalor de la Crihalna, Romania
4) Misket spoon dances, Ankara, Turkey
5) Russian Khorovod and singing
6) Kurdish dance from Iran
7) Nomadic Luri dance, Afghanistan
For more information including upcoming dates and registration, head over to Helene’s page here.
Here are some interviews of past participants and Helene herself: