An Evening of Experimental Middle Eastern Dance
EEMED Audition
Belly Dancer AmaraAmara, PhD, is one of the most versatile Middle Eastern dancers. 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 folk dances. Amara is also a leading innovator in theatrical and experimental Middle Eastern dance. Her work is on the cutting edge with each dance looking and feeling dramatically different.

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 and Elbasha (Los Angeles), Mamounia (Las Vegas), and Alborz (Austin). She has also been highlighted in over 15 commercial videos including, The International Academy of Middle Eastern Dance (IAMED), Belly Dance Television, and the EEMED series.

Amara is also known for her innovative teaching methods. In her studio classes, she stresses strong foundational technique while she also helps students explore the workings of Middle Eastern dance and their own personal needs. 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 also directs Training4DanceTeachers, a teaching certification program for dance teachers and producers. These courses contain tools and methods that a dancer can immediately apply to practical situations.

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 (Los Angeles). They have also been invited to perform at numerous functions for UCLA, IAMED, The Knitting Factory, and Desert Sin and in numerous concerts in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Diego, and Austin.

Amara as LaurelAmara produces numerous events, including the international acclaimed theatrical concert “An Evening of Experimental Middle Eastern Dance,” “X-MED” workshop series on experimental dance, site-specific shows, and monthly showcases. She has also produced numerous commercial dance videos and in 1998, co-founded “Dance Under Construction,” a UC system wide graduate dance conference.

Amara's productions are centered on building supportive dance communities. She wants dancers to reach intellectual and artistic goals, and therefore, develops a variety of avenues for practice and performance. Amara also understands the other important part of the production; the development of an understanding and engaging audience.

In addition to teaching, performing, and producing, 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. Amara has a PhD in Dance History and Theory from UC Riverside. Her dissertation is titled: "Dancing on the Fringe. Connections Forming An Evening of Experimental Middle Eastern Dance."

For more information about Amara and Ya Helewa!, please visit Amara's site at