I started training with Roula in November, quite accidentally, in her “Daret El Ayam” choreography workshop at Dragonfly Studio. I signed up on the premise that Daret El Ayam is one of my favourite Om Kalthoum songs. The song I had in mind wasn’t the song used for the choreography at all! (It was part two of Daret) Nonetheless, I loved the choreography, was blown away by Roula’s teaching style and I liked the way she moved! I wanted to take the workshop again but it was sold out.
During the winter break off classes, I wanted some direction and homework and since I was inspired by the choreography, I opened the workshop video and started to re-learn it. This is a challenging, 6 minute dance with veilwork, but by the time the winter holiday was over, I knew it really well and noticed positive changes in myself as a dancer, such as juicer moves, picking up other choreo more easily and cool, different moves in my improv vocabulary.
This workshop intrigued and inspired me so I invested some dance-dollars into a 10-week session at Om Laila Studio – Roula’s boutique space where she teaches the Arab arts in small groups of six or less. This studio is somewhere between a temple and tree house and it’s really groovy! We learned Ta ala Wadda ni, an Egyptian pop song choreography with zylls, which had been taught in her popular zyll and choreography workshop series.
To my surprise and delight, Roula offers videos of what is taught in class as homework. I found the class progressed very quickly and what would take a troupe a few months to learn, the class was perfecting in mere weeks. Not only is Roula a belly dance instructor, she is also a singer and musician, so when I told her I was going to perform her choreography at Dragonfly Studio’s 4th Annual Majlis, she was all for drumming and singing for me. This was an amazing performance experience that I hope others will have the opportunity to explore through her classes, workshops and online options.
Roula offers these videos to download online, in addition to her workshops and weekly classes. Since I have been learning this way I have a lot more focus and direction, and the fact that classes, workshops and these videos are all taught with live drumming and vocals means you’re always dancing with emotion, dancing more freely and feeling the music.
The videos can be purchased HERE and there’s a free sagat/zyll tutorial. Also an exciting class and workshop schedule for May-July:
• Roula’s NEW Thursday night class “The Musical Dancer” teaches students rhythms, song lyrics and dance, to live music, EVERY CLASS!
• A 3-part workshop series starting in May with lyric study/singing, choreography and zylls.
Visit OMLAILA.com for more information!
• Thanks to guest writer Kaleena