NYC: Dancing to Live Music – Workshops with Musicians!

Learn more about performing with live music and working with musicians at two day-long workshops with Ranya and some fabulous Arab musicians. These will be limited-size workshops to give everyone performance practice time, so register today to grab your spot! Updated as of 5/11: Musicians for Saturday, 5/12 will be Nabawy (accordion), Elias Sarkar (violin), Gamal Shafik (tabla), and Hany (dof).

Ranya is coordinating two Arabic Nights at Djam at Jebon, a fun weekly event organized by Kaeshi and Bellyqueen!  The Arabic Nights, which will take place April 25 and May 23, will feature live, acoustic Arabic music by the musicians from the workshops.

Workshop participants will have priority for performance slots at Arabic Night at Jebon, so if you’d like to perform, be sure to attend. Ranya is also planning to offer coaching sessions similar to her annual performance prep series.  E-mail to express your interest in coaching sessions and/or performance opportunities.

Saturday, May 12 - Updated as of 5/9

12:30-2:30pm: Majensi:  Entrances – Opening Pieces Egyptian-style.  We’ll work with famous opening pieces, style for entrances, stage patterns and footwork that works for openings, and how to project confidence from the first step on stage. Adjustments for the intimate nightclub/restaurant setting, how to grab the audience’s attention, veil and/or cymbals usage, and more. Nabawy, who used to play in Fifi Abdou’s band, will provide particular feedback on working the audience and the music. And you are going to love working with all of these guys!!!

2:30-4:30pm: Popular and Traditional Songs from the Egyptian repertoire. Special considerations for dancing with instrumental versions of traditional songs, including working with and hearing common rhythmic pairs in Egyptian music, what steps are appropriate, and how to relate with the audience and with the musicians during songs as opposed to during opening pieces.

During these workshops, show participants will be welcome to work on the pieces/songs they plan to dance to, as part of the workshop. This will enable you to get some rehearsal time in a workshop setting, and receive feedback from the musicians, Ranya and peers, in a supportive atmosphere.


Full day $115 prepaid by midnight on Thursday, May 10, $140 after May 10; half day $65 prepaid by midnight on Thursday, May 10, $75 after May 10. Click here to register online.

Workshop Location

Jebon Sushi & Noodle (downstairs), 15 St. Mark’s Place, between 2nd and 3rd Ave., New York, NY.  (212) 388-1313

Saturday April 7th: The Beats of Egypt in Performance:  Mohamed Yhya on tabla and Said Fahmy on everything else!

12:30-2:20pm: Dancer/drummer communication & drum solo work using common and unusual rhythms (including semai), with performance skills for the small nightclub/restaurant setting – tips and practice for connecting with the drummers, getting them on your side, and getting the audience involved in your drum solo.

2:30-4:30pm: “Embrace your Mistakes” + Finger cymbals Egyptian style with Ranya and Said Fahmy! Performance practice with drum solo and how to add finger cymbals to your playing. Nightclub/restaurant owners sometimes complain that dancers are not playing cymbals as much anymore, and that it is therefore harder for them to get the audience’s attention… learn some foolproof techniques for creating cymbal festivity and staying confident and on the beat even when your fingers are tired. Includes some “Embrace your Mistakes” work to handle problems such as a zill that falls off mid-playing, and how to gracefully put on and take off your cymbals during a piece. BOTH DRUMMERS WILL BE THERE THE WHOLE AFTERNOON WITH US!

Arabic Night at Jebon:  Wednesday, April 25 & Wednesday, May 23

15 Saint Marks Place, between 2nd and 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10003. Call 212-388-1313 for reservations. $10 plus only $5 minimum for food or drink (and the pan-Asian food is really yummy). Performances begin at 8:30.

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