The Birth of Raqs Sharqi with Nisaa


Sunday, 12/11 from 1:00-2:30 pm EST


Sunday, 12/11 from 1:00-2:30 pm EST

Live via Zoom (link will be available on purchase confirmation screen and in email receipt)

EARLY REGISTRATION DISCOUNT: Save 15% when you register more than 7 days in advance (before 12/4). 


The dance form now recognized as raqs sharqi was born on the stages of Egypt’s urban entertainment halls at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. But how? And why? What were the circumstances that set in motion such a momentous transformation of Egyptian belly dance at this particular point in Egyptian history? In this lecture, Nisaa discusses the unique constellation of social, political, and cultural developments in late 19th century Egypt that enabled and nurtured the emergence and early development of raqs sharqi. Join Nisaa and learn how the birth of raqs sharqi reflected broader trends in turn-of-the-century Egyptian arts and entertainment, and how cultural expressions like raqs sharqi embodied and expressed the struggle for Egyptian national and cultural identity.

There will be a recording and will be available for 2 weeks!

About your instructor:

Nisaa (Heather D. Ward) is a Middle Eastern dance instructor, performer, and researcher based in St. Louis, Missouri, USA.  As an instructor and performer, Nisaa specializes in Egyptian raqs sharqi (belly dance).  Her repertoire also includes Egyptian folkloric dance, including baladi, ghawazi, and sa’idi dance styles, as well as folkloric styles from the Levant and the Persian Gulf.  As a researcher, Nisaa focuses on the history of Egyptian dance and its professional practitioners.  Her investigations into the transition from awalim and ghawazi dance styles to classical raqs sharqi at the turn of the 19th/20th centuries led to the publication of her first book, Egyptian Belly Dance in Transition: The Raqs Sharqi Revolution, 1890-1930, in 2018.  Nisaa’s research has also been published in a variety of Middle Eastern dance related books and magazines, including The Gilded Serpent and The Belly Dance Chronicles.

​Nisaa began her studies of Middle Eastern dance with several well-known dancers in Missouri and Illinois, and over the course of her dance career, she has continued to attend master classes, seminars, and workshops with internationally-renowned dancers such as Aisha Ali, Farida Fahmy, Mahmoud Reda, Sahra Saeeda, and Yousry Sharif, among others.  She travels regularly to Egypt for research.  In addition to her dance training, Nisaa holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and history from Kent State University and a master’s degree in anthropology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Nisaa’s academic background rounds out her dance training and provides the foundation for her meticulous approach to the study of Middle Eastern dance.  Through excellent instruction, outstanding performances, and original research, Nisaa presents Middle Eastern dance as a living, dynamic folk art and a window into the rich heritage of the peoples and cultures of the Middle East.

Web site: www.bellydancewithnisaa.com



Please note that after purchasing your email may be shared with the instructor for the purposes of communicating essential class information. 

Special Pricing for Certified SharQui Instructors:

Applied to the regular intensive price, not the early registration discount price. 

  • Certified SharQui Instructors: Save 20% with your exclusive discount code. Get your code here.

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