At the Salimpour School, we believe that our dance community is also our family. With our Bal Anat tour in Europe and Florida, the love and connection just poured forth from the stage, and we’re doing it again this August.

This past weekend, we officially joined the family at the Center for International Dance with a bustling studio warming party and performance showcase.

With more food than we could possibly eat and a multi-generational full house, the Salimpour School of Dance celebrated our integration into this special space along side dancers and performers from a wide range of traditions from vocal improvisation to hula.

As families filtered in with parents, grandparents, children, and friends, it became so clear that under the guidance of kumu hulu (master hula instructor) Mahea Uchiyama, this studio is a place for growth, community, and sharing. The Hawaiian word for family is ‘ohana, and we’re so happy to be part of the ‘ohana at CID.

An Evening of International Dance

Mahea Uchiyama and her Hālau Ka Ua Tuahine opened the evening of performances with a mele (Hawaiian song) and a hula kahiko—danced in the pre-colonial style—honoring Madame Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes, destruction, and creation. Miriam Peretz whirled us into a trance with her Nava dance solo. Renee Benlemeh led a room of over 60 people in a complex vocal and rhythmic improvisation, complete with syncopation and play.

We had not one but two Salimpour Collectives represent the Salimpour School—Berkeley and Santa Cruz—dancing “Khatwet Habibi,” “Ali Gara,” Sabriye Tekbilek’s Lebanese cane, and the Level 2 Finger Cymbal Drum Solo. Janelle Rodriguez performed her tantalizing choreography to “Laylat Hob,” Parya S. presented her sweet and sweeping piece to “Fe Yom We Layla,” and Abigail Keyes danced her “Gana al-Hawa” with finger cymbals.

Mahea’s Hālau Ka Ua Tuahine closed the evening with two pieces from the Tahitian dance tradition, one accompanied by fast drumming and dancers clad in vibrant red—the color of celebration—and the last one a softer blessing of the space, where members of her school came up to dance in their street clothes.

Suhaila, Isabella, and Māhea Uchiyama, Center for International Dance, BerkeleyJoining a Wider Dance Community

Even though we are sad to leave the Albany “Mothership” behind, we’re joining a wider dance and art community. We’re so looking forward to training, growing, and getting stronger together.

We can’t wait to see you here in our new space!

Join us at these upcoming performances:

August 4th: Bal Anat 50th Anniversary in El Cerrito, California

September 23rd: Bal Anat 50th Anniversary in Atlanta, Georgia

September 29th: Center for International Dance 25th Anniversary Show at Holy Names University in Oakland


Classes at the Center for International Dance begin this week!

Level 1 with Abby: Tuesdays, 7pm – 8:30pm

Level 2+ with Suhaila: Sundays, 11am – 1pm

Drop-ins welcome!

729 Heinz Ave, #4
Berkeley, CA, 94710