Suhaila Level 3   •   Jamila Level 3   •   SL3 Workshop   •  JL3 Workshop   •   Performance Prep Workshop   •  Training Plans

Salimpour Level 3

The Salimpour School offers Level 3 certification in both the Suhaila format and the Jamila format.  Details about both formats, workshops, and certification testing is below.

In Suhaila Level 3, students begin to combine several elements together, learning to layer and integrate movement.   They develop increased precision and stamina while layering movements with various timings, downbeats, foot patterns, arm positions and finger cymbal patterns. They also receive training in emotional preparation and choreography skills.  SL2 certification is required to attend SL3 workshops and to test for SL3; having JL2 certification is strongly recommended, as well.

In Jamila Level 3, students begin to learn and work the format from the inside out. By understanding the structure and technique behind each movement, dancers can learn to expand and layer the format in unlimited ways. Learning is promoted through technique, stylization, choreography, reading, and lecture.   JL2 certification is required to attend JL3 workshops, and SL2+ certification is strongly recommended.  To test for JL3, both SL3 and JL2 certification are required.

Suhaila Level 3

Students studying for SL3 certification undergo the following training:

  • Continued attendance at workshops: SL2 and JL2-3
  • Attendance at SL3 workshops to learn layering techniques, creativity tools, choreography skills, emotional preparation exercises, and more.
  • Learn the required choreographies (list below) including L3 layering for the L2FCDS.
  • Subscribe to Salimpour School Online Classes to maintain L2 stamina work and move forward with your L3 training
    • Aim for 3 technique classes weekly including work on vibrations and straddle squats (4 minutes)
    • Take dance movement classes in your area (beginning ballet barre and jazz) or via Online Classes to develop your balance, posture, carriage, and grace.
    • Drill movements ft and dt standing in home position, at the barre, and around the room in drills.
  • Review and begin work on SL3 Testing Project Packet
  • Drill Randomizer:   Designed to help you experiment and improvise; you can make up random drills on the fly!  Found in online class account under “Bonus” tab.  (cert level specific)
  • Drill Breaks (Audio Download Training Tools).
  • Cymbal Jams:  R-dom, L-dom, Rx, and Lx.tJamila’s Article Book.
  • The Salimpour Belly Dance Compendium.
  • Rhythm ID.
  • Review/ learn the format nomenclature and syntax as provided in the resources section of the website.
  • Contribute regularly to your dance art book. Use the art book as a creative source and outlet for your ideas, thoughts, influences, questions, frustrations, emotions, etc. on dance. Include things that inspire you. Draw, collage, doodle, and write.
  • Continue your  music research listening to and working regularly with the Performance Sets, the 100+ Compositions, and Suhaila’s catalog.

As you work on L3 certification, you might find it helpful to also keep an eye on what is ahead of you in the certification program. Here are just a few things to keep in mind.

  • Develop your Personal Performance and Education Catalogs (see Salimpour Level 4 for more details).
  • Attend the Performance Prep workshop to learn skills for your performance catalogs (see below).
  • Attend the Choreography Workshop to utilize concepts introduced in L3 and further develop skills for L4.  While you don’t have to be SL3-certified to attend a Choreography Weeklong, you will need to have attended at least one or two SL3 workshops before attending a Choreography Workshop as the Choreography workshop utilizes skills taught in SL3 workshops.
  • Review documentation and testing guidelines for future levels, making sure you understand the requirements.
The following choreographies are available to learn by subscription.  To access the subscriptions, you must be logged in to your Salimpour School Online account with current JL1 certification status to see/purchase these options in the PPV section.

  • L2FCDS (SL2)
  • Level 3 Finger Cymbal Drum Solo (SL3)
  • Maddah (SL3)
All finger cymbal patterns to be played right and left hand dominant.

  • All patterns from Jamila L1 & L2
  • 6s
  • 2-6
  • 10s
  • 2-6-10
  • 4-4-10
  • Running 7s
  • 7-1-3-3
  • 2-6-10-7-1-3-3
  • Moori
  • Karshlama (four patterns)
  • Taqsim (Waheda)
  • Taqsim (1-5-5-3-3-3)
The reading and viewing list for SL3 and JL3 is the same.  Additional information can be round on the Resources page of this website.

  • Jamila’s Article Book*
  • The Salimpour School Belly Dance Compendium Volume 1
  • The New Danse Orientale
  • The Salimpour Music Module (available in 2018; date TBD)
  • Music Fundamentals for Dance by Nola Nolen Holland
  • Dance Anatomy by Jacqui Greene Haas
  • Ballet dictionary (see Resources page for recommendations)
  • On Acting by Sanford Meisner
  • Books on choreography (see Resources page)
  • The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp
  • The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
  • Dance Psychology for Artistic and Performance Exellcence by Jim Taylor and Elena Estanol
  • The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
  • List of bellydance music classics on Suhaila’s website (Resources Section) or click here.
  • Salimpour Format Cymbal Patterns (Cymbal Jams)
  • Middle Eastern Rhythms (Rhythm ID CD)
  • Suhaila Format Nomenclature (Resources section)
  • Issam Houshan’s Ear for Rhythms Series
  • Umm Kulthum: A Voice Like Egypt (DVD)
  • Bellydancers of Cairo Documentary by Natasha Senkovich (DVD)

SL3 Testing Steps

Part of the process of learning SL3 material requires attending the workshops to learn tools and practices that you will take home and work on for several months.  Typical testers take 2-4 SL3 weeklongs before testing, and part of the exam takes place as during the SL3 workshops.  You are ready to test when you know and can demonstrate sufficiently all the material covered in L3 including the required choreographies and have completed the testing packet projects.  Students must contact the School to be assigned a L5-certified instructor if they are planning to test or working on material for testing in the future and require feedback.    The School’s goal is to keep you continually moving forward in your dance studies and to set you up for success at each step of the process.  If for some reason Suhaila or her instructors feel you are not ready for testing, they will provide you specific information on what you need to learn or improve.  The testing process involves the following steps.

Students wishing to test must contact the School to be assigned a Level 5-certified instructor if they are planning to test or working on material for testing in the future and want feedback. SalimpourCertification@gmail.com

Submit the following for evaluation and receive approval (passing scores) on all material before submitting the SL3 Testing Packet.  Note that evaluation of the pre-testing submissions is handled by private lesson (in person or Skype) with an assigned SL5 instructors.  See further below for instructions.

  • SL3 Technique Drills
  • SL3 Certification Choreography. 
When you feel you are ready to test and have successfully completed the pre-testing submissions, contact Suhaila to receive formal permission.  Once you do have Suhaila’s permission to test, contact the Certification Coordinator to enter the testing chute.  CLICK HERE.  The Coordinator will verify Suhaila’s approval and then send you the necessary paperwork and payment link.

Suhaila’s goal is to keep you continually moving forward in your dance studies and to set you up for success at each step of the process. If for some reason she feels you are not ready, she will provide you specific information on what you need to learn or improve to test.

See the Testing Packet section below for submission deadlines and detailed information.
Throughout the workshop, you will be given exam portions: choreography, technique drills, stamina drills, emotional preparation work, etc. During the week, you are also required to participate in any performance nights, such as the Improvisation Performance Labs.  See details about the SL3 workshop and pre-workshop assignments further below.  Note that if you do not pass the exam, you may participate in and pay for another L3 testing cycle at a later date with Suhaila’s approval.

SL3 Pre-Testing  Requirements & Testing Packet Instructions

The technique drills must be filmed in a space with lighting bright enough for clear video evaluation of the required L3 technique.  The Drills will be done solo and to the loop song “Stamina”.  Each drill must be verbally called out by the dancer and executed for 60 seconds.  A total of 45 drills.  When you feel you are ready for test evaluation you will then purchase a required 120 minute private lesson with your assigned L5 instructor for the test evaluation.  Submissions must be completed and approved for testing prior to submitting your SL3 test packet.  Allow enough time in advance for your submissions to be evaluated.  (Note: May require multiple submissions to meet skill level approval.)

SL3 Drills 11-27-2017

Video Filming Instruction 11-27-2017

Students must be evaluated on their SL3 certification choreographies prior to submitting their testing packets.  The evaluations are handled through private lessons (in person or via Skype) with an assigned SL5 instructor.

If submitting video for evaluation, the choreographies must be filmed in a space with lighting bright enough for clear video evaluation of technique and finger cymbal patterns, R and/or L dominant (per required).  Separate video may be requested of finger cymbal pattern  playing without dancing the choreography.

If videos are not view-able, dancers will need to re-film and re submit the work.  Or, if work still needs to be done, dancers can continue to schedule privates for guidance and feedback until they are approved for the Testing Chute.  (Review the Video Filming Instructions for Technique Drills for additional video hints and uploading instructions.)

Here we focus on the SL3 testing packet, which is only part of the testing process.  Testers must attend the workshop and participate in all workshop activities, pre-workshop assignments, during-the-week homework, and improvisation performance nights.  Dancers must complete the pre-testing chute requirements (outlined in the SL3 section) and have official approval from the Certification Coordinator before submitting their testing packets.

Packet Deadline.  Ten to thirty days prior to the workshop in which you are testing, you must:

  • Pay the SL3 testing fee.
  • Submit the assignments outlined in this section.
  • Email proof of your testing payment plus the assignments to salimpourcertification at gmail.com.
  • Specific Packet Deadlines
    • Jan 2018:  testing fees & packets due between Dec 29 & Jan 19
    • Aug 2018:  testing fees & packets due between Jul 13 & Aug 3

SL3 Testing Packet Overview.  The packet takes time to complete; students are encouraged to begin at least six months in advance.  Project 1 (definitions) should be submitted in hardcopy in addition to any pre-workshop assignments.  Projects 2-8 should be emailed as PDF files, along with proof of the SL3 testing payment, to the email listed above in the deadline section.  Submit each project as a single PDF, clearly labeled with the project title and your name.  Complete all projects and submit them at one time.

  1. Anatomy & Dance Movement Definitions
  2. Anatomy Exercises
  3. Dance Psychology Self-Study (Jan 2017 testers may substitute Rhythmic Training for Dancers project)
  4. Creative Habit Questions
  5. Meisner Questions
  6. Nomenclature Drills
  7. Grid Assignments
  8. Compendium Questions

Resources

Visit the Reading List on the Resources page for the texts and other Resources to assist you in completing the projects.

Updated 19 Oct 2016

Prepare note cards (flash cards) for the following anatomy and ballet terms using Dance Anatomy by Jacqui Greene Haas and ballet dictionaries (see Resources page for recommendations).  Note cards should be no larger than 4″x 6″ or the equivalent; the goal is to have a standard-size card that is large enough to read easily and allow for notes to be added in the future.  They can be typed or handwritten; one or both sides of the card may be used. Each note card should include three things:

  1. term in English
  2. brief definition in English
  3. definition, notes and diagrams in your own words. This section does not need to be in English.

Before using the anatomy book, read the notes for belly dancers for the book on the Resources page of this website. These exercises are to help you learn more about how your body works. Exceptions and adaptations for belly dancers are discussed in workshops and classes.

Anatomy Terms

  • Flexion
  • Extension
  • Abduction
  • Adduction
  • External rotation
  • Internal rotation
  • Plantar flexion
  • Dorsiflexion
  • Slow twitch fibers
  • Fast twitch fibers
  • Concentric contraction
  • Eccentric contraction
  • Isometric (static) contraction
  • Agonists
  • Anatagonists
  • Synergists
  • Stabilizers
  • Supine
  • Prone
  • Superior
  • Inferior
  • Anterior
  • Posterior
  • Transverse
  • Sagittal
  • Cervical spine region
  • Thoracic spine region
  • Lumbar spine and sacrum region
  • Inspiration
  • Expiration
  • Transversus abdominis muscle
  • Multifidi
  • Erector spinae
  • Pelvic bones
  • Fascia
  • Clavicle
  • Scapula
  • Carpal
  • Glenoid cavity
  • Scapulothoriacic
  • Glenohumeral
  • Trapezius
  • Port de bras
  • Sacrum
  • Acetabulum
  • Hip disassociation
  • Tensor fasciae latae
  • Iliotibial band
  • Femur
  • Quadraceps
  • Adductors

Ballet Terms.  Focus on the general meaning of the terms as they can be applied to and combined with other terms.

  • allegro
  • allonge
  • arabesque
  • attitude
  • arriere, en
  • avant, en
  • balance
  • battement
  • grand battement
  • battement en croix
  • chaines
  • chasse
  • cou-de-pied
  • croix, en
  • degage
  • demi
  • derriere
  • dedan, en
  • dehors, en
  • devant
  • developpe
  • enchainement
  • entree
  • etrende
  • face, en
  • fondu
  • grand (grande)
  • l’air, en
  • pas
  • passe
  • pique
  • piroutte
  • plat, a (pied a terre)
  • plie
  • port de bras
  • promenade
  • releve
  • rond de bras
  • rond de jambe
  • sauter
  • sickling
  • sous-sus
  • soutenu
  • spotting
  • de suite
  • tableau
  • tendue
  • terre, a
  • tournant, en
Complete the following exercises from Dance Anatomy by Jacqui Greene Haas. The assignment goal is to increase your awareness of different muscle groups. For the purpose of this assignment, consider this work as exploratory, allowing yourself time to breathe and observe, rather than treating these as conventional exercises where you do so many repetitions or sets. Approach the exercises carefully and mindfully with a body that has been properly warmed up. Read through the entire exercise, including all safety tips, cautions, and dance focus notes before beginning the exercise. Students are recommended to explore no more than five exercises in a session. Seek assistance from a dance professional when needed.

Notes:

  • Before using this anatomy book, read the notes for belly dancers for the book on the Resources page of the main website. These exercises are to help you learn more about how your body works. Exceptions and adaptations for belly dancers are discussed in workshops and classes.
  • For exercises using weights, use no weight unless you are under the supervision of an exercise professional.

For each exercise, include the following parts typed:

  1. exercise title and page number
  2. list of muscles involved
  3. in your own words, list (rewrite) the dance focus
  4. include your personal observations and notes; when applicable makes notes on when you feel these muscles working during class and/or when you observe (or how you will apply attention to) this muscle in specific belly dance movements; document any questions you have.

Chapter 2

  • Locating Neutral page 20
  • Leg Glide page 22
  • Trunk Curl Isometrics page 24
  • Hip Flexor Isometrics page 26
  • Spinal Brace page 28
  • Variation Side Hover page 29

Chapter 3

  • Lateral Breathing page 40
  • Breathing with Side Bend page 42
  • Breathing with Port de Bras page 44
  • Thoracic Extension page 46
  • Variation Trunk Extension page 47
  • Breathing Plie page 49

Chapter 4

  • Side Bend page 58
  • Trunk Curl page 50
  • Oblique Lift page 62
  • Variation Advanced Oblique Lift page 63
  • Side Lift page 64
  • Coccyx Balance page 66
  • Modified Swan page 68
  • Trunk Twist page 70

Chapter 5

  • Wall Press page 84
  • Variation Modified Push-up Plus page 85
  • Port de Bras page 86
  • Biceps Curl page 89
  • Triceps Pull page 90
  • Vs page 92
  • Rowing page 94
  • Plank page 96

Chapter 6

  • Plie Heel Squeeze page 108
  • Passe Press page 112
  • Inner-Thigh Press page 114
  • Hip Flexor Pulse page 118
  • Attitude Lift page 120
  • Hip Flexor Stretch page 122

Chapter 7

  • Hamstring Curl page 134
  • Hamstring Lift page 136
  • Side Scissor page 138
For this self-guided study, you will be analyzing yourself as a dancer using Dance Psychology for Artistic and Performance Excellence by Jim Taylor and Elena Estanol. By learning the concepts and analyses presented in the book, you will learn to better analyze your performance to aid in your personal dance growth. As you progress over time, your answers will most likely change.

Important Note: You will need access to the ancillary worksheets to complete this model; these workshops are NOT included in the actual book.  When you purchase the book (either in hardcopy or as an ebook), confirm that your source gives you access to the worksheets needed to complete the module.

Submit the following assignments as a single PDF document in the following order. Worksheets must be completed by typing (not handwriting).  Note that additional assignments are included in addition to the worksheets, so review the list below carefully to make sure to submit all required assignments.

 

Chapter 2 Knowing Yourself

  • Worksheet 2.1 Psychology Profile
  • Worksheet 2.2 Physical Profile
  • Worksheet 2.3 Technical and Artistic Profile
  • Worksheet 2.4 Priority Form

Chapter 3 Motivation and Why You Dance

  • Worksheet 3.1 Why I Dance
  • Worksheet 3.2 The Three Ds of Motivation

Chapter 4 Confidence

  • Worksheet 4.1 Confidence Inventory
  • Worksheet 4.2 Know Your Self Talk
  • Assignment 4.3 Write your own Dancer’s Litany.

Chapter 5 Intensity

  • Worksheet 5.1 Intensity Inventory
  • Worksheet 5.2 Intensity Identification
  • Worksheet 5.3 Intensity Key Words

Chapter 6 Focus

  • Worksheet 6.1 Focus Inventory
  • Worksheet 6.2 Relevant and Irrelevant Cues
  • Worksheet 6.3 Performance-relevant Key Words
  • Assignment 6.4 List and briefly define the four Ps of Focus

Chapter 7 Emotions

  • Worksheet 7.1 Positive and Negative Emotions
  • Worksheet 7.2 Examining Emotional Threats
  • Worksheet 7.3 Managing Your Fears

Chapter 8 Goal Setting

  • Worksheet 8.1 Goal Setting

Chapter 9 Imagery

  • Worksheet 9.1 Imagery Skills Profile
  • Worksheet 9.2 Imagery Exercises
  • Worksheet 9.3 Imagery Goals
  • Worksheet 9.4 Imagery Ladder
  • Worksheet 9.5 Imagery Scenarios
  • Worksheet 9.6 Imagery Log

Chapter 10 Routines

  • Worksheet 10.1 Personalized Pre-Performance Ritual
  • Assignment 10.2 Select and briefly describe a specific performance. Write a detailed dance bag list (see Fig. 10.1)
  • Assignment 10.3 List and briefly define the Four Rs of Transition Routines.

Chapter 11 Individualized Program

  • Worksheet 11.1 Areas for Development
  • Worksheet 11.2 Program Planner

Chapter 12 Stress and Burnout

  • Worksheet 12.1 Dealing with Burnout

Chapter 13 Injury

  • Assignment 13.0. Explain the difference between injury pain and exertion pain.
  • Worksheet 13.1 Pain and Injury Management Strategies.

Chapter 14 Disordered Eating

  • No assignments are to be turned in for this chapter.
Using The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp, answer the following questions.

  1. Twyla mentions Balanchine’s quote, “On union time”. To what discussion or concept does this apply? Explain.
  2. Explain what you think Tharp means is the difference between obligation and commitment in terms of creating.
  3. Define what Tharp means by “what is your pencil”.
  4. Explain Tharp’s statement: “Metaphor is the lifeblood of all art”.
  5. What does Tharp mean by “scratching”?
  6. What does Tharp mean by “spine”?
After reading On Acting (Sanford Meisner), answer the following questions.

  1. Define three acting methods: Sanford Meisner, Lee Strasberrg, and Stella Adler. Discuss the similarities and differences amongst the methods.
  2. Explain the repetition exercise as presented in the book. Explain how you think Suhaila has adapted the exercise for her dance program.
Write drills as outlined below using Suhaila nomenclature and syntax. This exercise is NOT about writing complicated drills. The exercise is about demonstrating your knowledge of 1) the material, timing, etc. applicable to each level and of 2) the format nomenclature and syntax. try to not repeat the exact same movement or traveling step within each level. Keep arms to 5th or mod-2nd position.

  1. Write thirty Level 1 drills. No cymbals or traveling (stay in home position).
  2. Write thirty Level 2 traveling drills with cymbals.
  3. Write thirty Level 3 traveling drills with cymbals.
Using the staging and emotional grid, complete the following exercises.  Use the nomenclature documents provided on the Resource page in the Documentation section; these include symbols, abbreviations, usage instructions, phrase samples, and a choreography example that includes the grid.  Note that exercises 2 & 3 below, you are staging one choreography and creating emotional projection for the other; for both exercises 2 & 3, include the full grid on both assignments even though you are only completing one half of the grid for each exercise.

  1. Create and submit a chart of the audience grid, placing a specific person in each of the 9 audience spots.  Example: maternal grandmother in 1, ex boyfriend from high school in 9, etc.
  2. Using Maddah and the nomenclature, prepare an emotional projection grid (not staging), phrase-by-phrase (will be based on the people you place in #1).
  3. Using the L3FCDS, prepare a staging grid (no emotional projection grid) phrase-by-phrase.
Prepare a total of three reports using the following sections of The Salimpour School Belly Dance Compendium V1.

  • Select three sections of interest.  Select two from The Middle East and Origins of Belly Dance (pages 45-94).  Select one from Belly Dance in The U.S. (pages 141-174).
  • Prepare a short paper (3-5 pages double-spaced, size 12 font, 1” margins) on each topic furthering the research presented in the book. Do not simply rephrase what is already in the book; use the book to inspire you for your own research.
  • Each report should have at least 3 references. Wikipedia does NOT count as a reference.

Notes: The goal is to further your knowledge on three topics. Some report ideas include a basic report, book review, commentary, informed opinion, interviews, documentaries, videos, reviewing the current views on controversial topics, noting conflicting information that you’ve found, comparing video to written material, etc. You have freedom in the scope and content of the “report”, as long as it meets the above requirements.

Jamila Level 3

Students studying for JL3 certification undergo training with the following tools:

  • Continued attendance at workshops: JL2 and SL2-3
  • Attendance at JL3 workshops.
  • SL3 certification (required to test for JL3).
  • Learn the required choreographies (list below).
  • Subscribe to Salimpour School Online Classes to maintain L2 stamina work and move forward with your L3 training
    • Aim for 3 technique classes weekly including SL3 classes with Jamila format content.
    • Include Folkloric Fusion and Dance Movement classes.
  • Review and begin work on JL3 Testing Project Packet
  • Drill Randomizer:   Designed to help you experiment and improvise; you can make up random drills on the fly!  Found in online class account under “Bonus” tab.  (cert level specific)
  • Drill Breaks (Audio Download Training Tools).
  • Cymbal Jams:  R-dom, L-dom, Rx, and Lx.
  • The New Danse Oriental Manual.
  • Jamila’s Article Book.
  • The Salimpour Belly Dance Compendium.
  • Rhythm ID (or download).
  • Review/ learn the format nomenclature and syntax as provided in the resources section of the website.
  • Contribute regularly to your dance art book. Use the art book as a creative source and outlet for your ideas, thoughts, influences, questions, frustrations, emotions, etc. on dance. Include things that inspire you. Draw, collage, doodle, and write.
  • Continue your  music research listening to and working regularly with the Performance Sets, the 100+ Compositions, and Suhaila’s catalog.

As you work on L3 certification, you might find it helpful to also keep an eye on what is ahead of you in the certification program. Here are just a few things to keep in mind.

  • Develop your Personal Performance and Education Catalogs (see Salimpour Level 4 for more details).
  • Attend the Performance Prep workshop to learn skills for your performance catalogs (see below).
  • Attend the Choreography Workshop to utilize concepts introduced in L3 and further develop skills for L4.  You will need to have attended at least one or two SL3 workshops before attending a Choreography Workshop as the Choreography workshop utilizes skills taught in SL3 workshops.
  • Review documentation and testing guidelines for future levels, making sure you understand the requirements.
The following choreographies are available to learn by subscription.  To access the subscriptions, you must be logged in to your Salimpour School Online account with current JL1 certification status to see/purchase these options in the PPV section.

  • El Samer (JL2)
  • Shams El Shamouseh (JL2)
  • Level 3 Finger Cymbal Drum Solo (JL3)
  • Sallam Allay (JL3)
Level 3 students learn variations and improvisations of all the existing Jamila steps covered in The New Danse Oriental manual and the Jamila Level 1 & 2 workshops. All finger cymbal patterns to be played right and left hand dominant.

Finger Cymbals
All patterns from Jamila L1 & L2
6s
2-6
10s
2-6-10
4-4-10
Running 7s
7-1-3-3
2-6-10-7-1-3-3
Moori
Karshlama (four patterns)
Taqsim (Waheda)
Taqsim (1-5-5-3-3-3)

Greetings, dancers! Abby here, from the “Mothership” in California.

New students at the Salimpour School often ask me: What’s the difference between the Suhaila and Jamila formats? Do I have to do both?

The short answer: At the lower levels, the Suhaila Salimpour Format (SSF) is about learning physical technique, and the Jamila Salimpour Format (JSF) is about learning steps and sentiment. If one doesn’t start with the Suhaila format, they won’t have the physical technical training to execute the steps in the Jamila format. If one doesn’t do the JSF, they’re missing out on key historical and cultural elements of belly dance as a professional dance form with roots in the Middle East. (For the sake of this blog post, I’ll be using the term “Middle East” to refer to the regions of the eastern Mediterranean, western Asia, and North Africa.)

But that’s not the whole story.

Let’s start with a little background on the development of each format.

In the Beginning…
Each step in the Jamila Salimpour format is derived from steps and movements performed by real people in or from the Middle East. When Jamila was observing dancers in films from Cairo, casual dancing at cultural gatherings, and nightclub performers in the United States, she wanted to make sense of what she was seeing.

Jamila Salimpour began her cataloging of steps in the 1930s, and essentially ceased in 1974. She organized what she observed into what she called “Step Families,” which we still use today. At Suhaila added steps that she observed on her travels to the Middle East, at her mother’s request. Jamila herself never traveled to the Arab world; Suhaila, however, traveled there multiple times as a teenager, and eventually spent 10 years working as a professional dancer throughout the Arab world. Suhaila, at her mother’s request, added steps such as Stomp Step with a Shimmy, 3/4 Shimmy Spin, and most of the Salaam Family. Through both of their contributions, the JSF was, for the most part, set and codified by 1978.

Each step family has an overall sentiment or feeling; some step families are also characterized by a shared technical element. For example, the Basic Egyptian family steps feature hip twists (except for the Five Count, which has no hip work at all) and have an outward action. These are the steps that were and are performed by professional dancers. The Salaam Family is connected by the fact that these steps are all “party steps” or movements that one might see at a family gathering, wedding, or other celebration; most of them have a fulltime bounce down, driven by small demi pliés. The Arabic family features shuffling steps that mostly stay in place, the legs are kept close together, and the sentiment is demure, coy, and sweet; this family is also much more internal than the Egyptian family steps. As you learn the steps, you will noticed that some sentiments cross over between steps and families.

You might be wondering… if the Jamila Salimpour Format includes culturally-derived steps, why do I need the Suhaila Format? Can’t I just use the steps in the Jamila Format? Well, you could, but you’d be missing out on your full technical potential to interpret the rich, complex music to which dancers perform today.

The Music Changes
In the late 1970s, professional dancers in the Middle East commissioned longer, orchestrated compositions specifically for performance from well-respected composers. When recordings of these pieces reached the United States, often bootlegged from a tape recorder hidden in a patron’s purse at a nightclub, dancers were struck by the complexity and changes in each piece. These compositions were often full-length sets, or included now-classic entrance pieces such as “Set El Hosen” and “Mishaal.”

Before these pieces reached North America, dancers in American nightclubs mostly only improvised to folk songs with few tempo or rhythmic changes, such as “Ya Ain Moulaytin,” “Salaam Allay,” “Hizzy Ya Nawaem,” or Turkish folk songs such as “?i?eler,” or “Rompi Rompi.” Sometimes Armenian and Greek pieces would be included, such as “Tamzara,” (a folk dance song in 9/8 time) or “Miserlou.” A set would include a fast, upbeat opening song, a slow taqsim for veilwork, followed by another upbeat or medium tempo folk song, followed by another slow taqsim to which dancers often performed floorwork, then another upbeat song, a drum solo, and a fast closing song. This is what we now refer to as the 5- or 7-part set. But these new pieces coming out of the Middle East required deeper listening and greater planning, increased technical skill, set choreography.

By this time, Suhaila, now 12 years old, had learned every step in her mother’s format inside and out. She had been playing with the character, sentiment, and technique of each step the way a little girl might play with dolls.

When she heard this new music from the Middle East, she knew how she wanted to dance to it, but did not yet have the physical technical ability to execute her vision. So, she broke down each step in her mother’s format into their essential elements: foot pattern, hip work, upper body, arms, and any other technical elements. From there, she was able to create new movement that better suited the rich music composed for dancers from the Middle East. From this work came the development of her own format. Additionally, she worked with her mother on several iconic choreographies that heralded a new era in musical interpretation of belly dance music. From these collaborations came “Hayati” and “Joumana” (the first belly dance performance to ever be selected for the prestigious San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival). Some people like to separate mother from daughter, but Jamila herself wanted Suhaila to develop belly dance as a genre beyond the boilerplate steps of the JSF.

At this time, Suhaila also began adding movements into her belly dance performances that were not a part of her mother’s format. These include the hard-contraction movements that emerged out Suhaila’s training in jazz dance as well as from her work with Boogaloo dancer Walter “Sundance” Freeman. These movements include interior hip squares, pelvic locks, arm waves from out-to-in, hard contraction arm waves in both directions, rib and pelvic pyramids and Vs.

Breaking it Down, Putting it Together
In JSF Level 3, students learn to manipulate the JSF, layer JSF movements over JSF movements, and add SSF layers. Not only does this burst open the creative and technical possibilities inherent in belly dance as a professional performance genre, but it also gives us greater versatility in how we choose to interpret Arabic music. In the school we jokingly refer to this process as “Jamhaila”: a blending of the Jamila and Suhaila Formats. It is also how Suhaila began to experiment with her mother’s format when she was younger, and explore the potential in the steps, while adding her own hard contraction movements and layering techniques.

What does this mean? Let’s look at some examples:

8 count phrase using three steps in the JSF.
Concept: Breaking out of the idea that JSF is only to be used in large musical chunks.
Steps: CCW Pivot 1U1D [1-2], 3/4 Shimmy on the Up [3-4], Full Spin with Syncopated Pivot Shift Step [5-8].
Feet: L foot flat, R relevé in jazz 3rd, demi plié on “2” [1-2], step ht db R flat-footed, going F [3-4], stepping ht db R, making CW turn, going R [5-6], come up onto ball of L foot [&(7)], step R foot flat to complete full CW turn [7], touch ball of L foot in jazz 3rd [8].
Hips: Tw ft db L [1-2], alt 3/4 glutes dt db R [3-4], home [5-6], tw L [&(7)], tw ht db R [7-8].
Arms: L arm mod 5th, R mod 2nd [1-2], both mod 2nd [3-5], high 1st [6], R hand behind head, L hand at L hip [7-8].
Cymbals: 3-3-7 [1-4], 3-1-3-1-3 [5-8].
Here we haven’t manipulated the JSF movements out of their default sentiments or timings; we’re only breaking them up into smaller bits to fit more into one count of 8. Also notice how that if you wanted to repeat this phrase, you would have to reverse (mirror image) the entire combination, because you end with your weight on the right foot.

JSF layered over JSF:
Concept: Layering steps and step families in the Jamila Format, choosing a dominant sentiment.
Steps: Algerian Shimmy with the upper body and sentiment of Arabic 1.
Feet: Touch-step ht db R in relevé
Hips: Alt glutes dt db L
Torso: Und U-D ft db UB
Arms: Back of R hand over mouth, palm facing out, L arm in mod 2nd.
Cymbals: Running 4s and 5s.
Notice how the arms emphasize the coy, shy feeling of the Arabic 1 step, even though the lower body is performing the Algerian Shimmy. Here we are also layering the Arabic Family over the Shimmy Family.

SSF layered over JSF:
Concept: Combining the steps of JSF with the technical elements of SSF.
Overview: Five Count with alternating interior hip squares and optional rib cage locks.
Feet: Stepping ht db R in relevé: cross R behind L, step L in place [1-2], step in place in releve, 3/4 timing ft db R [3-4], reverse [5-8].
Hips: Alt int sq CW ht db F [1-8].
Arms: Mod 2nd [1-8].
Cymbals: 4-4-10
Optional Layer: Rib locks ht db F [1-8].
The Five Count is a JSF movement, and by default, it does not feature hip work. The interior hip square is a distinctly SSF movement, refined and codified by Suhaila in the 1980s, after the 1978 JSF cut-off. The rib locks are a true layer, as codified by Suhaila within the context of the SSF.

Two Formats, One Vision
As you work in both the SSF and the JSF, remember to keep the two formats clearly separated in your head. The SSF refers to base technical movements divided up in the body; the JSF refers to steps and step names that encompass the whole body. We must also understand that there are movements that we do in the SSF that are not JSF. While it is true that the JSF came first, we use our SSF technical foundations to do the steps in the JSF. The formats feed into one another, weaving back and forth. When you are learning the two formats, be very clear with yourself which one is which.

It is also important that when you are learning the steps of the JSF that you aren’t approaching them as though they were drills. Each step comes with a built-in cultural context and origin. Sometimes the origin is right there in the step name: Basic Egyptian, Algerian Shimmy, Turkish Walk, Turkish Backwalk, Basic Taqsim. Practice physicalizing and embodying the character of each step. Pretend to dance like Samia Gamal when doing your Walk With Pivot on an Angle. Embody the archetypal matriarch when doing your 4/4 Shimmy. Channel a coy sister at a family house party when dancing your Arabic 1.

If you are in the Salimpour School, it is essential that you train simultaneously in both formats. Doing so will make you a strong technical dancer with fantastic musicality and a wealth of historical and cultural context on which to draw from when composing dances, either in improvisation or choreography.

The reading/viewing list for SL3 and JL3 is the same.  Find the list in the SL3 section.

JL3 Testing Steps

Part of the process of learning JL3 material requires attending the workshops to learn tools and practices that you will take home and work on for several months.  Typical testers take 2-4 JL3 weeklongs before testing, and part of the exam takes place during the JL3 workshops.  You are ready to test when you know and can demonstrate sufficiently all the material covered in L3 including the required choreographies and have completed the testing packet projects.  Students must contact the School to be assigned a L5-certified instructor if they are planning to test or working on material for testing in the future and require feedback.    The School’s goal is to keep you continually moving forward in your dance studies and to set you up for success at each step of the process.  If for some reason Suhaila or her instructors feel you are not ready for testing, they will provide you specific information on what you need to learn or improve.  The testing process involves the following steps.

Students wishing to test must contact the School to be assigned a Level 5-certified instructor if they are planning to test or working on material for testing in the future and want feedback. SalimpourCertification@gmail.com

Submit the following for evaluation and receive approval (passing scores) on all material before submitting the JL3 Testing Packet.  Note that evaluation of the pre-testing submissions is handled by private lesson (in person or Skype) with an assigned JL5 instructors. See further below for instructions.

  • JL3 Technique Drills
  • JL3 Certification Choreography.  
When you feel you are ready to test and have successfully completed the pre-testing submissions, contact Suhaila to receive formal permission.  Once you do have Suhaila’s permission to test, contact the Certification Coordinator to enter the testing chute.  CLICK HERE.  The Coordinator will verify Suhaila’s approval and then send you the necessary paperwork and payment link.

Suhaila’s goal is to keep you continually moving forward in your dance studies and to set you up for success at each step of the process. If for some reason she feels you are not ready, she will provide you specific information on what you need to learn or improve to test.

See the Testing Packet section below for submission deadlines and detailed information.
Throughout the workshop, you will be given exam portions: choreography, technique drills, stamina drills, emotional preparation work, etc. During the week, you are also required to participate in any performance nights, such as the Improvisation Performance Labs.  More information about the JL3 workshop including pre-workshop assignments is further below.  Note that if you do not pass the exam, you may participate in and pay for another L3 testing cycle at a later date with Suhaila’s approval.

JL3 Pre-Testing  Requirements & Testing Packet Instructions

The technique drills are a list of specific drills that cover a wide range of JL3 technique.  The drills must be filmed in a space with lighting bright enough for clear video evaluation of the required JL3 technique.  The drills will be done solo.  Each drill must executed correctly and with clear JL3 skill articulation.  When you feel you are ready for test evaluation you will then purchase a required 120 minute private lesson with your assigned L5 instructor  for the test evaluation.  Submissions must be completed and approved for testing prior to submitting your JL3 test packet.  Allow enough time in advance for your submissions to be evaluated.  (Note: May require multiple submissions to meet skill level approval.)

JL3 Technique Drills for Testers 11-27-2017

Video Filming Instruction 11-27-2017

Students must be evaluated on their JL3 certification choreographies prior to submitting their testing packets.  The evaluations are handled through private lessons (in person or via Skype) with an assigned JL5 instructors.

If submitting video for evaluation, the choreographies must be filmed in a space with lighting bright enough for clear video evaluation of technique and finger cymbal patterns, R and/or L dominant (per required).  Separate video may be requested of finger cymbal pattern  playing without dancing the choreography.

If videos are not view-able, dancers will need to re-film and re submit the work.  Or, if work still needs to be done, dancers can continue to schedule privates for guidance and feedback until they are approved for the Testing Chute.  (Review the Video Filming Instructions for Technique Drills for additional video hints and uploading instructions.)

Here we focus on the JL3 testing packet, which is only part of the testing process.  Testers must attend the workshop and participate in all workshop activities, pre-workshop assignments, during-the-week homework, and improvisation performance nights.  The tester must complete the L3 pre-testing chute requirements and have approval from the Certification Coordinator before submitting her testing packet.

L3 Testing Packet Deadline

Ten to thirty days prior to the workshop in which you are testing, you must:

  • Pay the JL3 testing fee.
  • Submit the assignments outlined in this section.
  • Proof of your testing payment plus the assignments must be emailed to salimpourcertification at gmail.com.
  • Specific Packet Deadlines
    • Feb 2018:  testing fees & packets due between Dec 29 & Jan 19
    • Aug 2018:  testing fees & packets due between Jul 6 & Jul 30

The testing packet takes time to complete; students are encouraged to begin at least six months in advance.  Students are expected to complete and submit the following assignments as outlined in the sections below 10-30 days prior to the workshop at which they are testing.  Project 1 (morning pages) should be submitted in hardcopy in addition to any pre-workshop assignments.  Projects 2-8 should be emailed as PDF files, along with proof of the JL3 testing payment, to the email listed above in the deadline section.  Submit each project as a single PDF, clearly labeled with the project title and your name.  Complete all projects and submit them at one time.  Note:  if you tested for SL3 when the Artist’s Way was part of your testing chute projects, use Project List B further below.

  • Project 1: Artist’s Way morning pages
  • Project 2: Artist’s Way questions
  • Project 3: Music Project
  • Project 4: Compendium Reports
  • Project 5: Article Book & Compendium Questions
  • Project 6: Choreography Questions
  • Project 7: Jamhaila Drills
  • Project 8: Grid Assignments

Resources

Visit the Reading List on the Resources page for the texts and other resources to assist you in completing the projects.

Project List B:  If you successfully tested for SL3 when the morning pages were part of your testing chute requirements, use this project list.

  • Dance Anatomy & Ballet Definitions outlined in SL3 Testing Packet (instead of Artist’s Way morning pages)
  • Dance Psychology Self Study outlined in SL3 Testing Packet (instead of Artist’s Way questions)
  • Music Project
  • Compendium Reports
  • Article Book & Compendium Questions
  • Choreography Questions
  • Jamhaila Drills
  • Grid Assignments

Updated 6 Mar 2017

Read Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way and complete the activites and morning pages; the process takes 12 weeks.  Note:  For dancers who completed the morning pages as part of their SL3 testing chute, submit both the Dance Anatomy and Ballet Definitions and the Dance Psychology Self Study projects as outlined in the current SL3 packet.

  • Bring your completed morning pages to demonstrate you have completed the 12 week study.  
  • Answer the following questions.  
    1. Define morning pages and the purpose of writing them.
    2. Explain how you followed (or didn’t follow) the morning page exercise and what you think you learned (or didn’t learn) from the process.
    3. Define what Cameron means by “filling the well”?
    4. In her discussions on Attention, Cameron states: “Very often, a creative block manifests itself as an addiction to fantasy.” Do you think this has specific merit to the belly dance world, or do you think all art forms have the same problem? Discuss.
    5. Cameron discusses synchronicity? Have you ever had an opportunity presented to you that you regret passing up? Explain.
    6. Discuss a specific artist’s date (and the related chapter, exercise or concept) and what you learned from the date.
    7. What does Cameron mean by “The Virtue Trap”?
    8. How does Cameron define “perfectionism”?
    9. What does Cameron mean by “filling the form”?
Audit the Yale class “Introduction to Classical Music” through the online course program with Coursera.  Complete the two exercises outlined below.

The goal of this project is to further your understanding of how to hear music and what to listen for. Although this course has been created with Western Classical music in mind, many of the terms and concepts are similar to what is presented in Middle Eastern music. Although this is a 9 week course, you are only required to watch the videos for the first 3 weeks as this information will be most relevant to our studies.

The Course can be found here: https://www.coursera.org/learn/introclassicalmusic/home/welcome

Click on the “Enroll Now” button, and select “Audit” to register for the course. You do not need to purchase the course to have access to the videos. Note: only the videos for Weeks 1-3 are required for this project.

Exercise 1

After listening to Weeks 1-3 of the course, pick 3 different pieces of music from the list of 100+ songs on the website. Using the concepts and terms discussed in the lessons, describe the music similarly to how Professor Wright does in his class. Use a minimum of 5 terms / concepts, and give time markers to your breakdown. (Note: in some cases the terminology might not be a complete match. If the general concept is the same, note the similarities / differences.) Discuss what effect the terms / concepts have on the emotional / structural delivery of the music, and how that might relate to your general choice of movement as a dancer.

Examples of (but not limited to) terminology to use:

  • Texture: Polyphonic, Homophonic, or Monophonic
  • Melody: Conjunct or Disjunct
  • Melody: Motive or Theme
  • Dissonance / Consonance
  • Antecedent / Consequent
  • Melodic Sequence: Ascending or Descending
  • Ritardando / Accelerando
  • Duple, Triple Rhythms
  • Form
  • Verse / Chorus
    • Ternary Form
    • Sonata Allegro
    • Theme and Variation
    • Rondo Form
  • Functional Types: Thematic / Transitional / Developmental / Cadential

Exercise 2

Write an essay (approximately 2 pages) on how this course has changed the way you hear music. What are some of the similarities you’ve noticed between Western and Middle Eastern Classical Music? What are some of the differences? Feel free to discuss any additional connections you have made through watching this course.

Prepare a total of three reports using “The West Discovers the Middle East” section of The Salimpour School Belly Dance Compendium V1.

  • Select three sections of interest.
  • Prepare a short paper (3-5 pages double-spaced, size 12 font, 1” margins) on each topic furthering the research presented in the book. Do not simply rephrase what is already in the book; use the book to inspire you for your own research.
  • Each report should have at least 4 references. Wikipedia does NOT count as a reference.

Notes: The goal is to further your knowledge on three topics. Some report ideas include a basic report, book review, commentary, informed opinion, interviews, documentaries, videos, reviewing the current views on controversial topics, noting conflicting information that you’ve found, comparing video to written material, etc. You have freedom in the scope and content of the “report”, as long as it meets the above requirements.

Using the Article Book, Compendium, New Danse Orientale, and personal experience, answer the following questions. Answers should range from a few sentences to a few paragraphs based on need.

  1. Throughout history, the West has been borrowing from the East, has been borrowing from the West. Using each of the three categories of Music, Dance and Costuming, site examples of how they have been changed through exposure or expectation from other cultures. Briefly describe the social, political, or economic situations that encouraged or necessitated this change.
  2. What role did Egyptomania and Orientalism play in the development of bellydance in the West? What was the western cultural context at the time that provided fertile ground for this introduction?
  3. Through a combination of fantasy and reality, bellydance has garnered a salacious reputation both in the East, and West. What events or concepts lead to this reputation? How has this perception affected you – for better and/or worse?
  4. Is there such a thing as “Traditional Bellydance”? What defines bellydance to you, and what are the parameters for inclusion?
  5. Name three ways in which Jamila Salimpour revolutionized the dance into what we know of it today.
  6. What does “Responsible Fusion” mean to you?
  7. If someone were to accuse you of Cultural Appropriation, what would be your response?
  8. Why is it important to understand the historic and cultural context surrounding bellydance?
  9. What significance did Modern Dancers of the early 20th century impart to bellydance as we know it today?
  10. What are some defining characteristics of the unique style of American Bellydance during the 19050’s-1970’s and what contributed to their debut?
Read two (or more) choreography books of your choice.*  Write 4-6 pages on the following concepts.

  • space definition and explanation
  • time definition and explanation
  • energy definition and explanation
  • include a list of choreography books read and referenced (at least two books*)

*See the Resources page for suggestions.  

Create three types of combination phrases as detailed below. Your goal is to smoothly transition between the steps and demonstrate your knowledge of how the moves are similar (or dissimilar) in execution, movement quality, or emotional intent.  Have fun and improvise with the steps, seeing what emerges.  Always be clear on what the original step is, but then be creative:  flip it, reverse it, rewind it, use only part of it, use multiple timings, etc. Throughout the assignment, use a wide variety of steps and finger cymbal patterns, using more than one cymbal pattern per phrase where suitable. Type the combinations using Jamila step names and Suhaila nomenclature to specify timing, travelling direction, arms, staging, reverses, transitions, etc.  For documentation. use the “one-body-part-per-line” approach used in all certification choreography notes.  For this exercise (and for all choreography and homework), use the nomenclature documents provided on the Resource page in the Documentation section; these include symbols, abbreviations, usage instructions, phrase samples, and a choreography example.)

  • Set 1.  20 separate phrases of eight counts; each phrase containing 3 Jamila steps (or parts of Jamila steps) connected sequentially, using smooth transitions.
  • Set 2.  20 separate phrases of eight counts; each phrase containing Jamila steps layered on top of each other; list the sentiment of what you have chosen as the underlying Jamila step for the phrase.  Each phrase should contain at least 3 Jamila steps.
  • Set 3.  20 separate phrases of eight counts; each phrase with a) at least two Jamila steps layered, fused, and/or connected as developed in Sets 1 and 2 plus b) Suhaila format layering added for the entire phrase.
  • After completing your combinations, print a list of all Jamila steps and finger cymbal patterns (from JL2 section: JL2 Step Families and Finger Cymbals); on that list, check off all the steps and finger cymbals you included in your combination phrases.
Using the staging and emotional grid, complete the following exercises.  Use the nomenclature documents provided on the Resource page in the Documentation section; these include symbols, abbreviations, usage instructions, phrase samples, and a choreography example that includes the grid.  Note that exercises 2 & 3 below, you are staging one choreography and creating emotional projection for the other; for both exercises 2 & 3, include the full grid on both assignments even though you are only completing one half of the grid for each exercise.

  1. Create and submit a chart of the audience grid, playing a specific person in each of the 9 audience spots.  Example: maternal grandmother in 1, ex boyfriend from high school in 9, etc.
  2. Using the Shams El Shamouseh choreography, prepare an emotional projection grid (not staging), phrase-by-phrase (will be based on the people you place in #1).
  3. Using the Sallam Allay choreography, prepare a staging grid (no emotional projection grid) phrase-by-phrase.
Register here

Suhaila Level 3 Workshop & Pre-Assignments

Building on the basic L3 concepts, you work at a higher level on technique, choreography, emotional preparation, creativity, etc.  To attend a SL3 Weeklong workshop, you must have current SL2 certification.  To prepare, read the training list in the SL3 section above and complete the pre-workshop assignments below.  The School recommends that students began work on the assignments immediately, as some assignments may take time to complete.  You are expected to complete all pre-workshop assignments before the first day of the workshop.

Pre-Workshop Assignments

  • Dance art book with assignments.
    • Instructions: DanceJournalAssignments.
    • Include a copy of the pre-workshop assignment instructions in your art book, and use bookmarks to clearly show where your regular entries begin (from any previously presented work) and to clearly show where to find your art book assignments.
  • Emotion Exercise Music Selections:
    • 3-4 selections music selections on CD and easily queued (no iPods)
    • Music can be any genre/type (do not need to be bellydance music)
    • Selections should evoke strong emotions.  Each piece of music should have its own very specific memory and emotional perspective.
  • Optional.  Training Plan.
    • Use format in Resources section; select a specific goal and develop 4-16 week plan.
    • Email the plan to the Certification Coordinator prior to the first day of the workshop for feedback.
  • If participating in the improvisation Performance Lab, Suhaila will select a performance set for you.   The L3 Performance Lab is a safe dance opportunity for dancers to begin and continue to work on their improvisation performance skills and catalog videos.  Participation is required for L3 testers, but we invite non testing L3 workshop participants to perform as well.  The object is to apply the progressive L3 technique from the workshop, energy points, grid work, stage use, and a degree of emotional application during this performance and  improvisation situation.  The music set is chosen for you from the Performance Set List.  Individual feedback is given for each performer for ideas and areas to work on.
  • Reading List (see SL3 section above).  Work your way through the reading list.  You might not have read everything by the time you attend your first L3, but do what you can.  The more prepared you are for the weeklong, the better you can absorb material and progress in the workshop.  Note that the reading list for SL3 and JL3 is the same.
  • Review all training information in the SL3 section and be prepared accordingly.
  • During the workshop:
    • Arrive early and warm-up prior to class.
    • Expect Suhaila to run over the allotted teaching time and to include special offerings and potential field trips. Please plan accordingly and allow for maximum flexibility in your timing to take advantage of unique events and opportunities.
  • Additional items to bring.
    • Bring your dance art book (no smaller than by 9×12 inches or size B4 paper) with your regular contributions. You can use the same book for each level and for both formats.
    • Bring a copy of certification choreography notes with any questions.
    • Bring a selection of your Middle Eastern dance music, including classics (see here for examples), for homework exercises during the week.
    • Bring finger cymbals, veil, ballet or jazz shoes, hand towel, refillable water bottle, and deodorant to reapply as necessary.
    • Access to a computer / printer for any homework during week.
    • Read/review the About Workshops page which includes Common Questions, Studio Rules, and more.
Register here

Jamila Level 3 Workshop & Pre-Assignments

These workshops immerse students in five full days of study, using dance instruction, lecture and choreography as the tools for learning and testing. Classes are taught by Suhaila and authorized TAs/instructors.  Participants must have current JL2 certification to attend, and students are expected to have a thorough working knowledge of Jamila’s format and terminology.  To prepare, read the training list in the JL3 section above and complete the pre-workshop assignments below.  The School recommends that students began work on the assignments immediately, as some assignments may take time to complete.  You are expected to complete all pre-workshop assignments before the first day of the workshop.  Note that students will typically attend several L3 weeklongs before testing.

Pre-Workshop Assignments

  • Great Dancers
    • Research and watch videos of three of the great dancers from the Middle East from the 1930s, 40s, 50s, or 60s.
    • Note the signature moves, music selections, sentiments, costuming, venue, year, etc. Write, draw, collage your findings in your dance art book, with at least 2 pages per researched dancer.
    • Submit your pre-workshop assignment (in your art book) on the first morning of the workshop.
    • Each time you attend a JL3 weeklong, select different dancers to research.
  • Bal Anat Character.
    • View the Bal Anat performances available on youtube and vimeo.
      • John Carney Bal Anat documentary: youtube or vimeo
      • Bal Anat Performance (TV studio): link
      • Bal Anat Performance c1974: link
      • Bal Anat Revival 2001: link
    • Select one historical member of Bal Anat (finale dancer, pot dancer, sword dancer, Morrocan dancer, Tunisian dancer, tray dancer, Pink Lady, etc.) and create your version of that character. Research and create a name and back story for the character. Keeping in line with the Bal Anat vibe, think about what other music you might use, your costuming, Jamila-styled phrases and combinations.
    • Document your findings and ideas in your art book (at least 3 pages). Prepare to submit your pre-workshop assignment (in your art book) on the first morning of the workshop.
    • Each time you attend a JL3, select a different dancer/character to research.
  • Dance art book with assignments.
    • Instructions: DanceJournalAssignments.
    • Include a copy of the pre-workshop assignment instructions in your art book, and use bookmarks to clearly show where your regular entries begin (from any previously presented work) and to clearly show where to find your art book assignments.
  • Optional.  Training Plan.
    • Use format in Resources section; select a specific goal and develop 4-16 week plan.
    • Email the plan to the Certification Coordinator prior to the first day of the workshop for feedback.
  • If participating in the improvisation Performance Lab, Suhaila will select a performance set for you.   The L3 Performance Lab is a safe dance opportunity for dancers to begin and continue to work on their improvisation performance skills and catalog videos.  Participation is required for L3 testers, but we invite non testing L3 workshop participants to perform as well.  The object is to apply the progressive L3 technique from the workshop, energy points, grid work, stage use, and a degree of emotional application during this performance and  improvisation situation.  The music set is chosen for you from the Performance Set List.  Individual feedback is given for each performer for ideas and areas to work on.
  • Reading List (see SL3 section above).  Work your way through the reading list.  You might not have read everything by the time you attend your first L3, but do what you can.  The more prepared you are for the weeklong, the better you can absorb material and progress in the workshop.  Note that the reading list for SL3 and JL3 is the same.
  • Review all training information in the JL3 section and be prepared accordingly.
  • During the workshop:
    • Arrive early and warm-up prior to class.
    • Expect Suhaila to run over the allotted teaching time and to include special offerings and potential field trips. Please plan accordingly and allow for maximum flexibility in your timing to take advantage of unique events and opportunities.
  • Additional items to bring.
    • Bring your dance art book (no smaller than by 9×12 inches or size B4 paper) with your regular contributions. You can use the same book for each level and for both formats.
    • Bring a copy of certification choreography notes with any questions.
    • Bring a selection of your Middle Eastern music for homework exercises during the week. Focus on classics.
    • Bring finger cymbals, veil, ballet or jazz shoes, hand towel, refillable water bottle, and deodorant to reapply as necessary.
    • Access to a computer / printer for any homework during week.
    • Read/review the About Workshops page which includes Common Questions, Studio Rules, and more.
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Performance Prep Workshop

Learn important skills and professionalism that are immediately applicable to your performances.  In additional to working on various aspects of a performance, you will have three improvisational performances to recorded music with feedback.  Students must have SL2 certification to attend; attendance at a Performance Prep is required before a student attends a Live Music workshop.

What is covered in the Performance Prep Four-Day Workshop?

  • Improvisation skills for entrances, exits, the body of the compositions, and drum solos.
  • Use of veils, veil wraps, veil management, heels, etc. are also discussed.
  • Makeup, hair, costuming, and etiquette are also covered.
  • Three performance labs (in full costume) using the Performance Sets to practice improvisation skills.
  • Additional concepts and topics.

How to Prepare for a Performance Prep Workshop

  • Complete the pre-workshop assignments (list below).
  • Prepare using the Performance Preparation Resources listed below.
  • Work extensively with the Performance Catalog sets.
  • Allow yourself a few months to work through the Resources list and complete the pre-workshop assignments.
  • This homework is to be repeated and updated anew each time a student takes a Choreography workshop.
  • If you want advance assistance in selecting your costuming, contact us at least six weeks from the date of the workshop and we can put you in touch with dancers to help you select.
  • Maintain your technique and continue work on Improv-Prep and certification choreographies.
  • Students should have previous knowledge of and basic experience with Salimpour Gridwork.  Gridwork information is introduced and explained in SL2 workshop and further developed in L2+ workshops and master classes.
  • Plan for homework during the workshop.
  • For many higher level workshops, the instructors run over the allotted teaching time.
  • Special offerings and potential field trips may be included. Please plan accordingly and allow for maximum flexibility in your timing to take advantage of unique events and opportunities.
  • Review the “About Workshops” page that includes general information for all workshops including Common Questions, Workshop Preparation, What to Bring, Studio Rules, etc.

Performance Prep Pre-Workshop Assignments

In general, dancers should focus on Suhaila format for their costuming choices.  But, students specifically about to test for Jamila L4 are encouraged to have at least 2 Jamila looks.

  • Read the “How to Prepare for a Performance Prep” workshop above.
  • Use the workshop preparation resources listed on this page.
    • Document your research from these resources and bring to the workshop.
    • Use your dance art book to document your experiments with veil, poses, make-up, and more.
    • Bring your dance at book with at least 10 pages of new material.  Bookmark the new material and include an overview of the new material included .
    • Learn the entrances and exits from the  “Basic Entrances and Exits” video.
    • Go through the preparation resources carefully.  There is a lot of information provided to learn and rehearse.
  • 3-5 Make-up Looks.
    • Experiment with different make-up looks, making notes in your art book; you will try these out (and experiment further) during the workshop and performance labs.
    • Prepare 3-5 full make-up looks for yourself for stage; take 3-5 photos of yourself from different angles with each make-up look.  Turn in your photos (not in your dance book).  Keep the photos individual as they will be mixed and matched with hair style and costume photos.
  • 3-5 Hair styles.
    • Experiment with different hair styles, making notes in your art book; you will try these out (and experiment further) during the workshop and performance labs.
    • Prepare 3-5 hair styles for yourself for stage; take 3-5 photos of yourself from different angles with each hair style.  Turn in your photos (not in your dance book).  Keep the photos individual as they will be mixed and matched with make-up and costume photos.
  • 3 Costumes.
    • Bring three complete performance costumes with jewelry, veil, heels, etc. on the first morning and as required throughout the workshop and performance labs.
    • Take 3-5 pictures of yourself from different angles in the three complete costumes you brought for the performance labs.  Turn in the photos (not in your dance book).  Keep the photos individual so they can be mixed and match with make-up looks and hair styles.
    • Bring photos and/or sketches of 3-5 additional complete costume options. Turn in the photos (not in your dance book).  Keep the photos individual as they will be mixed and matched with make-up and hair style photos.
  • 1 Arrival Outfit.
    • Bring at least 1 arrival outfit for a professional gig:  cocktail dress, heels, jewelry, costume bag (can be your suitcase roller board) on the first morning and as required throughout the workshop and performance labs.
    • Bring pictures and/or sketches of 3-5 additional arrival outfits. Turn in your photos (not in your dance book).  Keep the photos individual as they will be mixed and matched with make-up and hair style photos.
  • Learn the Improv-Prep choreography set as assigned by year.
  • Additional preparation and items to bring:
    • Bring a notebook and pen/pencil to take notes.
    • Bring dance heels, cymbals, and veil.
    • Have access to a computer / printer for any homework.

Performance Preparation Resources

For your performance catalogs and workshops, the following Resources are available:

  • Study the 100+ Compositions list of music all belly dancers should know.
  • Research the great dancers (Tahia Carioca, Naima Akef, Samia Gamal, Nadia Gamal, Nagwa Fouad, Mona Said, etc.) by watching as much performance as possible.
  • Watch (and watch and rewatch and then watch again and again) Suhaila’s Published Video catalog: http://www.salimpourschool.com/video/
  • Study Suhaila’s drum solos (her solo work and drum solo choreographies), familiarizing yourself with the structure and rhythms.
  • Work with the performance sets on the Performance Catalog page.

Available free to regular Online Class subscribers.

  • Hearing Music and Using Tallies (requires SL1 certification) taught by Suhaila
  • Basic Entrances and Exits” video for improvised performances.  Review and know this material solid; it was filmed to assist students in preparing their personal performance catalogs, preparing for performance labs at weeklongs, and preparing to attend either the Performance Prep or Live Music workshops.  Look in the Specialty drop-down menu for “certification required” videos.
  • Improvisation Techniques 2 class series.  Look in the specialty drop-down menu for “certification required” videos.  Focused on traditional entrances for both Suhaila and Jamila formats.
  • Baladi Progression Master Class taught by Sabriye (also a PPV)
  • Performance Skills taught by Sabriye
  • Professionalism Lecture taught by Sabriye
  • Debke Stylization and Cane taught by Sabriye (also a PPV)
  • Arabic Language and Literature four-lecture series by Dr. Siddiq
  • DML2 Heels and Veil Classes (four) taught by Sabriye
  • FF on Baladi, Drum Solos, Exit (2 classes) taught by Sabriye (use search feature)
  • Taqsim Master Class taught by Sabriye
  • Improvisation taught by Sabriye
  • Music Lecture from Live Music, Sabriye (requires SL2 certification)
  • Veil Wraps and Transitions (with finger cymbals) L2 Dance Movement class taught by Yvonne (for Jamila stylization)

Online Class PPVs

  • Ear for Rhythms 1 and 2 by Issam
  • Beginning Drum Technique and Rhythms by Ziad
  • Rhythms 1 and 2 by Leyla and Roland
  • Stage Make-up Tutorial
  • Makeup Smokey Eye
  • Makeup Enta Omri Look

Performance

  • Improv Prep Choreograhies (use Improv Prep filter in OC PPV section to locate)
  • Certification choreographies for both formats
Video Links

Spotify Playlist

L3 Training Plan Information for Both Formats

In L3 and L4, dancers integrate their technique foundation with layering, emotional intent, musicality, choreography, culture, performance skills, and more.   All of the elements take time to learn, explore, implement, and train. Over time, you develop skills that help you learn more quickly. As an example, the process of learning a new choreography usually happens a bit more quickly than the last time. The more you take technique classes, the better you get at making the most of those training sessions.

Many students spend 2-3 years on L3 material before testing, and then spend at least that much time working on L4 before testing. As an example, you might write a training plan for every eight weeks; maybe one eight week session focuses on the usual technique development, but also learning one new choreography, reading one of the required books, and completing a testing project. There are many different ways and timing options to approach the material.

  • Set a realistic timeline for yourself. If you decide on two years, then divide that time up, developing training plans every 2-3 months (or as needed). You might find you need more or less time after you map everything out.
  • Review the training plan documents in the Resources section.
  • If you only have 5-7 hours a week, it may take a while, but you can definitely make it happen. Most students approach testing in this way. Sustaining momentum is much easier by keeping a list of goals and requirements and then utilizing Training Plans to achieve them.
  • Visit the L3 (or L4) page for a list of training resources, testing steps and projects, and pre-workshop assignments.
  • Keep an eye on the future so that you maintain progress on your performance catalogs, learning L4 choreography, documenting for your L5 teaching book, etc.
  • Once you put together a training plan or series of training plans, you can check in with the Certification Coordinator for feedback.
  • Schedule private lessons with L5 instructors as needed; they can give you useful feedback and help you be more efficient with your training time and focus.

Some dancers might be able to carve out more time each week and want to speed up the training process. The faster option is definitely a valid approach, but it does take commitment. To help you envision what a more intense training plan might look like, our Certification Coordinator has created some example training plans for L3.

  • L3 Training Plan:  Preparing to Get Ready (example  with 11 hrs per week). This plan is about preparing to get ready to be in the testing zone.   L3 11hr Pre-Chute example
  • L3 Training Plan:  Final Push Towards Testing (example with 14 hrs per week). This plan is about being in the testing zone.   L3 14hr Test Chute example
  • L3_L4_TrainingList:  use with L3 information above to include in your Training Plan

Curriculum Notice

The Salimpour Certification Programs are under constant review and evaluation for growth and improvement. Although the plans for L3 Testing are established in advance, know that small changes and adjustments may be made to the process. You are responsible for rechecking any assignment instructions three months from your target L3 testing submission date to verify that you have the most up-to-date instructions.