Yalla - Dance Folkloric!!

July 7 - 8, 2018

White River Ballet Studio, 
52 Bridge St. 
White River Junction, VT


Join Raq-On Dance Studio and Origins Folkloric Dance Company for a weekend of folkloric dance! Learn more about the cultures, costuming, and performing folkloric dance socially and on stage. 

This will be a small, intimate event, with only 35 spaces available. In lieu of a show and in traditional women's folkloric style, we'll have a dance party with guided steps!


  • You can register with Paypal and pay-by-mail here
  • Price for the entire weekend is only $225 by June 1. Payment plans available. Please email for more information. 
  • Single day options are also available. See linked web site.
  • Registration is non-refundable. However, you can sell your spot.



10:00 am - noon


1:00 - 3:00 pm



3:30 - 5:30 pm


7:00 - 9:00 pm



10:00 am - noon


1:00 - 3:00 pm


Introduction to North African Dance with Samantha. An overview of popular dances from the Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia). The goal of this workshop is to give dancers the tools to recognize the musics and rhythms of common dance styles from the region and essential movement vocabulary appropriate for each style.

Muwashahat/Samaii with Morwenna and Walid. The Samaii is a dance of elegance and simplicity, but it can be challenging to interpret. It is performed with the Muwashahat, a poetic form of music that originated in Muslim Spain. The Egyptian/Lebanese style of Muwashahat was first developed for the stage in 1979 by renowned choreographer Mahmoud Reda. Learn the basics of the rhythm, steps, and as time allows, a short choreography.

Introduction to Khaleeji Dance with Kay. This workshop focuses on the folkloric style of khaleeji dance as a social dance, as performed by people in their homes. Kay will also include a short discussion of modern-style khaleeji, and compare and contrast the two styles. 

Dance party!


Debke! with Morwenna and Walid. Debke is the national dance of Lebanon and the Levant. It is a line dance performed socially and on the stage. We will cover the basic steps and learn a choreography

From Roots to Stage: A Discussion on Presenting Folkloric Dance. Led by Kay and Samantha, with participation by everyone! A panel discussion on the challenges of presenting the folkloric dances in public, including how best to present the dances for Western audiences, and how to get out of the solo dance mentality when it comes to folkloric styles. 

About the instructors


Morwenna Assaf

Morwenna Assaf, dance director for both Art/Dance Academy and CEDAR Productions, has been a Middle Eastern dancer, instructor and choreographer for almost 40 years. She studied in New York City with the late Ibrahim Farrah (her mentor and friend), and continues to study to this day America’s top dance instructors. Her forte and that of the dance company is the eastern Arabic (The Levant) countries - Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Palestine. Morwenna was inducted into the American Middle Eastern Hall of Fame in New York City in 1994 for her contributions, choreography, and research in this art form.


Walid Assaf

Walid Assaf, music Director for both the Art/Dance Academyand CEDAR Productions, was a well-known drummer in the Boston area and throughout New England. He taught percussion through Scheherazade Studios in New England for nearly 20 years, and in southern California for 18 years. He is also a remarkable debke dancer who brings his talent and knowledge directly form Lebanon. He has performed throughout the world with master musicians and singers from the Middle East. With his wife, Morwenna, he assists in bringing stars from around the world to be introduced to American audiences.


Samantha Burnstein

Based in Montreal, Canada, dancer and researcher Samantha Burnstein specializes in the dances of North Africa and the Middle East. She has dedicated herself to this passion for ethnic dance for the over 22 years. An accomplished artist she has performed and taught throughout North America as well as internationally. Hailing from a family of artists, Samantha studied ballet and modern dance from an early age. Called by the music, she was drawn to study the
dances of Africa and the Middle East and has studied with master teachers across and in North America, the Middle East, and West Africa. Samantha's dance reflects her years of dedication to cultural and artistic integrity as well as pursuit of knowledge.

A respected artist, Samantha has performed in such festivals as The Canada Dance Festival and Festival du Monde Arabe, and has choreographed for the highly acclaimed Jawaahir Dance Company (Minneapolis, U.S.A) and Arabesque Dance Company (Toronto, Canada). As a teacher, Samantha is called upon regularly as a connoisseur of dances from the MENA region, and
travels regularly as an invited artist. Samantha is the director of the folkloric company Sanaa Dance, which is dedicated to the dances of North Africa and the Middle East, whose successes include a 90-performance contract in Dubai,
United Arab Emirates, as well as dancing with Algerian superstar Cheb Khaled, and for ambassadors to Morocco and Tunisia. Her greatest honors and highlights, however, are working closely with artistic and cultural communities.

Passionate about research, Samantha has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology specialising in dance ethnology from Concordia University. She has contributed to various academic and dance conferences and publications, and continues to pursue ongoing research.

See Sanaa Folklore for more information about Samantha and her troupe.



Kay Hardy Campbell

Author, musician, and dance instructor Kay Hardy Campbell has been teaching Khaliji folkloric music and dance for over three decades. After earning a BA in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies, she lived in Saudi Arabia for several years, learning the dances at women's wedding parties and in the homes of Saudi friends.

Kay has written extensively about the music and dance of the Arabian Peninsula, beginning as a feature writer for the English language 'Arab News' in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and continues to write for Aramco World magazine. In 1998, she was the only foreign female correspondent to cover the National Folk Festival at Janadriyyah outside the Saudi capital of Riyadh. Her ability to read, speak, and write Arabic has allowed her to uncover and convey many aspects of culture and traditional life little known outside the Gulf.

A devoted student of Arabic music, Kay also plays the 'ud, violin, and frame drum. She is co-director - with Palestinian virtuoso and musical legend Simon Shaheen - of the annual weeklong Arabic Music Retreat, now in its twenty-first year at Mt. Holyoke College. In 2008, she wrote "Music of the Gulf" for NPR Marketplace, and in 2014 presented her research on Saudi songstresses at a conference held at the Qatar Music Academy.

Though she does not perform as a soloist, Kay choreographs Khaliji dances for her students and dance troupes. Her fund of knowledge includes not only women's dances, but also Bedouin folk dances. Known as a "teacher's teacher," Kay aims primarily to help her students experience the joyous aspects of Gulf culture firsthand through music and dance. She has lectured and taught dance at colleges and universities around the country, including Tufts, Harvard, Bowdoin, Wellesley, and Kennesaw State University in Georgia. In 2015 she was invited to present on women's folk dance at a conference on the Music of the Gulf at NYU-Abu Dhabi.

Her new novel, A Caravan of Brides, is set in the world of Saudi women. 

See Kay's website for more information about Kay's teaching and writing.


Browse our library of articles on folkloric dance here!