Perform with Banat Nawal

Already enrolled in dance classes and want to take it to the next level? Want to be a part of a commmunity of like minded individuals with a passion for music and movement? Want to show off for your friends? Whatever motivates you, consider performing with my student troupe Banat Nawal.

Banat Nawal
Aziza Nawal and Banat Nawal at 7 Stages Theatre

Banat Nawal consists of any level student of Aziza Nawal who possesses a working knowledge of Middle Eastern dance essentials, regularly attends class, rehearsals and participates in selected performances with the group. 

Being a part of this troupe is dependent on your commitment to rehearsals and class. Performance opportunities include festivals and studio sponsored shows.

Below are new choreography classes beginning April 2, 2024 and lasting 8 weeks – the show will be in June (TBA).

Absolute Beginner Choreo @ 5:30pm: This is a full package experience on your journey in belly dance. You will learn the technique and step combination for a wonderful choreography that will be performed at the sudio anniversary show happening in June. You will get tips on how to create your own costume, as well as makeup tips for the stage. Attendance in all classes and rehearsals is required to be eligible to perform.

Sword Chroeograpy @ 7:30pm: In this class you will learn how to use the sword in performance of this sultry and sleek choreography to be performed at the sudio anniversary show happening in June. This is a mixed level class that will also incorporate finger cymbals in warm ups. If you do not own a sword or finger cymbals, there will be some available for you to borrow in class. Attendance in all classes and rehearsals is required to be eligible to perform.

Finger Cymbals and Raqs Sharki

What are Finger Cymbals?

Finger Cymbals have been an integral part of a Raqs Sharki (belly dance) performance for decades and perhaps longer.

Known as Sagat in Egypt and Zills in Turkey, these magnificent percussion instruments provide a unique musical accompaniment for a dancer. They can be used with live music, recorded music and even acapella. For American dancers, the use of finger cymbals was a requirement when this dance was featured in the night clubs in places like New York and San Francisco where there was a major influx of Middle Eastern, Greek, and Armenian cultures during the 60’s and 70’s. This even carried through to the 80’s and beyond.

How can I learn to play?

There are a number of class offerings available thru March 2024 at Atlanta Fusion Belly Dance Studios – my class is on Tuesdays at 7:30pm and Majda Anwar teaches a class on Sundays – check out atlantafusionbellydance.com for more information.

If you are not in the Atlanta area – there are likely class offerings in your area or you can look into classes online.

Where can I purchase Finger Cymbals?

I have a few recommendations for great finger cymbals. It is important to get good quality cymbals that will provide a clear sound, have the right dimension and weight for your hands. Below are vendors that I have personally bought from over the years.

Turquoise International – I use the Size B Oriental – 2 ½” but there are many other options and a varity of sizes.

Saroyan Cymbals – a plethora of options here. Very high quality! I have used Afghani style, Saroyan Pro, and Arabesque II. These are fairly expensive but worth it!

Suhaila Cymbals – these are actually made by Turquoise International specially for Suhaila. They come in 3 sizes.

How long will it take to learn?

First, be patient. It will take as long as it takes. There is no formula for how long it will take to get good at playing finger cymbals. The same can be said for learning Raqs Sharki (belly dance). It takes dedication and a lot of practice – focus on the journey rather than the destination.

Class Schedule Winter/Spring 2024

Location: Atlanta Fusion Studios, 5522 New Peachtree Road Suite 111, Chamblee, GA, United States, 30341

Absolute Beginner Belly Dance Tuesdays @ 5:30pm
Ongoing
Have you ever seen a belly dancer and thought, how on earth does she move that way? Join Aziza Nawal to learn all the basics of belly dance. This class is perfect for those with no dance or belly dance experience to learn the basics of bellydance and get a great workout in! No experience required and drop ins welcome.

Belly Dance Foundations Tuesdays @ 6:30pm
Ongoing
This class focuses Middle Eastern Dance fundamentals and is suitable for most levels including novice beginners with some previous experience in belly dance. Each class will include a warm up and stretch followed by focused instruction on key movements used in belly dance to improve technique and boost confidence. Please bring a yoga mat or towel.

NEW Starting February 20 – Finger Cymbal Technique Tuesdays @ 7:30pm
This class will focus on technique, rhythm and movement while playing finger cymbals. Beginners are welcome! There will be some finger cymbals available to borrow in class, however, you are encouraged to purchase your own.

Previous class offerings:

Hardcore Belly Dance Technique

Aziza Nawal’s next Hardcore class session keeps you moving! Prepare to sweat as this class is packed with drills, combos. Get a work out and improve your performance skills with technique founded in the Belly Dance Evolution style.

More info and Registraion

Issam Houshan Live Music Intensive

The King of Drum Issam Houshan returns to Atlanta and I have the honor of teaching and performing with him once again! This is a fabulous 3-Day event that features classes on drumming, finger cymbals, rhythms and movement!

REGISTER NOW

Check out the full workshop schedule below.

Friday January 19, 2024 

6:30pm-9pm ET Drumming Essentials with Issam

Learn basic hand strokes for tabla players, the latest Middle Eastern rhythms, and techniques to create a drum solo. Practice Issam’s approach to tabla artistry for consistent sounds, moving volume and intricate music. (Basic tabla skills required for this workshop. Issam will have a few to purchase)

Saturday January 20, 2024 

9:30am Warm up & Stretch with Aziza Nawal

Aziza leads us through a restorative stretch and warm up before workshops

10:00am-11:30am Rhythms with Issam and Aziza Nawal

Ancient Middle Eastern melodies are known for drawing us out of our seats to dance. Issam will teach why the structure of these rhythms are important to Middle Eastern music and calls us to dance. Understanding Middle Eastern rhythms allows dancers to move from emotion and connect with the music. Practice short combinations that accentuate the music and give dancers a feel for the rhythms and are ideal for improvisational and choreographed performances. 

11:30am-1:00pm Drum Solo Drum Solo Choreography Workshop with Aziza Nawal & Issam

This session will harness the work done in the rhythms class and incorporate those movements into an exciting new choreography set to one of Issam’s legendary drum solos. Learn layered movements and ways to interpret the intricate framework of a drum solo while making the best use of the performance space. 

1PM-2PM LUNCH 

2pm-3:30pm Zills (Finger Cymbals) for Dancers with Issam Houshan

Where the musician and the movement meet. There are so many ways to play the finger cymbals – what is the best way for you? Learn the history of finger cymbals, different techniques and sounds to enhance your dancing. Gain insight on appropriate times to play the finger cymbals and when to pause, when to interact with the drummer and when to be the spotlight. Practice techniques for incorporating zill (finger cymbal) playing into your dance. Ideal for dancers and musicians.

Sunday January 21, 2024 

9:30am Warm up & Stretch with Amani Jabril

10:00am-11:30am Dancing with a Live Drummer with Issam & Amani Jabril

As a dancer, how do you know what to dance to with a live drummer? How do you know when your drummer is going to change rhythms? Should you cue the drummer? As a musician, how long should you repeat a phrase? Should you control the dancer’s direction? In this workshop we will explore expressive and highly flexible movement combinations that pair deeply with our music’s structure. Beginning with foundation or “kernel” combinations, this class will get you moving on stage with grace and control through the use of flexible movement maps that can be used on their own or developed further for use in choreography. This is a unique interactive workshop featuring Issam and Amani Jabril. Ideal for dancers and musicians. Beginner to advanced. All Levels encouraged!

11:30am-1:00pm Middle Eastern Rhythms Choreography Workshop with Amani Jabril and Issam

This workshop focuses attention on creating and structuring your choreographic “story” from its foundation. As the “director” of their own choreographic “story”, students will analyze the music structure of a particular performance piece and will be taught ways to effectively align dance movement and character with the “larger” message of the piece. Dancers will also focus on building highly personal “little moments” into their work, giving their final choreographies special moments that allow the audience to connect with the performer both as an individual and as an entertainer. In this workshop we will work with the song “Gawaly” from the album Issam Houshan & the Damascus Bellydance Orchestra.

5PM-7PM THEATER SHOW – Info TBA

Raqs Glitterati

Aziza Nawal hosts this spectacular showcase of talented artists with a focus on Oriental Dance aka Belly Dance. The show features select performers presenting their work in a longer format than a typical showcase, allowing full expression of their craft.

The next Raqs Glitterati date will be announced soon!

Past Shows:

Tribute to Mohamed Abdel Wahab April 2023 – Featured performances by Amani Jabril, Karma Karmelita, Luci Kade and Aziza Nawal

Love Edition in February 2023

Current Class Session

Tuesday Evenings @ Atlanta Fusion Studios located at 5522 New Peachtree Road Suite 111, Chamblee, GA 30341
Register Now
6:30pm Hardcore Belly Dance – Technique

Aziza Nawal’s next Hardcore class session thaws you out from the cold and ushers in Spring! Prepare to sweat as this class is packed with drills, combos. traveling across the floor, and solid technique founded in the Belly Dance Evolution style.

7:30pm HardCore Belly Dance 6 Songs Every Belly Dancer Should Know

6 songs every bellydancer should know! Learn about rhythms and movement combinations that accompany them along with musicality for the composition. New song each week – drop ins welcome.

New Class Session Begins March 21

Tuesdays 6:30p – Hardcore Belly Dance – Spring! Aziza Nawal’s next Hardcore class session thaws you out from the cold and ushers in Spring! Prepare to sweat as this class is packed with drills, combos. traveling across the floor, and solid technique founded in the Belly Dance Evolution style.

Tuesdays 7:30p – Oriental Flowers Choreography: Belly Dance Evolution Alum, Aziza Nawal will be teaching a beautiful and challenging choreography by Jillina that was featured in the Alice in Wonderland production. This choreography includes a rich movement vocabulary that can be performed as a solo or in a group with formations.

Register Now

Raqs Glitterati April 30th

Tribute to the Music of Mohamed Abdel Wahab

Aziza Nawal hosts this spectacular showcase of talented artists with a focus on Oriental Dance aka Belly Dance. The show features select performers presenting their work in a longer format than a typical showcase, allowing full expression of their craft.

Featuring performances by Amani Jabril, Karma Karmelita, Luci Kade and Aziza Nawal

Tickets: $30 includes dinner – Buy Now

Doors: 4:00pm
Showtime: 5:00pm

Raqs Glitterati – Feb 26

Aziza Nawal hosts this spectacular showcase of talented artists with a focus on Oriental Dance aka Belly Dance. The show features select performers presenting their work in a longer format than a typical showcase, allowing full expression of their craft.

Featuring performances by Faaridah, Heidi Baila, Prianca and Aziza Nawal

Tickets: $30 includes dinner – https://www.eventbrite.com/e/raqs-glitterati-feb-26-tickets-523077477817

Doors: 4:30pm
Showtime: 5:30pm