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!


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. 


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.


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