Saqra is a powerful dance artist and a master instructor. Her fluidity, grace, and technical skill is highlighted by her friendly demeanor and clear joy of the dance. She did not inherit the diva gene.
Saqra's ongoing participation and education in this dance form began in 1977 and has taken her to learn with many of the best dancers in the world, studying in America, Canada, Turkey and Egypt. Saqra continues to travel and study both in the USA and abroad and prides herself on proper research for anything she teaches. Folklore, fakelore, and stage creativity.... all three valuable but different things that need to be clearly presented as what they actually are and Saqra works hard to do that.
Saqra is constantly expanding her expertise in the traditional ethnic forms of the dance, the modern stage variants, and the continuing evolving fusion techniques... all that together keeps her material fresh and current.
Nationally and internationally in demand as both instructor and performer, Saqra has been repeatedly incredibly honored to be a frequent featured performer and instructor at the largest belly dance festival in America: Rakkasah West (annual March - Richmond, CA), a frequent featured performer and instructor at Rakkasah East (annual Oct - Somerset, NJ), and has taught and performed at many other premium long-running annual events including the legendary Morocco's Weeklong Retreats (NY), Amaya's Shake-and-Bake (NM), MEDA's Annual Gala (Canada), Shireem's Shimmy By The Sea (TX) and Shireem's Shimmy At Sea (the Caribbean), Jareeda Magazine/Mezdulene's Retreat (OR), Wiggles Of The West Competition (NV) and many, many more. Several troupes in North America have received grants to intensively study with Saqra.
Her award-winning choreographies as both a soloist and director of three different dance troupes has led to a long catalog of instructional DVDs available for home study.
Saqra is a master instructor whose video series is often used by other instructors to enhance their teaching techniques. Her clear method of breakdown and explanation and use of layered concepts make her workshops a challenge to all levels and an inspiring experience, without making them impossible for the newer dancer!
Saqra has a firm belief that every dancer has their own natural and achieved style and that no dancer should be required to copy someone else exactly. She believes that there is a freedom in as natural a dance form as Oriental dance that should allow the blooming of the personal style and spirit of the dancer, and she approaches instructing with a genuine love for the individual student. She has produced hypnosis CDs for stage fright and for ease of remembering choreography and expects to release more in the future.
Saqra has placed or won in a stunning number of competitions beginning in 1988 – titles really too numerous to list — but she has stopped competing since 2001 due to her extensive and wildly increasing teaching/travel schedule, her event production schedule (an over 20 year old annual festival: Showcase in OR and a sister event & competition started in 2009, and her continuing "Bootcamp" Retreat in Seattle), her constantly increasing instructional DVD series shooting schedule, and with the 2002 creation of her dance band: Mediterranean RaqsBand -- she plays lead melodic on the keyboard, and yes, CDs are available along with musical notation for keyboard players. She has also been featured on the covers of Jareeda, The Belly Dancer, and Zaghareet magazines.
Saqra was voted: "Best Kept Secret of 2005" and "Instructor of the Year 2008" by Zaghareet Magazine.
More below past the quotes... if you still want more info....
WHAT FOLKS SAY:
“Technically skilled, passionately presented, just plain fun!“ ~ International Dancer Magazine
"Saqra is a walking, talking dance encyclopedia with built in demo features. Most other instructor's content per hour of class (video or otherwise) is probably less than 1/2 of what you will get from her." ~Cris Merrill, the Christine of www. dancechristina .net
”Perfect step breakdowns... I really understand these moves for the very first time.“ ~ Meredith Hale, dance artist on her third attempt at learning the dance form
"Not only are Saqra's classes the most fun I've ever taken, her attention to detail has worked its way into my dance vocabulary. Her ability to break down movements plus skills at teaching to various levels and learning styles make Saqra a real treasure and credit to this dance form. Any opportunity to study with her should not be missed, either in person or via her videos." ~ Kathryn Hopper, instructor & sponsor
"I just wanted to let you know I REALLY enjoyed your class. Things fell into place when you discussed the elements. I'd been wondering what it is about my dancing that doesn't please me and now it all makes sense. Too much air. Not enough earth or fire. ..The entrances and exits really helped too, and the transition steps. It's a rare thing indeed when you can be in a class all day and not get bored. The day seemed to fly by [it was a 6 hour seminar ~S.]. I enjoyed that we worked mentally as well as physically." ~ Rebecca Lester, award-winning performer
"Once again, I'd like to thank you for that wonderful choreography workshop that took place down in Vancouver. It was probably the best $65 I've ever spent." ~ Suzanna Samb, International Relations Consultant"Saqra:
I just wanted to take the time out to thank you for shipping the beginner's video. I just finished viewing it and moving right along with you. This video is great!! I have been taking belly dancing classes for the past 3 months (almost everyday). The studio I take classes at has 3 different teachers and another studio has another teacher. I must say, neither 4 of these teachers has explained nor moved so easily as you have in this beginner's video. There have been so many moves that I wasn't able to grasp until now with yours!
I cannot thank you enough! As soon as I am ready for more, I will definately keep you in mind!
Take care and thank you!
Elaudy" ~ Elaudy Abreu, East Elmhurst, NY
Past ME Dance publication experience: Asst. Editor, Jareeda Magazine; Staff writer, Jareeda Magazine; Editor, MED&CA publication.
General class teaching references (workshop references below): Oxford Athletic Club, Clark College, Saqra's Studio (bet you could have guessed that, eh?). She has also taught for the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics & Cascade Kids Educational Supplies in Portland, OR.
Saqra also has performed in numerous, numerous, numerous clubs and restaurants, including Kolbeh's in Portland, OR, Kolbeh's in Seattle, The Grape Leaf in San Francisco, Marrakesh Moroccan Restaurant in Portland, and as the house dancer for over three years at the Petra House Jordanian Restaurant in Portland, OR. Plus a weird week-long stint a while back at a Cajun restaurant in L.A. for Mardi Gras.
She has danced with an insane number of live bands, including Brothers of the Baladi, Desert Wind, Turku, Zurefa Kol, Americanistan, Coral Rose, Jazayer, Bilezikjian, Light Rain, Arabesque, Hejira, Ek Baalam, MB Orchestra, Arabic Melodies, Mirage, Domba!, Pangea, Saltana Band, and so many more she is coming to a screeching halt just trying to list them.
Check out info on Saqra's Dance Troupes "Raqs El Sehr (Shamal)" and "Alahad Shamal" along with Saqra's Mediterranean Raqsband! She is also an associate member of the long running Seattle dance troupe, The Babylonian Ensemble.
She also has reason to be in many parts of the United States at other times of the year and is always interested in working in cooperation with local promoters to present workshops and vending tours. Workshop topics available for presentation: Workshop references. Or if you are looking to hire her and want to know where she has been, see: http://www.saqra.net/wherelast.html
Saqra has a DVD series featuring original choreographies for dancers to use and abuse as desired, and technical references that range from beginning through advanced levels. See the DVD info http://www.saqra.net/video.html
One of Saqra's favorite dance experiences was teaching a beginning class to about 30 people at the Washington State Blind School.
B.S. in Psychology from Washington State University, Women Studies minor. She was active with the women's center in college and has found she has been able to continue to council, assist and advise women through the supportive atmosphere of the dance. <grin> She's nice to men, too... in fact, she was married in July 2000 to Jeff, the greatest guy in the world. (2010 update -- still the greatest guy in the world. Sa-weeeet!).
What Saqra really wants to see in the world? Education, responsibility, the golden rule & choices. Well..., and maybe some really bad puns.
Other strange memberships: Saqra is "Rev" and a "Dr" with Universal Life Church since 2000, a member of the Lion's Club since 2009, and a long time member of Mensa.
Saqra is also notoriously bad at self-promotion.
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