Amel Tafsout, meaning 'Hope of Spring', is among the most charismatic
and acclaimed International Choreographer, performer and master dance
instructor of North African Maghreb Dance of our time. She has mesmerized
audiences in the Middle East and North Africa as well as in Europe
, the U.S.A and New Zealand with her expressive and stunning stage
an M.A. degree in sociolinguistics (she speaks fluently 4 languages)
, and a research in dance anthropology Tafsout is always aware of
the impact that culture has in art and how that can be expressed
in the dance. She has been distinguished by the International Dance
Council CID as one of the leading dance professionals from around
up in Algeria, Tafsout was fascinated by dance and music since childhood
and grew up among the finest traditional dancers and musicians of
her native country . She also studied European Folk dance in Algeria,
dances of her neighbor Maghreb countries and the Middle East , African
Dance in Europe and Afro-Cuban dance in Cuba She is currently using
her expertise to lead highly successful master classes in dance,
drumming and singing for students from various countries, with different
backgrounds, such as professional dancers, actors , music and dance
students, women, elderly people, children and disabled children.
She has developed a new experience in teaching, which combines Dance,
Singing and Drumming. This creativity has enhanced the spontaneous
fusion of Dance and Music - Sound and Vision.
research focuses on ritual dances of the Maghreb (reflecting the
dual Amazigh-Berber-Arabic identity of Algeria), the Middle East,West
Africa and Cuba. She looks at the ways in which spirituality is
part of a daily life and sees the dance as a search for harmony
between Body, Mind and Spirit.
will seem to you like a voyager between countries, cultures and
).her teaching technique focuses on sharing the
spiritual energies (
). Each of Amel's movements come from
inside and is charged with pure energies. While Amel, the Berber
woman, moves closer to the souls of the women, they in turn become
more aware of their own strength and are able to recover their spiritual
balance through dance. The word 'healing' is not mentioned but what
happens here is nothing less than that.' Gizella Hartmann, in 'Orient
Magazine', Germany, nr 1, 2002
In her early twenties Tafsout moved to Germany where she founded
the Pan Arabic dance company 'Banat As Sahra' ( Daughters of the
Sahara Desert), a company which was instrumental in dismissing Western
prejudices about Arab women as well as working to bring Arabic dance
culture to the West.
the late 80s Tafsout moved to London, U.K. where she taught and
performed at various dance and music festivals. She also founded
her second dance company 'The Tafsoutettes'. With her company she
aims to perform the dances of the Maghreb and other Arabic countries
with skill and sincerity as well as to educate audiences about North
African culture most notably women's traditions and evolutions through
dance, story telling but still retaining a sense of wit and sharing
the spirit of celebration.
has been featured in "the Late Show (BBC2), and other TV programs
in the UK, Germany and the U.S.A.
Tafsout was an active member of the Latin-Jazz band: Chakchouka
, the North African contemporary Orchesta Mambo Duniya, the Arab-Turkish
music band Noor Shimaal as well as the Saladin's Orchestra. She
performed with Die Dissidenten, 3 Mustapha 3, Hassan Erraji, Maurice
El Medioni, Georges lammam Ensemble, Cheb I Sabbah, Rachid Halihal
and Karim Nagui as well as the Algerian Andalusian singer Nassima.
graceful, she nevertheless reflected the enormous energy and excitement
of the strongly percussive music to add an extra dimension to a
truly remarkable evening.' P.Rush, 'The Stage', Nov.1997, London,
Amel Tafsout accompanied on drums by Salah-Dawson Miller, provided
with a thirst contrast in dance styles, the earthy rhythms of the
drums and Amel's mesmeric hips and arms made you feel as though
you were in a Berber tent.' Afra Al Kahira, 1999, U.K.
Tafsout has lectured, danced, taught, sung and conducted anthropological
research in many countries; in the U.K. and Spain, she has performed
at international festivals such as W.O.M.A.D. in Dusseldorf, Germany
, at the 'Orientale' for 10 years and she is still invited at this
festival every year ; In the U.S.A. in Fort Lauderdale, FL at the
"Spirit of the Tribes'; in Portland ,OR at the first 'Tribal
Quest North-West, and she has been invited for the same festival
in August 2007; in Miami at the 'Orientalia 2004' , and other festivals
such as the first 'Arab Dance Festival', in 2006 in Minneapolis,
the Arab Dance Seminar that is an ongoing event in various U.S.
States. July 2006 she performed at the Cheb I SabbaH show in Central
She was invited to share her dance and cultural knowledge at the
Arab dance Seminar in the U.S., in New York City she performed with
the well known respected Algerian Andalusian singer Nassima at Institute
of World Music in NYC.
She has worked and performed in New Zealand as well as Mexico.
2008 Amel Tafsout is invited to work in Moscow .
also published many articles related to dance and Maghreb women
in academic and popular magazines. Her latest article ,"The
Passage of Times" has been published at the online Dance magazine
called "The Gilded Serpent" in Sept.2007.
She translated songs for the recording company 'World Circuit and
did some interpreting work for West African singers such as Jali
Mussa Jawara and Ali Farkha Toure (May his soul rest in peace) the
Moroccan Gnawa singer Mustapha Bakbou and the Algerian Rai super
stars such as Cheikha Rimitti (may her sould rest in peace), Bellemou
as well as Khaled.
She contributed to the first 'Rough Guide of Belly Dance music compilation'
2006 she was invited by the BBC radio 3 to accompany Andy Kershaw
to Algeria in order to do a program on Algerian music.
yet, when you meet her, Tafsout is also tremendous fun, and infects
everyone who she meets with a huge enthusiasm of North African dance
.' Mira Katbamna, 2003
woman, passionate, formidable cultural embassador, internationally
acclaimed, spiritual, Medicine woman, patient, gentle, accademic,
linguist, powerful ambience surrounding her' - All true. But there
is the rest: the humour!' Marian Watson, in Mosaic, Winter 2001/2
'Watching a performance by Amel Tafsout is a cathartic experience.
) She dances from the very core of herself. sensuality is
expressed as power and generosity. She has a direct stare, a presence
that can only come from the true knowledge of herself and her art.
She is a unique performer and there is no one else who dances like
her.' Beatrice Parvin, in Habibi magazine, Vol.18. No 1. 1999, Santa
worked and lived all over the world, unsurprisingly, migration has
been a constant theme in Tafsout's work.
Tafsout is living in the U.S.A, still performing and teaching in
the U.S. and worldwide.
Alessandra Belloni is the Artistic Director, Founder
and Lead Performer of "I GIULLARI DI PIAZZA", an Italian
Music, Theatre and Dance Ensemble who is Artists-in-Residence at the
Cathedral of St.John the Divine in New York City. She is also the
designer of a line of signature series Italian tambourines made by
Remo, and of special brushes for tambourine with Pro- Mark.. . She
is the only woman in the U.S. and in Italy who specializes in traditional
Southern Italian folk dances and percussion that she learned from
the old people in the fields
A tambourine virtuoso, singer, dancer and actress, Ms.Belloni was
born in Rome, Italy and is committed to preserving the strong and
rich traditions of her culture. She has performed extensively with
master drummer Glen Velez and was invited by Nana Vasconcellos and
Gilberto Gil to perform in PERC PAN '98 in Bahia, Brazil. Alessandra
was also selected as one of three runners-up (along with Babatunde
Olatunji and Mickey Hart) to Arthur Hull in DRUM! magazine's "New
Age/Worldbeat Percussionist" category in their 1998 awards. She
was featured in Modern Drummer magazine and has written articles for
Percussive Notes. She has collaborated with the Raven Drum Foundation,
founded by Rick Allen, acclaimed drummer of the rock group Def Leppard
and other world famous drummers.
CD's "Tarantelle & Canti D'amore" released by Naxos
of America on 2003 has been considered the second best percussion
CD of the year by DRUM Magazine and has received many favorable
reviews from major press. The CD "Tarantata: The Dance of Ancient
Spider" (on the Soundstrue label) released in 2000, has received
a wide critical acclaim and distribution. It was also nominated
one of the best CDs of the year (2002) by Jon Parales from the New
York Times and Dan Hackman from the Los Angeles Times, and won the
Best World Percussion CD of the Year by DRUM Magazine. Alessandra
Belloni created a new World Music Sound with her group, using electronic
music combined with acoustic, in her new show TARANTELLA SPIDER
DANCE, with electric violin master Joe Deninzon . She has recently
founded a Women's percussion ensemble clalled DAUGHTER OS CYBELE
. She toures the world her one woman show "Rhythm is the Cure"
- also available as a duo with drummer SERGIO BELLOTTI, (BERKLEE
COLLEGE OF MUSIC) With her ensemble from New York she tours across
the U.S. and abroad, performing and teaching workshops in various
Festivals and halls.
has also been featured on Television with the National Geographic
documentary SPIDER SEX with the Tarantella, as well as WORLD BEAT
on CNN. featured on the PBS documentary, "LA FESTA" with
The Voyage of the Black Madonna. She holds annual healing dance
and percussion workshops in Tuscany, Italy and together with writer,
philosopher, healer ANGELO TONELLI and also from. She has spent
many years also participating in authentic drumming festivals in
remote areas of Southern Italy, held as rituals of purification
in honor of the Black Madonna.
Belloni has studied acting at H.B. Studios, voice with Professor
Michael Warren, and mime and Commedia dell'Arte with Dario Fo (winner
of the 1997 Nobel Prize for Literature) at New York University.
She has worked in both theatre and film in New York - "Next
Stop the Greenwich Village" by Paul Mazursky - and in Italy
with Anna Magnani in "La Lupa" and Federico Fellini in
"Casanova". Ms. Belloni founded "I GIULLARI DI PIAZZA"
- a company performing traditional Italian Folk Music and Theatre
- with classical guitarist/composer John La Barbera in 1979 and
was Artist-in-Residence at New York University for ten years. Fluent
in Italian, English, Spanish, French and Portuguese plus Southern
Italian dialects, Alessandra Belloni also speaks through her tambourine
then, she has created cross-cultural productions dedicated to Mother
Earth, featuring the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers, and African
and Latin American artists. She is also For her achievements in
music and theatre, she won the following awards: from the ITALIAN
ORAL HISTORY INSTITUTE IN Los Angeles, Fall 2005, Award for Italian
American Woman of the Year in 1996 and the Community Arts Project
Award from Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts as well as the
Sons of Liberty "Citation of Honor" award in 2001.
In 1997, she received a special grant from the Carnahan Jackson
Humanities Fund for a residency with the Women Studies program at
Pareles of the New York Times wrote:
"Invocations and work songs, exorcisms and lullabies shared
the program of RHTHM IS THE CURE in the Chapel of the Cathedral
of St. John the Divine.... Driven by tambourine patterns so fast
that the drummer's hands became blurs. Ms. Belloni sang in an exultant
voice. The songs blazed with an age-old momentum" .
Hackman - Los Angeles Time:
Alessandra Belloni and Tarantata Dance of the Ancient Spider is
a revelation, utterly fascinating.."
Italian-born virtuoso Alessandra Belloni is established as a unique
phenomenon, not just a percussionist, she is an actress, lecturer,
entertainer, a healer, above all archetype
Ric Mattinly- Modern Drummer:
With her left hande she she uses a variety of techniques to produce
a wide range of timbers, incorporating thumb strokes, finger strokes,
Alessandra Belloni is a force of Nature
Artemis has been dancing, teaching and researching dance history in
the United States and abroad for her entire adult life. Artemis is
of Greek and Turkish descent. She fuses her love of these cultures
with strong academic knowledge and excellent dance technique. She
brings her spirited and articulate technique to workshops which include
information on the history and cultures that generate the dances she
teaches. She believes that we can all use art to build bridges across
has contributed to many publications. Extensive travel to 33 countries
and intensive research into the idioms of the East, women's issues,
psychology, ancient history, oriental dance, Romany (Gypsy) dance
and dance ethnology have yielded many manuscripts and articles.
continues to produce new articles every year. Artemis has an M.A.
in psychology, an M.S.W. in social work (with specialized studies
in cross cultural awareness) and has done postgraduate work in dance
movement therapy. She was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.
Her research is used by Egyptian universities, the Middle East Institute
in Washington, D.C. and the Library for the Performing Arts in New
York. She has lectured, taught and/or performed for Cornell University
and Princeton University, National Public Radio (NPR), Voice of
America and in Spain, England, France, Czech Republic, Slovenia,
Canada, Japan, Greece, Turkey, Australia and in 33 states within
the United States. She uses her writing and her dance and history
lectures to fight the racism which exists against the Roma. Her
humanitarian interests extended to helping the survivors of hurricane
Katrina and she received the key to the city of Lafayette for these
efforts. She also continues in her efforts to have Middle Eastern
dance receive the recognition and respect that every other legitimate
dance form enjoys.
has done field research in ancient dance, Middle Eastern dance and
Romany (Gypsy) dance in Turkey, Romania, Czech Republic, Spain,
France, England, Morocco, Tunisia, Germany, Slovenia, Italy, Egypt
and Greece. She has attended Rromany Festivals in France, Turkey
and Romania. She has collected wonderful video footage of Roma people
in which they are dancing, celebrating and experiencing everyday
life. Artemis continues to collect antique pictures of women and
dancers from North Africa and the Middle East and of the Roma throughout
the world. Her collection is one of the largest in the United States
and some illustrations have been used by the International Encyclopedia
of Dance, the Smithsonian Institution, the largest Romany Museum
in the world (in the Czech Republic), the Romany archives at the
University of Texas collected by Ian Hancock, all the major Middle
Eastern Dance publications and in several books.
is listed in the International Dance Council (CID) Who's Who of
Dance. Her photograph can be found in the International Encyclopedia
of Dance under the listing for "danse du ventre" (translates
to "belly dance") which is produced by the Oxford University
Press. She has won the "Ethnic Dancer of the Year Award"
presented by the International Academy of Middle Eastern Dance (IAMED)
and has won the "Most Popular Ethnic Dancer Award" from
Zaghareet Magazine twice. Artemis has also won their "Lifetime
teaches regular classes, private lessons, workshops on the dance
form commonly referred to as "Belly Dance" which, after
40 years of experience, she can cover from A to Z. She is best known
for her specialized workshops on the Turkish Oriental and Turkish
Romany dance genres. Artemis is constantly creating new workshops
and she is presenting a series of workshops of all new Turkish material.
Tempest is the most recognized name associated with the art of Gothic
& Steampunk Bellydance in North America and across the world.
She is often referred to as the "Goth Mutha" for her groundbreaking
work in dark fusion. She was the co-producer of the largest festival
devoted Gothic Bellydance in North America - Gothla US from 2008-2010,
and is the founder and primary author of The Gothic Bellydance Resource,
which tracks the progress of the movement as it develops worldwide.
She is the producer of Waking Persephone - an annual dark dance event,
and Tapestry Dance Retreat, which focuses more on the sacred and folkloric
aspects of the dance. As of 2012, Tempest has taught over 200 workshops
on Fusion Bellydance and Ritual/Sacred Dance across the nation and
in Europe, and actively travels each month teaching and performing.
She has organized four nationwide dance tours (The Durga Tour in 2006
and 2009, and Movin'Th'Mischief Tour in 2007, and Ocean To Sea in
2012) and is currently involved with touring projects with The Nathaniel
Johnstone Band, Jody Ellen, and The Ghosts Project.
Her dance style is uniquely hers: creative, theatrical, full of expression
- reaching forward to define the future of the dance, while being
firmly rooted in traditional forms of bellydance. She brings her dynamic
interpretation of the dance to her workshops with a sense of fun,
a strong foundation in traditional technique, and a deep-hearted goal
to aid students in developing their own sense of self within the dance.
She has two instructional DVDs: "Bellydance Artistry" (2011)
and "Bellydance for Beautiful Freaks" (2006), and has been
featured on numerous performance DVDs including "Gothic Bellydance:
The Darker Side of Fusion", "Gothic Bellydance: Revelations",
"Underworld" and "Underbelly." Her remarkable
"Museum Quality: Art School for Bellydancers" workshop intensive
program has helped dancers greatly expand their own capabilities within
the dance and themselves.
A huge fan of working with live music, Tempest regularly performs
live with Nathaniel Johnstone (as a duet and with his whole band),
The Ghosts Project, as well as Abney Park, Frenchy & The Punk,
Ego Likeness and other alternative/gothic/steampunk/world fusion bands.
Nouveau Noir Dance: www.darklydramatic.com
-Tempest's Teapot - A Bellydance Blog: http://darklydramatic.blogspot.com/
-Owlkeyme Arts - www.owlkeyme.com