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Belly Dancers

Seana Dishun and Christina King were at Beloit College as guest artists in belly dance From October 27- November 7, 2008. Classes met Monday through Friday for two hours each day.  The residency focused on a course called American Bellydance: Technique and Tribal Improvisation

Course Description:  The world of belly dance has experienced radical innovations over the past twenty-five years.  New techniques and performance styles have developed and taken root across the United States and the Western world.  This course is aimed at building solid movement fundamentals and specialized kinesthetic awareness, using a precise technique that refines isolation in different primary muscle groups resulting in efficiency of movement.  Using this technique the dancers will explore Improvisational Tribal Style Belly Dance, which uses a specific vocabulary of dance moves and a system that facilitates communication between the dancers, allowing the group to improvise together to create the dance in the moment. Participants in this class will have the opportunity to collaborate and perform their own improvisation of this style of dance in the Spring Chelonia Dance Concert.

Instructor Bios:
Seana Dishun (Beloit College '92)  studied ballet, jazz, and modern dance from childhood through high school in her home state of Maryland, performing with her dance school's Junior Company.  Seana continued her dance training throughout her years at Beloit College, including her semester abroad in France, and performed in three Chelonia Dance Concerts. In 1993, Seana began studying folkloric Middle-Eastern Dance with Tahjah of Madison, WI, eventually performing and choreographing for Tahjah's dance troupe, traveling all over the Midwest.  To expand her repertoire of movement styles, she added Flamenco, Bharat Natyam, and West African dance training.  Upon Tahjah's retirement from dance, Seana sought the instruction of Sadira and membership in the Riad Dance Company. Intrigued by tribal style belly dance, Seana joined Stephanie Barto's classes in 2000, and subsequently her student troupe, The Fringe Connection.  In 2001, Seana, Christina King, and two other colleagues formed their own tribal belly dance company, Blue Lotus Tribe.  On the brink of a professional career, Seana took up studies with Madison's Mona N'wal. Soon thereafter, Seana began her professional solo career. In 2003, Seana began pursuing a degree in dance at UW Madison, as well as teaching regular belly dance classes.  In the summer of 2004, Seana traveled to California to study intensively with Suhaila Salimpour, earning certification in Salimpour technique.  Seana continues to seek further instruction from master instructors. Wanting to focus on her own artistic vision, Seana recently left the Chicago-based Blue Lotus Tribe to form Ashar Dance Company, Madison's first tribal bellydance troupe.  Seana is currently finishing up her degree in Dance at UW Madison.




Christina King (Beloit College '92) has been dancing since her childhood in Colorado, mostly performing in music theater productions and dance teams through high school.  At Beloit College, Christina, a music major, performed in several music theater productions, starring in two of them.  In 1993 she joined up with the Midwest Rock Opera Company, where she became a principal actress and choreographer. Christina's belly dance studies began in 1993, studying folkloric Middle-Eastern dance with Tahjah of Madison, Wisconsin.  She was a regular performer and choreographer with Tahjah's dance company.  After moving to Chicago in 1996, Christina began studying Egyptian Oriental dance with Jasmin Jahal, later becoming a member of her dance company, Ward el Sahara. While still studying with Jasmin, Christina added tribal belly dance to her repertoire in 1999 under the tutelage of Stephanie Barto. Soon she was performing in Barto's student troupe, The Fringe Connection.In 2001 Christina, Seana Dishun, and two other colleagues formed their own tribal belly dance company, Blue Lotus Tribe.  She also began her professional solo dance career, performing at festivals, clubs and at private and corporate events all over the Chicago area.  Soon she began to travel and seek out master instructors and has logged many hours learning from them.Christina began teaching regular belly dance classes in 2003 and by 2004 was invited to teach workshops throughout the Midwest.  She was able to leave her regular career as a high school music teacher in 2005 to pursue dance full-time.  In 2007, she studied intensively with Kajira Djoumahna of Hawaii, certifying to teach Kajira's Blacksheep Bellydance tribal format, one of the three major formats of tribal belly dance.  Today, Christina is in nationwide demand as a workshop instructor traveling to several cities each year to teach and perform.  She is currently working towards opening her own world dance studio in Elgin, Illinois just West of Chicago.