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Classes & Upcoming Events
Beach Blanket Beledi
Folk Dances of North Africa & the Middle East
Belly Dance
Articles on the dance by Chelydra
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Other Dance Resources

Artwork © 1997 by JenJai.



Celebrating twenty-three years of oceanfront fun!

** Classes & Schedule Subject to Change **

Beach Blanket Beledi is an annual seminar and dance party held in Nags Head, NC, on Columbus Day weekend. The twenty-third annual event is on October 6-7, 2017. The focus of Beach Blanket Beledi is that dance is serious fun. The emphasis is on creativity, exploration, and innovation.

For more information, go to: Classes, Dance Party, Schedule, Location, Cost, Registration.


Beach Blanket Beledi offers three instructors in three different, but often complementary, subjects that are guaranteed to pique your interest and expand your dance horizons.

Riskallah Riyad

Middle Eastern dancer and choreographer Riskallah Riyad has performed and taught nationally for over thirty-five years. Known for her graceful yet crisp style, impeccable technique, and energetic teaching, she has inspired a dedicated professional and student following. Middle Eastern Dance New England recently called her a “stellar performer and teacher.” Riskallah has been featured in Spotlight and Arabesque magazines, gracing the cover of the former in 1981. Additionally, she distinguishes herself as an innovator, having originated and perfected the double veil technique in the 1970s. Today this method is routinely imitated by other dancers and incorporated into belly dance canon. She also sets herself apart from other artists with her versatility and knowledge. Her solo and ensemble choreographies in folk and classical Oriental styles demonstrate a deep understanding of their cultural origins. “Her work always retains an authentic flavor while being distinctly her own. Further, her contemporary fusion works succeed in expressing modern day reverence, mystery, and appreciation for drama.”

Riskallah currently maintains a robust schedule teaching Middle Eastern dance classes daily in Connecticut. In addition to working with students of all levels, she conducts master classes and special workshops nationally. She is the innovator of the acclaimed Teacher Training Course, "Footprints a Journey Toward Teaching Excellence."

Riskallah will present Embrace the Silence, techniques for introducing the unique energy of stillness into your dance through phrasing, pauses, breathing, and complete cessation of movement. Learn to speak volumes through the many manifestations of silence.

For more information on Riskallah Riyad, visit riskallahriyad.com.



Habiba is internationally recognized as a performer, choreographer, teacher and authority on dances of the Middle East. She has performed extensively in nightclubs and on concert stages. She was a student of Ibrahim Farrah for many years. During her numerous trips to Tunisia and Egypt, she studied with members of the Tunisian National Folklore Troupe and many of Egypt’s top oriental teachers including Ragia Hassan, Soheir Zaki, Mahmoud Reda and Nadia Hamdi. She has documented numerous folk performances in Egypt and Tunisia, including the dancing of the Benat Mazin Ghawazi. Habiba has mastered a variety of styles, from the earthy Raks al Beledi, to the extraordinary Tunisian Pot Dance, and including the classical Egyptian dance Raqs al-Sharqi. Her depth of cultural understanding allows her to project the distinct and separate personality unique to the peoples of each region. She has an unfailing understanding of the musical and movement distinctions between folkloric and oriental styles.

Habiba passes on the techniques and lore that she has acquired in her extensive travel and studies in her own studio in Philadelphia, where she teaches regular classes. She employs the multifaceted approach of performing, teaching, and writing about these fascinating dances, which record a vanishing way of life and demand new audiences if they are to survive.

Habiba will present Beledi Progression, a common component of a raqs sharqi performance. It is one of the most intense parts in the routine, providing the bridge between the taqsim and the drum solo. It is also one of the oldest components of belly dance, and includes improvisational and traditional elements.



Chelydra has been a student of middle eastern dance since 1978, and began performing professionally in 1981. She was the artistic director of the Caravan East dance troupe from 1981-1997, and has performed and taught dances of North Africa and the Middle East at the award-winning Fields DanceStudio since 1985. A two-time featured cover artist and current contributing author to Zaghareet! magazine, she is also the producer of the No Frills series of instructional videos. In 2004, her Andalusian-Moroccan Romany choreography was one of the entries selected to be featured in the Old Dominion University Local Choreographer's Showcase, and in 2006, a ghawazee duet choreographed by both Chelydra and Aegela was chosen for showcase presentation.

Chelydra presents authentic folk dances of the Middle East and North Africa along with modern folkloric fusion adaptations, including a tap-dancing melaya leff, a hip-hop khaleegy, and a techno ghawazee. She considers dancing to be serious fun.

Chelydra will present Amp It Up!, adding the "live performance" impact of zils (finger cymbals) when dancing to recorded music. Learn to play your cymbals intuitively, using rhythm, melody, patterns, and accent.

Dance Party

The stars are out at the beach, and the stars are YOU! The evening dance party is a great time to try out your latest & greatest costume and choreography. Have you always wanted to try something just a little bit different - but never had the right setting? This is it! Be experimental! Be daring! Be playful! Time limit is seven minutes (but remember, less is sometimes more).

Performing slots for the dance party are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Ten openings are served for returning performers, and six are reserved for new participants. THE POLICY FOR RETURNING PERFORMERS HAS CHANGED. Returning performers who were wait-listed at the last BBB are given priority through June 30th of the following year. Performers on the wait list will receive performance slots as they become available. Openings have become available as late as the day of BBB, so do not despair if you are wait-listed! To be fair to everyone, performers may only dance once (group or solo).

You must register for the seminar to qualify for a place in the programme.


Subject To Change
Time Activity
Friday, October 6
8:00-9:30 PM Welcome Wagon & Flea Market $5 per table space
Saturday, October 7
Subject to Change!
9:30-10:30 Registration
10:30-12:30 Habiba Beledi Progression
12:30-1:30 Lunch (On your own; due to time constraints, brown bag is recommended)
1:30-3:30 Riskallah Riyad Embrace the Silence
3:45-4:45 Chelydra Amp It Up!
8:00-?? Dance Party Bring a snack to share!


Beach Blanket Beledi is held at the Comfort Inn South Oceanfront at milepost 17 on the Beach Road in Nags Head, NC. For reservations, call 1-252-441-6315.

Be sure to specify Beach Blanket Beledi when you call to get the special seminar rate! Room rates are $83 bay view/$93 ocean view for 1-2 persons. A limited number of King rooms are available for $99(ocean view). Add $10 each for a third or fourth person. At the current time, room tax is 12.75%. Reservations must be cancelled 48 hours in advance, or a 1-night stay will be charged.

Check-in time is 4 PM; check-out is 11 AM. No more than four persons per room are allowed by the local fire/safety code.

The hotel is usually full over the holiday weekend, so call early to guarantee you get the room you want. Reserve rooms by Friday, 9/15/2017, or rate and availability are not guaranteed. The hotel frequently sells out over this weekend, so don't procrastinate.

The nearest airports to Nags Head are Norfolk International (ORF) and Newport News/Williamsburg International (PHF). A rental car is required to reach Nags Head.


The fee for the seminar and dance party is $70 if registration is received by 09/15/2017, and $80 after that date. Groups of five registering together receive a $5 per-registration discount.

Additional dance party guests are $5/$2 (adults/children).


Individual registration is available online or via check or money order. Group discount registrations are only available via check or money order. To register online, visit Evenbrite here. To obtain a registration form, email or write to the address in the footer, or download a PDF copy of the flyer. (Adobe Acroread is required. The download may take some time to complete even after the Acroread window opens.)

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