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Austin Belly Dance Convention produced by Stacey Lizette

The Austin Belly Dance Convention (ABDC) is an annual dance event held the first weekend in June in Austin, TX.

The mission of ABDC is to bring dancers together to inspire, be inspired and celebrate the

Register today at   Want to perform? Submit your performer application online. We have a great line up of instructors and workshop topics to inspire, refine and deepen your belly dance life!

Workshops with Mandi Aziza Williams, Amara Dances Phd, April Rose, Bahaia, Lily Tsai, Sa'diyya Dancer, Stacey Lizette and Vanessa Raqs art of belly dance.

Featured Artist: Aziza

Aziza is (one) of the brightest, most in-demand stars of bellydance in the world today, recognized across the globe for her unparalleled ability to express the unique synergy of movement and sound that is the hallmark of this ancient art form. Her innate musicality, effortless creativity and lifelong training allow Aziza to fully inhabit the dance, simultaneously capturing a range of emotion and intensity of expressive movement – subtle yet intense, fluid yet strong, poetic and powerful. Aziza is of the rare and gifted breed of performer whose styling is instantly recognizable, yet always evolving and new.

Saturday, May 31, 9:30am-12:30pm:  Fluidity in Transitions
One of the topics she is most famous for, Aziza shares her secrets of seamless fluid transitions.

Sunday, June 1, 10am – 1pm:  Hands, Arms and Poses
Drills, exercises and combinations to add expression, intention and integrity to your performance using hands and arms.

Sunday, June 2, 2pm – 4pm:  Improvisation
Face your fear of improvisation with practical tips and techniques from Aziza.

Stacey Lizette

Stacey has been studying belly dance for over 15 years.  Executive Producer of the ABDC since 2009, certified in the Suhaila Salimpour format (Level 4) and Jamila Salimpour format (Level 2). Stacey teaches weekly classes, directs the Tekatek Dance Ensemble, is a member of the Sabaya Belly Dance Collective and sponsors the Suhaila Certification Program in TX.  In 2012 Stacey choreographed, directed and performed in her first full theatrical work “The Color Project.”  She carries with her not only a love and passion for good technique, but for creativity in whatever form it may take.

Saturday, May 31, 1:30 – 3pm: Intro to Jamila Format
Earthy.  Strong.  Juicy.  Percussive.  These are just some of the ways to describe Jamila Salimpour’s dance vocabulary which has been documented and taught since 1949.  If you know the terms “maya” or “choo-choo” then you have been influenced by Jamila’s codification of Middle Eastern movement.  In this workshop, Stacey will provide a brief history followed by breakdown of select movements. The workshop ends with an “on the spot” dance combination to illustrate how easily Jamila movement patterns fit together.  Students of all levels are welcome and encouraged to participate at their level.

April Rose 

An educated and traveled bellydancer of 13 years, April Rose tours internationally with Bellydance Superstars and is a former member of UNMATA.  With a Masters degree in Culture and Performance and a Bachelors in Dance from UCLA, April Rose’s academic work focuses on the history of bellydance in America, its political implications and cultural relevance.  A dynamic and encouraging teacher, she is trained in choreographic method, various dance techniques, and critical dance theory and uses all of these skills in her thoughtful, rigorous, and playful approach to teaching bellydance.

Saturday, May 31, 1:30-3pm:  Releasing Technique for Bellydancers
Bellydance training regimes often emphasize only the muscular component of strength building; however, strength lies in the neuromuscular system and good technique often appears as effortless movement, not muscular strain. Through various “releasing techniques” developed since the 1960s, dancers have been learning to move as efficiently and effortlessly as possible by building direct neuromuscular pathways by which the nervous system recruits only the muscles necessary to perform a task. In bellydance, releasing unnecessary effort from a single movement frees up more muscles and energy for layering and emotional presence. Through guided imagery and hands-on partner exercises adapted from releasing techniques, April Rose leads the class in this approach to movement. Bring a paper and pen for note-taking on the history and science behind releasing technique but be prepared for lots of movement. All levels welcome.


Amara, PhD, is well known for her entertaining and dynamic American belly dance style and as a leading innovator in theatrical and experimental Middle Eastern dance. In addition to teaching dance studio classes, Amara has taught accredited courses at several universities. She also has held long-term performing engagements at many nightclubs and restaurants and has been highlighted in over 15 commercial videos. Amara is the Director and Choreographer of Ya Helewa! Dance Company, co-Producer of “X-MED” workshops, Producer of “An Evening of Experimental Middle Eastern Dance” concerts, and Director of “Training 4 Dance Teachers.”

Saturday, May 31 1, 3:30 – 5pm:  American Belly Dance Floorwork
Belly dancers during the 1960s and 1970s invigorated the art of floorwork, the segment of a dance routine in which a performer displays her strength and flexibility. Explore these graceful and powerful movements in the Classic American Belly Dance style. Learn exercises and stretches to condition and safely execute these moves. Adjustments and variations will also be given to participants of any fitness level.   Students should bring soft, flexible kneepads or a yoga mat.


Bahaia is a performer, instructor, and promoter with over 15 years experience. She offers weekly classes and private lessons for all levels and seminars on technique and choreography throughout the USA. Bahaia hosts the annual “Camparet” Cabaret Dance Camp retreat and is the founding member and president of the Aria Dance Foundation. She has been featured on several instructional DVD’s, including recent releases from Cheeky Girls Productions.

Saturday, May 31 1, 3:30 – 5pm:  Movement Concepts for Arabic Music
How to craft thoughtful, grounded dance that is in sync with more than just tempo and rhythm, but is in tune with the cultural context of the music itself.  From folkloric to full orchestra, and more.  Suitable for all styles.

Lauren Checchio

Sunday, June 1, 11am – 1pm:  Beginning/Intermediate Doumbek
In this class students will learn safe body and hand positions,tempo and time signatures. Learn Beladi, Maqsum, Saidii, Ayub, and Karshlima rhythms. For an added twist, we will play with syncopation with the Rumba beat and introduce the Turkish split finger technique. Please bring your drum!


Although Lily started dance lessons at a very young age, she grew up studying music and playing classical instruments like the piano, flute, bassoon, and percussion. Lily’s unique style is a reflection of her understanding of rhythm, music composition, and dance movement. She is known for her artistry as well as her precise technique and dynamic stage presence.  Lily’s performance experience ranges from festivals, nightclubs, large stage productions, haflahs, to family parties. Having taught belly dance workshops in Paris, London, Tokyo, New Zealand, Taiwan, and Texas, and having studied the dance all over the world, Lily continues to share her knowledge through private classes, weekly classes, and workshops.

Friday, May 30, 3pm-4:30pm:  Shapes and Individuality in Group Dances
Whether you are a dancer looking for fun ideas for improv, a group looking to do something out of the box, or a tribal fusion troupe seeking new inspiration, this workshop offers dancers a new way to choreograph and interact that are sure to get your creative juices going! Duets, trios, or more are welcome! Soloists need not worry, we’ll pair you up. A great way to meet and work with other dancers!


Sa’diyya’s exciting and memorable performances have made her a sought after performer for cultural events, weddings, parties, festivals and charities.  Her signature style of Belly Dance is a dramatic yet jazzy mixture of American Cabaret with a heavy modern Egyptian Raks Sharqi influence. She also specializes in various folkloric and fusion styles of Belly Dance.  Having won more than 20 regional, national and international awards for her solo and troupe performances, including 2011 Belly Dancer of the Universe, she is a rising star in the international world of Belly Dance. She recently won the prestigious online reality series competition, “Project Belly Dance,” produced by Cheeky Girl Productions, the current leader in the market for Belly Dance instructional DVDs.

Friday, May 30, 5-6:30pm:  Shakeup Your Stage Makeup
Get ready to learn all of Sa’diyya’s tricks for fabulous stage makeup! You will learn how to totally glamorize yourself for small, intimate stages to huge theatrical halls! Dancers who need to have their glamorous appearance last for hours through many performances will also learn how to keep both their makeup and hair looking super fresh through sweat and humidity. Flashy makeup tricks like applying glitter and the smokey cat-eye look will be taught, too! Also, makeup tips for aging skin and information about natural cosmetics will be covered! Please bring the following:

-Cosmetic Brushes
-Foundation, Concealer and Powder
-Contour & Highlighter Powers or Cream, Blush
-Eye Shadows (at least bring a light, medium & dark palette)
-Big False Lashes & Glue
-Eye Liner & Mascara
-Vivid Lipstick & Lip Liner
-Glitter & Novelty Cosmetics

Saturday, May 31, 1:30-3pm:  Trippy Tambourine
Something different! Dancing with a tambourine is multitasking at its best. The tambourine is currently an overlooked prop for belly dancing, but that will change when dancers see the infinitely creative possibilities that dancing with a tambourine has to offer! Sa’diyya will talk about what kind of music is best for this majestic prop, how to play the musical instrument like a pro AND dance simultaneously. Students will learn a complete, short choreography in this fast-paced and aerobic workshop!


Vanessa, a native Texan, received her BFA in Ballet from Texas Christian University.  She led a dual life teaching and performing classical dance genres as well as training in Danse Orientale, and then went on to dance in New York City for eight years.  Now based in Sharm El Sheikh, one of Egypt’s most prized tourist destinations, Vanessa is believed to be the first and only (American) woman to start a production company in Egypt.  In addition to daily night club shows, she is contracted in many Five Star hotels.  Specializing in Egyptian Folkore, she also provides a variety of group dance shows with her company, Vanessa Show Productions.

Saturday, May 31 1, 1:30 – 3pm:  Shaabi
Although not “folklore”,  Shaabi has infiltrated the Egyptian culture and music, and has even changed the way Egyptians are dancing everywhere, from nightclubs to street weddings to video clips!

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