Improvisation keeps your brain alive!
Classes on Zoom
Contact Meg York here:
My Mindful Movement Classes are really wonderful!
I have a high definition webcam with stereo microphones that records my studio with excellent sound. And I have in-house percussionists that can accompany my end of the online lesson -- this is key for connecting rhythmically.
For Private Lessons only, you can record parts or all of your private lesson to use later for your own study. This works so much better than getting a long recording to sift through later. I can coach you through your Zoom settings so you have the optimal tech setup.
NOTE FOR CLASSES: I don't share the Taksim Classes recordings later -- this way participants can take artistic risks. I do record the Taksim Classes for the Guest Artist and myself.
I LOVE partnering with different beloved Guest Artists on Zoom: to date, Annya Ishtara, from Taos, New Mexico, Travis Jarrell, from Cookeville, Tennessee, and Alannah (Anne Hitchcock), from Brooklyn, New York, and Amaya from Albuquerque, New Mexico.
I play mesmerizing soaring solo melodies, tasty percussion patterns, offer tidbits of musicality, performance, repertoire, cultural context, and endless real-time variations, connecting with movement instruction by my Guest Artist.
Each Guest Artist and I have anecdotes from decades of travel and musical dance adventures to share about our pedagogical elements. This is what makes it so interactive and human, in real time if not real space..
Did you know that 'clarinet' comes from 'clarion', or 'to be heard from far away'? This makes it perfect for online learning. No need for amplification.
You move around with the Guest Artist while I accompany their movement (or play/sing along -- muted in the comfort of your own home) in real time. You experience my musical interaction, as well as watch others' interpretations. Yes, there is a bit of latency, but it works better than you would expect! Come check it out. Best of all, I accompany each attendee in turn during the end of each class.
'See' you online soon!
Originally from New York City, Anjali Angelita (a.k.a. Angelina) comes from a family lineage of dancers and entertainers. During her childhood she was immersed in music and dance and she quickly developed a love for both. She began her training at the Bronx Dance Theater where she studied jazz, ballet and tap while also beginning to act and sing in school plays. As a teenager, she continued studying dance as well as acting and singing more formally. She also began developing a great enthusiasm for culture and the arts which led her to expand her studies to include fashion design. When Anjali Angelita graduated from High School, she developed an interest in flamenco and began studying with flamenco master teacher and performer, K. Meira Goldberg. She continued studying fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Technology and advanced her skills in singing and acting at HB Studio in Greenwich Village, New York City.
In 2006 Anjali Angelita moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting. The natural landscape, fauna, flora and the desert hills of Los Angeles opened her heart to a journey of self-growth, empowerment, mysticism, and spirituality. This journey led her to reunite with her Mestizo connection, inspiring a change in her creative outlook and compelling her to explore the realms of her ancestral lineage through prayer songs and spiritual rituals. She incorporated her family's dance tradition Bomba, a Puerto Rican folkloric dance with the pulsing beats of congas, batas drums, chants, choir singers, and flying circle skirts into her dance performance. It also became an added element she introduced at drum circle events and at her improvisational dance lessons in soul surrender and human liberation.
Her revelations deepened as she continued to uncover more of her family’s history tracing their dance lineage back to West Africa, Spanish "gypsy" flamenco and American Indigenous traditions. She also encountered her “muses” who illuminated an ultimate sense of freedom through her art as well as an honor and love to all the spiritual dance practices from her ancestral descent.
Anjali Angelita’s discovery of her mixed heritage dance traditions also compelled her to study the origins of other world dances and eventually led her to travel and live outside of the U.S. While still in Los Angeles she began her studies in Middle Eastern bellydance (Raqs Sharqi) with Zahra Zuhair and Jenna Rose at the Dance Garden. She also studied Yoruban-West African Sabada dance with Francis Awe and Omowale at Live Arts Dance Center. She then traveled the South Coast of India to experience culture of the people of India and had the opportunity to collaborate with carnatic musicians and learn Bharatanatyam and Odissi dance.
In 2011 she was given the opportunity to live in Hamburg, Germany to study the art of Egyptian dance and Algerian folklore with Algerian dancer Linda Miriam. There, she performed as a soloist for various shows and festivals in Hamburg and started a dance troupe called The Midnight Pearls Dance Ensemble. Anjali Angelita’s authenticity as well as her creative originality was soon recognized where she was feature as a special guest performer for clients from Turkey and Bulgaria in Hamburg. There she was able to capture the true dance essence dancing for the native people.
Two years later she resided to the Algarve in Portugal where she continued to perform and teach for tourist retreat centers.
Anjali Angelita continues to travel in her quest for new sounds and dance movements. For her, it is all about discovering and sharing through dance an enlivening experience. She currently divides her time between United States and Europe. She is currently working on various art performances and collaborations.
Anjali Angelita welcomes all dancers and performance artists from around the world for collaborations and performances. Bio from 2017
Travis Fontaine Jarrell's dance background includes extensive Western classical and modern training, North Indian Kathak, American clogging, Flamenco, as well as classical and folkloric Central Asian dance from Uzbekistan.
She began her study of Middle Eastern dance in 1971, and during her 45 + years of teaching and performing, she was privileged to study with such excellent artists as Jamila Salimpour, Serena Wilson, Morocco, Bert Balladine, Dahlena, Ibrahim Farrah, and many others. Travis has also been a participant at many Mendocino Middle Eastern Music and Dance Camps, and is a favorite solo dance artist with clarinetists' Souren Baronian and Stuart Mennin.
Travis was introduced to Central Asian dance in 1989 by Laurel Victoria Gray, and in 1992 was invited to Bukhara, Uzbekistan, to live and perform with Mohy- Sitora Folklore Ensemble. She also studied classical Uzbek dance in Tashkent with the acclaimed Akilov family.
In 1996 Travis and Laurel Gray collaborated to produce Central Asian Dance Camp, a summer dance program for the study of Uzbek and Persian dance. Travis' solo dance concerts, presented in the US and in Europe, have included classical and folkloric Uzbek and Middle Eastern dance, as well as her own original creative works. Travis currently resides in Cookeville, Tennessee and teaches dance in Nashville, Tennessee, as well as on online.
From Annya Istara, Taos, New Mexico
My path to becoming a belly dancer began as a young girl, when I knew I wanted to be a belly dancer, despite having never seen one, or even having heard Middle Eastern music. When I eventually began belly dance lessons in 1991, I was instantly hooked on the beautiful movements, vibrant music, exotic costuming, and the discovery of Middle Eastern cultures from which this dance comes. Belly dance is such a diverse, deep, and fascinating topic, that I haven’t stopped learning since!
My other dance studies began with Jazz and Ballet when I was a teenager and evolved to encompass Haitian, West African, and Cuban Orisha dances, Butoh, and Contact Improvisation, among others. I have also studied Rajasthani Gypsy dance of the Kalbelia people and Ghoomar Ladies dance in Rajasthan, India, and Turkish Roman (Gypsy) dance in Turkey.
I have a wide background in movement, energy training, and physical body studies. I have studied a variety of dance and movement forms for over 35 years, including yoga (in India and the US), and tai chi and qigong (in the US and China). I have a Qigong Instructor Certification and a Tai Chi Teacher certification from Qigong Academy. I am also a trained massage therapist, Level 2 Reiki practioner, licensed minister, and have been trained as a licensed Art of Feminine Presence® teacher. I am certified in Level 1 of Sadie Marquant’s Raqs Flow Bellydance Training Program.
Alanah (Anne Hitchcock) moved to NYC in 2001 from Santa Fe, NM. Throughout the years, her dancing has been described as regal and timeless. Her extensive dance background includes study with Elena Lentini, Yoursry Sharif, Dalia Carella, Raqia Hassan and Leila Farid. Alanah’s style is also influenced by her years of Flamenco training, most notably with Juana Amaya in Sevilla, Spain. Alanah is currently broadening her interest in contemporary Persian dance with Shahrzad Khorsandi.
Alanah has danced as a member of the Dalia Carella Dance Collective and with Elena Lentini’s Caravanserai Dance Theater and recently with the contemporary Middle Eastern dance trio Raqs Uncommon. Alanah has performed at numerous theatrical concerts, private engagements and cultural events highlighting Egyptian and fusion-style Oriental Dance and she has been honored to perform at the United Nations. She is also a producer; creating World Dance fundraisers for Planned Parenthood and Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief. The highly anticipated American Bellydance Icons Gala, celebrating the release of dancer and researcher Amaya’s documentary, had been scheduled for April 2020. Alanah conducts classes and workshops in oriental dance and fan veil technique and choreography.
Other professional endeavors include Alanah’s Couture Fan Veils which launched in 2010, her collection of silk fans and veils which are now used by performing artists and theatrical companies around the world and in 2016 she launched her jewelry collection; Brooklyn Body Bling.
Amaya, The Gypsy Dancer of New Mexico was the FIRST to introduce the passion of Flamenco with the sensuality of Arabic Dance through her introduction of the song "Amayagueña" composed especially for her by the top composer, Ibrahim El Samahy. Her fusion work in the early 1990s sparked many dancers to follow in her path.
"Amaya is an artist and a woman with the richness of emotion that only comes from the depths of her soul. After each performance I can feel who she is as a woman...it isn't just a mere performance." Suhaila Salimpour
She credits her mentor and dance partner, the late Roman Balladine, for opening many dance doors around the world for her (Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania…). Amaya ran away and joined the circus! Her circus work in Salome Traumtheater and Circus Conelli in Germany and Switzerland were milestones in her dance career. More recently, Amaya was featured as a performer, teacher and judge in Beijing, China. Amaya invites dancers and friends to her upcoming 2019 Tour of Morocco and Spain, following "The Gypsy Trail."
These dance projects have have cinched her a crown as an iconic and internationally known dancer.
1st Place Winner - Cairo, Egypt Dance Competition, Sheraton Hotel, 1978
Featured in “Dream Dancer” Light Rain album, 1978
Giza Award for her documentary, “Gypsy Fire, Part One” 1988
International Academy of Middle Eastern Dance(IAMED) "Top Dancer of the Year Award," Los Angeles, CA
2014 Lifetime Achievement Award, Santa Fe, NM
2016 Lifetime Achievement Award, National Isis Foundation, Dallas, T
2017 Cover of the International Belly Dance Chronicles Magazine, Dallas, TX
Established judge in national and international dance competitions
Producer of Amaya’s Mexico Adventures, Annual Oriental Potpourri Dance Festival, The Shake & Bake Festival, Annual Wise Woman Retreat, Giza Award winner "American Belly Dance Legends" DVD documentary, "The Top American Belly Dance Icons," DVD documentary
Known for her fluid and dynamic dance style, Amaya is the first Oriental Dancer in American to fuse the power of Flamenco with the feminine Arabic dance movements. She is also the proud producer of her latest labor of love, the best-selling dvd “American Legends in Belly Dance,” honoring the American icons that lead to the explosion of Oriental Dance around the world. Amaya hosts intimate and intensive annual Wise Woman Retreat every summer in New Mexico to a small group of like-minded dance spirits.
Having performed in over 21 countries, Amaya is The Elite-of–the-Elite in Instructors, Amaya can teach the Beginning Dancer to the Professional Performer by developing basic steps into “super-embellished” moves. Dynamic music mixed with a healthy dose of humor and life philosophies all lead to a great learning atmosphere. Enjoy her Amaya Technique in workshop and seminars for all levels. Prepare to MOVE!
BOOKING INFORMATION: School cultural visits, Dance workshops, Lecture/Demos, Convention Spousal Programs, Performances, Classes, Private Lessons.
Ph: (505) 280-3638 Email: AmayaDances@gmail.com
Importance of Improvisation
"Tarab to me is when you are expecting something beautiful and you get something even more beautiful.
Improv is where it's at for me.
It's about what the moment feels like instead of what it looks like.
I'm lucky because I love weaving my melodies with and for movement, and I craft music to what I see unfold in real time. It's the most humanly interactive experience I know.
I started playing for dancers over 30 years ago, and I remember so many taksim moments as if they were yesterday.
Zoom is interesting, but it works. I just hold the last notes long and low and folks catch up their movement just fine. There's still live music and movement interaction because it's not choreography.
I've noticed that the latency is actually it's own element -- similar to murmuration in flocks of birds.
Honestly, it's been pretty cathartic. We are in real time, if not in real space, together. " -- Meg York interview
Taksim Class FAQ Video
Testimonials for Taksim Classes
"Together, you presented a very fine experience in the study of taxim, (solo improvisation), both technically from a dancer’s perspective, and musically from a musician’s perspective, in this case a musician who genuinely enjoys “partnering” with dancers during the taxim! I very much appreciated Meg’s laying out the musical structure of the taxim, and taking us on her various “journeys.”
Annya’s fine-tuned, body-centered guidance helped us explore solid elements of making dance , i.e. shape, direction, level changes, dynamics, time, and scale, with good knowledge of how the body moves. Her concept of a “magnetic core” is a valuable treasure, both in the dance, and in everyday life!
This study was easily adaptable for all levels of dance experience, and a great practice in maintaining a focus while exploring new dance territory."
Travis Jarrell, Cookeville, Tennessee
"I definitely feel more comfortable with structured dance class format and struggle with free-form improvisation. While zooming is not my preferred mode of class, it did enable a certain level of not being concerned with things like looking silly and feeling weird while trying improvisational movement. I liked that a lot and felt like it was easier to connect with Meg's wonderful playing.
What I learned that surprised me: I was somewhat surprised that it became easier over the course of a couple sessions to shut down the critical mind and allow myself to move freely with the music, I usually only have that experience in brief stints.
Annya is a fantastic teacher that I have been privileged to learn from for many years now. She has great instincts for where people are at, and she is very clear in her explanations of concepts of belly dance that can be subtle and sometimes more abstract. She is a very "clean" dancer, in that her movements are concise and easy to follow. Annya is well-studied and it shows!
Meg, besides being a beautifully gifted clarinet player, is very skilled at playing for dancers for a co-created experience. She also has clearly studied all aspects of her craft and explains concepts very well.
Meg and Annya make a great team, in performance as well as teaching.
I am grateful for the experience, thanks to you both!!"
Emily S, Taos, New Mexico
"It was great to do the Taksim Class and tune in to my innate response to the music. Annya had great insights and Meg’s enthusiasm and joy in the clarinet were inspiring. It was a special experience and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to deepen their connection to the music."
"Dear Annya and Meg,
I want to thank you both for offering such an amazing experience in dance and music. It is hard to express the joy and excitement that I experienced being in your class. The instructions Annya offered combined with the live music from Meg created an environment easy to absorb and learn new material. I felt free to experiment with new movements in my body that Annya taught and Meg made it feel comfortable and right with her playing. The combination increased my mental and physical understanding of Taksim. Thank you, and I hope you offer another class similar to this. I felt connected, from the privacy of my home: a unique experience."
Richard, Taos, New Mexico