Creating music for your class takes time and patience, we follow a formula to both educate and make the CD fun to listen too.

Once Melanie and I have finalized the syllabus for the year, I start with each class’s CD.

Firstly I find warmup music. I look for music that is upbeat and that will inspire excitement for the rest of the workout. Next, the cooldown music, which should be slow & relaxing. Choosing the correct feel of the music is very important. Warmup affects the rest of the tone of the class and the cooldown influences how you feel after class is finished.

The use of the same warmup and cool down music for each level’s CD, just makes my life easier.

For the elementary CD, I choose music that has an even tempo with a small variety of speeds (not too fast & not too slow). My music of choice here is mostly Egyptian pop, as the music is easier for this level to understand but has a middle eastern element that can introduce them to the new sounds and rhythms. Adding in for drilling fun a few electro-pop fusion songs as well. I end their CD with the music for the choreographies for that year.

Our beginners’ CD is similar to the elementary in feel but has no choreographies on it.

The syllabus for our intermediate and advanced classes is more in-depth, as such there is more structure to their CDs.

I group the music according to the trimesters in which we teach.

Firstly I will put the basic rhythms we are learning about for that section, followed by an example or 2 of the rhythm and the genre. For example, if we were learning about Raqs Assaya, then we would start with the Saidi rhythm and then put 1-2 examples of Saidi music. If the rhythms are not part of the program then I will add an extra example of the music. At the end of each grouping will be the choreography related to the topic we are learning about.

We do 3-4 choreographies in a year so that pretty much fills up the CD.

Creating music playlists for classes can take a long time, but by creating a format that works for our classes has definitely made the task a lot easier.

Jessica Perelson

Jessica has had an affinity for dancing since she was very young.  At the tender age of two years, she would attend her sister’s ballet classes and dance with the older girls.  When she was six, she was enrolled in the Norma Blakeway School of Ballet, and attended classes there for 11 years.  During that time she passed the Royal Academy of Dance grade 7 and pre-elementary exams. Jessica then shifted her focus to her academic career, and took a sabbatical from dancing until 2008, when she began belly dancing under the tuition of Janka Kliment.  In 2009 she joined the Evolution Oriental Dance Troupe and began performing regularly at festivals and functions.  She also auditioned to become a teaching assistant and started her apprenticeship in 2010. In October 2010, Jessica danced at the International Oriental Dance Festival’s Gala event with the Evolution Troupe. At the end of 2013, Jessica joined forces with Melanie Wallis and bought Janka’s Oriental Dance Studio, changing it’s name to Zahra’s Oriental Dance Studio.  Jessica now runs classes, workshops and performs for Zahra’s.