About Ne-Kajira Jannan

A Life in Dance

Ne-Kajira Jannan has been involved in theatre and dance arts since 1970, with a focus on teaching and performing ethnic and fusion dance since 1976. Her areas of study include American danse orientale, Jamila Salimpour tribal, Tribal Synergy ™ , international folk and folkloric dances of the Mediterranean, Eastern Europe and Middle East, raks sharqi, raks beladi, and African dance. In addition, she was among the original developers of fusion dance, which, along with dance theatre, became her primary focus until her retirement from performance. She was a member of the Dandara Ensemble from 1975-1978, served as the director of Amaal Dance Ensemble and Theatre, Northwest region, from 1976-1994 and was the advisor to Dreamweaver Dance Theatre,  1994-95 while also serving as a choreography consultant to various performance companies and troupes throughout the Northwest between 1980-1994. Ne-Kajira organized dance programs for the federal MWR Dept, organized dance tours to military bases in Alaska and was a regular performer at Fantasia Festival, WA, Folklife Festival, WA, and Evergreen State College.

Ne-Kajira Jannan is the originator of Prima Beladi ™, an dance education system which includes the development of a blended dance style, a proven, working dance vocabulary and written works to support the presented materials. Included in this instructional system are comprehensive workshops and written materials such as A Primer Class For Teachers ™, a 4 part series for dance educators and those considering teaching; Professional Tools For Dancers ™, including Dancing Spirit: The Inspiration of Perfection, a series of workshops aimed at perfecting movement technique in targeted areas, and the Prima Beladi Handbook of Movements For Dance. She also developed Afro-cize ™, a unique exercise program featuring African dance movements and has taught workshops in all levels from Beginning to Advanced, including Floorwork, Veil and Prop dances. Her goal has been and remains the advancement of professionalism in fusion dance and its variant forms as a fully certified, adjudicated dance craft and performance art.

She has directed over 45 full stage bellydance/folkloric dance productions (including the annual “Caravans East” and “Caravansarai” that ran for 20 years) as well as developing and producing several original thematic stage productions including “Omens of the Moon: A Journey Into Fantasy”, “Legends Lost, Myths Remembered” ( a tour de force of interpretive dance and costuming based on the legends of goddesses around the world featuring poetry readings mixed with choreography), and “Mythos Rising: Through The Eyes of Alexandros”, an original dance production with readings following the cultures experienced along the path of Alexander The Great. In addition, she has presented literally hundreds of small programs and educational presentations to colleges, public libraries, schools, social organizations and art centers as well as creating choreography for community theatre musicals.

In the USA, Ne-Kajira has been an invited guest instructor for Education Services District, Oregon: the Academy of Classical Ballet in Oregon, MED&CA, the Powers Of Bellydance Conference, the Blue Mountain Folklife Society and the Three Rivers Folklife Society of Tri-Cities, WA. In addition, she founded The Womens Gathering, a non-profit organization featuring an annual weekend event with multi-track workshops in issues of concern to women and co-founded Outworlder Fest, an annual sci-fi event with dance entertainment based on sci-fi and fantasy concepts. In addition to her dance instruction, Ne-Kajira has conducted business training for artists through Stone Soup, a non-profit organization, and the WA State DVR; she has also served as a Community Organizer in Washington State and Oregon.

A belief in supporting quality dancers and dance educators led Ne-Kajira to sponsor numerous guest performers and workshop instructors, including Suzanna, KaSandra Belair, the Okanogan Highland Collective, Zaphara, Kashmira, Delilah, Sherine, Shalimar Troupe with Nabeela al Shalimar, Helen Dagley, Shammara, Hasani, Mish Mish, A’isha Azar, Sabah Ensemble, Yasmin, Omar Batiste, Lynn “Medea” Sherrill, Kehlila Nasnan (former Amaal co-director), Ghazala, Nejat, Najwa, Alexandra, Nelda Reid, Alfredo, Karija Dossett, Hopa! Folkloric Ensemble, Gypsy Caravan Dancers of Idaho, Rasheda Dancers of Idaho, and many others.

Ne-Kajira Jannan thanks those whose training created a life path, including Jamila Salimpour, Badawia, Dahlena, Suzanna DelVecchio, Mafi, Helen Dagley, Samra, Morocco, Najwa, Nejat, Karija Dossett, Nakish, Alfredo, Adefua African Dance Company, Nelda Reid, Shara Flavin, Mish Mish, Shammara, Shiraz, Temple Beth El, Omar Batiste, A’isha Azar, Qasim, Okanogan Dance Collective, Hopa! Folkloric Ensemble, Aisha Ali, and others.

Since retiring from performance and classroom teaching, Ne-Kajira is devoting her time to the Prima Beladi system of training for teachers and dancers. Her focus is on helping dancers become better performers, understand stagecraft and giving teachers a wider range of instructional materials.

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