LogoIraqi Kawliya with Daggers – WRJ

WHERE: Dancer's Corner, White River Junction
TIME: 7:20-8:45 (85 minutes) but final class at 5:45 on May 31
When: Wednesdays – March 29 - May 31 (no class April 12 & 19, May 24)  Final class at 5:45


The Iraqi Kawleeya are related to the migration from Northwest India, probably from a tribe related to the Romani, called the Domari. The Iraqi Kawleeya are from the Ghajar branch of the Domari. The Iraqi Kawleeya style is known for its energetic, even acrobatic presentation, and it is also known for the extensive use of hair and daggers as props. The exact origin of the use and meaning of the daggers is not known.  This choreography is being created for RSDT by world-famous Iraqi dance performer and teacher, Assala Ibrahim.  Please note that HAIR WORK WILL BE OPTIONAL.      

Assala Ibrahim was born in Basra City. From early in Assala’s childhood in Iraq, she was surrounded by the rich traditions of Iraqi culture and Oriental dance. She spent many evenings accompanying her mother to work, where she assisted in the preparation of weddings and henna parties. Assala would watch in awe how the women danced at these parties. These experiences played a major role of her interest in dance, and helped influence her art. Assala studied at the University of Baghdad, graduating with a degree in Education. In 1993 she moved to Switzerland, and was determined to preserve the rich traditions of her heritage through furthering her studies in oriental dance. She turned to the shaabi people (people from the countryside and working class) who continue to practice their traditional dance and music styles. Assala believes that learning authentic traditions is where wisdom in dance comes from. She has found that the shaabi people transcend even highly refined schools of dance.  Her goal is to combine traditional folk dance with proper technique.   

In her desire to prevent the authentic Iraqi dance from becoming a lost or forgotten art form, she has documented, reconstructed, and clarified the traditional dance steps and patterns. By doing so, she hopes to provide future dancers with a solid foundation which can then be used for creating new and modern interpretations of Iraqi music. Understanding the relationship between the past and the present is an essential part of Assala’s teaching and she considers this knowledge a necessity for the dedicated student of this dance.  Through her many years of research, performance, and teachings, Assala has developed her dance into a recognized and highly appreciated art form. Currently, Assala performs and teaches internationally in Middle Eastern countries such as Egypt, Jordan and Syria, and also Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, Mexico, the U.S and more.  She is currently the foremost teacher of Iraqi Kawliya dance on the globe.   

This class is open to second year Intermediate students who have performed at least Cane, Zills or Veil in any showcase to date, and it is also open to Advanced students. This will be a very fun, accessible and non-exlusive dance class (with a later option for performance) for any experienced intermediate or advanced dancer.  

LOCATION: Dancer's Corner on Pine Street in White River Junction, VT

FAQs: See FAQ's page regarding foul weather, make-up classes and other issues.

WHAT TO BRING/WEAR: See FAQ's page. Students will be asked to bring a thick yoga mat to each class.

COST: $165 in advance by check (please speak with me if you need a payment plan for class). Please postmark check no later than March 15 to: Gina Capossela, 2090 Moore Road, South Royalton, VT 05068. Please note that we cannot offer refunds, discounts for missed classes (although we encourage make-ups at other locations), transfers of registration/credit to other students, or refunds due to weather rescheduling.

OTHER QUESTIONS: Don't hesitate to email me with any other questions at info@ginadances.com or call me 802-282-2149. If I'm not available to take your call, please let me when and where is a good time to reach you.