Alia Thabit School Program Menu

 Alia’s programs awaken students to the beauty and diversity of the dance, music, people, and culture of the Middle East.

Options range from lecture-demonstrations through multi-week residencies incorporating Middle Eastern music, dance, and culture. Alia’s goal is to act as cultural ambassador. She brings understanding and appreciation of Middle Eastern arts and the universality of human expression. And she brings the pleasures of self-expression, art, and movement into the lives of students, parents, and teachers.

Costuming for school programs is bright and entrancing to students, yet modest and completely covered.  Alia has years of experience as a Head-Start teacher and a Speech-Language Assistant, serving five schools in a K-8 program; she has also taught writing at Lyndon State College for over fifteen years. All programs gender-neutral. All body types celebrated. Alia is NEST-eligible. Please see her Creative Ground profile. For fee information, see our rates and availability or contact Alia.

Lecture-Demonstration (Lec-Dem)

  • A performance of classic Middle Eastern dance accompanied by explanations of the dance and its origins, plus a question and answer session. Suitable for larger audiences, assemblies. All grade levels.

In-Class Workshop

  • A hands-on sharing includes art books featuring photographs of Middle Eastern life, art objects, architecture etc, musical instruments and articles of clothing from Alia’s collection. Students hear the sounds of indigenous instruments and learn some folkloric social dance. Suitable for smaller groups / single classes. All grade levels.

Dance Classes

  • Students learn folkloric social dance and music interpretation. Suitable for smaller groups. Middle School through adult.

We can build a residency  that works for your school, from an hour to a week or more.
Just ask. More ideas are listed below.

Preschool: Bring music and dress-up hip-scarves (sparkly!). Dance with children and answer questions. Emphasize free expression to the music rather than teaching dance.

After-School: Hands-on-Workshops (see below).

Senior Centers: Classic performance or Middle Eastern (oriental) dance. Q&A and mini-lessons for the residents.

Community Events:

  • Teach Arab rhythms to local drummers/musicians. Teach dance moves to local dancers.  Combine and have a party.
  • Make Middle Eastern food together and have a community supper, then have the party.
  • Duet performance, featuring Alia & dance partner, Stewart Hoyt. A high-energy tour of Middle  Eastern dance, from folkloric to fantasy and fusion.
  • Evening performance: Full-company performance of concert-length dance-theater suite  grounded in the dance, music, and costuming of the Middle East. This flight of ensemble creation soars from gilded folklore to flamboyant fantasy, from Bedouin to belly dance, from  snappy precision to full-company improvisation, a joyous celebration of Oriental dance. Mini- lessons and an informal question and answer period with the artists will follow the show.
  • Middle Eastern participatory dance parties–for fun and learning. Dance with recorded music.


  • Lecture on dance in cultural context. Performance, Q&A, and mini lessons
  • Lecture on dance in a social context, with demonstrations of different dances, Q&A, mini  lessons.
  • Music related—lecture on Arab music systems (modes, heterophony and heterorhythms,  improvisation within the modal system). Drum demo, with musical recordings to illustrate other concepts.

Hands-on Workshops (School & Community)

  • Middle Eastern social dance. Focus on contemporary Arab pop music to provide a cultural  bridge for Western students. Emphasize moves students can reinterpret to American music.
  • Debke! Debke is the line dance of the Levant & Palestine. It can be done as a group or a solo performance dance. Teach both standard line debke and high-energy Palestinian debke.
  • Writing across the curriculum. As students discover new ways of moving and relating to their  bodies, they will use reflective writing to further explore their discoveries. Art—drawing and writing about their experiences–can also be  incorporated. Student creations to be displayed  at a show or community event.

Master Classes

  • For experienced dancers and dance teachers: Emphasize new ways to  work with music.
  • For PE teachers: Introduce M.E music and give a foundation of how to move to the music— basic moves, bodyline, etc.
  • Work with local dancers to develop a piece to include in the evening public performance.

Availability & Rates

Suitable for all audiences; Available all year

Solo performances: $300 and up
Duet shows: $600 and up

School programs: $525 per day; Lec-Dem: $300

Workshops & classes: $200/hr ($165/hr for additional hours).
Dance parties: $300 and up
“Bellygrams” $300 and up
Travel distance is unlimited – mileage, travel expenses, and accommodations additional, as needed

E-mail  [email protected]
Or call Alia at (802) 488-5234