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  1. #1
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Ranya Renee's workshops -- MUST DO!!!

    I just got back from a weekend with the fabulous Ranya Renee.

    Now we all know she's an amazing dancer, and we know her instructional dvds are excellent, but I want to let you all know how absolutely wonderful her live workshops were.

    You walk away from a lot of other workshops with the feeling of "oh I sort of half-learned a cute choreography that I'll never remember or perform," or "we drilled a lot of technique," but Ranya's workshops were completely different.

    Ranya uses a lot of physical, tactile aids to help you understand her concepts -- she demonstrates some of this on the balady dvd: the band across the thighs, the bungee clips, the bra band. Being able to actually FEEL, physically, the concepts she's talking about makes it sink into my brain so much faster and easier.

    One of the workshops was on breathwork, and breathing into the movement. I swear this workshop ALONE gave me "homework" enough for a year. I wrote down several pages of notes of concepts to experiment with at home. Metaphorically speaking, I feel like Ranya gave me a dollar and said "invest this in your dance practice" and I know that if I spend the time to really explore those concepts, I'm going to turn that initial dollar into a thousand! It was very exciting and inspiring to see how you can change the quality of movement (and how it feels to move) just by changing the breath. Very cool.

    I think my favorite workshop (although it was the one I had the most trouble with) was her drum solo technique workshop. I am TERRIFIED of the idea of performing an improvised drum solo with a live drummer. I see people do it all the time but it just amazes me. Ranya encourages a spontaneous drum solo because it has more life and energy. (It still scares me, but now I feel like I won't be petrified the first time I try it.)

    Ranya's drum solo technique class was SOOOO much better than any other drum solo workshop I've had because we didn't work on a choreography and we didn't drill a bunch of sharp movements -- she had us practicing hitting the accents in the music, and then showed us how to alternate keeping the energy more internal and then making it more external. We used different muscle groups, experimented with having some muscles relaxed with others tense, talked about editing down your movements -- just a lot of really great things. We broke off into groups and then practiced "performing" using the concepts we discussed. This was hard for me because I kept wanting to default to what I was already comfortable with and not what she actually WANTED us to practice! (So Ranya, if you read this, I really did understand what you were hoping for us to accomplish, even if I was actually doing nothing of the sort!)

    In any case, I am still nervous about the idea of an improvised drum solo, but I feel 1000% better about actually ATTEMPTING it, and I have some fantastic advice to implement in my drum solo choreographies.

    All in all, I think Ranya is a VERY engaging instructor, very personable and funny, with EXCELLENT communication skills. She knew exactly how to explain what she was teaching so that people of all different learning styles would be able to fully understand her. The workshops were skill-building, but not necessarily technical skills -- more like performance and expression skills. I just loved it. I would study with her again in a HEARTBEAT, and I'm planning on attending next year's Theatrical Bellydance Conference, where Ranya and other instructors teach workshops on the personal and performance aspect of bellydance.

    In short -- 5 stars !!!!!

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Mosaic's Avatar
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    The WS sounds absolutely wonderful, I would love to take a WS (or 2) with Ranya Renee. Maybe one day I 'll get lucky and she will come to Melbourne Oz. Thanks for the great review. Good luck with attempting an improvised live drum solo one day - I've never done it either another nervous one here
    ~Mosaic
    Dance is like glitter, it not only colours your life, it makes you sparkle, you find it everywhere and in everything and it's near impossible to get rid of. (unknown)


  3. #3
    Moderator Daimona's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Aziyade View Post
    All in all, I think Ranya is a VERY engaging instructor, very personable and funny, with EXCELLENT communication skills. She knew exactly how to explain what she was teaching so that people of all different learning styles would be able to fully understand her. The workshops were skill-building, but not necessarily technical skills -- more like performance and expression skills. I just loved it. I would study with her again in a HEARTBEAT, and I'm planning on attending next year's Theatrical Bellydance Conference, where Ranya and other instructors teach workshops on the personal and performance aspect of bellydance.
    I second this.
    I attended a workshop with Ranya Renee in February and she is overall one of my favourite teachers ever. I wouldn't hesitate a moment if I had the chance of taking a workshop with her again.
    --
    Daim.

  4. #4
    V.I.P. adiemus's Avatar
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    Mosaic, I'll be with you if Ranya Renee comes to Oz - or NZ - you would be hard-pressed to get in before me I'd be there so fast! I love her DVD's, love her dancing - and from what you guys have said (and my interactions via email), it sounds like she is as generous in life as she appears on the DVD. Can't wait. (I hope she's blushing!)

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Mosaic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adiemus View Post
    Mosaic, I'll be with you if Ranya Renee comes to Oz - or NZ - you would be hard-pressed to get in before me I'd be there so fast! I love her DVD's, love her dancing - and from what you guys have said (and my interactions via email), it sounds like she is as generous in life as she appears on the DVD. Can't wait. (I hope she's blushing!)
    Looks like we will be pushing each other to get through the door first
    ~Mosaic
    Dance is like glitter, it not only colours your life, it makes you sparkle, you find it everywhere and in everything and it's near impossible to get rid of. (unknown)


  6. #6
    Moderator Safran's Avatar
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    I have some of her DVDs and I love them. I also participated in some of the homework assignements she gave when the baladi-set came out, and was very impressed by the way she approaches dancing. I'm not sure she'll be geographically close to me any time soon though

  7. #7
    Moderator Darshiva's Avatar
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    I'm with Mosaic and adiemus - if Rania was hosted in melbourne, I'd be there with bells on. Actually, if she was hosted pretty much anywhere in Australia but WA, I'd be there in a flash. (WA is out because it's too expensive for me to get there. *sob*)

  8. #8
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    @Safran
    Ranya Renee will come to Stockholm in january next year.

  9. #9
    Member Makeda Maysa's Avatar
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    I am so excited to study with her at the Nationals this year. She's such an inspiration to me.

  10. #10
    Moderator Daimona's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by monya View Post
    @Safran
    Ranya Renee will come to Stockholm in january next year.
    Oh my! Do you know who the organizers are or where I could get more information?
    --
    Daim.

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