CMP offers educational dance and drumming presentations to schools, libraries, colleges, and universities. We explore the connections between dance and music while discussing the people and traditions of the Middle East.
Each of our dancers brings unique talents and different experiences to the presentations. Whether we present the world of Arabic belly dance and percussion instruments, or explore the many Persian folk dances, our presentations are enlightening and entertaining.
Phaedra Darwish, Belly Dance
Coming from a background in instrumental and vocal music and traditional stage dance styles, Phaedra Darwish was mesmerized by belly dance and Arabic music after studying different types of dance from around the world. She now regularly performs and teaches workshops and classes in Chicago and throughout the US, hoping to spread enthusiasm and respect for Middle Eastern dance as more and more people get acquainted with its health benefits and enchanted by its beauty.
Maria Mobasseri, Belly Dance and Iranian Folk Dance
Maria Mobasseri is an Iranian dancer and fitness instructor specializing in Middle Eastern and Iranian folk dance. She has choreographed dance for the Iranian Cultural Association in Champaign-Urbana for 18 years, gives workshops on Belly- and Latin dance, is a competitive body sculptor, and a personal trainer in Zumba and nutrition as owner of Aya Sherada Studio.
The many different drums of the Middle East provide both rhythm and melody for the dancer. While the drumming sounds exotic it is actually very understandable when explained, and the relationship between rhythm as movement (dance) and rhythm as sound (drumming) is intricate and fascinating.
Don Skoog has given presentations and masterclasses at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, the Illinois PAS Day of Percussion, Millikin University, Northwestern University, University of Wisconsin, Kansas State University, the Nashville Jazz Workshop, College of DuPage, Colorado State University, Elmhurst College, Valparaiso University, the Old Town School of Folk Music, Concordia University, and Vandercook College. He was on faculty at the Sherwood Conservatory of Music, is a presenter for The International Music Foundation, was director of the Gallery 37 Latin Big Band, and is author of Batá Drumming, The Instruments, the Rhythms, and the People Who Play Them. He performs with Iranian and Arabic dancers in the Chicago area, and has worked with Simon Shaheen, Michel Merhej, and Tarek Rantisi at the Arabic Music Retreat.
Come explore them with us!