created by Suhaila Salimpour

Belly dance isn’t just about shaking your hips to the music. It’s a beautiful art form with rich traditions, history, and cultural connection.   In Suhaila Salimpour’s Folkloric Fusion® classes, you’ll learn belly dance responsibly in a supportive, encouraging, and fun environment.  Using Suhaila’s revolutionary dance technique, and Jamila’s seminal step vocabulary, Folkloric Fusion® classes introduce you to cultural stylizations, fun finger cymbal patterns, and the diverse range of music and cultures from around the Middle East, North Africa, and the Turkish peninsula.

Learn proper technique and responsible fusion, all while discovering the authentic YOU!

What People are Saying

Game changer!  This class combines dance and cymbals and regional styles.  And I love using Suhaila’s format with Jamila’s vocabulary of step families.  My dance has really improved since taking these classes online and in Suhaila’s workshops.

Sally Smith, Los Angeles, CA

Suhaila does it again!  Folkloric Fusion™ is so much fun!  I’ve never smiled so much, and I am challenged in such a positive way!  It’s also fun to be in classes with several levels of students, and we all learn together.  I really enjoy learning about how to hear and dance to the different Middle Eastern rhythms.

Nagwa Khoury

I didn’t know I wanted to learn Middle Eastern dance until I took this class.  Something clicked.  I see how it all works together.  I like being in this School because things are authentic.  My culture gets ripped off all the time, and I don’t want to do that to someone else.  Suhaila teaches a lot of stuff in each class, but they are fun.  I take online classes now so I can take all the classes.

Ernesto Hernandez, Albuquerque, NM

Suhaila Salimpour’s Folkloric Fusion® combines:

  • Suhaila Salimpour’s revolutionary dance format

  • Suhaila Salimpour’s Core Dimension™ elements for breath, movement, and expression

  • Jamila Salimpour’s iconic step vocabulary with sentiments and stylizations

  • Salimpour finger cymbal method

  • Dance Movement, created specifically by Suhaila for belly dancers

  • Regional and cultural stylizations from the Middle East

  • Classic Middle Eastern music and rhythms

  • World music and rhythms, street dance, jazz dance, popular music, and so much more!

Where can you take a Folkloric Fusion Class?

  • Online Classes: Take Folkloric Fusion classes 24/7.

  • Workshops: Online and In-Person around the World.

  • Licensed Instructors:  Find an instructor near you!

What do I wear to a class?

Regular dance or workout clothes are best.  You can see from our pictures that our students select clothes that don’t limit their movement and allow the instructor to see clearly see their movement.  Hip scarves are fine as long as they have no beads, sequins, coins, or other elements.

Do I need any special equipment?

Finger cymbals are integral part of the class.  You might also bring a yoga mat for the warm-up and cool down on the floor.

Should I wear shoes?

Many students take class in bare feet.   But you can also wear ballet shoes, jazz shoes, half soles, or other dance-type footwear.

What level are Folkloric Fusion® classes?

We recommend that students have a good working knowledge of Suhaila’s Level 1 material as well as Jamila’s step vocabulary.  Classes are challenging, but students of all levels from beginning to advanced take these classes.

About Folkloric Fusion® and Where it all Began

About Folkloric Fusion®

Several years after Suhaila established the certification program in her own format and developed a curriculum for weekly classes at her home studio in northern California, she realized that the program wasn’t quite complete.

Her school, of course, offered intense study in her own technique-driven format, and her mother, Jamila Salimpour, was still teaching regular classes and workshops in the San Francisco Bay Area. And she had just introduced her “Dance Movement”  classes to teach basics of ballet, jazz, and modern dance forms with the belly dancer in mind. But there were so many other facets of belly dance that those classes just didn’t have time to cover. There was so much work to be done!

So, in 2005, Suhaila began offering classes and workshops in what she calls “Folkloric Fusion®.”

Folkloric Fusion® was the natural evolution of the work that her mother had started with Bal Anat. After all, Bal Anat itself is a kind of folklore hybrid, blending traditional dances with stage theatrics and a dash of fantasy. And in the late 1990s, Suhaila had revived Bal Anat, restaging and re-choreographing all of the core dances, blending her format and her mother’s step vocabulary. At this time she also began integrating this material into her classes.

Unlike the “Folkloric” dances that had emerged from Egypt and Lebanon in the 1960s with performance companies such as the Reda Troupe, Firqat Khawmiyya, and Caracalla Dance Theatre, Suhaila wanted to focus solely on hipwork-driven belly dance and its cultural and regional stylizations.

So, to round out the curriculum at her studio, and to offer workshops with deeper context, she developed Folkloric Fusion® classes.

These classes cover a wide range of topics including regional and cultural stylizations, rhythms, and finger cymbals. A typical Folkloric Fusion® class will have a theme, such as Lebanese Debke, or blending jazz footwork with Jamila Format steps. They might also feature live percussion or other musicians. But no matter what, it’s always all belly dance.

Today, licensed instructors of the Salimpour School are authorized to teach Folkloric Fusion® classes following Suhaila’s original vision of a class that was not quite drills and not quite her mother’s class format… but something flexible that can be tailored to a specific theme or to enhance the overall dance education of our students.