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Noujoum Jadeeda

A Special Dance Class and Performance Troupe for Students! (FAQs below)

Have you been taking belly dance for a number of sessions or even years, and are you interested in going more indepth--in concentrating on not only technique but learning how to use those techniques in combinations and dance transitions? In learning more about different styles and forms of the music and the dance? In developing performance skills? In building confidence and grace regardless of whether you set foot on stage? In enjoying the camaraderie and fun of working with other women in a female-positive environment? Maybe even in building the skills and knowledge to one day be a professional soloist or part of a professional dance company?

Noujoum Jadeeda is a dance class and performance troupe for students of intermediate to advanced level. It is open to adult women of all ages and to teens with with parental agreement. Each session we will focus on introducing or refinining technique, combinations and skills for a particular dance or dance-suite. We'll cover aspects of music, style to ensure you're learning skills and knowledge that you can apply to your dancing outside Noujoum Jadeeda as well, but we will also be building a repertoire of dances to perform as a group.







About Noujoum Jadeeda

What is it and what does it mean?

If I sign up for the class, do I have to perform with the student troupe?

What if at first I *think* I don't want to perform, but later, I change my mind?

Do I have to take the class to perform with the troupe?

What if I have to miss some of the classes?

But I've never taken classes at Aalim School before--is this only for your students?

What if I already perform with another group? Or what if I've been dancing a different style of belly dance?

What kinds of dances/what styles of dance will we learn?

Where will the troupe perform?

Who will direct, teach and/or choreograph for the troupe?

Do I need to audition?

What levels of dancers are accepted? What skills do I need?

Who can join Noujoum Jadeeda? Are there any age requirements? Any physical requirements?

Can men join?

What do you look for in dancers?

I'm really interested, but I'm not sure I'm ready yet or I'm very nervous.


What are the fees?

How many dancers can be in the class/troupe?

When will it start?

When and where does the class meet?

When can I join? What if I miss the start or want to start in a later session?

What about costuming?

How will the classes be structured?

This Q & A is (c) 2014 Mirah Ammal, all rights reserved. Reprint or reuse without expressed written permission of Mirah Ammal is strictly prohibited. For questions or permissions write


About Noujoum Jadeeda

Q: What is it and what does it mean?

A: Noujoum Jadeeda means "New Stars." It is a class and student performance troupe designed to help students build not only discreet technical skills, but also to build choreography skills, topical knowledge and overall dance accumen; provide coaching; and encourage camaraderie among its participants. The instructor/director is Mirah Ammal (, but there may at times be other guest instructors as well.

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Q: If I sign up for the class, do I have to perform with the troupe?

A: No. Noujoum Jadeeda welcomes non-performing members as well. You are welcome to be a part of the class and the group and to learn along with everyone else, even if you never want to perform. We will ask that if you do not want to perform (or if you do not wish to perform for a particular dance or event) that you communicate this with the Instructor/director and the group by a certain date with respect to any particular performance to allow us to plan for any blocking, polishing, costuming or other logistical considerations that may be affected by the number or people performing.

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Q: What if at first I *think* I don't want to perform, but later I change my mind?

A: No problem! For any particular piece, if you meet the minimum class attendance and choreography requirements and notify us by the casting deadline for that piece/performance, we would be happy to have you be a part of it!

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Q: Do I have to take the class to perform with the troupe?

A: Yes. In the class we will teach not only a "series of movements" as a choreography, but also the technique and other elements behind that choreography. Therefore out of fairness to the other members and to help ensure everyone is on the same page and performance-ready, we expect all of the performance group members to attend certain percentage of the classes for a particular choreography or performance if they wish to perform with the group. Your class fees are used to pay for the class/rehearsal space; your instructor/choreographer's time researching, choreographing and teaching the material; and learning materials used in the class.

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Q: What if I have to miss some of the classes?

A: Of course we understand--sometimes you're not going to be able to make class--you get sick, a work event comes up, you have parent-teacher conferences, you go out of town or what have you. Life happens, and if you have to miss from time to time, that is fine. Please know, however, that it is in your best interest (and the group's) to try to make as many classes as you can, so that you stay up-to-date on what we're learning. Also, the director and/or the group (by consensus) will reserve the right to disallow an individual from performing in a particular piece or event if the person has missed too many classes/rehearsals leading up to the event. This is simply to ensure that the group's performance quality and preparation time does not suffer, and that members are treated fairly. However, again, even if you will be unable to perform in a particular performance because you will need to miss classes leading up to it, it can still be very worthwhile to attend what classes you can--you will still learn technique and combinations that we may use again in other pieces or that you can use on your own, or perhaps we may revisit and reuse a previously learned choreography at a later date, for which you will be able to be involved in the "polishing" rehearsals.

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Q: But I've never taken classes at Aalim School before--is this only for your students??

A: Not at all! -Noujoum Jadeeda is open to students of any dance program, regardless of whether they previously have ever taken class with Aalim School or Mirah Ammal.

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Q: What if I already perform with another group? Or what if I've been dancing a different style of belly dance?

A: No problem! As long as this class and group generally fit in your schedule and interests, we welcome dancers with other performing experience and other belly dance style backgrounds. This could be a fun way for you to cross-train in additional styles, have more performing opportunities, and get to know another group of wonderful ladies! Welcome!

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Q: What kinds of dances/what styles of dance will we learn?

A: Over time, there may be a wide range of styles and dances, and the director may solicit input from the group as to what their interests are sometimes as well. However, overall, some possibilities on the table include: belly dance (raqs sharqi) to popular and/or classical music, balady dance styles, folkloric dance styles, drum solos, and different "prop" dances. In each case, if we are approaching a new prop or style, you will get training about the style or prop. We will cover a range of Pan-Arabic and American Cabaret styles may over time dabble some in fusion forms or improvisational tribal style; however, overall this group will be neither specificaly a tribal fusion nor ATS group.

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Q: Where will the troupe perform?

A: The troupe will perform for a variety of student- and amateur-appropriate events. This may include haflas, open stages, and possibly certain unpaid community or charitable events. Please know,as this group is education- and student-based, we will generally not pursue paid gigs nor performances that are more appropriate for professional dance companies. As good dance community citizens, it is important that student and amateur groups avoid undercutting the image and wages for professional dancers, so we won't seek to compete in those situations nor to present this group as a "professional" group. (Remember...just because a gig is for a charity doesn't necessarily mean the charity event does not have budget for entertainment. They often do. In such cases, it is best for the industry overall to allow professional dancers to negotiate appropriate rates and take responsibility for presenting a professional-quality program.)

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Q: Who will direct, teach and/or choreograph for the troupe?

A: Overall, the group will be directed and taught by Mirah Ammal, who is also artisitic director with Al-Bahira Dance Theater. Mirah has more than 16 years of consistent study and performance in Middle Eastern dance, including a range of styles and forms, and she has been teaching for more than a dozen years. Mirah will provide the majority of the choreography for the the group.

Of course, this is all just getting started--in the near future,the group will likely also periodically elect "captains"-- individuals to help with some of the organizing and communicating for events and performances. We may also solicit ideas from within the group or even have group members help choreograph certain combinations in a piece. And there may, from time to time, be a guest instructor. We'll see how things grow!

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Q: Do I need to audition?

A: NO you do not need to audition to be part of the troupe! As this is a non-competitive group and one of the key goals is to help dancers build confidence and comfort with the material and (for those who choose to perform) on stage, I'm not going to start by freaking you out with an audition process! That said, you will be asked to fill out a dancer profile form that will tell me a little about your dance background and goals. (Don't think of this as a resume or something to try to impress--remember, this isn't an audition--I'm just trying to be sure I have a realistic idea of where the different individuals are coming from. Be honest, and avoid puffery.)

That said...we will have some minimum requests--for example, students should have taken at least one session of level 2 through either our school or a comparable program. This is not a group for new beginners. Also, as there will be members with different skill levels, there may be times where certain dancers are given specific "parts" or feature elements in a choreography. In such instances, the instructor/director will determine who is dancing which parts.

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Q: What levels of dancers are accepted? What skills do I need?

A: We strongly recommend that you have at least one session of level 2 (at Aalim School or a comparable program) behind you before join this class. Though we will be drilling and refining movements and teaching new technique relevant to our work, you should have a good grasp of the fundamentals and at least a familiarity with some intermediate variations combinations or better. If you are uncertain whether this is right for you, email or talk with Mirah.

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Q: Who can join Noujoum Jadeeda? Are there any age requirements? Physical requirements?

A: Noujoum Jadeeda is open to young ladies aged 14 through 20 (with specific restrictions/requirements based on age) and to ALL adult women aged 21 to 121! We seek to build a fun and mutually respectful environment, and we will welcome qualified students regardless of age, body type, race, ethnicity, cultural norms, belief system, sexual orientation, gender identification, education, socio-economic status, and physical ability. If you have specific challenges or concerns that may require adaptations, please speak with us--we will make reasonable efforts to accommodate where possible.

Students under 21 may be subject to some restrictions. For example: Students under 21 may be restricted from participating in performances in venues where the legal drinking age is a consideration. Students under 18 will require parental consent/waiver, and students 16 and under will require parental signature on the troupe rules and code of conduct in addition to their own. All members will be required to sign off on troupe rules and code of conduct.

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Q: Can men join?

A: Due to the material in some of the initial works and the desire to build a "safe" space for a broad, cross-cultural group of women, for the time being, no. Initially Noujoum Jadeeda will only accept individuals who self-identify as female. We may, in the future, consider the question of whether to expand membership to men who are interested in joining, but that will be a decision made by the membership. We apologize if this is disappointing to some, but we hope you will understand, and we are open to hearing (respectfully expressed) thoughts on the matter.

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Q: What do you look for in dancers?

A: We’re looking for dancers who have an interest in learning, laughing, and performing--dancers who have an interest in building their skills and knowledge and working with a fun group. We like people who are generally reliable, committed to continuous learning and who have a positive attitude--no divas, no drama is how we like to roll!

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Q: I am really interested, but I'm not sure I'm ready yet or I'm very nervous about performing. Should I do it anyway?

A: GO FOR IT! Part of the work in this group will be some guidance and help in dealing with the mental game and stage fright. However, as we mentioned above you DON'T have to perform if you really don't want to. So...why not give it a try? What have you got to lose?

In the meantime, if you have questions or concerns, feel free to email Mirah directly:

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Q: What are the fees?

A: The fees are:
1.) regular class fees (due to the more ongoing nature of this/that this class is likely to continue during session breaks etc., we will be doing gypsy card and single-class fees rather than full-session pricing--currently $60 for 5, $110 for 10 and $13 for a single.)
2.) An annual (once a year) troupe dues of $20. The dues are to help cover costs of things like extra rehearsal space we may need in preparation for performances, costs for printing materials like choreography notes or other materials, wear-and-tear on props or other items that may be borrowed for class/learning/performance, and other incidentals (some of which may be voted on or raised by the group.) You pay your annual dues at the start of the first session in which you join the group, and they will be due again at the start of that session the following year. Therefore, dues are on a rolling schedule, not prorated by when you join
in the year. Also, there is no refund if you choose to leave the group before the year is up.

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Q: How many dancers can be in the class/troupe?

A: To help ensure that there is ample space and time for individual attention, initially the class/troupe is capped at 15 members. By mutual consent of the director and troupe members, this number could be subject to change in the future.

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Q: When will it start?

A: The inaugural session/season of Noujoum Jadeeda will begin in the second week of 2014 Fall session - on Thursday October 2. This first meeting on October 2 will be an informational session, meeting, get-to-know-you and warm up with some light dancing. There will NOT be a charge for that day's class/meeting. (But please come prepared to dance and to do a little paperwork.) The classes for Noujoum Jadeeda will begin the following week, Thursday October 9.

For those of you who have missed dancing since the end of summer session, do not fear--there WILL be a general WOW Factor Technique and Topics class on September 25 during what has been level 2 and what is becoming the Noujoum Jadeeda time slot.

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Q: When and where does the class meet?

A: Initially the class will meet Thursdays 7:45 to 9:15 p.m. at the Aalim School WSP location. This is due to the high number of students from that time slot and location who have expressed interest in this group. For future sessions, we can explore whether this is the best time and place, so please, share your feedback.

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Q: When can I join? What if I miss the start or want to start in a later session?

A: Noujoum Jadeeda will be an ongoing class and troupe not bound by session, but starting on new pieces will often coincide with the start of a new Aalim School session. Generally speaking, new members can be accepted into the troupe/class in any session or during intersessions, space allowing. Likewise, if you need to miss the initial meeting or class date for a session, that will generally be acceptable. However, we may generally ask that new members join as close as possible to the start of a particular session or choreography cycle, in order to ensure continuity and to minimize disruption to the process. If you are interested in joining, but are uncertain about the timing, email Mirah. She will work with you to help determine the best start date for you.

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Q:What about costumes?

A: Generally, members will be responsible for providing their own costumes; however, you will not be required to, say, purchase an expensive bedla costume. As a group, we will make some decisions about costuming with an eye on keeping things clean, neat, and affordable.This may ean assessing what dancewear or costume items we already have/can borrow amongst the group members and the director. It is also possible that the group were to vote to, for example, make a simple, affordable uniform style of dress out of a particular fabric or in different fabrics but a similar style. In anycase, you will NOT be required to have a bare middriff if you do not want to (and for some styles of dance, a bare middriff may not be very appropriate anyway.) Dresses and belly covers will always be an option, even for raqs sharqi pieces.

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Q: How will the classes be structured?

A: Most weeks class will follow a structure of:

Brief Warm Up: This may be a shorter warm up than you are used to (usually 5-10 min), so if you require extra stretching etc., you may wish to arrive early and stretch in the hall or come warmed up.

Technique & Drills: This will include learning new techniques for dances we will be working on, drilling those techniques, and drilling techniques that may not be applicable to the current choreography but are relevant to overall skill development.

Choreography & Combos: The second half of the class will focus on combinations and the choreography(ies) we are learning.

This is a general guideline. Some weeks the balance of the time may be vary. For example, close to a performance, we may spend the majority of the class time rehearsing and polishing the choreography, whereas near the begininning of a new choreography, we may occasionally need to spend a little more time on technique or information sharing relevant to the style or piece. Also, approximately once a quarter, we will use all or part of a class time for a group meeting to help address upcoming events, learning priorities, or troupe business.

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3754 Pleasant Ave S.

Minneapolis, MN 55409





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