Shareen El Safy

The Spirit of Egyptian Dance

Oriental Dance Retreat

“Summer at Shambhala—Form, Flow, Feeling

Developing Individual Style, Personal Meaning and Authentic Expression

July 11-15, 2011


"Has Shareen tapped into the spirit of Egyptian dance? The answer is an unequivocal yes! As a guide she is powerfully gentle and firmly grounded, with the ability to lead her students to a place where the dance can be found. Once there, she is also able to help us reacquaint ourselves with what we've known has always existed. What comes forth is a joyous and deeply satisfying celebration of this form at its best."  B.T., San Francisco

 “I am amazed at people like Shareen El Safy who dance ‘without accent’—what an amazing accomplishment, to absorb the dance so completely and in the heart and body, right from the source!” Andrea Deagon, Ph.D., UNC-W


Shareen in Tokyo, Japan, 2009



“Summer at Shambhala—Form, Flow, Feeling”


Shareen’s 8th Oriental Dance Retreat at Shambhala Ranch will be held July 11-15, 2011. “Summer at Shambhala—Form, Flow, Feeling” will focus on Egyptian movement that provides a foundational basis for embodied feeling, the generation of personal meaning, and artistic actualization found at the heart of raks sharqi, the solo dance of Cairo. In the revitalizing, renewing space of Shambhala, participants will explore our mutual passion by strengthening performance skills, crafting our dance presentations, and developing individual expression that reveals our unique inner language. 


"This was a journey of essence is now present which wasn't there before. It has deepened the feelings I can express through movement."  Sadia, international teacher, performer, and 2010 retreat participant


Morning classes consist of technique, steps and combinations in all areas of Egyptian dance including Oriental, taqsim, beledi, drum solo and shimmy movements, turns and perimeter patterns, veil entrance, and finale steps, all practiced individually and in short choreographed sequences. Afternoons will be spent on creative performance exercises, theatrical techniques, and improvisational skills, with in-class coaching that encourages mastery in the dance, supports confidence and expands emotional accessibility. Evening discussions consist of dance-related topics, sharing our personal goals and community-oriented vision. Shareen will comment on her Egyptian performance experiences and provide anecdotal insights into the famous personalities of Egyptian dance, along with  video-dvd viewing with movement analysis of Egypt’s dance luminaries, past and present. A visit to Orr Hot Springs after dinner is on the agenda. On the last evening we will celebrate our enriching time together with a studio recital.

Announcing an exciting addition

to our Shambhala Retreat program 2011


The Georges Lammam Ensemble

 “Tarab—the Role of Emotion in Arabic Music” will be presented by the Georges Lammam Ensemble in an evening of classical music especially designed for the Oriental dancer’s understanding of emotional expression in the music and dance of Arabic culture. The Ensemble consists of celebrated virtuoso artists Georges Lammam (violin and vocals), Elias Lammam (accordion and vocals), Antoine Lammam (tabla and mazhar), and Naser Musa (oud and vocals). The discussion and demonstration will be followed by open floor dancing.



Some U.S. and International Retreat Participants Respond

This was such a peak experience!

“The Retreat put me together with other dancers from other countries and cultures, exposing me to their view and style of the dance, which is very enriching”

Very rewarding! Life changing!

For twenty six years, my dance style was pretty much the same. I feel like I am learning a whole new art form!

I came home relaxed and energized, with a deeper understanding of my body; the music and dance fit more precisely.”

“Shareen has inspired me to rethink how and why I dance, infusing it with new meaning.”

“Thank you for the alchemy that happens at Shambhala. It works its way through the whole year.”  

Shareen El Safy performing at El Leil Nightclub, Cairo, 1989

Shambhala Ranch

Dance Retreat and Workshop Center


The pulse of life permeates the 140 acres of beautiful rolling hills, located on a magical site of ancient Indian trails and spiritual rituals. It is a private, creative and natural environment, with panoramic views, redwood forest, swimming pond, and private beach on a river, hot tub, and organic gardens. The tastefully decorated, luxurious ranch house with comfortable bedrooms has a large mirrored dance studio with a sprung wood floor, large redwood decks, and music throughout. It is located two hours north of San Francisco between Ukiah and the coastal town of Mendocino near the famous Orr Hot Springs. (





  "The name Shambhala comes from a Tibetan Buddhist teaching that there is some magic in everything and it's up to the individual to discover it. Shambhala Ranch's magic lies not so much in its obvious natural gifts, but in the way it can help you find yours."  

J.B. Dance Retreat and Workshop Center visitor







Directions to Shambhala: 101 North from San Francisco to the last exit in Ukiah, "North State Street." Turn right onto N. State St. Take the first left onto "Orr Springs Road." 19 miles to Shambhala (6.5 miles past Orr Hot Springs). Look for an open valley with a large redwood lodge on the hillside to your right, and a white mailbox ("21200" with animal paintings). Shambhala’s office phone is 707-937-3341. Guest phone in the lodge is 707-937-3515. The Santa Rosa Airport is the closest airport to Shambhala and is serviced by several airlines. Connecting flights available from San Francisco airport to Santa Rosa, and other direct flights from some airports. Check with your travel agent. Call Shareen 805-962-9639 to coordinate transportation from Santa Rosa, Mendocino or San Francisco, if needed.


Education and Inspiration

The Retreat offers an intimate opportunity for students, teachers and professional dancers to study with Shareen El Safy, incorporating her unique Oriental dance method grounded in Egyptian dance vocabulary and top-of-the-line technique. Her comprehensive approach encourages each student to excel on an individual basis, and benefits all levels—from the budding novice to the most accomplished of dancers.


“Shareen is a great communicator, verbally and through movement, and as such her classes are challenging and inspiring.” Amar, teacher and performer

 “Shareen’s ability to analyze movement is multi-level, working with the physical and energetic aspects to get to the heart of the technique.” Ranya, teacher and performer

 “Integrating Shareen’s technique leads to a deepening of the dance. It becomes more profound. Shareen is a dancer’s dancer, and her workshop a very rewarding challenge.” Myra, teacher and performer

Evening Recital

On Thursday night, our last night of the retreat, there will be a studio concert with participants performing their solo pieces for the group. Shareen will also dance her latest choreographies. Bring your costumes and music on CD, and enjoy an evening celebrating individual artistry and mutual camaraderie!


Relax, Rejuvenate, & Invigorate

Free your creative spirit in a gentle, intimate and supportive environment. Hike in the old growth redwood forest and golden meadows with panoramic views; meditate by the pristine river, an ancient gathering place for Native American Indians; sun yourself on the deck, take a cool dip in the pond or soak your cares away in the hot tub—all on site at Shambhala Ranch. Optional activities include an afternoon walk on the beach or shopping in the quaint coastal town of Mendocino; relaxing in the famous Orr Hot Springs; or hiking to the world’s tallest redwood tree. Massage and Aroma Therapy are available by appointment.



Nearby orchards supply a variety of fresh fruits. Organic herbs and vegetables are grown locally. Patio tables with market umbrellas provide casual outdoor dining. A professional chef prepares our delicious meals with special attention to individual tastes. Vegetarian, free-range poultry and local fish entrees are accompanied by wholesome grains, healthy salads and vegetables, and tasty desserts. Breakfast includes eggs, cereals, fruit, juices, yogurt, breads or bagels, coffee, teas, etc. Chilled water, teas, coffee, fruits and snacks will be available throughout the day. Participants are asked to bring their own beer and wine.


"The food was pure bliss. It made my heart soar."


Sleeping Accommodations

Bedrooms are light and airy with up to six comfortable beds in each room. Dancers may request their roommate preference. Bed linens, pillows, comforters, and towels provided. Bring your own beach towel, if you have room in your suitcase.


Shareen El Safy

Oriental Dance Retreat

“Form, Flow, Feeling”  

Developing Individual Style, Personal Meaning and Authentic Expression

Shambhala Ranch

July 11-15, 2011


On Monday, July 11th, we will meet at the acclaimed Francis Ford Coppola Winery, with a newly-completed restaurant, for lunch and wine tasting at 1 pm. The winery is located at 300 Via Archimedes, Geyserville, CA 95441; 707.857.1400. It is located north of Santa Rosa on Hwy 101, on our way to Shambhala. Please contact Shareen to confirm your reservation. Lunch entrees average $12-$15. ( *optional 


Daily Schedule


Check in at Shambhala Monday, July 11, 4 pm.

 Dinner 6:00-7:00 pm

Orientation 7:30-9:30 pm

Daily July 11-15
7: 30-9:30 am Breakfast
9:30 am-12: 30 pm Morning Class
12:30-1:30 pm Lunch
2-4 pm Afternoon Class
6:00-7:00 pm Dinner
7:30-9:30 pm Special presentations & activities.

Tuesday evening at Orr Hot Springs after presentation (optional)  

Wednesday evening with Georges Lammam Ensemble 7:30 p.m.

Thursday evening Studio Recital with Retreat Dancers 8pm
Check out Friday, July 15, 11 am.


Following the conclusion of the retreat on Friday, July 15th, an optional activity includes traveling west twenty minutes or so to the quaint coastal town of Mendocino for lunch and leisure time with shopping, seashore walks, etc. Shareen has reserved a block of ocean view rooms at the charming Little River Inn ( Contact Shareen for reservation details. Rooms reserved until April 1st. After check in and dinner on our own, we will drive together to an exceptional live Middle Eastern music event held in the Mendocino Woodlands. 


*Workshop with Shareen in San Francisco, Sunday, July 10th, 2011. The workshop topic for the morning class is "Exploring the Development of Oriental Dance Through the Signature Steps of the Great Egyptian Stars"; 10 am-12:30. The afternoon class will feature a Power Point Presentation on the Dance Stars of Cairo; 2-4 pm. Gathered from Shareen’s personal interviews and photo collection, it includes philosophical perspectives and anecdotal experiences. Lines Dance Center, 26 Seventh Street, 5th Floor, San Francisco, CA. Lines Dance Center, 26 Seventh Street, 5th Floor. S.F. CA 94103-1508. Contact sponsor Monica Berini at 415/289-6670. More info on registration will be available soon, and it will be possible to download the flier at <

Hotels near Lines Dance Center that are included on Monica's website and are reasonably priced: Hotel Whitcomb <> and Metro Hotel <>.

Following the workshop that evening, July 10th, 2011, we will dine at the Marrakech Moroccan Restaurant with a belly dance show, guest dancers, and DJ open floor dancing. For reservations with our group, contact Shareen. Seating is at 7 pm sharp. Dinner and show is $35 plus tax, tip and drinks. Located at 419 O’Farrell, San Francisco, 415-776-6717. ( <>)

The Hilton San Francisco at Union Square is conveniently located just across the street from the Marrakech at 333 Geary St., 415-771-1400. ( <>) (Ask for their non-cancellation rate or AAA card rate, or go online for discount prices.) Shuttle service to and from the San Francisco International Airport is available through the Hilton Hotel or call Super Shuttle 800/258-3826. Dancers needing transportation to and from the workshop to the Hilton contact Shareen.

The Union Square Plaza Hotel is one block from the Marrakech Moroccan Restaurant. 432 Geary Street, San Francisco, CA 94102. Reasonable rates. Phone 415/776-7585. (

Two hotels within a few minutes drive (or cable car ride) of Lines Dance Center and the Marrakech are Sheraton Fisherman's Wharf Hotel and Holiday Inn-Fishermans Wharf. They are both in the heart of Fisherman's Wharf District and Cable Car lines. (Ask for their non-cancellation rate or AAA card rate, or go online for discount rates.) The Sheraton: 2500 Mason Street, S.F. 94133. Phone: 415/362-5500. ( The Holiday Inn: 1300 Columbus Avenue, S.F. 94133. Phone 415/771-9000. ( Both hotels can arrange shuttle service to and from the S.F. Int'l Airport with Airport Express. Shuttle $17 one way. Reserve 24 hrs. in advance with hotel. 

Chinatown from Fisherman's Wharf area
Take the cable car to Chinatown. There are two locations for cable cars near Fisherman's Wharf. The Powell-Hyde line (PH) and the Powell-Mason line (PM). The PH line is located near Ghiradelli Square at Beach and Hyde Street. The PM line is located at Bay and Taylor Street. Both lines intersect each other. Best place to get off is Washington & Mason (near Cable Car Museum) or Powell & California. Walk down a few blocks and you will be in Chinatown.

Shareen’s Oriental Dance Retreat July 11-15, 2011, "Summer at Shambhala-Form, Flow, Feeling" will focus on Developing Individual Style, Personal Meaning and Authentic Expression. In the revitalizing, renewing space of Shambhala, participants will explore our mutual passion for the dance by strengthening performance skills and developing individual expression that brings out our unique inner language. The Class Schedule offers an intimate opportunity for students, teachers and professional dancers to study empowering technique and Oriental dance method grounded in Egyptian dance vocabulary with both classical and current steps from Cairo and choreographic sections for musical interpretation. Evening presentations include discussion of dance-related topics, our performance goals, and the careers of dance luminaries past and present. 

Healthy gourmet meals catered by a professional chef, comfortable accommodations, outdoor fun and recreation, special evening presentations and the Studio Recital help make our Retreat experience rich and satisfying. Optional activities like wine tasting near Shambhala, lunch in the coastal town of Mendocino, and relaxing in the famous waters of Orr Hot Springs, further extend our enjoyment. Shambhala Ranch Retreat Center: 21200 Orr Springs Road, Ukiah CA 95482. 707/937-3341.(



Oriental Dance Retreat with Shareen El Safy

“Summer at Shambhala—Form, Flow, Feeling”

July 11-15, 2011

Registration Form



Phone__________________Cell phone__________________Fax___________________


Dance name______________________________________dance level_______________

Roommate preference______________________________________________________

A non-refundable deposit of $185 holds your reservation. All-inclusive enrollment fee $785 until May 15. Remaining balance of $600 due on or before May 15, 2011. All inclusive enrollment fee $875 after May 15 until July 1. Remaining balance of $690 due on or before July 1st. Enrollment is accepted only as space allows. Group size is limited to twenty dancers. Cancellations made on or before May 15th will be reimbursed enrollment fee minus non-refundable deposit, and must be received in writing (fax or email okay). No cancellations after May 15th unless substitute can be found by canceling party. In the unlikely event that the Retreat is cancelled, all funds will be promptly reimbursed.


Payment Form

Personal checks, money orders, and major credit cards accepted in U.S. Dollars only.

 Payment enclosed:    $_______________________________________________________________

$185 non-refundable deposit holds your reservation throughout.

All-inclusive enrollment fee $785 until May 15. (A non-refundable deposit $185 holds your space until May 10th. Remaining payment of  $600 due on or before May 15, 2011.)

All-inclusive enrollment fee $875 after May 15 until July 1st. (A non-refundable deposit $185 holds your space until July 1st. Remaining payment of $690 due on or before July 1, 2011.)

 Please charge $_________ to my credit card: Card #_________________________________________

Exp. date________credit card holder name:________________________________________________  

City, country if outside USA, and postal code:________________________________________________

Food Questionnaire


Please underline your meal preference.     Poultry & Fish                 Vegetarian only          

If you have food sensitivities, the chef would like to consult with you. Please add $20 to enrollment fee if special dietary items are required. Describe:_________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________ Email:_____________________

Copy and Paste this form into an email, and send completed form to, or print out and mail to:

Shareen El Safy

PO Box 90936

Santa Barbara, CA 93190-0936.

To register for the Retreat online, go to or phone or fax your registration and payment forms to 805-962-9639.      

  About Shareen El Safy

Early Studies and the Egyptian Connection

Shareen began her studies with Diane Webber and Jamila Salimpour in 1967, and later Ibrahim Farrah and Feiruz Aram. She began teaching in 1972 and was the first belly dancer on California’s Central Coast. She acquired a renewed interest in both performance and instruction during many extended stays in Egypt, beginning in 1985 when she danced and studied in Cairo. During the 1988-1992 summer seasons she performed raks al sharqi at Parisianna, opening for Lucy; El Leil, the largest nightclub in the Middle East; the five-star Sunset Nightclub, opening for Sohair Zeki; and Siag Pyramids Hotel. Observing Egyptian dancers, especially Nagwa Fouad and Sohair Zeki, for literally hundreds of performances, has provided Shareen with a unique perspective on current Egyptian movement. She has also benefited from both group class and private study with Mohammed Khalil, Mahmoud Reda, Nagwa Fouad, Mona el Said, Dina, Ibrahim Akef, Hala El Safy (who gave Shareen her name), Raqia Hassan, Nadia Hamdi, Aida Nour, Dandesh, Amani, Randa, Tito, Lubna Eman, and the Benat Maazin of Luxor. Acknowledging Egypt as the current source of raks al sharqi, she has conducted her Dance/Study Tours to Cairo, Luxor, Aswan and Alexandria, studying with the top performers and choreographers to the stars.    


Shareen and Orchestra,  Sunset Nightclub, Cairo, 1990

Teaching and Performing Worldwide

Shareen has toured extensively, performing and conducting seminars in sixty major cities on five continents throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, and the Pacific Rim including Cairo, Egypt; Northern Israel; Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka, Japan; Perth, Freemantle, Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney, Australia; Auckland and Christchurch, New Zealand; Oslo, Norway; Stockholm, Sweden; Turku, Finland; Copenhagen, Denmark; Amsterdam, Holland; London, South Hampton, Hinckley, and Norwich, England; Edinburgh and Inverness, Scotland; Hamburg, Cologne, Karlsruhe, Nurnberg, Bremerhaven, Darmstadt, Hannover, Berlin, Frankfurt, Weisbaden, and Munich, Germany; and Rome, Italy. Canadian cities include Vancouver, B.C.; Toronto, Ontario; and Edmonton, Alberta. In the U.S., she has taught and performed in New York City, Seattle, Spokane, Eugene, Las Vegas, Reno, Phoenix, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Denver, Austin and Dallas, Huntsville, Little Rock, Milwaukee, Hartford, Indianapolis, Springfield and St. Louis, Greensborough, Chesterfield, New Orleans, Honolulu, Anchorage, Miami Shores and Miami. She has also taught throughout California in Los Angeles, Hollywood, Long Beach, Anaheim, Irvine, San Diego, San Francisco, Mendocino, Sacramento, San Jose, Fresno, Visalia, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo, Ventura, Oxnard, Goleta and her native city of Santa Barbara.

Awards and Recognition

Shareen has been honored with the South Australian Parliament Cultural Enrichment Medal (1998). Awards include IBDC Master Instructor (2007); IAMED Promoter of the Year (2001); Giza Academy Instructional Video (2000); IAMED Choreography (1999); Zaghareet Magazine Teacher of the Year (1998); Bellydancer of the Universe Recognition for Contributions (1995); Nafisa Awards for Best Teacher and Best Instructional Video (1987-1995);  and others. Shareen was invited to present a workshop and performance of Egyptian Dance at the ICHPER-SD World Conference in Cairo in 2000; and at the first Ahalan Wa Shalan in Cairo and Sharm El Sheik, 2001. Shareen is pleased to be an invited member of the Nile Group of Cairo, where she taught and performed at the Festival in April 2009 and June 2010.  

Author, Publisher and Producer

Shareen was editor/publisher of Habibi Magazine from 1992-2002, and editor-in-chief in 2003. She has authored articles about leading dance and music personalities, and notable contributors to the field. She has sponsored seminars featuring outstanding dance artists, and produced numerous instructional videos and DVDs. Shareen co-produced the 1997 and 2001 International Conferences on Middle Eastern Dance at Orange Coast College. She holds a BFA in Studio Art and Art History from UCSB, and has pursued graduate studies in Depth Psychology.

What the Experts Say

            "Feeling is very important. One in one hundred dancers have the feeling and you have it. And you listen very well to the music; you understand the music...I am astonished by your dancing! You are American, but dance Arabic.”

Nagwa Fouad, Cairo, Egypt

            “I have seen many dancers from the U.S. and Europe, but you are the only one who does this dance well, perfectly. It makes me very, very happy.”

Sohair Zeki, Cairo, Egypt

            “Shareen has a good understanding of Oriental dance.  She hears and interprets the music well, and her movements are flexible and smooth.”

Mona El Said, Cairo, Egypt

            “Because Shareen lived and worked in Cairo, she has a good feeling, exactly like an Egyptian, and Egyptian style, not like an American.”

Raqia Hassan, Cairo, Egypt

            “I was extremely impressed with your solos, and proud that you have absorbed that of the Egyptian style that looks real and natural on you — the purity and essence of the Egyptian soul.”

Ibrahim Farrah, New York, NY

            “Shareen has a talent for accurately interpreting Middle Eastern dance movement and intelligently transmitting the information to others.”

Aisha Ali, Los Angeles, CA

            “If you want to get the pure Egyptian style, the authentic feel for the music, and precise detail, and at the same time great heartfelt warmth, you should come and see Shareen, the master teacher from the U.S.A.”

Beata Cifuentes, Berlin, Germany

           “Shareen has a rare ability to distill and transmit both the soul and mechanics of the Egyptian style…She will show you the absolutely latest moves from the nightclub scene.”

Feiruz Aram, Long Beach, CA and Cairo, Egypt


Shareen El Safy  P.O. Box 90936 Santa Barbara, CA. 93190  805-962-9639