ARABESQUE ACADEMY — Teachers
Amel Farag — Teacher
Amel Farag is a professional dance artist with over 15 years of experience, and 8 years as a student at the Arabesque Academy. She is currently a member of the Arabesque Folklore Troupe. Born and raised in Egypt, she had developed her love of dance ever since she could first walk. The love of all forms of art and dance has been in her family through generations, with family members in ballet, cello, Raqs Sharqi, tar (Egyptian frame drum), and contemporary dance. Amel's passion for Raqs Sharqi and experience in bootcamp style workouts helps her to energize and inspire others to connect with their body in a soulful and enjoyable way.
Leanna Mndl — Teacher
In 2006 Leanna started studying Oriental Dance with local teachers in Hamilton/Toronto. She has also learned from many International instructors such as Mahmoud Reda, Aida Nour, Tito Seif and Randa Kamel. Over the years, Leanna has had many memorable dance experiences such as playing a bellydancer on the TV show Reign. As lead dancer of Arabesque Dance Company, Leanna has performed in the Cirque du Soleil production of the Opening Ceremony of the Pan-Am Games, in the Arabesque production of Sawah (2014), the International Stage at the CNE (2016- 2018) and Dance Ontario Dance Weekend (2014-2018). Leanna also directs Belladance in Hamilton and performs regularly as a soloist with the Arabesque Entertainment Agency in Toronto and Hamilton.
Alaina Osbourne — Teacher
Alaina is a Toronto-based dance artist who began training in ballet, jazz and contemporary at the age of four. In 2013, she joined Arabesque alumni Ishra Blanco’s Middle Eastern and fusion dance troupe, Invoketress. Alaina was thrilled to become a member of Arabesque Dance Company after training and performing at the 2018 Bellydance Blossom Festival, featuring Dina Talaat. Alaina has performed at a variety of events with Arabesque Danxe Company including the Canadian National Exhibition and the Egyptian Coptic Festival. She also performed at Taste of the Middle East with Ya Amar. She has shared the stage with Reda Troupe soloist Mohamed Salah as well as recording artists Sean Paul, Akon and Karl Wolf. At the 2017 Hamilton International Bellydance Competition, Alaina received multiple awards, including Judge’s Choice, selected by esteemed dancer Anjelica Scannura. Alaina’s passion to continuously learn led her to visit Egypt for the first time in 2018 with her instructor and Arabesque alumni Melissa Gamal, where she studied bellydance and several folklore styles.
Dr. George Sawa — Qanoon, Naye, Theory, History
George Sawa was born in Alexandria , Egypt in 1947. He studied Classical Arabic music at the Higher Institute of Arabic Music specializing in qanoon, voice and theory. After immigrating to Canada in 1970, he studied ethno-musicology and obtained his doctorate in Historical Arabic Musicology at the University of Toronto. He has taught medieval, modern and religious Middle Eastern Music at York University and the University of Toronto, and is the author of "Music Performance in Early Abbasid Era 750-932AD" published in 1989.
George Sawa has given numerous concerts and lecture demonstrations at universities, museums and art galleries in Europe and North America He has been teaching at Arabesque Academy, School of Middle Eastern Dance and Music Arts since 1995 and regularly teaches alongside Yasmina Ramzy in many dance workshops. He was awarded the 1990 Ontario Folk Arts Recognition Fellowship for his performances and lecture demonstrations on the qanoon. George served as a performer, composer and music coach in R. Murray Schafer's RA in Toronto (1983) and Holland (1985). As well as serving as the Musical Director for the Egyptian exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum, George has arranged music for and directed the musicians of the Arabesque Dance Company Orchestra since 1996 where he also plays the qanoon and naye in all of their performances.