Arabian Gulf Dances

Is this the only Gulf dance you know of?

There is so much more to explore…

Saturday, March 28th
4:00 PM PDT / 7:00 PM EDT

plus 30 days streaming access

Using hard-to-find videos that Kay has discovered during her research on the subject, this class will look at five or six important folk dances from the Arab Gulf countries. Enthusiasts in the region have archived and are now sharing precious videos of these rich traditional arts.

As we look at each video, we will cover the dance of course, and will also explore the cultural world that is portrayed – from the steps and movement to costumes, who performs them and where they are performed, and last but not least, details of the music and instrumentation. There is much to be learned from taking the time to study the whole scene in these videos that surround the dance movements.

Kay will focus on five significant folk dances including the al-Majrur of western Saudi Arabia, al-Liwa of the Gulf countries, al-Sana`ani of Yemen, as well as al-Badawi and al-Samri of Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Most of these dances are performed by men and women, sometimes separately, sometimes together.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to explore the cultural dances of this fascinating region
with an expert guide!

Registration includes:
– Live attendance on Saturday, March 28th
– Participation in the Q & A session
– 30 days streaming to watch/re-watch on your schedule

Registration for this event is now closed.

All registration closes Friday, March 27th 9:00 PM PDT/ 12:00 AM EDT
No sales or replay rentals after registration closes.

About our presenter…


Author, musician, and dance instructor Kay Hardy Campbell has been teaching Khaliji folkloric music and dance for over three decades, and teaches at the Arab Dance Seminar. After she earned a BA in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies, she lived in Saudi Arabia for several years, learning the dances at women’s wedding parties and in the homes of Saudi friends.

Kay has written extensively about the music and dance of the Arabian Peninsula, beginning as a feature writer for the English language ‘Arab News’ in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and continues to write for ‘AramcoWorld Magazine.’ In 1998, she was the only foreign female correspondent to cover the National Folk Festival at Janadriyyah outside the Saudi capital of Riyadh. Her ability to read, speak, and write Arabic has allowed her to uncover and convey many aspects of culture and traditional life little known outside the Gulf.

A devoted student of Arabic music, Kay also plays the ‘ud, violin, and frame drum. She is co-director – with Palestinian virtuoso and musical legend Simon Shaheen – of the annual weeklong Arabic Music Retreat, now in its twenty-second year at Mt. Holyoke College. In 2008 she wrote “Music of the Gulf” for NPR Marketplace, and in 2014 and 2015 presented her research on women’s music and folk dance at conferences in Qatar and Abu Dhabi. She has lectured and taught dance at colleges and universities around the country, including Tufts, Harvard, Bowdoin, Wellesley, and Kennesaw State University in Georgia. Her 2017 historical novel, A Caravan of Brides, is set in the world of Saudi women and features folklore, storytelling and traditional culture.

Though she does not perform as a soloist, Kay choreographs Khaliji dances for her students and dance troupes. Her fund of knowledge includes not only women’s dances, but also bedouin folk dances. Known as a “teacher’s teacher,” Kay aims primarily to help her students experience the joyous aspects of Gulf culture firsthand through music and dance. 

Learn more about Kay Hardy Campbell’s work