Joette Sawall

The Gilded Serpent presents...

Joette Sawall

Joette Sawall, the artistic director of the West Michigan School of Middle Eastern Dance LLC, has studied extensively with famous Egyptian and Turkish dancers and choreographers since the early 1990s, focusing her dance study and performance on the Egyptian Raks Sharqi along with Middle Eastern folkloric dance from all regions of the Middle East. In addition to her dance background, she also holds a masters in communication focusing on interpersonal and intercultural studies that compliments her passion for Middle Eastern dance. Currently, she is an instructor in the gender and women's studies department at Western Michigan University.

Her dance studies began as a young child in ballet and jazz, leading to competitive dance as a teenager, where she gained valuable stage experience. Along with founding the West Michigan School of Middle Eastern Dance LLC, Joette is also a principal dancer in the Mirana Middle Eastern Dance Company located in Little Rock, Arkansas. The Mirana Middle Eastern Dance Company has had the opportunity to perform for heads of state, President Bill Clinton, Senator Hillary Clinton as well as at Democratic conventions. The Mirana Middle Eastern Dance Company is currently with the Arkansas Arts On Tour, performing and lecturing throughout the southern United States at major universities and art centers.

Joette ever so diligently continues to study this beautiful art form and is certified in the dances of Egypt and Turkey. In her most recent trip to Egypt in June 2006, she completed a certification for professionals and instructors with legendry choreographers Mahmoud Reda and Farida Fahmy, focusing on the "Dance of Egypt." The certification was the first of its kind and only open to 10 professionals worldwide. Each participate was handpicked by Farida Fahmy. The comprehensive 7 day, over 30 hours in the classroom, certification not only focused on dance but also anthropology, sociology, Arabic music, and costume design. Other instructors include: ever so knowledgeable Shariha Mehrez; the most talented composer of our times, Maher Kamel; and the most popular designer for the stars, Sahar Okasha.

Along with her Egyptian certification, she is certified in the Turkish style and has performed in Istanbul, Turkey. Joette's studies also have included the Romi gypsies of Turkey, where she meet and studied under Reyhan Tuzsuz in the fall of 2007; along with Bulent Kurtisoglu, dancer professor at the University of Istanbul, in teaching ethnic and folk dances of Turkey.

In addition to Middle Eastern dance, Joette also seeks to understand and study other dance and fitness genres. She is certified in ZUMBA, ZUMBA Gold and regularly teaches Spanish fusion and slim and tone classes. She is certified in CPR and maintains a high level of knowledge about body kinetics and modification for those that are disabled or have learning disabilities. In 2008, Joette traveled to the Island of Maui, Hawaii to study Hula in master classes with the Kauahea organization of Hawaiian culture.

Joette has earned an international reputation as an Oriental dance teacher, performer, sponsor and director. Her eclectic style and grace, balanced with her in depth knowledge of Egyptian folkloric dance makes her one of the most sought after Oriental dancers in the Midwest. Ever conscious of the need to grow as an artist, she continually research's and seeks master artists such as Mahmoud Reda, Farida Fahmy, and Yousry Sharif. Joette has had years of improvisational performance experience in cabarets (private or public performances), on theatre stages as a guest artist, and as a featured dancer in gala shows at major universities and other facilities. In June of 2008, Joette accompanied by the band the Levendes was the opening act for the international rock band, the Gin Blossoms. Her commitment to this art form is truly a labor of love with all the volunteer and charity events that she donates her skill and knowledge. In conjunction with her performance ability she is a popular teacher both for her technique and her approachable manner. She truly engages the student and motivates them to appreciate this beautiful art form, while becoming aware of their own body image. She is striving to educate the general public and is encouraging women of all ages to appreciate this ancient, women's dance of celebration and life.

For more information, please contact Joette at:

Joette Sawall
West Michigan School of Middle Eastern Dance, LLC
P.O. Box 1445
Portage, Michigan 49081


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