Each new year brings opportunities for change and growth.

This winter is no different.

With the passing of my mother this December, my family and the Salimpour School have already experienced a big shift.

And we will be shifting again this spring.

Moving and Merging

I’m so thrilled to announce that the Salimpour School will be merging with the Mahea Uchiyama School of International Dance in Berkeley!

Backstage at the Ethnic Dance Festival Auditions with Artistic Directors Mahea Uchiyama and Patrick Makuakane

Backstage at the Ethnic Dance Festival Auditions with Artistic Directors Mahea Uchiyama and Patrick Makuakane

Mahealani Uchiyama is a master (kumu) hula instructor, and a prestigious figure in the Bay Area dance community. This year, she is serving as an Artistic Director for the 2018 San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival. Her school is a registered non-profit, and she recently published an acclaimed handbook on Hawaiian hula dance. She has also won several awards for her recording of Hawaiian and Tahitian music.

What I have been doing for belly dance, Mahea has been doing for hula.

And, perhaps more importantly, she is a longtime friend and colleague. She was even one of my students—she performed with the Suhaila Dance Company from 1997 to 1998, and performed in my percussion show at the Northern California Renaissance Pleasure Faire.

Finding Home Position

You might be wondering what will happen to the “Mothership” location in Albany. Many of you have spent hours training, sweating, and even crying in our studio. Of course, this space has been an extension of my own home for nearly two decades.

Mahea Uchiyama Suhaila Salimpour School of Dance Berkeley Belly Dance Hula

Our new home!

Yes, it’s true. We are moving. But just like we might move our family from our longtime home into a new house in a new neighborhood, the Salimpour School is doing the same. Our new home will be with Mahea’s school, a beautiful, airy space in West Berkeley, not far from the Albany studio.

Having a warm, welcoming, and comfortable home is very important to me. So much so that I named the basic body alignment in my format “Home Position.” As of April 2018, Mahea’s studio will be our new “Home Position.”

We will continue to offer weekly classes and workshops as we have for years in Albany. And our weeklong intensive schedule will remain the same.

But, truly, the “Mothership” is wherever I have my home studio. It’s wherever I am.

Staying Connected with the Wider Dance Community

I’m also so excited about this new development for the Salimpour School because Mahea’s space is home to other respected dance professionals in the Bay Area. As the Bay Area dance community faces economic and financial obstacles, it’s so important that we find like minds and stick together. It’s up to all of us to keep the arts alive and vibrant in the face of great change.

Our merge signals an important and necessary shift in our school’s development and goals as being significant players in the Bay Area’s vibrant dance scene.

And as we expand with Salimpour School Satellites taught by our Level 5 dancers, and kickstart our online certifications for Suhaila and Jamila Level 1, and embark on a year-long tour celebrating the art and legacy of Bal Anat, we are truly stronger than ever.

Stay up to date with our class and workshop schedule and other exciting news about our move by subscribing to our newsletter!

And don’t forget to join our Facebook group for our Berkeley studio classes! (FB account required)