Djam NYC Kick Off Party – Arabic Night + Belly Dance

Wednesday, July 10, 2019
The weekly Djam NYC party returns to a brand new venue!
For Arabic night, EL ASDIQAA (Arabic for “The Friends”), an ensemble of NY based superstar musicians will transport you to Cairo!
Maurice Chedid – Oud + Vocals
Nabawy – Accordion
Saied Emam – Tabla
Said Fahmy – Riq
Athena Najat
Alura (who is celebrating her birthday)
Ranya Renee
Kaeshi Chai
“Nogoom Al Sahara” troupe made up of Gabriela Figueroa’s students (Cynthia Saglam, Dez Cruz, Gail August, Gloria Mendoza, Iveth Balanta, Jennifer Peng)
Gabriela Figueroa
Joyce Mendoza from Cancun, Mexico
Lizza Hosford
Sarida Bjam (who is also celebrating her birthday).
Engine Room New York, 707 8th Ave, downstairs, New York, NY 10036 between 44th and 45th St
6:30-7:30pm Dance to Live Music Class with Kaeshi, Brad MacDonald and Carmine
7:30-8:00pm Doors Open
8:00-10:00pm Show
10:00-11:00pm Open Floor Djam
Learn the art of dancing to live music in a safe space. Develop your musicality, express your unique self and improvise with freedom and confidence. This will be taught by Kaeshi Chai with guest musicians, Brad MacDonald and Carmine Guida.
CLASS COST: Register for the dance to live music class by following this link:
Early bird $15
Tier 1 $20
At the door $25
$10 after 10pm
Plus one drink or food item

Buy Tickets Now!

DETAILED BIOGRAPHIES (Listed Alphabetically)
ALURA has trained in many dance genres, including, Samba, Salsa, West African African, Haitian, and Jazz. She completed her Masters in Socio-cultural Anthropology in 2016 at Columbia University, where she also served as the Artistic Director for CU Bellydance/Raqs for many years. Her studies at Columbia also include dance composition/form, language and film studies. Her performance credits include her experience as one of the original members of the Dalia Carella Dance Collective and Kaeshi Chai’s PURE (Public Urban Ritual Experiment). She currently teaches at Bellyqueen and is one of the newest members of Natalie Nazario’s Raqs Al Zahra.
ATHENA NAJAT is of Greek-American heritage and holds both Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in Performance Studies (Dance & Culture) from New York University. Athena lived for nearly a decade in Athens, Greece, where she continues to co-organize Habibi Tsiggana Festival and is also a founding member of Kazafy Troupe Greece. She has been awarded several prizes in International bellydance competitions throughout Europe and in Egypt and is now frequently invited to teach and judge. Athena performed on-contract in several Gulf countries, working with one of the most reputable entertainment agencies in the Middle East. She currently lives in Istanbul, Turkey, dancing on popular Bosphorus dinner cruises. Visit her at
KAESHI CHAI is a NYC based artist who integrates dance, theatre and teaching to empower and shift consciousness through performance projects such as “Ocean Stories” and PURE (Public Urban Ritual Experiment). She produces the annual PURE Conference focused on topics like Love, Peaceful Warrior and the 5 elements.
She is the artistic director of Bellyqueen, the school and dance company, and facilitates creative labs in which participants generate full-length theatrical dance shows in 3-4 days. She has toured extensively with the Bellydance Superstars, Bellydance Evolution and Bella Gaia. She founded the Djam NYC event in August 2007. | |
MAURICE CHEDID: A native of Beirut, Lebanon, Mr Chedid studied at the Lebanese Conservatory of Middle Eastern Music, where he received a Diploma in the traditional Mouashahat, Oud Playing and Folk Singing. As a member of the Lebanese Folkloric Group, he toured internationally for four years as lead singer and oud player with the ensemble, and was a popular entertainer in nightclubs throughout Lebanon. Emigrating to the United States in the 1988, he soon became a popular singer/musician at weddings, festivals, and cultural events all over the US. He has been a headliner in Arabic nightclubs, and has performed in many prestigious venues, including the United Nations, Lincoln Center, and Carnegie Hall. As a member of Atzilut, a ten-piece band which features Arabic and Jewish music, he travels to Europe every year to play in distinguished theaters such as the Royal Opera Theater in Denmark, and in many famous music and cultural festivals throughout Europe in the Concerts for Peace program. A prolific composer, he has composed and recorded many songs and dance compositions as well as the original musical score for the story-theater production of Banat el Emir or The Dancing Princesses. Mr. Chedid’s theatrical credits as musician also include Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves for Lincoln Center. He is also the musical director and featured musician for Mosaic Dance Theater Company.
NABAWY grew up immersed in the Egyptian popular and classical music emanating from Mohamed Ali street, the Cairo neighborhood celebrated for its professional musicians, dancers and music stores. Nabawy has performed with superstar Egyptian dancers including Nagwa Fouad, Soheir Zaki, Lucy and Fifi Abdou. After immigrating to the U.S. in 1990, he became a well-known figure in the New York City Arab music scene, performing regularly at venues such as “Cleopatra” and “Cedars of Lebanon”.
RANYA RENEE, of New York City, began her performing career as a young actress, and has been bellydancing since 1990. She specializes in traditional Egyptian oriental, baladi, and folkloric dance, performance-skills training and breathwork, and teaches internationally. In 2015 Ranya completed an M.A. in psychology, focusing on aspects of cognitive psychology in the context of performance. In addition to bellydancing, Ranya now teaches Pilates, Barre, and yoga, and coaches performers and presenters in increasing their stage presence through physical and mental training. Ranya’s new online dance and performance skills studio, the Ginger City, offers live and prerecorded courses on baladi, Breathwork for Performance, Arabic musicality, and other topics, along with coaching group series, talks and discussions. The Ginger City membership reopens soon for access to recorded and new classes with Ranya and guests (join the email list at, and Facebook group Ginger City Community).
SAIED EMAM is a professional drummer based in New York City.
SAID FAHMY: Born in Alexandria, Egypt, Said has been playing percussion for more than thirty-five years. He has played with dancer Aida Nour and with singers such as Mohamed El Helwa, Ali Haggar, and Iman Darwish, the grandson of the great composer Said Darwish. He has toured with Kazem El Saher, and plays in clubs and on stages from Cairo to New York City. In addition to Tabla, Said is an expert at the Riq, Tabl Baladi, Dof and Sagat. You can find him playing at New York hot spots for Arabic music such as Layaly, the Nile restaurant in NJ and now at the Engine Room in midtown.