2019 2nd edition

Teachers of Inanna Dance Festival 2nd edition 2019/ Ukraine

We have prepared for you a very interesting programme for Inanna 2019:

Iraqi dance with it’s different dance styles – authentic and modern – with Assala Ibrahim and Yana Tsehotskaya

  • Moroccan and Algerian dance with Nawarra Dancer. She is a master international dance teacher with huge knowledge and amazing charisma.
  • Dabke and Choobi with Alexey Parashchuk, Alexey is a unique artist, he knows how to put authentic dances on stages without taking their beautiful soul away.
  • Iraqi music rhythms with our percussionist Shant. Shant is the master of the Iraqi Rhythms. He shared international stages with many super Iraqi stars singers.

We are very proud to announce that the international Iraqi star singer NEJM is joining the festival! He has an incredible Arabic repertoire such as Iraqi, Egyptian, Khaleej, Moroccan, Lebanese, Syrian as well as Turkish and Greek songs.

The 4 days of our festival will provide you with an excellent programme: a two-level conference about the history of iraqi dance, music lectures, workshops, Charity Gala, open stage, competition in various different categories of Iraqi, Egyptian, Moroccan, khaleeji, folkloric, fantasy and modern style dance.

Come join us and celebrate with music, dance, culture and more!

Assala Ibrahim

We are absolutely proud to announce our Festival Director and Master Teacher in Iraqi dance, one of the most sought-after dance instructors and performers worldwide, the true “ambassador of Iraqi dance”, the Iraqi-dance Queen Assala Ibrahim at our Inanna Dance Festival in Odessa/ Chornomorsk Ukraine 10- 13 October !

Assala Ibrahim is unique in analysing, documenting, reconstructing, and developing the different dance styles unique to Iraq. She is the first teacher in the history of Iraqi dance to create a detailed dance terminology, one that is not derived from ballet or Western arts, but deeply rooted in Mesopotamian history and Iraqi culture.

She will teach us four workshops of the different dance styles found in Iraq including:

1.Kawliya’s dance style (Raqs el Kawliya): basics, combos, expression and enriching your dance repertoire with Iraqi Abaya

2. Iraqi dance spirit of the South (two different dance styles) with live music:

Khashaba style
Basrawi dance (close to khaleeji style but with hewa influences)

3. How to improvise to Iraqi music, focusing on expressions of the Iraqi Mawal, Hachaa theatrical moves and how to dance the accent of the khishba and kassura.
4. Iraqi music lecture together with our musician Shant about the Iraqi rhythms, music, instruments and dance steps.

Moreover, you will have the opportunity to attend a Q&A session with her and ask her directly all your questions!

Assala Ibrahim was born in Basra and grew up in Iraq. From her early childhood she was surrounded by the rich traditions of Iraqi culture and enthralled by Oriental Dance. Her passion for dance grew with her, Assala left the University of Baghdad with a degree in Education and returned to Basra to teach in secondary school. In 1993 she had the opportunity to move to Switzerland, where she further her studies in Oriental dance and begin assembling her own researches. She was determined to dance, and to preserve the long and detailed history of her Iraqi dance inheritance.

Traditional and folkloric dances interest her because she believes these are a precious and endangered resource of knowledge and understanding, and the one true path to innovation, creativity, and self-expression in Oriental dance as an art form. She returns again and again to the Middle East both as an eternal and pure source of inspiration, and as a lively, continually replenishing, and endlessly rewarding field of research. She has also complemented her researches with Western academic study of dance methodology and tuition, and with supporting subjects including Pilates, Yoga, and breathing techniques. Her goal is to see the development of proper teaching techniques and similar analytical study in traditional Iraqi and Egyptian folk dance.

Through her many years’ research and fieldwork in Iraqi dance, Assala has been able to analyse, document, reconstruct, and develop dance styles unique to Iraq, including Raqs el Kawliya (Iraqi Romany, or Gypsy dance), Raqs Benat al Rief (rural, or countryside dance), and the southern Iraqi dance styles of Khashaba and Basrawi. She has gained a clear and distinctive understanding of the differences and similarities between these types of dance, and she is the first teacher in the history of Iraqi dance to create a detailed dance terminology, one that is not derived from ballet or Western arts, but deeply rooted in Mesopotamian history and Iraqi culture. Her visionary teaching concept, her unique dance style, and her immense repertoire in Iraqi and Egyptian dance have made her one of the most sought-after dance instructors and performers worldwide. She generously shares her knowledge with her students and is a supportive, kind, and encouraging presence for every one of them.

As a performer Assala has collaborated with many internationally-famous musicians and artists. Highlights of her career so far include tours with two legendary singers – the late Esma Redzepova, Gypsy queen of Macedonia, and the Iraqi Gypsy queen, Sajeda Obied. Since 2003, Assala has been involved with the dance and music project “Beyond Culture” in Switzerland, working with the Ssassa Band. The project works with immigrants, local children, and young people to promote and experience intercultural understanding, respect, integration, dialogue, and joy through music and dance.

Assala Ibrahim is a true ambassador of her native Iraq. Her recipe for success? “I fill my life with dance, and my dance with life.”


Our International Teacher and Artist from Morocco! We are so proud and happy to have Nawarra at our Inanna International Iraqi Dance Festival in Odessa (Chernomorsk) Ukraine this year between 10-13 October 2019! Learn with her the Moroccan and Algerian dance!

Nawarra is a native Moroccan dancer who lives and works in UK. She is the artistic Director and Founder of the Project · Leeds Funoon al Arabiya, she travels at least once a year to Morocco to share her native Moroccan culture with dancers from around the world. Nawarra has an incredible ability to inject her students with energy and they are quick on their feet in just a few minutes. She teaches in a comprehensive way; music understanding, dance moves and cultural knowledge are always combined in her way of teaching.

Nawarra Background : Hailing from Casablanca in Morocco, Nawarra studied Arts and Drama at University before taking the opportunity in 1996 to come to the UK and continue her studies in Leeds. In Morocco she was a member of various theatre groups specialising in sketch-shows and comedy and also working with some of the top Moroccan comedians. She loves to entertain and brings her passion, high energy and sense of fun to every performance.

Dance: Being so far away from home, North Africa never ceased calling out to her: the traditional music and folk dances which had so fascinated her as a child began to be a way of expressing herself and of forming friendships in a land of strangers. She found that Leeds had an emerging interest in Middle Eastern Dance, but this was so very often second hand, lacking teachers actually from or with any connection to the Middle East. She began to share what she knew and from these small beginnings has gone on to become one of the UK’s most recognised teachers and performers with a growing international reputation besides. She naturally focuses on dances from North Africa-The Maghreb- but also teaches Egyptian, Lebanese, Palestinian, Iraqi and Gulf styles. Nawarra has taken part in all UK’s top dance festivals : Jewel of Yorkshire, Majma, Belly Dance Congress, Raqs Britania , Bellydance Mania, Pycoob Festival, Sirocco, Shimmy By The Sea, as well as getting invited regularly to teach in belly dance communities in various areas in the UK and Scotland, also appearing regularly at the Liverpool Arab Arts Festivals and London’s Planet Egypt.

Nawarra has also been invited to take part at various festivals in Spain, Germany, Croatia, Ireland, Japan and France, Israel, Russia, as well as at the Musica Rouhiya Festival in Fes, Morocco and Mediterranean Delight in Marrakesh –Morocco- . She is also regularly found on the panel at belly dance competitions, judging at Miss Bellydance UK competition and at Joy. Most recently she has been invited to Nizhny Novgorod to help find Russia‘s latest dance stars, and Petrozovodsk in Russia.

And if this wasn’t enough to keep her busy, Nawarra has also set up flourishing travel agency taking dancers from all over the world to experience the sights, sounds, people and culture of her beloved Morocco at first hand. Nawarra is also known by her high energy and what she brings in terms of joy to any event, so she has become one the main asset wedding dancers in the UK and abroad, recently she was invited to do a wedding in Tunisia as well as Tel Aviv for a well-known Moroccan family.

Now: After realising her dream in 2012 of staging a theatre show dedicated entirely to the folkloric dances of the Middle East, demonstrating that there is so much more to love in Arabic dance than the glittery world of cabaret bellydance, Nawarra has co-founded Funoon company –a new venture spreading access to traditional ME dance, and mainly seeking to introduce not only Arabic music but the Arabic language as well through either acting or introductions to every folkloric dance. This has drawn a high interest from the Arab Media like BBC Arabic, Aljazeera Alarabiya as well as Al Ghad Alarabi Channel to the project.. Nawarra’s Funoon will go on to become an inspiration and ongoing resource for dancers as well as a source of pleasure and pride for people of Arabian descent coming or growing up in the UK.

Yana Tsehotskaya

We are absolutely proud to have our International superstar Yana Tsehotskaya from Ukraine at our Iraqi dance festival in Odessa/ Chernomorsk 10-13 October! This year she will be with us as co-organiser of our festival! Her passion, her love to what she is doing is very inspiring! Yana has created her own unique style in Iraqi dance which has attracted so many dancers around the world! She will teach a workshop of Iraqi dance Hachaa, elegant, romantic and fiery in Yana Tsehotskaya unique style!

Yana Tsehotskaya started her dance education, performing and winning international dance competitions since her early childhood. Nowadays she is one of the most important representatives of the Oriental dance in Ukraine. She has traveled around the world, teaching and dancing Oriental and Iraqi dance. With huge love and passion to Iraqi dance, Yana has been spreading this dance around the world. She created a modern style with stage and show requirements for the Iraqi dance. Her performances created a huge sensation in many stages around the world. Yana won the hearts of many dancers for Iraqi dance and its culture.

Yana Tsehotskaya – professional performer of oriental dance. The choreographer of individual and group performances, the pedagogue (teacher) of workshops all over the world, acknowledged worldwide as the master of the Iraqi style. For the last 10 years she has also been the director of her own  dance school “Antares”.

Yana is winner of competitions and festivals in Ukraine and abroad of various dance organizations:

  • Multiple Champion of Ukraine;
  • Champion of Russia;
  • Winner of Moscow Cup;
  • Winner of World Cup;
  • Winner of Cairo Mirage Festival 2013

Yana Tsehotskaya has already taught  workshops in more than 30 countries.

In cooperation with Alexey Parashchuk and Oldfrinx Belly Dance YouTube channel she created International Belly dance project “Way to be a star”

Alexey Parashchuk

Alexey is our international teacher and artist from Russia! We are so proud and happy to have him at our Inanna International Iraqi Dance Festival in Odessa (Chernomorsk) Ukraine this year between 10-13 October 2019! Learn Choobi and Dabkeh with him!

Alexey Parashchuk is a teacher, choreographer  of oriental and classical dances. Winner of many contests and championships, with titles such as world champion in belly dancing among men and multiple times champion of Russia in belly dancing among men.

He created his own unique style and actively gives master classes and workshops on belly dance in Europe and Asia.

Alexey got his teacher-choreographer univesity degree at St. Petersburg State University of Culture and Art at the Faculty of Choreography. He received his second degree at the Magadan State School of Art at the Faculty of Festival Directing.

In addition to oriental dance (belly dance), he specialises in other dance styles as well: classical, modern, folk, hip-hop, etc.

At the moment, Alexey is engaged in teaching, touring a lot, giving master classes, working on solo performances. In cooperation with Yana Tsehotskaya and Oldfrinx Belly Dance YouTube channel he created international Belly Dance project “Way to be a star”


We are absolutely proud to get our Iraqi star NEJM for our Iraqi dance festival in Odessa/ Chernomorsk 10-13 October 2019. Watching Nejm performing alone on the stage is like watching a whole orchestra. He is a soloist musician, entertainer and singer in a one-man-show! We wonder what will happen when he will have the rest of our musicians with him.
His passion, his love for what he is doing is very inspiring.
Nejm has had long years of experience in singing for dancers in many international dance festivals. Now it is our turn to enjoy his art with us. Nejm has an incredible Arabic repertoire such as Iraqi, Egyptian, Khaleej, Moroccan, Lebanese, Syrian as well as Turkish and Greek songs.
So everybody prepare your wish list to dance live with him!!!

Nejm is an internationally renowned multilingual artist – musician and singer.  He sings and play all types of Iraqi, Egyptian, Lebanese, Syrian, Palestinian, Khaleeji songs, as well as Tunisian, Moroccan, Algerian, Turkish, Kurdish, Armenian, Greek songs in a one-man show, singing and playing music at the same time. The instruments that he plays are synthesizer, piano as well as all type of percussions. Recently, he is studying modern piano at the Athens Conservatoire in Greece. Nejm’s goal is to put a smile on everyone’s faces while he is performing.

Nejm began his music career at the age of 16, in Kirkuk (Iraq) where he was born, when he formed a group with his two brothers called “Al Qalaa” performing in weddings and school parties.  In 1993, while being a member of “Al Thawrah” national club in Iraq, he was invited to perform as a musician in one of the biggest cultural festivals in Babel (Iraq), the “Babylon International Festival “.  He studied in the Music Academy of Baghdad between 1994-1995.

In 1995 Nejm moved to Europe and made a big career jump. He began performing as a soloist musician, entertainer and singer in a one-man-show and toured constantly in multiple countries including Turkey (Istanbul), Greece (all around cities), Cyprus (Limassol), Italy (Como), Switzerland (Geneva), Germany (Regensburg), Norway (Bronnoysund) and Sweden (Stockholm and Uppsala).  Since 1997 he appeared in Italian newspaper “La Province” and three times in a Norwegian newspaper “Bronnoysund Avis”. In 2000 he shared the stage with Maria Gulberg in the “Millenium Festival” in Uppsala (Sweden) and appeared as a singer in the National Cultural Party of Bronnoysund in Norway.

In 2001 he moved permanently in Greece and in 2002 he cooperated with the famous Greek event producer Manos Meletiou and made more than 236 shows in four years (all around Greece). He appeared multiple times in the Greek media including Greek television channels, ERT Radio station, Greek newspapers and magazines. In May 2004 he was awarded with the title of the “Best oriental musician and singer” at the special edition of the “Athens Voice” newspaper.  While performing around Greece, he was discovered by a music manager and record company representatives who were impressed by his talent.  In 2003 Nejm released a CD album called “Karma”, which included classic and folklore Egyptian, Iraqi, Lebanese, Turkish, Azeri, Algerian and Greek songs and showcased his talent as a multilingual classic and folk one-man-show performer. From 2007 until 2010 he has been performing with 10 bellydancers on a daily basis in the biggest oriental nightclub in Greece “Shisha Club”.  In 2012, he was honored to represent his country Iraq at the biggest cultural festival in Greece “Peace & Friendship“ in Athens.

From 2013 until today he has been performing and giving concerts as a one man show entertainer and Arab singer in the most famous and best rated Arabic Restaurants in Greece such as “Sahara Lebanese Restaurant“ where he was resident artist for 5 years and the  luxury Lebanese Restaurant “Nargile”. Additionally, he has been giving concerts in V.I.P. weddings, charities and parties of embassies such as the event of Egyptian Embassy, event of Tunisian Embassy, event of Iraqi Embassy, dinner and party of the consulate of the Ivory Coast, party of the Syrian Consulate, party for the Arab Church of Athens , party of CLCU Greek Lebanese Cultural Union. Moreover, he participated at the Newroz Festival of the Kurdish Society.

Despite his immense devotion to his one-man show career in Athens as soloist, Nejm has also a long experience working with dancers not only in Arabic clubs, coffee shops and restaurants but also on festival stages. During all years of his career, he has worked with many famous oriental dance artists and many international master teachers like Rhea of Greece, Melinda (Daughter of Rhea), Marya Aya and Jelena Cicanovic (Leila of Serbia) and many more. He has taught several workshops about oriental music, oriental rhythms and “maqam” in dance schools during oriental festivals.   In 1997 he performed as a musician and singer in one of the biggest theaters in Greece “Dora Stratou” (Athens) with the famous American bellydancer “Rhea of Greece” and her students. Moreover, he was  twice invited (in 2010 and in 2015) by the famous oriental dancer Melinda (Daughter of Rhea) in order to teach the Arabic rhythms and perform with her and her students on stage in Boston (United States). He was honored to participate as a music teacher, performer, artist and competition judge in several international dance festivals and competitions such as Oriental Summer Camp in Crete (2013 & 2014), Oriental Love Festival in Serbia (Belgrade) in 2014, 2015, 2016, International EurAsia Dance Cup by Natalia Kuzmina & Marya Aya in Athens 2015, 3rd International Championship of Oriental Dance  Athens Greece April 2015,  Oriental Radio Show 2016 (Athens), Mosaic Dance Festival Athens 2017. In 2016 he proudly became a music director and teacher at one of the most famous oriental dance school in Athens “Hamsa Oriental Art House”. This year Nejm will perform and teach in Inanna International Dance Festival Ukraine in October 2019 and  in Oriental Love Festival Serbia in November 2019.

Shant Percussions

Armenian from Iraq. Born on the 2nd of September in Basrah.
At the age of twelve, Shant moved to Holland.

Besides music, Shant is a financial advisor and coach working for a bank.

During his early childhood, Shant started at first with singing. Having lived in a family environment full of music, Shant quickly came in touch with the drums (his father being a singer and his brother being a guitar player).

Shant was playing rhythms on everything that made a sound. That’s when his father decided to stimulate his talent even more by buying instruments for him, and to encourage him constantly.

It was only a matter of time before Shant would switch from drums to percussions. Nowdays, Shant specializes in all kinds of acoustic percussion instruments such as: the Armenian Dhol and Darbouka. And, ofcourse, the Iraqi Kheshba/ Kasoura, Rig, Daf, as well as the modern drum computer. Using these kind of drums, he creates his own sounds and samples.

Shant taught himself all the rhythms, styles and official techniques.
With the help of the Iraqi music teacher and Santoor player Wessam Al Azzawy, Shant learned more about traditional Iraqi rhythms.

Besides small parties, Shant has performed at multiple festivals and concerts. He has also been on tour with many different musicians and very famous super stars, in many different countries. Shant makes studio recording sessions, as well.

Music genres: international

“First you have to feel the Music, then express it”, so says Shant.

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