Morwenna Assaf is the Dance Director for both the Studio and CEDAR Productions. She has been a Middle Eastern (Belly Dancer) dancer, instructor and choreographer for over 30 years. She studied in New York City with the late Ibrahim Farrah (her mentor and friend), the foremost proponent of the dance in the world. She continues to study to this day with Yousry Sharif America’s top instructor of Egyptian dance when he is in the states. Plus she sponsors with her husband, and studies, the works of the Master Choreographer Mr Mahmoud Reda of Cairo, Egypt. Morwenna is San Diego Counties only Lebanese based dancer and educator.
Even with all the years with “Bobby”, Morwenna also studied with other masters of the dance. Although she draws from these other sources, she specializes in teaching the Ibrahim “Bobby” Farrah method, which is a Lebanese style with an emphasis on Middle Eastern folkloric and Danse Orientale (Belly Dancing). Most of the dancers in New England, Kauai, HI and Southern CA namely San Diego County have been trained or influenced by Morwenna and her impact on the dance community has been invaluable. Morwenna also teaches a Gypsy style she calls Gypsy/Zambra which is a blend of Rom & Zambra-Mora. She also offers Persian Dance for special occasions. But her forte and that of the dance company is the Eastern Arabic (The Levant) countries, namely, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Palestine. Morwenna is a member of IDEA, APPHERD, CAPHERD and the National Association for Teacher Certification in Middle Eastern Dance – NATCMED. She has taken management courses and seminars with Rhee Gold of MA and belonged to the Dance Studios Mastermind Group with Sam Beckford in Vancouver, BC. Has taken numerous courses in colleges and various private groups.
She was inducted into the American Middle Eastern Hall of Fame in New York City in 1994 for her contributions, choreography and research in this art form. She was nominated Best Instructor 2001 by Zaghareet. She has written several books to further the studies of those interested in Middle Eastern Dance Studies. She has been on the staff of several dance magazines throughout the country over the years. She has taught dance workshops for CAPHERD for the past 14 years in both Palm Springs and Riverside, CA. She also holds dance Seminars and Master classes in Mexico for several studios and has been asked to teach in Beirut, Lebanon for the Amani Oriental Festival sponsored by the Bureau of Tourism.
Walid Assaf is the Music Director for both the Studio and CEDAR. He was known as the leading Arabic drummer of New England and is an artist marked by a very vibrant and energetic style. He shares his skill as an instructor and performer of Arabic percussion. Walid taught percussion through Scheherazade Studios in New England for nearly 20 years but also here in Southern CA for the past 12 years He is also a remarkable Debke dancer who brings his talent and knowledge directly form Lebanon. He has performed with the STARS of the dance world on both coasts and in between. He has performed throughout the world with master musicians and singers from the Middle East.
Walid also manages CEDAR Productions which, with his wife, sponsors people from other countries to bring their Lebanese heritage to the USA. Annually he brings musicians to the area so people can here the real thing. He is also in charge of booking shows in restaurants, weddings and parties.