Dancing to Live Taksim Online Series


Dancing to taksim, an improvised solo by a melodic instrument, can be both blissful and tricky!

How do you follow those noodley notes? And what moves should you do? How do you make it interesting for yourself and for an audience? And if you are lucky enough to have a real live musician playing for you, how do you handle that situation? So many questions!

And I bet that those of us who practice dancing to taksim on our own are dancing to recordings (which are, by nature, always the same), rather than dancing to live, improvised (always different) music. The former is not exactly the true nature of taksim, and the latter is only available to very few of us.

The Dancing to Live Taksim series is an antidote to all of that!

It’s a chance to refine your improvisational taksim skills over the course of 4 weeks by dancing to live, improvised music that is different every time you dance in class because you have 2 instructors – a dancer AND a musician. What a rare and amazing opportunity!

Annya Ishtara, your dance instructor, will not just throw you into the deep end and say “Dance what you feel!” Instead she will give you structured exercises with which to explore movement and music while your musician, Meg York, plays live, improvised taksim on her clarinet. And Meg, your music instructor, will share the inside scoop on the musical side of taksim. And you know, that as a dancer, getting musical insight from a musician is almost like gaining a new super power for your dance!

With the tools, practice, and knowledge that you will gain in this 4 week series you will be well on your way to dancing a more soulful, embodied, and musically connected taksim.

Class size is limited to 10 so that you can get individualized musical attention from Meg.

Annya Ishtara, Meg York, Taksim



What we will do in this class:

  • We will run through some movement vocabulary that is useful for dancing. However this is not a technique class, so you’ll want to be already comfortable with basic belly dance moves.
  • Explore concepts and structures for improvisation to help you hear and follow the nuanced flow of taksim music.
  • Hear from a highly skilled musician about the musical structure of taksim.
  • Learn from a musician’s standpoint about how you as a dancer can help your musician play the best possible music for you during a taksim.
Every class includes live Q & A with Meg York and Annya Ishtara where you can ask questions about the music and dance and how they fit together. And in every class you’ll have a chance to practice the skills you are learning.
This is an open-level, style-neutral class because you will be the one providing the moves.

This class is for dancers who:

  • Want to more deeply explore the musicality and movement of taxim.
  • Want to hone their improvisation skills.
  • Want to deepen their understanding of taksim music
  • Want to be more in the flow with themselves and the music as they dance
  • Already have an established belly dance movement vocabulary, as well as some comfort with choosing what move comes after another, i.e. for dancers who have basic improvisational dance skills as a minimum


This class is NOT for dancers who:

  • Are looking to learn moves and choreography.
  • Want to be told exactly what to do at every stage of the music.
  • Are not already comfortable with basic belly dance movement and putting one move after the next on their own


Meet Your Instructors


Meg York


I am a seasoned musicologist, performer, and band leader in global folk music styles for 30 years.

I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Clarinet performance and I study music extensively in Turkey and India.

I am known for my world music playing and productions including Tarab Retreat, performing in Denver Center Performing Arts’s Klezmer play by Paula Vogel, Indecent, founding the Farabi Iranian Ensemble, and heading up the Eastern European style party band, Klezmerize.

I am an Athena Project Artist in Residence, and I join Hal Aqua at Dazzle Jazz and the Mizel Museum/Mercury Cafe Denver KlezFests. I love sitting in with Gora Gora Orkestar and Hadgaba Balkan Band!

Community Outreach include Denver Sister Cities and Denver Spring Institute events, Musical Ambassadors of Peace Benefit Concerts,  playing for Colorado Senate sessions, Yo Yo Ma’s 2018 Colorado Tour, Roshni Denver and the Boulder Balkan Bash. 

Music and dance build bridges from the past to the future by basking in the present.



Annya Ishtara

Annya Ishtara belly dance, Taos NM


I have always loved the improvisational aspect of belly dance. When I first began belly dancing in 1990, I had the fabulous opportunity to perform frequently with live music, sometimes never having met the musicians playing for me, or even having heard their music. I found this a delightful challenge, and to this day I continue to revel in the magic that can be spontaneously co-created between musicians and dancers. The only belly dance contest that I ever entered was an improvisation contest with live music, and I won first place. And improvisation is what taksim is all about.


Here’s a short chat between Meg and Annya about the Dancing to Live Taksim series:






Class Details and Registration

  • Next dates to be announced
  • 6 – 7 PM US Mountain Time (GMT -7/- 6)
  • Online via Zoom
  • $75 for 4 weeks
  • Please sign up at least 1 hour before the first class starts so that you have time to get your Zoom link before class.
  • If finances are a hardship at this time, contact me to make other arrangements: annyaish(at)Annya-Ishtara-Dance(dot)com. *Be sure to fill in the punctuation to make this a valid email address.





Together, you presented a very fine experience in the study of taxim, (solo improvisation), both technically from a dancer’s perspective, and musically from a musician’s perspective, in this case, a musician who genuinely enjoys “partering” with dancers during the taxim! I very much appreciated Meg’s laying out of the musical structure of the taxim and taking us on her various “journeys.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Annya’s fine-tuned, body-centered guidance helped us explore solid elements of making dance, i.e. shape, direction, level changes, dynamics, time, and scale with good knowledge of how the body moves. Her concept of “magnetic core” is a valuable treasure, both in dance and in everyday life!
This study was easily adaptable for all levels of dance experience, and a great practice in maintaining a focus while exploring new dance territory.
Travis Jarrell

I definitely feel more comfortable with structured dance class format and struggle with free-form improvisation. While zooming is not my preferred mode of class, it did enable a certain level of not being concerned with things like looking silly and feeling weird while trying improvisational movement. I liked that a lot and felt like it was easier to connect with Meg’s wonderful playing.

 I was somewhat surprised that it became easier over the course of a couple sessions to shut down the critical mind and allow myself to move freely with the music, I usually only have that experience in brief stints.

Annya is a fantastic teacher that I have been privileged to learn from for many years now. She has great instincts for where people are at, and she is very clear in her explanations of concepts of belly dance that can be subtle and sometimes more abstract. She is a very “clean” dancer, in that her movements are concise and easy to follow. Annya is well-studied and it shows!

Meg, besides being a beautifully gifted clarinet player, is very skilled at playing for dancers for a co-created experience. She also has clearly studied all aspects of her craft and explains concepts very well.

Meg and Annya make a great team, in performance as well as teaching.

I am grateful for the experience, thanks to you both!!

Emily S

Taos, NM

I want to thank you both for offering such an amazing experience in dance and music. It is hard to express the joy and excitement that I experienced being in your class. The instructions Annya offered combined with the live music from Meg created an environment easy to absorb and learn new material. I felt free to experiment with new movements in my body that Annya taught and Meg made it feel comfortable and right with her playing. The combination increased my mental and physical understanding of Taksim. A unique experience. Thank you, and I hope you offer another class similar to this. I felt connected, from the privacy of my home.


Your classes are WONDERFUL!  I really love your pacing, knowledge and attention to detail and how much you obviously care about making sure that people have the info they need to succeed.
Meg York

Denver, CO, www.MegYork.com

Refund Policy
If after the first class you are not happy with it, contact me within 48 hours and I will refund for the remaining classes. There are no make-up classes or refunds for missed online classes. However if you do happen to miss an online class, I am usually able to send you a link for a streaming recording of the class, which is available for a few days. Please contact me as soon as possible if you miss a class so that I can send you the recording link. If you don’t contact me, I may not know that you weren’t in class and that you need a streaming link. AND, the link is only available for a few days. If you wait too long to contact me, it won’t be available for your access. Please note that full class recordings are not included as a regular feature of online class series unless specifically stated. I offer class recordings as a courtesy only under the circumstances described above. It is the student’s responsibility to know when class is happening and to be present online at the appointed time. For more details, see the Frequently Asked Questions page.



For answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Belly Dance (FAQ’s), click here.