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ESRAA WARDA

new york based north african performance + teaching artist

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Esraa Warda is New York’s leading Algerian-American dance artist specializing in traditional Algerian dance(s) and performance addressing socio-cultural subjects around decolonial body knowledge, sexuality, and North African feminism.

Warda began dancing at 13 in Algiers in her cousin's living room and now , she teaches those same dances such as Rai, Chaoui, and Assimi. Her unique teaching style, known as a "popular format," blends the informal transmission of dance education (learned in living rooms and weddings) with the systematic development of Algerian dance vocabulary.

 

In 2024, you can find Warda on television on a PBS episode of Bare Feet by Michela Malozzi speaking about the movement and history of Algerian Rai dance or performing on NPR’s Tiny Desk with Bnat el Houariyat, an all women’s band from Marrakech. Warda has garnered recognition from esteemed publications such as the New York Times, VOGUE Arabia, and The Metric, and even earned her a nomination as one of BBC's 100 Women in 2022.

Warda's performances and teachings have graced prestigious venues in the US and around the world such as Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Joe's Pub at the Public Theater, Old Town School of Folk Music, OXY Arts, Georgetown University, New York University, University of Ottawa, The Movement Lab at Barnard College, Rich Mix (UK), Mosaic Rooms (UK), and La Fleche D’or (FR), FGO Barbara (FR), TivoliVredenburg (NL),Casa Arabe (ES) ,Teatro Retazos (CUBA), Opera D’Alger (AL), and many more.

 

Warda is currently a Heritage Ambassador Fellow at the Brooklyn Public Library, an artist in the competitive Joe's Pub Working Group Fellowship at the Public Theater, a 2024 recipient of the New York State Council of the Arts Artist Grant, and is currently fiscally sponsored and supported by the Center for Traditional Music and Dance.

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