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ESRAA WARDA

new york based north african performance + teaching artist

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Esraa Warda, is an emerging touring dance artist and educator hailing from Brooklyn, New York, specializing in traditional North African feminine form dance with a particular focus on Algerian dance(s). As a child of the Algerian diaspora, starting her dance journey at age 13, Warda advocates for the representation and preservation of North African women-led dance traditions while challenging euro-centricity, orientalism, and patriarchy in the dance world.

Her innovative pedagogies have 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, Joe's Pub at the Public Theater, Old Town School of Folk Music, OXY Arts, Georgetown University, New York University, The Movement Lab at Barnard College, Rich Mix, Mosaic Rooms, and the University of Ottawa, and she has even been featured on NPR's Tiny Desk Meets Global Fest.

She cherishes the wisdom of female elders, the "chiekhat" of tradition, especially in Algerian Rai, which she cultivates through her mentorship with the legendary 80-year-old Cheikha Rabia, after studying 6 years under Morocco's Khadija el Warzazia, leader of Marrakech's "Bnat el Houariyat". Her teaching approach is described as a "popular format," which harmonizes the essence and aesthetic of informal dance education (learning from the living room, weddings, etc.) while simultaneously systemizing a dance vocabulary in Algerian dance.

Warda is committed to empowering marginalized North Africans of all genders, sexualities, bodies, and ages, enabling them to boldly reclaim their cultural heritage.

As of 2023, Warda is currently a Heritage Ambassador Fellow at the Brooklyn Public Library and part of the Joe's Pub Working Group Fellowship and was a 2021 New York State Council of the Arts Traditional/Folk Awardee.

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