Biography

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Laura (Amara) Osweiler, PhD, is an internationally known Middle Eastern dancer, teacher, choreographer, producer and scholar known for her versatility, knowledge and creativity.

Featured on Television shows including We are Austin (3 times), 7Plus Morning Show & Today (Sydney), the cover of magazines and newspapers including The Argonaut (LA) and Jareeda (USA), Amara has also been listed as a Star of Belly Dance by the International Academy of Middle Eastern Dance (IAMED) and Instructor of the month by LARaqs.com.

As a performer, Amara is sought out for her entertaining and dynamic Classic American belly dance style that is interspersed with sword, veil, double veil and zil work. She is equally skilled in many Middle Eastern folk dances, and for over 20 years, has been a leading innovator in contemporary, theatrical and experimental Middle Eastern dance. Amara has performed as a soloist and in Middle Eastern Dance companies. Dr. Laura Osweiler has held long–term dance engagements at several Middle Eastern restaurants and nightclubs including, Pars (LA), Elbasha (LA), Mamounia (LV) and Alborz (Austin) as well as at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas. She has also been highlighted in over 15 commercial videos including IAMED, BDTV and the EEMED series.

Laura is known for her innovative teaching methods. In her studio classes, she stresses strong foundational technique while she helps students explore the workings of Middle Eastern dance in their own personal ways. She has taught accredited courses on dance appreciation and Middle Eastern dance at UCLA, UCR and Cal Poly, Pomona and workshops at a number of universities and colleges. Laura also directs Training4DanceTeachers, a teaching certification program for studio dance teachers. These courses contain tools and methods that a teacher of any style can immediately apply to practical situations.

Laura/Amara’s has choreographed a wide range of works. Trained in Contemporary choreography, Ballet and Middle Eastern dance, she brings these and others into her work. She constantly slides and shifts through theory and practice, choreography and improvisation, non/ narrative structures and traditional and inter-cultural locations. She also regularly collaborates with other dancers, musicians, lighting designer and videographers. Her company dances have been performed by professional, community and academic dance companies.

Amara has directed several community and academic performance group and was Director and Choreographer of Ya Helewa!, a Middle Eastern dance company for 15 years. They performed a diverse repertory of traditional and experimental improvisations and choreographies. Ya Helewa! held a long–term dance engagements at Moun of Tunis (LA) and Pars (LA) and are featured on several commercial videos. Ya Helewa!’s appearances include numerous concerts in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Diego and Austin.

Laura/Amara supports her communities by producing a variety of dance events. She is currently co-producer of The Austin Belly Dance Convention and Assistant Producer of Dance for Parramasala Festival (Sydney). She is known for the international acclaimed theatrical concert An Evening of Experimental Middle Eastern Dance (EEMED) in which dancers produced cutting edge works and developed a new genre of dance. Amara also co-produced X–MED, workshops/shows on tools and methods for creating experimental dance and Tarab workshops/shows on improvisation with live music. She has produced other workshops, shows and commercial videos and and in 1998, co–founded Dance Under Construction, a UC system wide graduate dance conference. From 2015-2019, Laura was General Manager at Critical Path, Australia’s leader in choreographic research and development.

In addition to teaching, performing and producing, Laura is deeply involved with studying and researching Middle Eastern dance. She holds a PhD in Dance History and Theory from the UC Riverside, a BA in Music History and Literature and a certificate in Ethnomusicology from The Florida State University and worked towards an MA and MFA in Dance at UCLA. She has published articles in numerous Middle Eastern dance magazines and has presented papers at international dance conferences including, Congress on Research and Dance (CORD), Society for Dance History Scholars (SDHS), Oral History Association, International Belly Dance Conference of Canada and International Conference on Middle Eastern Dance and Bold Festival.