Laura (Amara Dances) Osweiler, PhD is an internationally known Middle Eastern dancer, teacher, choreographer, producer and scholar. She’s known for her versatility, knowledge and creativity.
Amara has been featured on television shows including ‘We are Austin’ (2010, 2016, 2017, 2020), ‘7Plus Morning Show’ (Sydney 2019), ‘Today’ (Sydney 2019) & ‘BDTV’ (Los Angeles 2004). Multicultural NSW (2020) and Australia Coucil for the Art wrote about her work. And she was the cover of ‘The Argonaut’ (LA 2004) and ‘Jareeda’ (USA 2006). The International Academy of Middle Eastern Dance (IAMED) called her a Star of Belly Dance and LARaqs.com named her Instructor of the Month (Oct. 2008).
As a performer, Amara is sought out for her entertaining and dynamic Classic American belly dance style. Her shows include sword, veil, double veil and zil work. She is equally skilled in many MENAHT (Middle Eastern, North African, Hellenic (Greek) and Turkish) folk dances. For over 20 years, Laura 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. She 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.
Trained in Contemporary choreography, Ballet and MENAHT dances, she brings these and others into her work. Her Belly Dance shows emphasises improvisation, musicality, styling, technique, direct audience interaction. In her experimental and intercultural dance pieces, Laura slides from choreography and improvisation; solos, group, collaboration; non-narrative, narrative structures; emotive, theoretical, personal and socio-political content. She also regularly collaborates with other dancers, musicians, lighting designer and videographers. Laura’s current choreographic and performance practice that interweaves dance, movement, film, music, audio description and health and employs communication technologies to support access and engage with audiences in different locations.
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 in 1998, co–founded Dance Under Construction, a UC system wide graduate dance conference. From 2015-2020, Laura was General Manager at Critical Path, Australia’s leader in choreographic research and development.
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, The Bold Festival and The Sydney Festival.