Specialty Classes

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Middle eastern Dance



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About the Instructor:  KRISTINA KOUTSOUDAS 




Kristina is a rare, gifted combination of choreographer, performer, and teacher of contemporary and folkloric dances of the Middle East and North Africa.  With her third award for choreography from the Houston Arts Alliance, she most recently produced the  innovative and beautiful "Nour-an-Nisa: Light of Femininity" in December 2011.  Nour-an-Nisa, was not only an overwhelming success, it was also the first full length dance performance at the internationally renown Rothko Chapel and the first time (at least in this artist's memory) since ancient times that Middle Eastern dance has been seen performed in its proper, sacred context. Kristina has a list of firsts to her name. She is: first to teach and perform Middle Eastern dance at a university in Texas (Rice University, for which she received the Frank W. Bearden Award for Teaching Excellence in 2010), first to teach Middle Eastern Dance at a center for psychology (the C.G. Jung Educational Center of Houston), first in the US to develop arts-in-education programs on the Middle East (Young Audiences of Houston), and one of the first to develop a narrative Middle Eastern dance form. She has performed and taught both nationally and locally at hundreds of venues including universities, festivals, theaters, and community centers. She lectures widely in classes, conferences, and workshops and is an annual presenter at several universities including the University of Houston and Rice University. Her performance venues include Bayou City Arts Festival, Denison College, Hamman Hall, Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, Jones Plaza festivals, Miller Outdoor Theater, Museum of Fine Arts, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Texas Children’s Hospital,  University of Houston, The University of St. Thomas, the University of Texas at Austin, The Sufi Order International, and at both the Arab Community and the Jewish Community Centers in Houston.  A member of the Congress of International Dance (CID, member of UNESCO) and a performing artist with Texas Commission on the Arts and the Mid-Atlantic Arts Association, Kristina has also been an annual presenter and performer at workshops sponsored by the Sufi Order International on sacred and secular dances of the Middle East. Currently, she teaches classes privately and at Rice University, writes on dance history, and is extensively engaged in research for future narrative & cultural dance programs. She continues training in Persian dance, hatha yoga, and Pilates and loves cooking, baking, giving parties, and playing with her cat Ruh.


Filmed for commercials for the Houston Grand Opera and for local documentaries for public broadcasting (KUHT), Kristina’s performances include many national and local venues such as: The Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Miller Outdoor Theater, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Rienzi Society, the University of Texas at Austin, Rice University, The University of Houston, University of Texas Health Science, Cy-Fair College, Tomball College, The University of St. Thomas (Houston), Houston Community College’s World Dance 2000 seminar, Montgomery College, Lee College, Carroll Academy for International Studies, the Annual Turkish Festival, the Bayou City Arts Festival, the Houston International Festival, the Bob Marley Festival, the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral festival, the Asian-American Festival, the opening ceremony for the Arab American Cultural Community Center, Jewish Community Center, the Consulate of India, The Woodlands Symphony Orchestra Gala, Naked Angels of New York City, The Duplex Center for the Arts, Ovations, Continental Airlines, Texas Children’s Hospital, the Ronald McDonald House, and The Children’s Museum of Houston. She lectures widely in classes, conferences, and workshops and is an annual presenter at several universities including the University of Houston and Rice University. she continues training in hatha yoga, Pilates, loves cooking, baking, and giving parties, and playing with her cat Ruh.