Algerian Dance
Janine Ryle

The dance styles being presented today are from various regions in Algeria. We will travel from the southern desert oases, to the towering mountains of Kabylia, and to the cities of Tlemcen and Constantine. We will sample the dances of the Ouled Nailiyat, the Kabyle Berbers, and the courts of al-Andalus.

The Imazighen, or Berbers, consider themselves to be the original inhabitants of North Africa. Through centuries of rule by other cultures, the Amazigh people have managed to retain much of their language, dress and many customs. Over the past several decades there has been a rise of Amazigh identity throughout North Africa, but especially in Kabylia, Algeria. This includes a bigger awareness of the Amazigh influence in shaping the distinct culture of al-Andalus and North Africa.

Inspired to present the rarely seen Berber and Andalusian dances of North Africa to a wider audience, she formed Danse Maghreb in 2003 with co-director Jasmyn Gloria Mabalatan. Her early training in the arts began as a child with weekly lessons in music and folkloric dance. She first studied Near Eastern dance in 1981, and went on to study classical Egyptian dance with Magaña Baptiste, North African, Turkish and Levant folkloric styles with John Compton and Rita Alderucci, Persian, Afghan and Central Asian dance with Sharlyn Sawyer, Turkish Rom with Suzy Tekbilek, and Algerian and Moroccan Berber and Andalusian with Amel Tafsout, Aisha Ali, Leila Haddad, and Katarina Burda.

She has performed at the Palace of Fine Arts, Brava Theatre, McKenna Theater, Marin Showcase Theater, Ashkenaz, La Peña, San Jose’s Montgomery Theater and Mexican Heritage Plaza Theater, Campbell’s Heritage Theater, the Arab Cultural Center, the Algerian-American Association, Stanford University, New College, UCSF and California Institute for Integral Studies. Festival performances include the Ethnic Dance Festival, Berkeley World Music Festival, the Peace Corps Cultural Festival and the Santa Cruz Berber Festival. Danse Maghreb is annually invited to perform at the Berber community’s New Year celebration and Berber Spring commemoration.

In addition to Danse Maghreb, Janine has performed with Ballet Afsaneh, Hahbi ‘Ru Dance Ensemble and Magaña Baptiste and the San Francisco Royal Academy of Danse Orientale. She has produced Ethnic music and dance performances and fundraisers in the Bay Area since 1999, and is sought out by local artists for her promotional skills.

Janine is a patient and generous instructor, who delights in bringing out the inner dancer in her students. Her greatest joy is in sharing these beautiful and unique dances with others.