4th Annual Portland Mid East Camp

music, dance, sustainability

June 16 - 19, 2016

Welcome to the Portland Mid East Camp website!! Much more info will be posted soon so please check back with us.

info @ portlandmideastcamp.com




In it's fourth year, the Portland Mid East Camp provides workshops and performances by internationally-renowned Middle Eastern music and dance artists, thereby preserving and honoring Mid Eastern arts and culture here in the Northwestern United States.  Teachers travel from New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Paris, and Egypt, to teach diverse classes such as Turkish folk dance, Arabic music history, Egyptian Nay (flute), musicality for dance improvisation, group music ensembles, and more.  Workshops are held all day, then the visiting artists perform in live music/dance shows at night.  Students are able to sign up to perform with the live band, giving them confidence-building performance experience in a positive and nurturing environment.  There are also music jam sessions in which all music and dance students may participate. All of this takes place at beautiful Pendarvis Farm where everyone camps out and enjoys nature, art, peace, health, and life.

This camp connects us to an ancient and primal sacred dance/music ritual, and also opens and enlightens us culturally. At a time when many of the Mid Eastern arts are being destroyed in the Mid East, both by wars and intolerance, we have this chance to celebrate the beauty of these art forms and support the artists who are keeping them alive.

The Portland Oregon Middle Eastern music and bellydance scene has been growing and blossoming, especially in the last ten years. Artists from around the country (and the world) have been feeling the call of the water, of the green forests, of the community of artists in this lovely region. How fitting, in this green city, to have an ecological theme, paying homage to the Earth that all cultures share.

Organic food is included in the price!! Vegetarian and gluten free options available. Please bring your own plates, cups, bowls, utensils or use those from the farm kitchen. There will be dishwashing stations. There will be sustainable living vendors as well as music and dance accessory vendors. Accommodations are field and forest Gypsy Village camping spaces and a limited number of RV spaces. Showers, cell-phone charging stations and filtered water stations will be available at no cost.

Come camp with us, dance all day and night, enjoy organic/sustainable food and lovely people!! Enjoy the retreat-like setting of solar-powered Pendarvis farm, the wildlife refuge of the woods and wetlands, compostible, recyclable, biodegradeable, sustainable farm living at its best. (WITH DANCE AND MUSIC!!)

Tickets are limited, the camp maxes out at 300 people including staff.

Camp rules and sustainability guidelines are here.

June 16 - 19, 2016
Camp begins Thursday the 16th with load in and camp set up between noon and 4 pm. Amel has a SUFI healing workshop 4-6. Then we'll all have dinner around 6, then the opening concert and dance show around 8 pm, featuring the star lineup of dancers and musicians. Classes will be Friday and Saturday from 10 am until 6pm, with time for lunch in the middle of the day, dinner at 6 and concert and dance party at 8pm until LATE. Sunday we'll have some sort of morning festivity, usually slide shows and lecture with brunch, then tear down camp and say our goodbyes. There are 5 class times per day, 1 hour 15 minutes each. Camp attendees can therefore max out at 6 hours of class each day, 12 hours total, with world traveled and renowned master dancers and musicians!!


The main objective of Portland Middle East Camp is to create a healthier, more peaceful world.  This is achieved by helping people raise awareness in three main areas:  healthy relationships with people of other cultures, health of the human body/mind/spirit, and health of the Earth and ecosystem.

Healthy relationships with people of other cultures:

We believe that learning about Middle Eastern cultures through their arts is a powerful force of balance in our world, ultimately contributing toward peace!  By understanding and appreciating a culture's art forms, students can come to understand and appreciate the people of those cultures.  Here's a quote from Brandeis University's Peace-building department that summarizes how arts contribute toward peace:

"The Contributions of Arts and Culture - In conflict regions throughout the world, artists and cultural workers are creating works and facilitating processes that foster the capacities required for peace: receptivity, creativity, imagination, compassion, and the ability to embrace paradox. In times of destruction and war, artists assert the power of creativity and counteract the demonization of the enemy. They bear witness to suffering and draw the world's attention to those whose rights have been abused."

At a time when the dance and music arts are under attack in the Middle East (because of wars and persecution of artists), it is vital to the survival of these traditions that they be preserved outside the Middle East.  Portland Mid East Camp is promoting cultural understanding through art as well as preserving the artists who are keeping these traditions alive.

Human health:  

Portland Mid East Camp is a dance/music intensive workshop. The connection between dance and health has been known for thousands of years.  In fact, many of the dances which have come to us through Middle Eastern traditions were actually created to help women before, during and after childbirth, while others, like those of the Sufis, were used to induce trances to create spiritual connection with the divine.  Countless scientific studies have shown that dance increases memory, enhances creative thinking, strengthens leg muscles and heart, improves balance, while reducing anxiety, stress, depression, and weight.

Other health benefits of Middle Eastern dance are positive body image and self empowerment.  This has recently been proven in a scientific study conducted in Australia.  Marika Tiggemann of Flinders University and her team of researchers recruited 112 belly dancers from two dancing schools in Adelaide, Australia, along with 101 college women who had never participated in this activity before.  The participants completed questionnaires in which they rated their own bodies, how they think others view their bodies and about the attention they attract from men.  The researchers found that the belly dancers saw their own bodies in a better light than the college students did, and were less likely to be dissatisfied with how they looked.  They also had fewer self-objectifying thoughts, and therefore took what others might think about their bodies less to heart.  The Portland Middle East Camp's affiliation with the Marissa Mission further supports this objective, since their primary mission is teen empowerment and positive self image through movement arts.

The Music and Neuroimaging Laboratory at Harvard University, dedicated to studying music and the brain, has found that learning music forges pathways in the brain that non-musical people do not have.  Learning to play music also improves the development of speech and mathematics in children, improves motor skills, helps heal stroke patients, and has many other scientifically proven benefits.

At Portland Mid East Camp, we serve all organic food/beverages and filtered water.  Organic food has been shown to have higher nutritional content, higher antioxidant content, and fewer toxic heavy metals than conventionally grown/raised foods.  Organic growing methods are also better for the environment.  Filtering water removes harmful chemicals like chlorine, pesticides and pharmaceuticals.

Environmental health:

Environmental sustainability is central to the mission of the Portland Mid East Camp and is our way of trying to combat the human effects on climate change, by exercising environmental conservation and raising awareness about such matters.  Held at Pendarvis Farm, which is a wildlife refuge and watershed, the camp is fully solar-powered (including the stages and classrooms), we serve all organic food, there is recycling and composting, we observe "leave no trace" camping, we use only biodegradable soaps, graywater is recycled, and we organizing carpools to and from the camp.  We discuss these practices in printed materials and in camp announcements to raise awareness about sustainability.

Pendarvis Farm is 15 minutes from downtown Portland!!
16581 SE Hagen Rd., Happy Valley, OR. (971) 404-9095
Please click here to read and understand the camp rules and guidelines for Pendarvis Farm.

Teacher lineup this year is amazing!! Leila Haddad from Paris, Dalia Carella From New York, Dr. Alfred Gamil from Egypt, Souren Baronian from New York, Dalia Moon from Seattle, Sedona Soulfire from Portland, Sharon Kihara from Estacada (via world tour!), Michael Nageub from Seattle, Faisal Zedan from the Bay Area, and special guests!
Click here for teacher bios and websites

These prices are for adults and children over 12. Children under 12 are free to attend with a participating adult but meal vouchers are extra, $10 each. Non-classgoing adults are permitted at the camp, however they must purchase show tickets to attend shows and meal vouchers to join us for meals. Childcare trades are being organized so if you are interested, contact us to get in touch with those organizers.

*********************** TICKET INFO **********************

TICKETS are discounted until April 30 at 11:30 pm. Then at midnight on May 1, the prices go up.

NEW for 2016, REFERRAL REWARDS! We are introducing a referral program. If someone claims s/he was referred by you at the time of purchasing her/his weekend pass, YOU receive $25 back from the cost of your day pass or full weekend pass. If you refer someone who buys a day pass, you get $10 back from your day pass ticket or weekend pass ticket. If you have multiple referrals, you get money back for each person referred, up to the value of your ticket. So if you refer enough people you could go to camp for free! You may also chose to donate your referral reward to Portland Mid East Camp for a tax credit.

Also, group discounts are available if your students or friends want to form groups and register together: 10% off for groups of 10 or more, 15% off for 15 or more, 20% for 20. Contact Belinda directly if interested. Registration is done by check or paypal link for groups.

Stay posted, there will be a limited amount of work-trade opportunities. Camp is strictly limited to 300 persons so we will post when it sells out. Full weekend camp-goers may vend but please check with us about guidelines and availability of vending spots first. If you are interested in vending (music, dance or sustainability related items) please contact us

Full camp participation - These tickets include class tuition and evening concerts/parties, give you priority for dancer sign-ups, let you camp out in the Gypsy Village, and entitle you to 6 meal vouchers. NEW this year: 3 day pass holders will receive 2 free guest passes for evening shows with the option to buy more for $10 each.

$250 full weekend pass

Friday day pass package, classes and evening concert, plus 2 meal vouchers - (limited dancer sign-ups, priority goes to 3-day campers)
Saturday day pass package, classes and evening concert, plus 2 meal vouchers - (limited dancer sign-ups, priority goes to 3-day campers)

NEW this year: 1 day pass holders will receive 1 free guest pass for evening shows with the option to buy more for $10 each.

$110 per day
Friday classes only, 6 hours worth, plus 1 meal voucher
Saturday classes only, 6 hours worth, plus 1 meal voucher
$90 per day
Thursday night opening gala - for dancer signups, priority goes to 3 and 1 day pass holders
Friday night concert and dance party - for dancer signups, priority goes to 3 and 1 day pass holders
Saturday night concert, Solstice ritual, and dance party - for dancer signups, priority goes to 3 and 1 day pass holders
$25 per night
Additional organic/sustainable meal vouchers. $10 per meal


We are volunteers working hard (for free!) to bring these amazing artists to Portland. Donations have kept PMEC going and are greatly appreciated!!!! Contributions are tax-deductible because Portland Mid East Camp is officially a project under the Marissa Mission. To be clear, donations are tax-deductible but camp tickets are not.



The following article came out in the August 2013 MEDGE (Middle Eastern Dance Guild of Eugene) newsletter. Thank you MEDGE!!


2016 Sponsors



Arab American Culture Center of Oregon





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