Gathering at the Delta: An Invitation for Exchange, Education and Inspiration

A 3 Day Virtual Event

1st World Congress of Transnational/Transcultural Fusion Dance

An Affordable, Virtual, Dance Diplomacy Conference of Learning, Research, and Equitable Exchange. Open to All with an Interest in Transcultural Fusion Dance

February 26, 2021 - 7:00pm to February 28, 2021 - 9:00pm

Programming category: 


What is it?

Fusion is as old as contact between cultures. We aim to pursue a thoughtful approach to it.

Objective #1. The first generation of this three-day conference aims to provide a platform for intellectual, philosophical, educational and creative exchange between practitioners of the many fusion forms inspired by dances traditions of the MENATH Regions (Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and Hellenistic cultures).

Objective #2. This conference is also an effort to investigate, imagine and seed new ethical practices in a community that has awakened to the harmful histories of Orientalism, colonialism, genocide and slavery. We understand that our emerging global citizenship must acknowledge interconnection, interdependence, intersectionality, and stewardship.

Objective #3. This conference establishes a global repository and archive of our generation’s efforts: artistic, intellectual and communal. It includes (1) virtual galleries of dance works from the community, (2) catalogs of interviews with pivotal artists, musicians, producers, activists, scholars, and researchers, and (3) forum summaries from communities around the world and (4) recordings of conference events for future participants and scholars.

Objective #4. This conference has been designed for affordability and accessibility of presenters and participants from all over the globe. It is an experiment in our emerging global citizenship. Although your design team is hosting the event from an English-speaking country, we aim to provide timely access to events through digital translation services.

Objective #5. This conference will launch the first global survey of the transnational / transcultural fusion dance community. We aim for this information about who we are individually, and what our lives are like, to inform us beyond stereotypes and assumptions. We know that until we have data about this global art movement, we are without tools to fully understand ourselves… and our legacy. This date will not be sold to commercial entities.

Originally put forth by Donna Mejia (University of Colorado, Boulder), this event is sponsored by the Bellydance Business Academy, and hosted by Earthdance. The design team includes Jacqueline Westhead, Terri Allred, Amy Sigil, Joanna Ashleigh, and Brittney Banaei. We have a long list of brilliant collaborators to thank for magnificent and generous contributions to this event. Above all, we have our global community to thank for our sense of inspiration and purpose.

We are in the process of confirming global presenters from over 12 time zones. As everything falls into place, the full schedule of offerings will be available soon.

Friday evening, February 26th:

  • Opening Dedication and Ritual 
  • Opening Address and Welcome by Donna Mejia
  • Information and Orientation by the Design Team


Saturday, February 27th

  • 11:00 am - 1:00 pm EST Memorial: A Space to Grieve and Remember
  • 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm EST Challenging Gender Binaries and Stereotypes of Hyper-femininity
  • 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm EST Active Allyship: Repairing the Harm of Colonial Dominance, Slavery, and Orientalist Projections in the Commercialization of Vernacular Dance
  • 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm EST  The Reimagining of New Ethical Practices
  • 10:00 pm EST SOMA HUMANA: a Virtual and Communal Dance Event with DJ Amar


Sunday, February 28th

  • 10:30 am - 12:00 pm EST Vision Board: A Space to Imagine and Seed New Futures
  • 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm EST Dance Workshops with MENAHT Instructors
  • 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm EST Dance Workshops with MENAHT Instructors
  • 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm EST  Dance Workshops with MENAHT Instructors
  • 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm EST Dance Workshops with MENAHT Instructors
  • 8:30 pm — 9:00 pm EST Closing Ritual of Gratitude and Community Appreciation

(All times are given in Eastern Time Zone)


Full 3-Day Conference: *Early Bird Sliding Scale: $225-$325

We feel financial circumstances should not be an obstacle for accessing this event and therefore have some (limited) work exchange and scholarship opportunities. We also choose the honor system to self designate what payment option feels true for you right now and welcome donations of more than the top tier amount. Your donation will help subsidize other attendees.

* Early Bird Pricing ends December 16th. Pricing after December 16th will increase to: $275-$375

We appreciate the need and importance of this work and these presenters.




Invitation to Submit Recorded Fusion Dance Work 

The design team for The First World Congress of Fusion Dance: Gathering at the Delta, invites you to prepare and submit new or recently recorded fusion dance work! We are looking to showcase work, or selections of larger works, not to exceed 8 minutes in length that feature the blending of multiple dance forms or styles. Work will be reviewed by adjudicators who seek exemplary performances: thoughtfully examined in the ways the movement dialogs multiple cultural elements, with citation of source inspirations.

Things to know when submitting a work…

  • The last day to submit will be January 15, 2021.
  • We request a minimum resolution of 720-1080 definition. However, we will not disqualify a dance work that is less than 720 definition.

  • Only .mp4 or .mov files will be accepted.

  • The video submitted should not exceed 8 minutes in length (for group or solo work).
Regarding audio: please note that our event does not have an ASCAP or BMI license, which may mean that we may not be able to keep your submission in the permanent archive if you do not have permission to use  the audio contained in your submission.
  • Please upload a photo for promotional use in a .jpg format.

  • Individuals may only be a choreographer and/ or performer in two submissions maximum.
Works will be selected based on ingenuity and integrity of the forms fused while giving consideration to presenting work from as many locales and dance styles as possible.

  • You will maintain ownership of your artistic work but allow Gathering at the Delta to maintain a permanent display on our website.



Your Founding Design Team

Donna Mejia is the first Associate Professor of transcultural fusion dance globally. She is a member of the Theatre and Dance Department at the University of Colorado, and serves as Director of Graduate Studies in Dance. Additionally, she serves as an affiliate faculty member for the Women and Gender Studies Department, and the Ethnic Studies Department. In 2020, Donna was awarded a Faculty Fellowship with the CU Boulder Center for Teaching and Learning, and is an active agent in the decolonization of both higher education and multiple dance arenas. As a transcultural fusion dance artist, Donna Mejia's distinctive aesthetic dialogs the secular dances of North Africa and the Arab World with American Hip Hop dance and sub-genres of electronic dance. Donna also teaches the Brazilian Silvestre Dance Technique and is a lauded representative after thirty years of practice. In October of 2011 she received the Fulbright Association Selma Jeanne Cohen award for International Scholarship in Dance, notably for her paper “Digital Diasporas and Transnational Dance Communities: The Effects of the Internet on Identity Formation and Collective Cultural Memory.” Donna has been guest artist in residence for 17 colleges, and received her Master of Fine Arts degree from Smith College on full fellowship. For 10 years she was a faculty member at Colorado College and Director of the Colorado College International Summer Dance Festival. For twelve years she served as Managing Director of the award-winning Harambee African Dance Ensemble of CU-Boulder under the amazing leadership of Instructor Emerita Letitia Williams. The Harambee ensemble was awarded the prestigious El Pomar Foundation grant, was featured in the March 1996 issue of Dance Magazine, performed for President Bill Clinton and Nobel Laureate Archbiship Desmond Tutu, is part of the Denver International Airport time capsule, and was hailed as the “Best of Boulder” Prior to the 2020 global pandemic she balanced her time teaching and touring internationally to teach, lecture, and perform for private sponsors, festivals and community organizations. For more information, visit her at


Terri Allred is the co-owner of the Belly Dance Business Academy, creator of FCBD-Style with Veil and co-producer of Reunion, an annual belly dance festival.  She brings her life-long career in the sexual assault and domestic violence movement, nonprofit and small business management and degree in feminist theology to her work in the belly dance community. She has studied many forms of belly dance and is currently pursuing certification in Fly Fusion, created by Violet Kind. She lives in Rochester MN with her family and dog, Phoebe.



Brittney Laleh Banaei is a second year MFA Dance Candidate and a part-time Graduate Instructor at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her secondary emphasis are Somatics and International Law. Brittney holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies from Missouri State University. Brittney’s main performance experience is with traditional Raqs Sharqi and Transnational Fusion dance. Her choreographic/research questions involve the intersection of history, politics, surveillance, and culture within dance forms of Middle East and North Africa and their respective diasporas. 



Joanna Ashleigh is a Colorado native who’s been studying Middle Eastern and North African folk dances and American fusions of those styles since the mid 2000’s. Always yearning for more knowledge, she sought out and completed her degree in Dance, and minor in Arabic Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. She is also a certified Datura Style Teacher, loves creating collaborative and solo works, and can most often be found by a river in the mountains or snuggled up with a book, and a cat or four.



Amy Sigil is a Mover, Choreographer and Coach. She loves working with teams and novel ideas. She also enjoys bringing movement to people in a variety of settings to facilitate team building, self-understanding, and growth. My life's work is to share movement and research that highlights frameworks and tools for group improvisation, movement sourcing, and choreography techniques.



Jacqueline Westhead is a facilitator, performer, and author with over 25 years of experience. Her passions are steeped in her facilitation work and teaching which are a blend of expressive movement, voice, mind body wisdom and witnessing practices to cultivate awareness, connection and personal growth. Jacqueline continues to study to expand her understanding of humanity, her work, and the role it plays in our evolving world. She is motivated by the active exploration of Awareness, Curiosity and Kindness and how these support us to dismantle oppressive systems and grow our essential personal superpower of Love. If you want to learn more, she published a book called Touching the Invisible: A Field Guide for Living. You can also check out her website


Sponsored by The Bellydance Business Academy * Hosted Virtually by Earthdance * Produced with LOVE by Donna Mejia, Amy Sigil, Terri Allred, Joanna Ashleigh, Brittany Banaei and Jacqueline Westhead.