National Association for Teacher Certification in Middle Eastern Dance

Frequently Asked Questions

   Want to talk to a teacher who has been through the certification process?

Kelli Marie     Morwenna Assaf     Shadia Dahlal

Shakira Massood-Ali

Miabella     Cedena     Desdemona

Q.   What is the purpose of NATCMED certification?

A.   The main purpose is to provide an established and skilled Middle Eastern Dance teacher the documentation that colleges and universities require in order to make the Middle Eastern Dance class an accredited course.

   A second reason for getting certified is to prove that you are qualified to teach Middle Eastern Dance.

Q.   So this program is for established teachers- not those looking to become teachers?

A.   Right, our program is for teachers who have been performing for at least 5 years and teaching for at least 2 years.

Q.   How is your certification program unique or different from the rest?

A.   Our program is different because it is based on peer review rather than the standards of a single teacher. Currently there are many certification programs for new dancers but ours is the only program that certifies you as a teacher based solely on your achievements rather than your affiliation with a particular teacher or school.

   We try to be both objective and empowering. To read some of the comments from a certification visit Anthea Kawakib's website:

   Also once you are certified through NATCMED there are no ongoing fees or requirements from us. If you choose you can continue your involvement with either NATCMED itself as a certifier or our sister program:

    The Choreography Project for Middle Eastern Dance.

Q.   Is this an online course or certification?

A.   No, this is not an online course or certification.

Q.   So this certification is designed specifically for college use?

A.   Right. There are many talented teachers both in the US and worldwide and they are known by their accomplishments. However colleges require documentation and we provide that documentation. We have created what we believe to be a realistic standard and if your body of work meets that standard then you can get certified.

Q.   If I'm not planning to teach at a college is there any other reason to have this certification?

A.   Yes, to prove your credentials to the general public. People new to our scene are often unaware of who has a proven history and who is a fraud. NATCMED certification is a good way of saying you've been around and have the respect of other teachers of Middle Eastern Dance.

Q.   How can you certify something as creative as Middle Eastern Dance? Does not personal bias and taste enter into your evaluations?

A.   No, because we are primarily looking at your ability as a teacher. What's paramount is your ability to teach your students and teach them well the basics of our dance form.

Q.   How do I go about getting certified?

A.   You need to send us several things. They are:   

   Your resume including all of your dance history- you will need a minimum of five years performing and two years teaching.

   Your course outline- it must be well thought out and reflect the standards of our board. The dance vocabulary you teach must be represented in your student choreographies.

   Your video- we need to see six things:

One- a fifteen minute solo performance of you on-stage or at a public venue.

Two -a five minute or longer performance of you performing improv. This can be part of a larger show or it can be at a wedding, hafla, renfaire etc.

Three- at least ten minutes of you teaching a class.

Four- a beginner to intermediate choreography performed by your students.

Five and six- two intermediate to advanced choreography performed by your students. The beginner to intermediate choreography may be performed at a class recital, the more advanced ones must be performed on a stage or at a public venue and must be at least three minutes long each.

   The student choreographies must be performed with the skill and dance vocabulary appropriate to their level and your solo performance must be performed to national seminar teacher standards.

   In addition we ask for disclosure of any criminal convictions or adjucations you might have. Criminal convictions may be cause for denying certification or revoking certification.

Q.   What are the standards for my 15 minute performance?

A.   Basically the same standards for a seminar show performance. We designed this so that dancers who teach and perform at seminars could get the certification without too much trouble. For examples of performances go to our Video page.

Q.   What are the standards for my improv?

A.   The improv is less formal and so just pick one that you like. Part of a dancers skill is the ability to think on her feet and we want to see if you have that.

Q. If I am a seminar teacher can I simply send in a video of my performance and the workshop I taught?

A.   Yes. Then all you will need are the three choreographies performed by your students.

Q.   I have a number of videos that I sell, both performing and instructional can I send those or excerpts of them?

A.    Yes, professional videos that you sell are the best for establishing your credentials. You can send in the whole videos or excerpts.

Q.   What do you look for on my resume?

A.   History of both teaching and performing. You must have been performing a minimum of five years and teaching a minimum of two years.

Q.   On the resume should I include other dance training and performance?

A.   Yes, if you have it it's a plus but Middle Eastern Dance training and performance are the most important.

Q.   How important is the syllabus and course outline?

A.   Since this is certification for college teaching they are important. Check the course outlines on this website if you would like examples of what we look for.

Q.   Who evaluates my application?

A.   Your application is reviewed by three different teachers who have gone through the certification process themselves. To be fair we like to have one or two of the teachers not know you personally and so you might have your evaluations come from teachers from different states with different styles.

   This is how we insure that you will be treated fairly and objectively.

Q.   Are the certifiers or is NATCMED connected with any universities or colleges?

A.   No. We are a professional organization whose purpose is to provide a service to skilled teachers within our dance community. Currently Middle Eastern Dance is taught in only a few colleges and universities as an accredited course and there are no majors in Middle Eastern Dance being offered anywhere. Like many other dance forms including classical Indian styles such as Bharatanatyam and Katak, as well Flamenco, Middle Eastern Dances genesis lies outside the academic world.

   For those dancers who request it, NATCMED will look at their credentials and certify if they meet an objective standard within our dance community. The main purpose  of certification is to provide documentation that is acceptable to colleges and universities.

Q.   So in other words this is not a college degree?

A.   Right. This is more like an aerobics teacher certification or a massage therapy certification.

Q.   If I get certified can I then teach at a college or university?

A.   A Middle Eastern Dance course would probably be in the dance department or the physical education department of a college. Each college and individual department would have its own criteria for teaching and it is likely that to teach Middle Eastern Dance you would have to be already teaching another course. A certification from NATCMED would provide the department head with the necessary documentation to for you to teach a MEDance course.

Q.   Who are the certifiers and what are their credentials?

A.   As mentioned before the certifiers are basically your peers. Rather than the standards of a single dance teacher we felt it would be best to have a group of skilled teachers review your work.

   All of the certifiers have long histories of accomplishment within our dance community. As most of them are sponsors as well as teachers they are in a unique position to make evaluations of a dancers' skill and teaching ability.

   In the case of certification the certifiers simply make the judgment that the applicants meet the required standard or not.

Q.   If I want teacher certification do I have to go through NATCMED or are there other organizations I can go to?

A.   There are other organizations and individuals that offer various certifications based on their own criteria. At NATCMED we have striven to create a standard for teachers that is both fair and meaningful. It's up to individual teachers to decide if our certification is right for them.

Q.   What do the certifiers look for?

A.   Technique. Although we have a diverse dance scene, technique is the foundation. All dancers and teachers share the same basic technique.

   Basically though if you are the featured teacher and performer at a seminar you have the requisite technique and the evaluators will focus on your student choreographies.

Q.   How do I know what the appropriate skill level for my student choreography is?

A.   On this website several evaluators have put down their guidelines or syllabus for what is taught on the beginner, intermediate and advanced level. While these are general guidelines the foundation of good technique is very important and if you are in doubt you might want to beef up and polish your student choreographies.

Q.   Is there a preference for choreography over improv in your evaluation?

A.   To verify your credentials we need to see your teaching ability. Student choreographies are the best way to prove that. The importance of choreography or improv in your teaching style is up to you to decide. We simply ask that you have the ability to teach both.

Q.   What if I am a tribal teacher. Does that mean I can't get certified because we don't use choreography?

A.   You can get certified. Tribal is after all a form of structured improvisation. If you send in well crafted group dances performed by your students we will accept that. Remember though that we are looking for comprehensive technique and make sure your dance vocabulary has diversity.

Q.   Is there a preferred style of dance that you look for?

A.   No. Whatever style you have is fine with us. Creativity and originality are the right of every dancer and we are committed to honoring that diversity.

Q.   How much does it cost to get certified?

A.   Three hundred dollars. From that each evaluator is paid fifty dollars and the remaining money goes to administrative costs which include website, advertising etc.

Q.   What is the turn around time from when I send in my submission to when I receive my certification?

A.   About one month.

Q.   What if I apply for certification and am rejected? Do I get some of my money back? Can I appeal or reapply?

A.   If you are rejected you can apply again after one year. If you are rejected you only have to pay one hundred and fifty dollars- the cost goes to the certifiers.

   It's important to understand that we are not judging but rather verifying your dance history. The study and performance of Middle Eastern Dance in the United States already has high standards and our job is simply to ascertain that your performing and teaching meet those standards.

   If you are in doubt or have any questions contact us before you apply.

Q.   How long is the certification good for?

A.   The certification is good for life.

Q.   So now I am certified, do I get a certificate?

A.   Yes you get a certificate. Also we keep you on record and can reissue you a new certificate if you need one and we can verify your certification to colleges, universities and anyone else who requests it.

Q.   Once I am certified is there anything else I need to do?

A.   You are all set and done. Once certified you might like to become a certifier. Also you might get involved in The Choreography Project for Middle Eastern Dance. The purpose of this organization will be to promote troupes and their choreographers. Contact us if you are interested in either.

Q.   If I have any questions not covered here who do I contact?

A.   Just send us an e-mail at:

About us    Syllabus and Course Outline    Certification process

The Choreography Project    Contact    Videos    FAQs