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Soon to be the home of:

The Kathryn Ferguson Foundation

In 2017, four active Xanadu troupe members and two alumni formed the Xanadu Collective, with the goal of continuing the work of Kathryn Ferguson.

We focused on immediate matters: creating a memorial benefit performance, continuing troupe engagements, and supporting and maintaining existing classes through her studio.

In 2023, we’ve realized that we’ve been thinking with much too small a scope. Kathryn Ferguson, it’s been said, was a person who never refused a calling, and her legacy is vibrant and diverse.

We’ve decided it’s time for us to celebrate a fuller, richer memory of Kathryn. We’re overjoyed to announce that we are taking the first steps towards the formation of a new nonprofit: the Kathryn Ferguson Foundation.

Through the Foundation, we hope to (for starters!):

  • Research, document, archive, and reconstruct Kathryn’s choreographic works;
  • Offer high-quality, in-depth educational opportunities to everyone in the Tucson community and beyond;
  • Amplify the beauty and significance of dance in culture, and reinforce inclusivity and accessibility in our community;
  • Encourage young filmmakers, particularly those from migrant and diasporic communities; and
  • Support social justice causes dear to Kathryn’s heart.

Of course, classes will continue! The members of the Xanadu Collective will offer classes both within and without the scope of the Foundation, so we can freely explore our own artistic visions as well as honor and sustain Kathryn’s unique voice. If you are looking for classes in Tucson, AZ, one of our members has opened the Yalla- Tucson Belly Dance Academy. Visit her website for additional information: www.yallatucson.com.

We’re also beyond thrilled to announce we will be presenting a unique, immersive educational experience in the Fall of 2026, featuring our headliner, Mr. Karim Nagi!

We invite you to join us as we move into a new future together, and hope you’ll see this growth as we do: not fractures, but additional facets on the beautiful jewel of Kathryn’s legacy.

Who Was

Kathryn Ferguson

After studying fine arts at the University of Arizona, Ferguson went to Spain to learn Flamenco. She ended up in Morocco, where she discovered belly dancing, an art form that would take her around the world. Tucson was always home base, and she founded Xanadu Dance Studio in 1973.

She had an illustrious career traveling the world as an American Belly Dancer. She started teaching classes and dancing in Tucson, in a Moroccan club and restaurant called El Jebala. In 1985, she studied five weeks in Cairo with Shoki and Faten Naim. Throughout her career, she danced all over the world and most of the fifty states. She traveled several times each year, for over a decade, to Europe-- Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands, performing and teaching workshops. She has also taught in Australia, New Zeland, Singapore, Istanbul, and Mexico.

The Kathryn Ferguson Dance Technique is based on cultural integration. It is a blend of traditional Mideastern Dance with a dash of Western drama.

In additon to her career as a dancer, she was a celebrated author, filmmaker, and activist. Kathryn Ferguson, it's been said, was a person who never refused a calling, and her legacy is vibrant and diverse. This Is Tucson wrote a beautiful article shortly before her death, where Kathryn was interviewed about the many facets of her life. Checkout the article below to learn more about her!

Learn More