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Dearborn School Shares Middle Eastern Music, Dance With the Masses

Students are flocking to the FAB School of Music to learn dance and music that, until now, they could only listen to—not perform.

With metro Detroit’s growing recognition in the music world as an American hub for Middle Eastern song and dance, it only makes sense that the region’s first school to teach the art forms would be in Dearborn.

What no one could see coming, though, was just how popular it would be.

Fransis Batayeh has been in the Michigan music industry for 20 years, playing Middle Eastern and jazz music in local clubs, bigger venues, as well as at weddings and parties.

But he wanted to do something more, which led him to the creation of the FAB School of Music, located in Dearborn’s Village Plaza.

“I realized that the artist was getting the limelight, versus the art,” Batayeh said of the local music scene. “We want the art to flourish … the traditions and culture.”

At FAB, that’s exactly what happens.

Batayeh explained that the school, which opened Oct. 22, sees students at all levels of experience, from people who have never touched an oud or tabla, to local performers looking to hone their skills. FAB offers group classes and private lessons with top musicians and dancers in the area, for a personalized experience depending on what a student’s goals are.

For example, Batayeh said, one group of women comes to a class from Mt. Clemens every week.

“Instead of having a poker night, they’re learning debke,” he shared.

And they come from all over the region, because FAB is the only school of its kind in Michigan that combines classes for both Middle Eastern dance and a variety of instruments in one location.

“I had seen the need for a place like this,” Batayeh said. “I realized that no one was really committed to it.”

“Many people who have seen it,” he added. “Now they have a place to go to learn it.”

Next, Batayeh is hoping to branch out to schools and religious groups to begin sharing the art of Middle Eastern music.

Additionally, beginners performance classes in bellydance, tabla, dabke, oud and keyboard will begin in January.

To sign up for a class, or to learn more, contact FAB in one of the following ways:

  • Call 313-333-0002
  • Email fransis@fabmusicschool.com
  • Stop by the school inside of Village Plaza at 23400 Michigan Ave., Suite P36, in Dearborn

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