Monday, September 29, 2008

The Arab Dance Seminar Oct 24-26, 2008

For The First Time in The Boston Area, The Fourth East Coast Session of:

When: Friday-Sunday October 24th-26th, 2008
Where: Cambridge (Central SQ) MASS, USA

- From "BellyDance" to Berber, Zaar to Zeffa, come and learn the fullest scope of dances from the Arab world.
- We will teach you the movements, the music, and the meaning behind several dance genres and styles.
- We limit the registrants to 40, and provide an intimate and intense educational experience for students.

Teachers and performers include:
Karim Nagi, Amel Tafsout, Cassandra Shore, Kay Hardy Campbell, & Rachid Halihal

Subjects and workshops include:
Raqs Sharqi, Saidi, Dabkaat, Amazigh/Berber, North African, Khaligi/Gulf, Bedouin, Zaar, & Zeffa,
plus classes in Arabic Language, Rhythm, Arabic Music, History, Costume, and Culture.

Complete info and registration at , or scroll down.

The ARAB DANCE SEMINAR (October 24th-26th, 2008 - the East Coast session) is the first repeating event of its kind in America. All previous Seminars since November 2005 have sold out with maximum attendance. This is the first time the Seminar is being held in the Boston area. The goal of this intensive weekend of workshops, lectures, performances and dance parties is to give the student a comprehensive Arab cultural dance experience. Going beyond nebulous "Bellydance" or generic "Middle Eastern" categories, the Seminar puts all the skills, techniques and practices back into their cultural contexts. The Arab world, home of over 20 countries in 4 zones (North Africa, Egypt, Levant, and The Gulf) is the origin and breeding ground for multiple styles and practices with a common language and aesthetic. This Seminar helps clarify and illuminate that tradition.

The Arab Dance Seminar is created for people with a minimum of 2 years dance experience. The faculty seeks to give every student the authentic techniques, choreographies, and comprehension of Arab dance. Every dancer will take every workshop and lecture; there is no layered scheduling that forces the student to choose between classes. The Music classes will be taught using generic language that is understandable to non-musicians. The student will be provided with study sheets and recordings that reflect the curriculum. Every dancer will leave the Seminar with new routines to perform and teach, plus a responsible cultural understanding of the dance and music.

Special focal topic for this session:
MARRIAGE & MOVEMENT : How Dance & Music Are Central To WEDDINGS in the Arab World.
The October 2008 East Coast Arab Dance Seminar will focus on the Wedding Ceremony. At no other events in the Arab world are music and dance more prevalent, endorsed, and enjoyed than in wedding and engagement ceremonies. Dance and Music are part of the mainstream entertainment for both village and urban weddings. Dance and Music are also participatory, and communally enjoyed by the guests, wedding party, and even the bride and groom. This Seminar will re-enact, analyze, and enjoy many of the songs, choreographies, and rituals of the Arab wedding. These include the Zaffa procession, the Dabka line dances, the Henna nights, the coffee rituals, the songs, and the professional entertainment.

Although there is an academic and ethnographic emphasis, there are neither desks nor computer stations. The student will learn by dancing, moving, singing, clapping and sweating. It is an active seminar where the goal is to physically practice the subjects, and to retain new knowledge for future performances and teaching.

Dance Relevance:
It's time to go beyond Bellydance ! With the enormous explosion of dance enthusiasm in the USA, it is often forgotten where the origin of this phenomenon occurred. Many dancers today do not know the ethnic origin, cultural context, social implications or national varieties of the dances they are performing. Often the lyrical content of each song is also unknown by the dancer. Few dancers know the inner workings and systems of the musical compositions they choreograph and perform to. These factors cause a huge homogenization, resulting in the artistic displacement of the art form. This Arab Dance Seminar gives the dancer the tools and knowledge needed to be a more informed presenter, as well as a more skilled performer and teacher. The instructors are either native primary sources, highly schooled professionals who have lived in Arab countries, or both. They will help each dancer unite the soul, brain and body to create the true authentic dance.

Societal Relevance:
Arab culture has always been a fascination for Westerners. The Orientalist painters of the 17 and 18th centuries like Gerome and Delacroix were obsessed with the street market and household scenes of Arab lands. Currently, modern singers like Beyonce, Sting, Jay-Z and Shakira use the melodies and rhythms on their CDs and dance moves in their videos. Every major college and university teaches Arabic language, and has a Middle Eastern Studies department. But this fascination occurs with a simultaneous fear and paranoia. There is an ongoing media pre-occupation with the political and military turmoil in the Arab world. The Arabs have been designated as the antagonists in a proposed "clash of civilizations." There is no Arab in America that does not experience some type of political existence by default (even while simply dancing or singing). It is our belief that the study of dance and music can humanize the study of Arab culture and people. The enjoyment and cultural knowledge gained from the study and practice of human arts can dissolve the fictitious Arab-West dichotomy.

Classes will start at 4pm Friday October 24th and end by 4pm Sunday October 26th.

Lectures & Performances are held at:
-YWCA Hannum Hall, 7 Temple St. Cambridge, MA 02139 (Friday 4pm -9pm, and Saturday 7pm - 11:30pm)
Dance Classes are held at:
-DANCE COMPLEX Studio #1, 536 Mass. Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139 (Saturday 9:30am - 6pm, Sunday 10:30am-4pm)

Fees: (purchase by CC or PayPal at pre-registration ONLY, no at-door admittance.

FEE for ENTIRE SEMINAR : All Classes & concerts from Friday thru Sunday (YWCA & Dance Complex): $290

FRIDAY WORKSHOPS ONLY : Arabic Language, Arabic Music, Culture and History. $140
@ YWCA Hannum Hall 7 Temple St. Cambridge, MA (Friday 4pm -9pm)

SATURDAY WORKSHOPS ONLY: Egyptian Raqs Sharqi, Khaligi, Zeffa, Henna Party, and Amazigh/Berber. $190
@ Dance Complex Studio #1, 536 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139 (Saturday 9:30am - 6pm)

SATURDAY NIGHT CONCERT & DANCE PARTY ONLY: Performances by Cassandra, Amel Tafsout, Karim Nagi & Rachid Halihal. $20
@ YWCA Hannum Hall 7 Temple St. Cambridge, MA (Saturday 7pm - 11:30pm)

SUNDAY WORKSHOPS ONLY : Dabka, Saidi, Bedouin Zaffe, North African, Zaar. $140
@ Dance Complex Studio #1, 536 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139 (Sunday 10:30am-4pm)

The student is responsible for their own Lodging, Transportation and Food.
There are many restaurants and hotels in the immediate area. Visit


CASSANDRA SHORE: Raqs Sharqi and Egyptian Folklore :

Cassandra is one of America's leading performers and teachers of Egyptian Raqs Sharqi and Middle Eastern folkloric dance. A distinctively musical dancer, you can hear Arabic music better when Cassandra dances to it. Her choreographies are closely tied to musical nuances. Her style is powerful yet understated. The legendary Egyptian dancer Ragia Hassan says, "Because Cassandra has come to Cairo for many years, you can see it in her dance. She is the first American dancer I saw that is very soft, very relaxed [and has the] Egyptian style. She is a very great dancer and teacher." Cassandra has been the lead instructor at Oasis Dance Camp since it was founded 23 years ago, and teaches internationally as well as in the U.S. She founded and directs the acclaimed Jawaahir Dance Company of Minneapolis, which established a seasonal concert series at The Southern Theater in Minneapolis, and has presented 110 formal concerts and 240 community concerts. Jawaahir has hosted 83 guest artists, including distinguished dancers, choreographers, composers, and musicians from the Middle East, and has collaborated and/or performed with 26 regional performing arts groups. Simon Shaheen has invited Cassandra to perform twice in his acclaimed Mahrajan al-Fan in New York City, a testament to her artistry as well as to her careful portrayal of the Arab dance arts. Watching Cassandra perform is an unforgettable experience. Taking class from her is a great opportunity for dancers of all skill and experience levels to delve deeper into the world of Middle Eastern dance.

KARIM NAGI: Arabic Music, Rhythm, Dabkaat, Seminar Organizer :

Karim Nagi is a native Egyptian who has lived in the Boston area for over 20 years. Karim performs primarily Arabic, Turkish and Andalusian hand percussion, including the Egyptian Tabla (goblet drum), Riqq (tambourine) and Segat (brass castanets), plus Arab Folk Dances. Karim is a former faculty member of the New England Conservatory of Music. Karim leads the SHARQ Arabic Music Ensemble performing the classical Arabic instrumental and vocal repertoire. Karim travels the country presenting his education Arabiqa program, bringing Arabic Music, Dance and Culture to school grades 4 up through the university level. Karim developed and currently performs Turbo Tabla a music and dance show that combines traditional Arabic and Turkish music with modern Electronica and Techno. He has authored 3 instructional DVDs and 2 instructional CDs on Arab Rhythms and Drumming. Karim also dances Tahteeb Cane Dance and Dabka Arabic Line Dance and once lead the Zaitoun Dabka Troupe. For 5 years, before becoming a full time touring teacher and performer, he produced the wildly successful 'Arabesque Mondays' series at Club Passim in Harvard Square. His goal is to present music and dance as a single wholistic activity, fully integrated.

AMEL TAFSOUT: North African, Berber, and Bedouin :

Born in Algeria, AMEL TAFSOUT is an accomplished well respected Master Dancer and choreographer of North African MAGHREB DANCE, a dance anthropologist, a singer, a storyteller and a Language instructor. She has lectured, danced, taught, sung and conducted anthropological research all over the world. She performed in many European countries and the US. She lived in many European countries (France, Germany and the UK); she speaks four languages and has published articles in academic and popular magazines. She is the Director of "The Tafsoutettes", her dance company, formed in 2001. With her company Amel Tafsout aims to perform the dances of the Maghreb and other Arabic countries with skill and sincerity as well as to educate audiences about North African culture, most notably women's traditions and evolutions through dance, story telling but still retaining a sense of wit and sharing the spirit of celebration.

KAY HARDY CAMPBELL: Khaligi, Gulf Dance and Music :

For more than 25 years, Kay has taught Gulf women's folkloric dance across the U.S. to women at dancer-sponsored events as well as at academic institutions including MIT, Agnes Scott College, and Wellesley College. Women of the Gulf perform these dances in groups to celebrate occasions such as weddings, school graduations and national holidays. The women traditionally perform their dances in pairs or in groups. Kay learned these folk arts from the women of Saudi Arabia when she lived there for several years. While Kay doesn't perform these dances in public, she has coached and choreographed group dances for professional performers including Boston's Near East Dance Theatre, Libana and the Jawaahir Dance Company. She has been the featured folkloric instructor at Oasis Dance Camp four times. Kay speaks, reads and writes Arabic, having a BA in Arabic and an MA in Middle Eastern Studies. She also plays the `ud and helps direct the Arabic Music Retreat. Kay's goal with her classes is to share the joyous aspects of Arabian women's traditional culture with women in the West by letting them experience it firsthand through music and dance.

RACHID HALIHAL: Singer, Oudist, Violinist, featured performer for Saturday Concert :

As a world-class musician, Rachid Halihal brings to the community the true character and spirit of musics from the classical Egyptian repertoire which is much loved throughout the Middle East; from the Fertile Crescent; from diverse regions of Morocco and North Africa; and also the mezmerizing music of the Arabian Gulf. As a child, growing up in Fez, Morocco, Rachid played the nei and sang, imitating the famous singers of the time. At age fourteen he entered "Dar Aadyil" the Conservatory of Music in Fez. At first he studied Western classical and Andalus music on piano and violin. He soon expanded to include a variety of other instruments in order to better express his native music. In addition to his voice, which is best featured in the Andalus style, his strongest instruments are the oud (similar to a lute without frets) and the violin, which he plays in both the classical manner and upright resting on the knee for Moroccan folkloric music.

MEIVER DE LA CRUZ: Seminar Administrator :

Meiver, a Middle Eastern Dance performer and instructor in Boston, is a fiery entertainer specializing in Egyptian / Lebanese Cabaret style. With natural grace combined with her authentic feel for Arabic rhythms, sheÕs become one of BostonÕs favorite and most sought after performers. Her strong sense of rhythm fills her audience with excitement, leaving them mesmerized by the elegance, gracefulness and mystery of her movements. Beyond Raqs Sharqi, her repertoire includes double veil, sword balancing, raqs al assaya (cane dance from upper Egypt), Dabka, and the Muwashahaat rhythms of Andalusian origin. Having spent the first 16 years of her life in the Dominican Republic, Meiver grew up dancing to tropical rhythms like Salsa, Merengue and Bachata and carries the warmth of the Caribbean in her heart. She started her professional study of dance 10 years ago, covering a variety of genres which have come to influence her style.

Complete info, registration, videos, schedule and maps at:

Brought to you by Karim Nagi & Meiver De La Cruz

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