Gilded Serpent presents...
Giza Academy Awards
The Second Annual
Giza Academy Awards of Middle Eastern Dance Videos was presented
by The Giza Club on Sunday, December 6, 1998.
Giza Club is a non-profit cultural organization devoted to the study
and understanding of the Middle East. In the bimonthly meetings
various subjects regarding the Middle East are discussed and key
or expert people in that area present either lectures, slides, videos
or lead discussions. The people who have participated read like
a Who's Who of Middle Eastern culture: travelers, doctors, teachers,
anthropologists, musicologists and, of course, dancers. Events may
be formal, featuring lectures on music, dance, literature, food
-- even fashion and everyday life and Middle Eastern film festivals,
including and especially The Giza Academy Awards of Middle Eastern
Dance videos. There are also field trips, potluck parties and
The Giza Cabaret, where dancers and musicians are provided
All the judges were either members of the Giza Club or had spoken
or made a presentation for the Club. All of the judges view all
of the tapes in their entirety in all of the categories. They keep
an open mind. No political or dance preferences are allowed, nor
are any prizes given for most money spent; however, the videos do
have to be clear and well thought out.
The judges seldom agree the first time around. So begins a process
of arguing the various merits of each video performance as it pertains
to the category for which it is being considered, until finally
a consensus is reached.
The key is: fairness and honesty to the dance and a commitment to
the presentation of the dancer's work on a medium such as video,
so that others may enjoy and experience the art.
Also, in the interest of fairness, no videos are admitted with direct
connections to Amina, The Aswan Dancers or any of the judges.
The Academy Awards Ceremony was held Sunday, December 6, 1998 at
El Valenciano in San Francisco. The Arabian Knights
Middle Eastern Band turns El Valenciano into Salamat Sundays
every Sunday with traditional and popular Arabic music for dancing
and also belly dance performances by Anke and Shara.
The evening began with old time black and white videos from the
Middle East and with The Aswan Dancers doing their versions of the
old time dances. Throughout the evening The Aswan Dancers performed
short dances thematically in keeping with the categories awarded.
mistress of ceremonies, explained the functions of The Giza Club
and introduced Gregory
Burke, who spoke about why the Giza Club wants to encourage
dancers to use video to record and preserve their performances and
contributions to the art.
The Documentary Award was given to: National
Geographic for "Cairo Unveiled" (Honorable Mention),
- for documenting Middle Eastern dance in a serious, scholarly,
educational and entertaining manner and
for "Amaya's Gypsy Fire".
Ma Shuqa Mira Murjan announced the
winner of the Instructional category,
- Hadia of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
In her video, "Oriental Dance, Raks Esharqui" Hadia
performs a dance she choreographed and then teaches the steps
in the sequence as it's performed facing front, slow motion and
with her back to the camera.
Baraka, winner of last year's Instructional
- Gypsy Caravan of Portland, Oregon winner
of Best Troupe of 1998 award for their video "Initiation".
Jeanette Cool, of Amorfia,
awarded Most Promising New Star to
- Marzue of Santa Barbara for his performance
in IAMED's First Annual Awards of Belly Dance produced
by Suzy Evans of Los Angeles. As with all the
awards, short video clips were shown so the audience could see
the winning entries.
awarded the Live Performance Solo Dance Interpretative to
of Minneapolis for her Zar performance in IAMED's First Annual
Awards of Belly Dance produced by Suzy Evans of Los Angeles and
- Best Belly Dancer
to Delilah of Seattle, Washington for "Live and Wild".
Amina talked of trying
to locate Lucy, of Cairo, Egypt, voted Best
Traditional Dancer from the video "Cairo Unveiled".
Amina had someone in Cairo trying to contact Lucy, only to find
she was in Los Angeles awaiting the birth of her child.
Tina O'Neill showed part of a video of footage
she had which Dahlena had edited of Bobby
Ibrahim Farrah. She spoke of her memories of him and read
a letter he had written to her regarding dance.
Alexandria Parafina announced two winners for Choreography
for the Camera. The first was for the innovative category for Delilah's
dance Sacred Circle in "Live and Wild". The second was
for the entire video "Initiation" by Paulette
Rees-Denis and Gypsy Caravan.
It was interesting to note that although many videos were entered
from throughout the United States and Canada, three received double
After all the awards were announced The Arabian Knights
with Susu played for dance performances by Ma
Shuqa Mira Murjan and Jacques al Asmar.The
evening ended with music for everyone to dance.
If anyone is interested in The Giza Club or in participating in
The Third Annual Giza Academy Awards of Middle Eastern Dance Videos,
please contact Amina at Aminajune@aol.com
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