ad 4 Fahtiem

ad 4 Neon



Ad 4 Mid East Camp


The Gilded Serpent presents...
The Photos & Poetry of
David Ludwig
of the
Middle Eastern Music and Dance Camp
in Mendocino in August 2003
The experience begins again August 15th!

there is a time each year
when dancers and musicians gather
in a magic forest, to reconnect
with their creative source

coming from all parts of the world,
all walks of life, these old souls
gather among the majestic trees
to create and share a true sense
of tribal community.

respected teachers, gifted performers,
artisans, apprentices, and students
all share in a full range of experiences,
from traditionally historic to inventively new,
that blend the complex structures of music and dance

reaching beyond the comfort zone
of their familiar cultures and experiences
these creative beings push themselves into new realms
learning from, and teaching each other.

each day begins with a cool, misty dawn.
as the sun climbs over the hilltop
sunbeams stream down through the lacy tree branches
as wisps of light gray smoke drift up
from cabins and campfires

this is the time when
the bluejays are the primary musicians.
increasingly tired from the all-night ceremonies
the campers stir, wrap themselves for warmth
and find their way to breakfast and showers

warm plate of food and friendly conversation
the music has already begun
drum beats around the fire ring
a mournful ney singing through the trees

the sun takes the chill away, and wraps are shed
revealing each artist's individual statement of dress,
with a full range from Levi's to ethnic costume,
more music now as others join in
to play and sing together

a sudden bussle changes the energy of camp
as the first classes of the day begin
drum beats start from the amphitheater below
violin music from behind the kitchen
dancers hurrying down the hill
to the lodge, transformed into dance studio

many still linger outside the dining hall
missing the first classes, to continue conversations
or practice their new instruments.
chance meetings, new introductions
keep lively stories and ideas rolling all throughout the day

the second classes draw more students
away from the gathering place,
the energy thins and the dust of departure settles
focus is shifted to the classes where the experience is
hushed observation, learning by doing, and loving what you learn.

another class, then the lunch break
dust and energy increasing near the kitchen
new conversations in line, and at the bazaar
learning and trading with artisans and sellers

after lunch, a return to classes
dancing a little slower, with a full belly
watching, always observing
as other students and the teacher share
their understanding of gesture and movement

finally, an afternoon break
not because classes are over,
but because you've had enough
and need time to talk, listen, study or nap

just sitting and watching, you realize
that all throughout the day
your eyes are filed with unique images
of authentic interest and sharing

the richness of this camp experience
cannot be compared with any other event
in contemporary western culture.
the historic texture of the ethnic roots
of these middle eastern cultures, with their music and dance
is like the reflection of a deep pool

the day is winding down, shadows growing longer
the temperature begins to drop
wonderful smells from the kitchen
tell us of the approaching dinner hour
the daylight is moving into evening
but the energy of camp is just warming up

after dinner, there will be a twilight concert.
some the best musicians and dancers in the world will entertain
their sublime music and exquisite, subtle performances
make camp seem even more like a mystical return
to historic times, when tribes gathered in the evening
to share the best of their traditional sounds and ceremonies

hypnotic melodies are counterpointed by
lively dancing, drumming and humorous parodies
campers lounge inside and around
the lodge-turned-studio-turned-theater
soaking up another high point of the day

as the concert nears its end, the wise campers
make their way with haste to secure a seat in the cabaret
where soon, another creative part of the evening will unfold.
four dancers and a group of professional musicians
performing long into the night

cabaret is where everyone has a chance to dance
either solo or during "open floor",
the music is so powerful that the audience
bends and sways with the dancers
and the dark hours of the night dissolve into memories

outside, around the fire ring
a second, more informal performance is taking place
the drummers provide constantly changing rhythm
for other musicians and dancers to join in.

later and later, the music goes on
one by one, the campers find their limit
bundled against the night chill, flashlights in hand
they make their way back to cabin or tent

more than just a series of experiences, camp is an inspiration
each camper has their own reason for finding their way
back to these roots of tribe and community
each camper brings their own unique story to share
freely offering their gifts and energy
for the benefit and enjoyment of all

more than just an opportunity to learn, camp is a catalyst
after two or three days, many notice that something has changed
sharing this feeling, campers struggle to understand
struggle for words to share with loved ones at home

consider the image of the snake
who sheds his skin once each hear
in order to grow

she goes away to some mysterious place
appearing tattered and worn
by the experiences of the recent year
and returns fresh and new

somehow, very much like the snake who left

and somehow



Have a comment? Send us a letter!
Check the "Letters to the Editor" for other possible viewpoints!

Ready for more?
10-13-03 The Middle Eastern Music and Dance Camp in Mendocino by Yasmela
There is nothing like immersing yourself in study and in the strange and unique culture of the Middle Eastern music and dance “scene”.

11-11-03 MORE Photos from The Middle Eastern Music and Dance Camp in Mendocino by GS staff and friends
Just the extra photos of our art and faces you know projected into a beautiful natural setting.

12-7-03 Report of the Eastern U.S. Middle Eastern and Balkan Music and Dance Camp October 2-5, 2003 report by Tahya
The camaraderie of a camp - bunking with strangers who soon become friends, "breaking bread" together, learning new dance steps, songs, and drum rhythms - has all the ingredients for a treasured experience, and this camp lived up to that potential.

12-12-00 A Metmorphosis Before My Eyes by Sharon/Mahirimah
"I know I never could have danced and studied eight hours a day for 4 days straight without the energy and passion for the dance which surrounded me each day." Oasis Dance Camp

12-20-02 “Kayla, the Beach Girl, Tree Dweller”, Kalbak Beach by Kayla Summers
...picture yourself on a guru orange air mattress, ever so gently floating atop a crystal clear turquoise ocean

6-28+ -04 Ahlan Wa Sahlan Festival 2004-Intro Travel Journal by Shira
Middle Eastern dance artists and students from throughout the world attend this event to immerse themselves in instruction by leading Egyptian instructors, shop for costumes and other supplies offered by Egyptian vendors, and enjoy the gala shows featuring top Egyptian dancers. Check back for regular updates!


ad 4 Casbah Dance

ad 4 Artemis

ad 4 oasis dance company

 Gilded Serpent
 Cover page, Contents, Calendar Comics Bazaar About Us Letters to the Editor Ad Guidelines Submission Guidelines