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Gilded Serpent presents...
The Luna Gitana Festival
produced by Vashti
November 13, 2004

Santa Cruz, California
photos by Monica Berini

Vashti of Santa Cruz presented Aziza of Montreal in a theater show in November of 2004 as part of the Luna Gitana Festival, an annual event featuring a day of workshops and a night of performances. The theater was packed, and vendors lined the entrance hall and side aisles. The program listed each dancer or dance group along with simple bios. Vashti said a few words of welcome before the show began, and then let the dances speak for themselves. There was no announcer or MC in between acts, something I found surprisingly refreshing and certainly different from most Middle Eastern Dance shows.

Byzantium, directed by Sese of Santa Cruz.
They performed several numbers, including a piece to pop star Christina Aguilera's "I am Beautiful".

Rebekah of Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz

Ka'ela, a student of Sese's, performed
an Indian inspired fusion belly dance.


Sagheera, directed by Vashti and Aaliyah.
They performed to a lovely version of Batwanees Beek.

first set closed out
the first half of the show. This set included a
fantastic oud and drum solo and a pharonic style veil number.

Siwa was observed doing a pot balancing dance by the Dancers of the Crescent Moon.

Jalilah of Santa Cruz.

Janelle was supposed to be a part of a duet this evening,
but wound up soloing. Her dance was dedicated to all mothers.

Helene and Sisters of the Desert Sky Company of Santa Cruz.

Shikha Mahasim is another troupe directed by Vashti. They danced an upbeat and well-choreographed number to Chicky by Oojami, and also did an interesting martial arts style sword dance.


Aziza closed out the show with a great performance that expressed a wide range of emotion.

Next year's Festival features SeSe, celebrating twenty years of her contributions to the art
with a multimedia tribute show and innovative workshops.

See you next year!

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Check the "Letters to the Editor" for other possible viewpoints!

Ready for more?
More by Monica-
11-11-04 Sunday Afternoon at the Desert Dance Festival '04, Page 2 Photos by Monica
11-9-04 Sunday Afternoon at the Desert Dance Festival '04 Report by Nisima Photos & Captions by Monica Page 1
Consequently, I was a very popular girl all day as vendors called out to me to visit and talk. After all, I was a bona-fide Actual Audience Member.

1-12-05 The Grand International Bellydance Tour or How We Fled India at Midnight, Eluding Our Captors and Evading our Go-Go-Dance Responsibilities. or What Would Fifi Do? by Michelle and Sandra
It may not have been such a problem for us had the prostitutes not been posing as bellydancers!

1-11-05 Romancing the Stonewall Comic by Alexandria
"Hi, dear, can you send me a payment?"

1-7-05 Unchained! by Monique Monet
Who the hell is Miles Copeland? And, what is he doing in our ancient and sacred world of Middle Eastern dance?

1-5-05Making Wise Choices in the Belly-Dance Wear Market-place by Susan Good
We all love the visual feast of a fine dance in a sumptuous package, the glamour of dressing high-high up. A great costume can send a good show into greatness and almost make you forgive a poor one.

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