& Paul in Tortella
Gilded Serpent presents...
takes Rhythm Diatribes
Workshops to Europe
New Musical Inroads in
by Mark and Ling
The two workshops we did in Barcelona
were hosted by Devorah. Devorah originally began
her studies with Cassandra in
her native state, before moving to Barcelona
15 years ago. She first taught Oriental Dance at the Escola
de Musica, a highly reputable school for the arts
partially funded by the city. The school has just re-opened after
extensive remodeling and we were able to join the festivities
as the School’s swing band played on the small street
just in front.
her own school, Escuela Sarabi di Danza Oriental,
and has just finished writing a book on dance, La Danza Oriental,
which will be available shortly on her
website. She currently has approximately 400 students studying
at her school.
The two workshops
were conducted in a large room which had a moveable partition,
so that, for the first half of each class, Ling Shien was able
to teach cymbals in one part to over 20 dancers while Mark was
teaching percussion to 12 or so drummers.
The dancers came from all over the area and from different teachers. The
drummers mostly had little if any experience playing Middle
for the second half bringing everyone together to “perform”.
We covered a lot of rhythms including a Macedonian 11/8, a Turkish
Rom 9/8, and the standard Arabic rhythms of masmoudi, saidi, et
al. Everyone caught on really well and promised to practice. We
found the level of the dancing much higher than the knowledge
of the music. Several dancers told Ling Shien that the workshop
really helped fill that gap and that they’d come back the next
time and bring their friends.
is situated in the foothills of the Pyrenees and has
a population of approximately 300,000. Maria Cresswell
hosted the workshop for us and organized the benefit the same
evening as well. Maria is originally from England
but moved on to Ireland where
she studied Tribal Dance with Dee Cotter of Akasha.
Last fall, Maria, her husband, Paul, and two
young daughters moved to Spain
and now live near the village of
Tortella, where one
of the principle occupations is manufacturing boxwood kitchen
Shien, Nuria, and local musician at the bar in Tortella
traveled to Girona from Barcelona to attend the workshop
since they were unable to attend the previous day. Maria
had located a studio where again we were able to split into two
groups for the first half.
One of these dancers, Rosa, showed the whole dance group some beautiful
steps for the Saidi/ Fellahi rhythms.
drummers again had limited exposure to Arabic percussion, but,
like everywhere we taught, by the end of the workshop they were
playing songs with breaks and tempo and rhythm changes.
evening a benefit show for the Tsunami victims was held at the
Teatro de Salt, Salt being the neighboring city of Girona.
This theater has beautiful acoustics and all involved: dancers,
musicians, the sound engineer for the one microphone we used,
the lighting engineer who was great, the staff who helped out
donated their time. The theater space also was donated for
this event. The event attracted 230 people and raised 2000
€. Twelve dancers performed, each with a distinctive style.
While most used recorded music, both Maria and Devorah danced
to the live music of Helm with percussionist Chandra
Naraine adding riqq and frame drum.
Ling, Chandra and Mark
Cresswell is in the forefront of the duo along
with Georgia to left. Devorah joined the
musicians playing zils.
Chandra and Mark switched roles as Chandra and Devorah performed a drum
solo which really showcased their years of performing together.
the next few days in Tortella with Maria and family. We hiked
along the river, crossed ancient bridges in the mountains and
visited small towns in the area, the most picturesque being Besalu.
We played in the local bar in Tortella early one evening, our own way
of expanding the parameters of Middle Eastern music.
Shien jammed with a local fellow who played diatonic accordion,
sang with Nuria, quite a fun loving resident, harmonizing on the
two songs from Spain Ling Shien knows: El Torito Enamorado
de la Luna and Moliendo Café.We then flew to France
to spend a few days in Paris before heading off to Luxembourg
to conduct another workshop.
Diatribes 2005 Tour Report
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Check the "Letters to the Editor"
for other possible viewpoints!
Helm takes Rhythm Diatribes Workshops
to Europe by Ling Shien Bell
musicians will be conducting a series of rhythm/music workshops
in Ireland, Spain and Luxembourg this April.
Making New Musical Inroads in
France and Ireland by Mark and Ling Shien Bell
takes Rhythm Diatribes Workshops to Europe, series continues...
Sirat Al-Ghawazi, Part
7 by Edwina Nearing
in the mid-1970's , the early sections of "Sirat Al-Ghawazi"
were first published under the title "The Mystery of the
Ghawazi." We are happy to be able to respond to the continued
demand for these articles by making them available to our readers
Interview with Mahmoud
Reda Part 2: The Troupe by Morocco
what I call my choreography is not folkloric. It’s inspired
by the folkloric.
Re-defining Belly Dance
and Middle Eastern Dance by Tasha Banat
fact is that “Middle Eastern Dance” is not an acceptable
definition for Belly Dance and let me explain why.
Sparkle Mind, Beginner
Mind by Karen Roberts
my weary bones out of bed at 5:30 yesterday morning, March 5,
2005, grabbed some coffee and headed east toward Sedalia, Missouri,
for Judy Cunningham’s Belly Dance Workshop
and Bazaar with Margo Abdo O’ Dell of Minneapolis.
Egyptian Dance Seminar by Melinda
would you think if you heard somebody say, “There are no
isolations in Egyptian Belly dance"?
Rakkasah West Festival
2005 Page 3-Sat & Sun, photos by GS Volunteers including:
Jasmine, Lynette, Michelle, Monica, Sandra, Susie, Zaheea, and
probably more! Festival
date- March 2005, Richmond, California, One page left!
Tips on Dancing to Live
Music (a Musician’s Perspective) by Frank Lazzaro
dancers find performing to live music intimidating, but with a
little preparation, good communication, and a positive attitude,
you can make it the most exciting part of your dance performance.