Gilded Serpent presents...
March 26, 2005
San Francisco, California
In the solo
improvisational forms of Middle Eastern Dance, the chemistry between
the drummer and the dancer is a vital ingredient. However, in
performance settings, the band and the dancer often don't hit
it off for one reason or another. Every experienced dancer is
full of stories of musicians who deliberately set out to make
her look bad, or who didn't structure their music in order to
make it accessible for dance improvisation. Musicians, on the
other hand, often resent being told what to play when, and they
don't want their hard-earned skills to be marginalized as a showcase
for someone else's talent.
covers the workshop taught by Issam Houshan on
March 26, 2005 at the San Francisco Dance Center. Issam
and Jillina have a long-standing professional
partnership, so he is as qualified as any drummer could possibly
be to address a dancer's perspective.
an exceptionally good teaching style that quickly conveyed the
fundamentals and offered a challenge to all levels of skill. The
material and presentation were clear, accessible, methodical and
was both personable and energetic, and he managed to give equal
amounts of personal attention and encouragement to everyone in
the class as we went along.
yet authoritative manner inspired immediate confidence in all
of us. He didn't spend more time talking than was necessary, instead
using the time for repetition so that we'd be more likely to retain
the material after we left.
began with the basics: proper drum positioning, and the major
striking surfaces and techniques. A hallmark of good drumming
is clear differentiation of the different tones and a crisp, energizing
sound. He got good tone out of everyone almost immediately, and
we stayed in synch throughout the entire class (I was listening!).
For the majority of the class, he had us all keep the rhythm while
he talked and demonstrated the finer points and the "next
steps" that we beginners could look forward to. We covered
a few basic rhythms such as Sa'idi, Maqsoum, Malfouf, Ayyoub,
and Baladi and helped us to understand the key differentiators
and anchor points among them. Supplemental handouts in Western
musical notation diagrammed these and other common rhythms.
I have never
had a drum class before, although I have had other types of rhythm
training as well as spending many hours with finger cymbals both
in and out of dance class.
this class I had confidence in my ability to at least duplicate
what we had done in class.
demonstrated through example the most efficient form and movement,
which is no less important in music than it is in dance. He gave
us a few pointers on reducing repetitive stress injuries which
were very helpful.
He also had
a teaching CD for sale, which I would have purchased if I'd known
I would be writing this review. However, I can unconditionally
recommend his class for all ages and skill levels.
can't think of a single thing to improve it other than to have
him back again; as with all good workshops, it was over all too
which was sponsored by
Amina Goodyear through her Giza Club organization, was well-organized
and had a very pleasant setting in a large and airy room at the
San Francisco Dance Center. In summary, if you can catch him at
a workshop near you, run, don't walk, to sign up!
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Check the "Letters to the Editor"
for other possible viewpoints!
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.
Sausan’s First 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.
San Francisco Screening
of American Bellydancer by Miles Copeland
to San Francisco to attend the screening of American Bellydancer
to a largely belly dance community crowd was like jumping into
a hornet’s nest of opposing views!