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Gilded Serpent presents...
A Weekend with
Horacio & Beata Cifuentes
Part 2- The Saturday Night Show
by Dondi Simone Dahlin

Part 1 available here

There are belly dance shows and then there are Oriental Dance Productions. Horacio and Beata successfully present an Oriental Dance Production. After Beata & Horacio met and married, they joined their private and professional lives and created Oriental-Fantasy-Shows. They were two of the first dancers to take oriental dance from the night club to a theatrical level with backdrops, specially commissioned music from Egypt, splendid luxurious costumes and tours all over the world.

In “Oriental Fantasy” they dance, speak, and act for over two hours while telling stories with their movements and emanating music with their bodies.

“Oriental Fantasy~ Enchanted Gardens” is a pastiche of colors and moods in a garden full of plants and animals that live together peacefully. It is an expressive, living painting that reflects Beata and Horacio’s love of nature and Mother Earth where creativity can roam freely. “Enchanted Gardens” is a magical show. If you haven’t seen Beata and Horacio perform, you must order one of their DVD’s and then commit to seeing them “live.” They live and dance through style, technique, passion and the most dynamic, powerful stage presence. “Oriental Fantasy” combines Classic Egyptian, Baladi, Saidi, Melaya, Persian, Drum Solo, Tray with candles, ribbon dancing, Spanish/Arabic fusion, 1940’s Ginger Rogers flavor, pop, humor, wit and wisdom. The only thing I missed in the show was a cast of supporting dancers which would have been amazing to see on the large stage.

Maybe I am now biased because of my experience touring with “Belly Dance Superstars.” Is it impossible for me to watch soloists on a large stage now?

I used to argue Miles Copeland on this issue. But, maybe he finally convinced me, because now I feel like there must be back-ground dancers to “fill up the space.” I definitely felt that way with “Oriental Fantasy.” But it would have been impractical to bring that from Germany where Horacio and Beata run the largest Middle Eastern Dance school in the country. There was only one dancer besides Horacio and Beata. She was quite diminutive but filled the theatre with her sweet smile and stage presence: Mimi Cifuentes! After years of training at the Horacio and Beata’s school in Berlin she entered the stage regally and promptly jumped through a hoop at her mother’s command. Needless to say, everyone fell in love with Mimi, the toy Pomeranian. Mimi even came to class during the weekend.

The costumes in the show were most inspiring with crystal hand embroidery by Horacio in several of the numbers. Two of the costumes he created were drenched in 5,000 and 10,000 crystals, respectively. In the piece, “Msafa Wahdah” by Mohammed Abdel Wahab, Beata wore a purple two piece with a tulle train.

As they say, it was a costume “to die for.” With her hair in a sophisticated French twist, Beata was simply dreamy and the personification of beauty.

Every single costume was exciting, gorgeous, breath taking or fun… not one of them was mediocre. After 15 numbers of amazing colors, fabrics, gems and stones, Horacio and Beata end the show in embroidered jeans and dance to a “shabby” song. It was a joyous and refreshing finale to a program full of glamour.

Every year, Oriental Fantasy becomes an entire new production. The incredible music is created, composed and recorded in Cairo as are the costumes all handmade and embroidered in oriental tradition.

It is a show that should be a “must see” in the world of Belly Dance.

The most disappointing aspect of the show was the scattered attendance at the nearby college where this show was held. Even though there were 225 audience members, the theatre was large and could have held twice that many, maybe even more. Additionally, there should be twice that many people coming to see a show of this caliber. As Kaharaman told me, “The place should have had standing room only” and she was right. According to her, she did everything she could to “get the public out.” However, there were problems with the college auditorium box office accidentally turning people away, and the news media, as well as the college newspaper, let Kaharaman down by not publicizing the show even though she hand delivered packets of information, called and did mailings. To remedy this situation with all of her future workshops, she is paying for substantial ads with photos and is making stronger press publicity attempts with additional newspapers and radio stations. Additionally she is pursuing new venues for shows.

What is one belly dancers favorite workshop or show, is another belly dancers worst. We all have our reasons for liking or disliking a workshop or show. For me, if I am still thinking about it and what I gained from it as a dancer, months or years after I took it, then that is a “golden” workshop. Making it “golden” takes the effort of a lot of people involved.

Many times the success or failure lands on the shoulders of the host.

Kaharaman was a great host for the weekend beginning with the Friday night show, which featured regional talent. This was the show that my sister and I danced at. The audience was full, and the lighting was decent. The performers were of different skill levels but there were some definite favorites in the crowd like Amani Jabril of Georgia and Alexandria of West Virginia. The space Kaharaman chose for the classes was large, air-conditioned and well lit. She hired a good variety of vendors including, The Belly Dance Shop and Babylon Breeze. As part of our package we enjoyed high quality lunches with attentive sit down service. Kaharaman was always around for us to ask questions or get any needs met.

Specialists in the field of the sub-conscious claim that when you think thoughts, you create your reality. They also believe that those who are around you will influence you, not only in your level of happiness but in your level of skill and success in life. This is definitely the case with Kaharaman and the Cifuentes’s. As they say, they are “good people.” Hopefully, all of you will have the chance to experience one of their workshops or shows… they teach a “week long” workshop in Germany. You can find out about it and their exquisite shows at their website:

Until we meet again, thank you Horacio, Beata and Kaharaman!

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Ready for more?
10-13-05 A Weekend with Horacio & Beata Cifuentes, Part 1, by Dondi Simone Dahlin
What is it about certain workshops in which the profundity and joy of the workshop stays with you long after it is over?

11-2-05 The Divine & Fusion Categories of The Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition, report by Amy Bonham
held February 19-20, 2005 in Long Beach, California, photos by GS staff

10-26-05 Interview with Mahmoud Reda Part 3: Film & Future by Morocco
If you know about photography, then it will help performing for the movies or for television because usually the choreographer stands beside the director of the movie.

10-17-05 How MECDA Began by Feiruz Aram
M.E.C.D.A., (Middle Eastern Culture and Dance Association) is a nationwide organization which began in 1977 for the purpose of organizing working dancers, sharing information between teachers...

3-16-05 About my teacher Magana Baptiste by Horacio Cifuentes
At the time when her husband placed second in the Mr. America body building contest, and mind you, these were the days when body builders took no steroids and were true examples of healthy humans, Magana placed first runner up in the Miss USA beauty competition held in Los Angeles in 1951.

7-10-01 TARZAN & JANE IN THE JUNGLE, Oriental Fantasy in Germany Review By Roswitha Mohl
The pace of the show is almost unbelievable!

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