ad 4 oasis dance company

ad 4 Fahtiem

Artemis moved by the music

Brad and students outdoors

Campers shake it up

Ali leads ensemble

Souren explains complexs zils patterns

Tayyar is a very happy Zeybek dancer

Henna pros

Samara in joyful abandon and Karim does Dabke

New York posse
Gilded Serpent presents...
2005 Folktours
Middle Eastern
Music & Dance Camp

, May 27-30,'05
by Zarqaa, Photos by Sarah Skinner and Carl Miller

Just close your eyes and you know you must be in the Middle East. 

Nowhere else could possibly sound and feel like this. The passionate rhythms of karsilama and ciftetelli overlaid with intense melodies on the zurna, kanun, davul, ud, dumbek, ney and zils echoing through the woods and off the mountainside belie the truth.  Look around and delight in the glory of the dancers and musicians.  Dance.

Welcome to Pennsylvania, host of the MED Folk Tours 2005 Middle Eastern Music and Dance Camp, USA. 

And this was just the beginning - well, almost the beginning. Late on Friday afternoon, many months of planning and preparation by Tayyar Akdeniz and Artemis came to fruition as dancers and musicians from all over the U.S. and the Middle East converged at the campground for four intense days and nights of music and dance classes, performances, and a celebration of Middle Eastern music, dance and culture.  Oh yes, did I mention vendors? There were sequins and beads enough to satisfy the greediest magpie, CDs, and those emergency must-have harem pants or cholis.

The dance classes featured Eva Cernik, Nursel Mojka, Karim Nagi, Tayyar Akdeniz, Artemis Mourat and Edie Thurrell (teaching Egyptian Oriental, Turkish Oriental, authentic Macedonian Romany dance, American Tribal style, folk dance and Yoga . Unfortunately Shareen el Safy and Kajira Djoumahna were both seriously ill and Jajouka and Samira of New York City and Fleur of Pennsylvania stepped to the plate to sub for them.

Meanwhile, the percussionists were not being slighted. Davul, dumbek, def and finger cymbals classes, as taught by Tayyar Akdeniz, Brad Sidwell, Karim Nagi, Seido Salifoski, and Souren Baronian were plentiful and taught for all levels.

The drums echoed through the woods as the heartbeat of the weekend from sunrise to sunrise, never missed a beat.

And there were still more master musicians sharing their knowledge and skills on a variety of instruments in class -  kanun, ney, zurna, ud, baglama, finger cymbals and the ensemble class were taught by Tamer Pinarbasi, Hamit Golbasi, Haig Manoukian, Ara Dinkjian, Ali Kahya, Soner Cicek, Umut Yasmut and Maurice Chedid.  Winds and reeds layered their personae over the percussion from various points on the mountainside, blending with strings of all sorts, and voices soaring in song. The heartbeat found a body and face, and clothed itself in shimmering music.  The mountain sang.  And we were one.

Over meals, dancers and musicians made new friends, shared their insights, and compared their experiences as they refreshed and regrouped. 

After dinner each evening, the entire camp assembled to enjoy a show featuring world class performances

by the dance and music teachers as well as fellow students, with plenty of open floor dancing and two different bands of musicians - one specializing in Turkish and one in Arabic styling. Henna artists plied their trade and massage therapists worked miracles. The music and dancing continued into the morning hours, and exhausted but inspired dancers and musicians began another day.

And then came Monday afternoon and time to go home - until we do it again in September in Turkey or next year at the same time, but at our new location in the Pennsylvania. Over brunch, we all heard the same words: “See you at camp next year!”

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Ready for more?
3-6-05 The Folk Tours Dance & Music Camp Review by Piper (and baby pics too!) Photos by Carl Miller, May 2004
Once upon a time, in far away lands, I performed five shows a night, seven nights a week to great live music. I don’t miss the wily club owners, late nights, or cigarette smoke, but I do miss the music.

8-12-04 The Photos & Poetry of David Ludwig of the Middle Eastern Music and Dance Camp in Mendocino in August 2003
there is a time each year, when dancers and musicians gather, in a magic forest, to reconnect , with their creative source...

10-4-04 Folktour's 2nd Annual Music and Dance Camp Photos by Carl Miller, Report by Mark Balahadia
Pennsylvania, May 2004, Dancers and musicians all over the East Coast (and abroad) came to participate in the four-day oriental dance and music camp.

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”.

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.

5-2-06 Cairo '05, How to Eat, Drink, Sleep, and Breathe Raqs Sharqi, Part 4of 4 The End of the Trip by Andrea
We were hooted and hollered at countless times, passed an angry bunch of men arguing about Allah-knows-what, women with large bundles balanced on their heads, people in the stores and on the street trying to sell us stuff, but we were safe! 

4-29-06 Interview with Magda Ibrahim by Debbie Lammam
That is very enjoyable, to see someone who didn’t know how to do something before and now they do, and I’m the one who helped them do it, regardless of whether they are Egyptian or foreign.

ad 4 Artemis

ad 4 Suzanna Del Vecchio


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