Ragia and Samira
My group and I had the good fortune to take a class
with Raqia Hassan during my last tour to Egypt
in March 2006. Like most things in Egypt, we weren’t sure it was
going to happen. I called Raqia before leaving the United States
and she said she would be out of town during most of our stay, but
would return two days before we left and that we could see her then.
On the appointed day, I called and was told that Raqia would not
be returning after all. I called the next day to see if we could
study with Raqia’s assistant instead and Raqia answered the phone!
We had plans to do a Nile dinner cruise so the only time to squeeze
in a class would be afterward. Dressed in our evening finery, we
arrived at 10:30 p.m. on the evening before our return to the United
States ready to dance.
is a generous teacher. She kept her eye on all of us, gently correcting
as we went along. She explained in clear English why she wanted
things a particular way. In each correction, there was a subtle
emotional or energetic difference that demonstrated the difference
between the “wrong” way and Raqia's way. Each time the subtle
emotional or energetic difference was done either in the “wrong”
way or her way.
explanation brought the class closer to understanding the essence
of Egyptian style.
One of the
most valuable things I took away from Raqia’s class was the practice
of “becoming” during rehearsal. Whenever the music started, Raqia
went from being the teacher to being the teacher/performer. Any
time she moved, she moved as if her whole being were on stage.
Her performing persona was always visible yet she never took her
eyes off us. Seeing that made me want to follow with the heart,
not just the body.
the class fun, warm, and entertaining. We all enjoyed her so much
that we bought a stack of her instructional DVDs and music. We
wanted to take her back with us to the USA in whatever small way
I have been
dancing for ten years and this was my first time seeing Raqia.
I have been to Egypt many times and Raqia has been to the USA.
was always a reason to put off a class. I deeply regret the
time wasted in not seeing her before now.
of you who have not yet seen Raqia, put it on your list of things
to do NOW. Do not wait as I did. (And video study doesn’t count.
I have had her videos for years, and it is not the same thing.)
Her teaching style is easy to understand. Her material is different
from others’. It's emotional, passionate, connected to the music
and the culture which gives Americans an opportunity to feel and
express the dance through an Egyptian perspective. Raqia is
accessible. You feel as if you have made a friend when you are
with her. I highly recommend studying with Raqia.
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Check the "Letters to the Editor"
for other possible viewpoints!
Cairo '05, How to Eat,
Drink, Sleep, and Breathe Raqs Sharqi, Part 4of 4 The End
of the Trip by Andrea
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!
The Queen of Raks Sharqi
Competition Ahlan Cairo Nights Dallas, Texas August 4, 2005
by Catherine Barros
review and report from and observer's point of view!
Response by Dee Dee Asad
visited her in the Masr el Dawly Hospital, near where Raqia lives
in el Dokki, the next week. Raqia was unable to travel to Sweden
Photos from Bellydance Superstars
Audition in San Rafael, CA, Feb 2006 by GS staff
lighting conditions! Though, we did managed to get a few.
2005 Folktours Middle Eastern Music & Dance Camp Pennsylvania,
by Zarqaa, Photos by Sarah Skinner and Carl Miller.
around and delight in the glory of the dancers and musicians.