A sample of vendors in the west
hall (Exhibiton Hall) , the first building
Venue for Rakkasah
text & photos
say as you grow older, the years pass more quickly.
It seems only a few
years since I made the brave
move to dance at Rakkasah West - has it really
been 8? I remember the excitement, nerves and
the sense of pride
that I had made such a brave commitment. That
year, also, Gilded Serpent was still in its infancy
stage and the thought of taking photos of as
many dancers as possible to post to the site
was thrilling. Combining performing with 3 days
of photo taking, and it was a weekend from which
to recover. In a good way.
Several years had passed, and my excitement from
taking photos remained strong, though
I had left performing to those better suited
I. However, in the past few years, my attendance
to the festival has been slowly dwindling. Part
monotony and unnecessary drama mixed with my
own changing interests lead me to the point
where I was somewhat begrudgingly attending.
I missed one year entirely, but usually made
an effort to see what I believed were the best
dancers; yet, I always left feeling satisfied
that the few headliners I saw were worth the commitment
and time it would take to process the photos.
When I got the call this year from my trusty
belly dance buddy about the coming event,
I was ready to go. I had previously researched
the schedule and had a good idea of when I wanted
to attend in order to see my favorite dancers,
although a few of the usual names were missing
line up. I was interested mostly in checking
out the new venue. Rakkasah West is now moved
into its new permanent home at the Solano County
Fairgrounds in Vallejo, California. The venue
for this event was split into two buildings where
each stage, the West and East were located. In
comparison to the previous venue, there was a
more even distribution of talent between both
stages, and traversing from one stage to the
next to catch the dancers you wanted to see,
for me, added to the thrill.
retail, there is a saying that having an
item sell out was
a happy problem to have. You want to keep
your customers yearning for more, making
won't hesitate to buy the next time they
see something they want.
Rakkasah, I had a moment or two of frustration
that the lag time on
the West stage made me miss a dancer or two
I wanted to see on the East stage, until
I realized that I really wanted to see those
was nice to feel the old thrill again. Rakkasah
had left me longing for more! By the time
had seen Naheeda from Germany,
I turned to my companion and said, "I
already feel like I've had my money's worth".
My only suggestion for next year would be
to announce at each stage
if the other stage is straying from the schedule.
The feeling of each of the rooms was similar.
The stages were set up and the "backstage" was
curtained off, though not too well. Depending
on where you stood or sat, you could see offstage
fully, distracting from the performances. Only
in the case of the Suhaila's new troupe, where
I could fully see Suhaila backstage beaming at
her new troupe and her daughter Isabella's center
stage performance, did I enjoy the peek. I do
feel the formal stage will be missed.
Aisles between vendors seemed a bit smaller
than at the Richmond auditorium, but sales
seemed to be more buzzing than in past years.
There were some new vendors; it didn't seem
like all the same fare. The gourmet chocolates
a big hit!
I was there on Saturday, late afternoon to
evening, after getting a late start getting
out of the
city due to the St. Patrick's day parade.
Next year, I'll be sure to check the traffic
leaving. Yes, I'll be returning next year...
A view from the stage in
Exhibition Hall (West Hall)
The security bag check between
Bags were checked everytime you
to the other hall. Swords and other weapons are okay but
no video cameras!
A musician serenades
the golfers behind the halls.
The parade between the halls
could be inconvenient for a few.
Baracades kept the visitors
from straying off course. Is that the west hall?
Walking back to west hall.
Vendors in the east hall or
More vendors in the east
stage in Exhibition Hall (West)
Red Desert Dancers
stage in East or McCormick Hall
Suhaila's troupe- "The Repertoire
That is Suhaila beaming in the background on stage in East or McCormick Hall
costume was a big hit.
It was inspired by 40's Cuban theme. That is a cigarette holder as prop!
stage in Exhibition Hall (West Hall)
Suzanna Del Vecchio on
stage in Exhibition Hall (West Hall)
at the west stage. That is Micheal
Baxter back there with the cameras.
a comment? Send us a
Check the "Letters to the Editor" for
other possible viewpoints!
of Carl Sermon's Photos : Rakkasah West '07
and layout by Michelle Joyce
Kamal in Cairo The Photos of Susie Poulelis
was fortunate to travel to Cairo on business in April '06, and
managed to take some time to see a few sights and, at least, one
dance performance: Randa Kamal at the Marriot Zamelek's Empress
Photos of Susie Poulelis, Sunday March 18, 2006,
Rakkasah Festival, Richmond, California
shines at 9!
Ethnic Dance Festival 2006 Photos
by Susie Poulelis Weekend
One – "Time" June
Palace of Fine Arts, San Fransico,
of Delight, A History of Belly Dance in the United States Reviewed
by Bobbie Giarratana & Susie Poulelis
MECDA performers & layout by Susie, Third Annual Bay Area MECDA
Buy or Not to Buy –A Guide to Mass Market Belly
DVDs by Yasmin
producers ask or hire others to write glowing reviews. You will
the same people reviewing a producer’s entire line of product. Those are
suspect. Look for the one-off comments. They will give a better overview, along
with anything less than 5 stars.
Career Path Less Traveled: Dancing in Movies and TV
in the'60s, An Interview with Tanya Lemani by John
Smart" I enjoyed working with Karen Steele and Don Adams.
They took some of my lines out and Don saw that I was upset.
Don insisted that they give some of them back to me.
at the Hoover featuring Morocco February 10, 2008,
Hoover Theatre in San Jose, CA Video and photos by
Smith on scene reporter, event produced by The San Francisco
Bay Area Chapter of MECDA
Cabaret to DJ Bellydance
in New York: An Overview, 1988 - 2007 by
Nina Costanza (Amar)
But the primary forums for dancers, the major
New York nightclubs, have closed their doors. Cabaret
is gone; it is the era of the DJ. And the new dancer
has to have another job.
from Carnival of Stars 2007- A-Z Page 3 Casual photos by
Carl Sermon, Duane Stevens, John Kalb, Murat Bayhan,
and Lynette Harris
10 & 11, 2007, produced by Alexandria and Latifa Centennial
Hall in Hayward, California