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Gilded Serpent presents...
Solstice Festival 2008
produced by Maria Cresswell of Tribal Girona
Ribes de Freser, Catalunia, Spain
June 20-22, 2008
photos by Eulalia Grau and Janixia
text by Ling Shien Bell

For the third year in a row, Maria Cresswell produced a dance and music festival honoring the Summer Soltice. This year's three day event took place high up in the Catalunian Pyrenees, in a rustic hostel fed by fresh springs and bordered by a rushing river. Attendants and teachers came from various parts of Europe and the languages heard were Catalan, Spanish, Italian, French, and English. Local red wine was poured from the beak of the porron carafe, and the fine hispanic tradition of two to five siesta was respected.

Teachers included were Mark Bell, Ling Shien Bell from the USA, Shekina Sahar from USA and Naples Italy, Marika Ferhat from Milan in Italy, Les Soeurs Tribales also from Milan, Susan Frankovitch from the USA and Croatia, Raksan from Berlin, Germany, and Imanuelle from Italy.

Solstice Fire!

Shekina teaching folkloric sword infront of the yurt. She is a former resident of Grass Valley, California where she directed the Shekina Sahar Dance Troupe.
L-R: 1?, 2- Shekina, 3-?, 4-?, 5-?, 6- Maria Cresswell

More from Shekina' sword class

Ling teaches finger cymbals, student from Bilbao in the Basque country absorbs information. In 1991,
Ling and Mark Bell formed the group Helm, dedicated to teaching and perfomring the musical traditons of the Middle East.

Mark Bell teaches students- 1st ?, Madi, Xevi. Xevi's dog sleeps through it all.

Les Soeurs Tribale's Fan class. From Milan, this troupe introduced Tribal style to Italy in 2003.

Susan's class
Susan is orginally from New York and now lives
in Croatia where she teaches and performs her unique
style of Tribal Fusion with a Balkan flair

Xevi (pronounced-"shevy") and Emanuele discuss drum technique

Malika Ferhat and wild babe (not hers probably Shekina's).
Malika resides in Milan where she is closely related to Les Soeurs Tribales in performing and teaching. Their last show, "Devota," toured Italy and was very well received.

The chapel hosted the classes and the performance starting the evening party

Raksan from Berlin
, a contemporary Oriental dance specialist, performs in the evening show.

Susan Frankovitch

Students performing what they learned in the Hindu Fusion class taught by Simona Vosatkova

Liz, an anthropology student from Catalunia, is performing her own choreography. She is well versed in the folk legends of the Dones D'aigua, water maidens, dwelling in the deep rocky pools of Catalunia

The "Shimmy-forever" class that Malika taught.

Ines is part of the South American immigrant population of Catalunia.
She inhabits a restored farmhouse outside of Girona where she hosted addtional rhythm workshops with Mark and Ling.

Maria introduced the next number in her own unpredictable way.

Les Soeurs Tribales

Class performance of Oriental fan dance taught by Les Soeurs Tribales

Teachers and Students pose for a picture. L-R:
1- Sarah, 2-Janixia, 3-?, 4-Raksan, 5-Maria, 6-?, 7-?, 8- lady w tattoo?, 9-?, 10-?, 11-?, 12-?, 13-?, 14-?, 15-?,
front row- 1-Susan, 2-Maria's child, Danu, 3-?, 4-?, 5-Ines

The warm smile of Janixia, a scientist from Venezuela, who joined the festival after attending a prothesis congress in Italy. She greets us to the second part of the evening in the meadow.
See the Community Kaliedoscope for photo of Janixia teaching Ling a Venezulian dance the following week.

Mark's drum class accompanies the Berber dance of Malika

The dance of Malika Ferhat. The drum student experiences the thrill of playing for an accomplished dancer.

Mark and Ling prepare to play "Masmoudi Forever" for Raksan

Raksan showing her perfect muscle control.

, a tribal dance troupe from Mallorca, performing by the bon fire. Their name is in refernece to the small shell found all around the Mediterranean.

Vanessa of Karinae can be seen in the trio performing the Andalucian scarf dance taught by Ling that afternoon.

Witches consult over the fire.

The pace quickens and the inciraf rhythm is being replaced by khlas

Relaxing by the jaima (hang out area)
Madi, Maria, ?, Xavi, Emanuele, ?, ?, ?. ?

Eulalia Grau, the photographer of most of these pictures .

Check here for next year's info

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Check the "Letters to the Editor" for other possible viewpoints!

Ready for more?
10-12-06The Soltice Festival, Belly Dance in Spain- Part 2, Photos by Lynette
held June 23-26, 2006. Part Two- The Evening Show, Event organized by Maria Cresswell of Tribal Girona at Sanctuari Els Arcs, Girona, Spain. A medieval hostelry with a chapel, set in the beautiful volcanic natural park of La Garrotxa near the picturesque village of Santa Pau.

10-11-06 The Soltice Festival, Belly Dance in Spain- Part 1, Photos by Lynette
held June 23-26, 2006. Part One- Workshops and Setting, Event organized by Maria Cresswell of Tribal Girona at Sanctuari Els Arcs, Girona, Spain. A medieval hostelry with a chapel, set in the beautiful volcanic natural park of La Garrotxa near the picturesque village of Santa Pau.

11-23-07 Danza Del Vientre by Devorah Korek Book Review by Gregory Burke Translation by Amina Goodyear
Book is in Spanish. Once in a while an object of desire comes along, which is deemed important by its obscurity. Such could be the case with this hardcover, difficult to acquire tabletop adornment from Devorah Korek, an American-born Belly Dance teacher living and thriving in Spain.

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After seeing Morgana’s Serpent Dance, where she embodies the personality of the serpent, I was hooked. Any snake lovers or snake dancers will have a special appreciation for this piece.

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7-31-00 The Dancers of the Infidel Emperor by Kirk Templeton
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I was either crying or yelling at Hakim for most of the shoot and went home each day with a headache from it.

10-8-08 Dance - Deeper than the Moves by Keti Sharif
A dancer who feels “safe”in the rhythm, footwork, technical movement feels grounded and secure as she dances. A grounded dancer will be less "in her head”and allow the authenticity of feeling to come through her body as a flowing, emotive movement that expresses the music and how she “feels”the music.

10-6-08 "Just feel the music when you're on stage!”Interview with Ozgen, Male Turkish Belly Dancer, by Nini Baseema
Well, I think my heart still beats for big shows and productions, as much as I know how stressful and difficult that show-life can be. I seem to not be able to live without it.




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