Gilded Serpent presents...
Raks Assaya Instruction
at Najia's Studio
October 27, 2003
El-Mouzayen (Auntie Meece)
by Rawan El-Mouzayen
(Arab-American, age 3)
you pick up your cane, set the mood by using the
Arabic finger snap as I am showing you here. If your
fingers are not strong enough to get a smart cracking
or popping sound by this method, you can clap instead,
or you might want to pretend you can do the finger
snap if the music is loud enough to cover your lack of
sound. Image is everything when you are on stage!
up your cane and whirl it around overhead. Keep it flat
and even, and not too fast;
it does not have to match the
beat or your foot movements.
Place your free hand firmly
on your hip at first. Najia calls this move "The Helicopter".
Pay attention to your posture because Raks Assaya needs a
bit of an attitude at first.
not to grasp the cane too low on its shaft; you need to have
a firm grip on it.
This also assures that you will not accidentally lose it
while you are twirling it by your side.
Also, I would like to add my opinion here that it is tacky looking to balance
it on your head
if you want to keep your dance authentically Arabic
open up your body stance and your emotions! Without emotion,
this dance is just another folkdance. Start whirling the
cane at your side as you express joy and ease in dance
with your free hand.
though it is customary to tap the cane on the floor at
strategic moments in the music for accent, it is unwise
to start it back like this and wham it on the floor. Instead,
try hovering it over the floor until the beat needs an
accent then tap the crook lightly and firmly on the floor.
I had to laugh when I saw an American dancer break off
the head of her cane when she hit the floor with too
an Eye on It
your eye on your cane and don't let it go wild. Remember,
where your eyes focus is where the eyes of your audience
will go also. Additionally, if you at least keep your
cane in your peripheral vision, you will minimize the
chance of hitting anything or anybody.
dancer with a cane that is out of control is not
a pretty sight and feels threatening to your audience.
all, keep a happy demeanor and have a good time; cane
tricks are fine but a pretty Bint 'l Baledi (country
girl) and a lot of dallah (sweet naïveté)
are better when you are dancing an authentic Raks
Assaya (Traditional Arabic Cane Dance).
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