|The Gilded Serpent presents...
by Majida Anwar
Auntie Munira is coming!" my tayta (grandmother) exclaimed,
wanting everything to look good. Tayta always felt the most joy when
her family was near. A priceless smile lit her face; I wish I could see
that smile now. Her youngest daughter, my Aunt Munira, and my two cousins
were going to be in town. I felt giddy as I raced down the stairs to
wash the dishes.
was coming! I knew there was going to be dancing, and I could feel
the butterflies just flying into in my stomach!
Raqs Sharqi (Eastern
dance) has always been a part of my life. I embrace all for which it
stands. It is a celebration of the spirit and an opportunity in gatherings
of women everywhere to express themselves in a feminine way.
The first memory
I recall of dance is something that happened when I was very young. I
was in the family room, just being cute as little girls are, and my father
put a video of Soheir Zaki in the VCR.
I'll never forget
that dance; Soheir wore a red sequined bedlah with a red and white
skirt. Her hips did not seem to be a part of her body as they articulated
the soothing music.
Ever since that moment,
I knew dance would be in my heart and in my life forever.
Aunt Munira's car
pulled into the driveway; she had arrived! "Ahlan wa sahlan,
Munira!" my father exclaimed as he greeted my aunt. We greeted
each other as we headed for the den.
The sun had started
to set as we talked before dinner was ready. Tayta
cooked Magluba, a Jordanian specialty, for us in our biggest
pot, for dinner. She also made her infamous Malfouf (rolled
cabbage with rice and meat inside). Her feeling of pride for her family
flowed from her to all around the room as we looked onto the table of
mouth-watering Arabic food. We ate, and ate, and ate (and talked)
but I had
dancing on my mind! I couldn't wait for dinner to end so that we could
After we had cleaned
up the kitchen, a nightly chore for my sister and me, we hurried down
the stairs to the den.
I heard the
beat and the flow of Arabic music and
I melted; it was almost time to dance!
My family had already
settled in. My tayta, mother, and Aunt Munira were seated on the couch;
my cousins occupied
on the loveseat, and my father was ensconced in the big chair. My sister
and I flew downstairs, ready to dance. I was a little more motivated
to dance than my sister. (She was much younger than I.)
"Magda, I know
you're ready to dance; Uppa!" cried my aunt. My aunt, my
sister, Cousin Jennifer (who was very talented) and I pulled sashes on
and tied them around
our hips. My father moved the coffee table out of our way, and he put danceable
music on the turntable to play. "Magda, put your
left hand on your head, your right hand out, and then move your hips. Aiwa
(Yes, correct), Magda, Aiwa!"
instructed my aunt. We all moved our hips to the drum
beats, smiling the whole time.
Me (in red), my sister (in blue), and my aunts
Out of the corner
of my eye I saw my grandmother, clapping her hands in time to the music.
Tayta was in her element!
The music had begun
to change, and we knew that a drum solo was coming. We parted the way
for Jennifer to dance the drum solo. I admired Jennifer so much!
She had an aura
of grace and expertise in her movements. We all knelt and clapped as
she danced her solo. Her movements were crisp and clean.
As the drum got
faster, Jennifer began to shimmy. As watched her, I knew that I would
be dancing with my own family someday, and also just for myself, for
the rest of my life!
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4-5-04 Rakkasah West Festival
Photo Teaser March 2004, Richmond, California
by GS Volunteers including: Biram, Clare, Cynthia, Krista, Lynette, Michelle,
Sandra, Valentino, Yasmine and probably more! Let us know if you
2 of Photos
by Ram, the Featured Stars, Aida Nour & Magdy El-Leisy,
Texas, January 9-11, 2004, sponsored
by Little Egypt
Memoir, Part 8 Early Street Performing by Zaharr A. Hayatti
actually threw money in our hat!
Rather Stay Home with my Kids" by Amina Goodyear (chapter
her how to take it off, and she told me to figure it out when I was on stage.
Then I heard - "Our "guest" dancer, Amina, all the way from
List of Recommended CDs, 2004 update
and compare this list to your present collection or take it to the next
festival to help you find these treasures!