The Gilded Serpent presents...
Ahlan Wa Sahlan Festival 2004
Travel Journal by Shira
27, 2004 marks the beginning of the 5th annual Ahlan Wa
Sahlan dance festival in Cairo, Egypt. Middle Eastern
dance artists and students from throughout the world attend
this event to immerse themselves in instruction by leading
Egyptian instructors, shop for costumes and other supplies
offered by Egyptian vendors, and enjoy the gala shows featuring
top Egyptian dancers.
the weeklong festival returns for its second year at Mena
House Oberoi, a five-star hotel on the outskirts of the
Cairo metropolitan area adjacent to the famous pyramids of
Giza. The event opens on Sunday, June 27 with class registration.
Festival participants examine the list of available classes
and select the ones they wish to take. Each day, Monday through
Saturday, June 28 through July 2, there will be three classtime
slots per day: Three-Hour Morning Oriental Class Slot 10:00
a.m. through 1:00 p.m. for Oriental, Two-Hour Afternoon Folkloric
Class Slot 1:30 p.m. through 3:30 p.m., and Three-Hour Evening
Oriental Slot 4:00 p.m. through 7:00 p.m. With only 30-minute
breaks between classes, there isn't much time left in between
for eating or resting, so most attendees enroll in only 1-2
classes per day to pace themselves. For 2004, the 3-hour Oriental
classes cost $60 each, while the 2-hour folkloric classes cost
list of 2004 classes was distributed to help attendees plan
ahead what they might want to take. It indicates the following
choices will be offered:
Each 3 Hours In Length:
Plus a Few Additional Oriental,
Each 2 Hours In Length:
Mona el Said
Matrouh Troupe (Hagallah)
Nermine Azzazi (Oriental)
Farouk Mustafa (Saidi)
Nani Sabri (Oriental)
Gabi (Leganese Debke)
Khaled Mahmoud (Baladi)
Shalaby (Raqs al Assaya)
Mervat Mongui (Melaya Leff)
Nawal Ben Abdullah (Moroccan)
Wafaa Salem (Khaleegy)
Allaa Yousef (Sword)
the advance list was very different from the actual list that
was made available the first day at the registration desk,
so it's entirely possible it could change for 2004. This advance
list can provide some assistance in researching the instructors
and determining whose styles might be of interest, but the
actual list made available at registration may be quite different.
class lineup does contain some significant differences from
2003. Certain instructors who taught in 2003 such as Khairiyya
Maazin (of the Ghawazee Banat Maazin), Aida
and Magdy el Leithy do not appear on the
2004 advance roster.
of June 27, a gala show with buffet dinner will begin the weeklong
festivities in earnest. The advance information has not announced
who the performers will be. In 2003, they included Khairiyya
Maazin and a partner performing Ghawazee, a tannoura
(whirling dervish) exhibition, a dancing horse (outdoors, before
the show moved inside), and exciting Oriental performances
by Dandash, Randa Kamel,
and Soraya. There was also a fashion show
featuring one of the vendors.
June 28 through
July 2, the days are filled with classes. Those who don't wish
to attend classes can spend their time resting up from jet
lag, exploring the wares offered in the vendor area, swimmning
and sunbathing at the pool on the hotel grounds, wandering
over to the pyramids which are within walking distance, or
eating in the hotel restaurant. Every evening, beginning about
9:00, there is a "summer party" featuring performances by the
worldwide festival attendees. Anybody who attends the festival
is welcome to sign up for a 5-minute performing spot on one
of these evenings. Performers may choose between using the
live band or bringing their own tape/CD of pre-recorded music.
July 3 marks
the end of the festival, with a closing gala show. The 2004
performers for this show have not yet been announced.
Trip Prep & Flight to Cairo
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Day 4: More Egyptian
more from Shira-Last years report-
6-16-03 Breaking News from the
Ahlan wa Sahlan 2003 in Cairo reported by Shira
flavor of the instruction and dancing are very different from that
offered by the U.S. festivals, and it offers an exciting opportunity
for immersion in the Egyptian dance arts.
from the Ahlan Wa Sahlan Festival, The Opening Night Gala by
Tahseen Alkoudsi and Shira
at the Mena House Oberoi Hotel on June 10-17, Cairo, Egypt.
Hassan's Dance Festival (Ahlan Wa Sahlan 2000) By Latifa
Then my dance
idol, Suhair Zaki, walked in, creating eddies of excitement that
ran through the crowd.
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