Gilded Serpent presents...

Ahlan Wa Sahlan Festival 2009

Raqia and her granddaughter

Page 2:Teachers from Around the World

Photos by Denise Marino
text by Leyla Lanty
posted November 4, 2009

It’s June 27, 2009, in Cairo, Egypt, which can mean only one thing – the Opening Gala of Raqia Hassan‘s Ahlan Wa Sahlan Festival! At the Mena House hotel the excitement in the air is palpable, not only because of the highly anticipated evening show where dancers from all over the world gather to see the top dancers, musicians, and singers in Egypt, but the next week of classes with Egyptian stars and teachers from all over the world, nightly parties, and the Closing Gala, a spectacular evening of top dancers, AWS competition winners, musicians, and singers.

Raqia hires a large staff of teachers from all over the world.  They range in fame from the top stars of Cairo to those who may only be known to Raqia and in their own home localities as top notch teachers and performers. 

On Teachers’ Night, held on the night after the Opening Gala, AWS teachers who wish to perform have the opportunity to show their special talents to festival attendees The next day many people go to the registration desk and register for additional classes with teachers they saw in the show.

On days one through six, classes are held from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Mena House hotel.  Raqia hires a number of professional drummers on a stand-by basis so that any teacher who needs a live drummer only has to ask and a drummer appears in the class ready to accompany the instruction and practice.  Classes taught by superstar performers and teachers such as Dina, Randa Kamel, Dandash, Raqia herself, Dr. Mo Geddawy and more are held in the large ballrooms, while the smaller classes, from about 10 to 60 people, are held in the conference rooms, dining rooms and other spaces.  Over the four years I’ve taught cymbals at AWS, my class has been in the nightclub, two conference rooms, and the basement disco. Heard in the lobby after the Teachers’ Night show "So many teachers, so hard to choose!"

 

Teachers at AWS Fest 2009

Abir & Magdy of Egypt
Abir & Magdy of Egypt

Alba Hayal of Barcelona, Spain
Alba Hayal of Barcelona, Spain

Amara Saadeh of Brazil
Amara Saadeh of Brazil
Amir Thaleb of Argentina
Amir Thaleb of Argentina

Angelika Nemeth of California
Angelika Nemeth of California

Antonia Canal of Columbia
Antonia Canal of Colombia

Aziza of Italy
Aziza Abdul Ridha of Italy
Bella of Taiwan
Bella of Taiwan

Dana Amar of Chile
Dana Amar of Chile

Dina of Egypt
Dina of Egypt – performed on teachers’ night rather than the opening gala because she had been in China and just arrived back in Cairo hours after the opening gala had finished.  She did her full show, about an hour, with all the costume and mood changes, her singer, full band.  I heard many say after her show “NOW, I can die happy, after seeing a show like this!” 

Dina of Egypt
Dina

Dina of Egypt
Dina of Egypt

Fahtiem of California
Fahtiem of California

Farida Seidi of Algeria
Farida Seidi of Algeria

Fatima Serin of Turkey
Fatima Serin of Turkey

Giselle Castro of?
Giselle Castro of Brazil

Guo Wei of Beijing
Guo Wei of Beijing

Julia of Russia
Julia of Russia

Leyla Jouvana of Germany
Leyla Jouvana of Germany

Leyla Lanty of California
Leyla Lanty of California
Rome
Maryem
from Rome, Italy
Meera of California
Meera of California

Mohammed el Sayed
Mohammed el Sayed of Egypt

Monika of Italy
Monika of Italy

Munique Neith of Spain
Munique Neith of Spain
Nabila of Germany
Nabila of Germany

Nadja of Sweden
Nadja of Sweden
Nancy Kua of Taiwan
Nancy Kua of Taiwan

Nazharit of Venezuala
Nazharit of Venezuala

Princess Farhana of California
Princess Farhana of California

Raja of Algeria
Raja of Algeria

Rosadela of Spain
Rosadela of Spain

Samarah Salah of Morocco
Samarah Salah of Morocco

Samara Haya of Spain
Samara Haya of Spain
Seiya of Germany
Seiya of Germany

Shabanna of Venezuela
Shabanna of Venezuela

Shahinaz of Italy
Shahinaz of Italy dances with the singer (name
unknown
)

Simone of Italy
Simona Minisini of Italy

Sujee Choi of Korea
Sujee Choi of Korea

Yael of Paris, France
Yael of Paris, France

Yasmina of Cairo & the UK
Yasmina of Cairo & the UK

 

Denise Marino, world traveling professional photographer, who has been a featured photographer at the festival for several years, contributed these magnificent photos from AWS 2009 to the Gilded Serpent.

 

Have a comment? Use or comment section at the bottom of this page orSend us a letter!
Check the "Letters to the Editor" for other possible viewpoints!

Ready for more?

  • Traveling with the Touareg
    This was my 5th trip to Algeria since 2000 and I have been amazed at the rapid economic development. The government is working very hard to make Algeria a very popular tourist destination once again.
  • Dancing again in Afghanistan
    As I had suspected, Afghan women belly dance.
  • Belly Dance in Brazi
    …they are trying to organize a Code of Ethics
  • Troupe Tabu goes to China!
    .It should be noted that somewhere between passing the audition and performing, it was announced that three out of four dancers in the group not including myself) were pregnant.
  • The International Belly Dance Congress
    September 28-30, 2007, in Bogner Regis, England Gala photos provided by Josephine Wise, others by author.
    Not being able to prepare my planned choreography properly for the Oum Kalthoum song, which is not easy to interpret to begin with, I quickly turned to emotions in order to fill up the space.
  • Belly Dancing in Estonia
    As in the rest of the world, the Egyptian style of belly dance is the most popular one in Estonia. Most of the instructors and dancers are specialized in that style. The American Tribal Style Belly Dance is also becoming more known each day. The general impression of belly dance in Estonia is glamorous, feminine, luxurious, modern and elegant. It’s a time where Estonian dancers can truly say that they can be proud to be a Middle Eastern dance artist in Estonia.
  • Bellydance in Iceland
    Recently, I was able to witness first hand how truly global the world of bellydance has become. Dances of the Middle East and North Africa are no longer a mystery and unknown “exotic”style of dance.
  • The Grand International Bellydance Tour or How We Fled India at Midnight, Eluding Our Captors and Evading our Go-Go-Dance Responsibilities. or What Would Fifi Do?
    It may not have been such a problem for us had the prostitutes not been posing as bellydancers!
  • Indonesia’s Introduction to Belly Dance: The Mainstream Media’s Influence
    Extensive mainstream media attention has been a mixed bag of blessings and, well, “somewhat less than blessings,” as most Indonesians would diplomatically say.
  • Undercover Belly Dancer in Iraq
    My name is Meena. Until a month ago, I was a professional belly dancer in Phoenix, Arizona.
  • Belly Dance in Israel
    Belly dancers are the hottest trend at the moment, unlike the totally frozen attitudes towards the Arab culture in Israel.
  • Belly Dance in Japan Reaches New Heights of Popularity
    Japanese audiences are extremely receptive, supportive and interested in this form of entertainment.” Conservative elder Japanese may still disapprove of the sensual aspect of belly dance, but among the younger generation it is seen as cool and trendy.
  • Roots Raqs – An International Belly Dancer Goes Home to Macedonia
    The musical folklore of this region deserves full debut in the World Music scene, and those of us in the MED community worldwide are ripe for the breath of fresh air that Chochek and Gypsy Brass Music can bring us. It is an original, organic and time-honored fusion, brought about by history, geography, and most importantly, tolerance and mutual cultural celebration.
  • Its All in the Flavor! Bellydance in Mexico
    Those were tough times for us teachers. Students were very shy in the classroom but eager to learn; some of them even thought that Shakira had created Bellydance! They didn’t have much information about Oriental Dance, its origins, or different styles. Some aspiring dancers even sat through several classes just to check out what Bellydance was or if we teachers danced it as well as Shakira.
  • The Birth of a Dance Scene, The History of Oriental Dance in Switzerland
    Please allow me to introduce some of these groundbreakers so that you will appreciate what it was like to be an Oriental dancer in Switzerland in the early 1980s.
  • The Bellydance Scene in Taiwan Toss Hair Dance
    The women were much more skillful than I expected: just 3 years ago, nobody in Taiwan really knew anything about Bellydance.
  • Tajikistan: The Land of Dance Part One
    Video features: #1-Introduction by author, #2- A Map Tour on an ancient and modern map.
    " Communication with the outside world is difficult and expensive, and nearly impossible during the winter."
  • DANCING IN YEMEN
    I had been to many Middle Eastern weddings before, but none were as visually impressive as the ones I attended in Sanaa, Yemen.
  • When the Hip Hits the Fan
    Though fan dancing is not considered traditional in raqs sharqi, due to the increasing popularity of fusion, many Oriental dancers are exploring fusing the many styles of fan dancing and Belly dance with stunning results. When used onstage, fans are FAN-ciful, conveying various emotions to an audience, as well as being a spectacular visual treat. They can be dramatic and stately, or coy and flirtatious and are always a crowd pleaser!
  • Belly Dance, Burlesque and Beyond: Confessions of a Post Modern Showgirl
    “BUT WAIT!!!” I can hear you screaming, “ BURLESQUE IS STRIPPING!”
  • At Home with Fifi Abdou
    In America, one of the things that especially pleased me was the inclusiveness of the dance scene there – in my classes I saw women of many different ages – and body types – enjoying dancing, and that made me happy
  • Randa Kamal
    "Then the film roles that I’ve been offered have unfortunately been frivolous, or portrayed the dancer in the stereotypical way they always do. The cinema has done enough to spoil the reputation of dancers, without me adding to it by taking such a role."

   |       |    4 Comments

  1. No Gravatar
    Barbara Grant

    Nov 7, 2009 - 03:11:06

    Incredible, beautiful photos from Denise Marino! Thanks!

    Lynette, GS and the community are so lucky that incredibly great photographers post to this site. The quality just keeps getting better.

  2. No Gravatar
    Lynette Harris

    Nov 8, 2009 - 07:11:22

    Indeed we are! Please support your community photographers with your business, referrals,  and kind words. Thanks to all!

Click and type in the comment box to add to this discussion. If you want to see an avatar for yourself, set up an avatar at http://www.Gravatar.com

 

Gilded Serpent