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Mama Raqia:

Raqia with fanHakima of Morocco poses with Raqia

Approachable Dance Deity visits Mexico

Report and Photos by Martha Duran
posted February 8, 2011

Bellydance mogul and Master Choreographer Raqia Hassan came to Mexico sponsored by Niral Basave director of IMCADH this past October 23rd and 24th, 2010.  Many Mexican Bellydancers have had the opportunity to study with Madame Raqia when they attended the Ahlan Wa Sahlan Festival in Cairo, and many of them returned to Mexico with a great satisfaction of the wonderful and kind words of greeting Raqia Hassan gave them when they performed for her at the festival or at any other event where Raqia had either judged or taught. Now it was our turn to receive her in our own home in our own country, Mexico.

With all the publicity going around for Raqia Hassan’s gala and workshops, many teachers knew about the event and so many wanted to perform in the gala honoring  Mama Raqia. ( That’s how Raqia asked Niral to address her, since a special bond developed from the time when Raqia was Niral’s teacher.) 

Raqia mobbed

This event was the talk of the Bellydance crowd in Mexico, especially in Tijuana.  The Gala in honor of Raqia Hassan was to be recorded for a DVD that Raqia herself was going to promote around the globe. Raqia Hassan finally arrived at the San Diego, CA, airport late Friday evening–sans luggage. (Her bags were lost back in Chicago.)  Nevertheless, she maintained her poise and would not let this setback deter her from enjoying the workshop and her time in Mexico!

Raqia Hassan is a living legend and while she is amongst the greatest teachers, she is also an approachable deity.  A very nice lady, a concerned and dedicated teacher and the best dancer/choreographer that has come to Mexico to date.  All workshop participants were quite pleased with the classes and all were very happy to have had the opportunity to study with Madame Hassan.

On Saturday morning, she taught a wonderful full-on technique workshop, focusing a lot in setting up the correct technique  for Oriental dance like drilling the fundamentals, achieving the correct posture , demonstrating  the correct arm and hand positions for the perfect figure eight.  Saturday evening began with Raqia judging the Miss Raqia competition and once  the competition was completed, the Raqia Hassan Gala Show began.  The performers included dancers such as Ana Goebel, Maryam, Shalaa Faraah, Niral, Hakima, Las Mujeres de la Luna, just to name a few, all bringing different styles and fusions to make for an exciting evening.


Sunday morning  found us taking the second part of the workshop series from Raqia.  It was a very intense day where another new choreography was taught and drilled quite a bit.  The repetition helped us to both learn the steps and, by the end of the day,  to display our knowledge by happily dancing alongside Raqia.

Class photos
class photo-back to front, left to right:
Patty Ramirez, Maricela Gonzalez, Natali Gallardo (Yaiza), Paola Najera Conde, Nalleli Gallardo, Nabeelah, Selene, Maryam, Alma Portillo, Raquia Hassan, Kate, Laura Fernandes, Blanca (from  Veracruz), Adara (from Xalapa Veracruz),  Bryanna Sophia, Angela, Flor (from La Paz), Humberto Lozano from Mexicali, Shaahla Farah, de Monterrey, Raqia, Hakima from Morocco (special guest teacher), Gaby from San Diego, Jayanti, Mayra Orozco , Karely, Lara Berenice, Isabel, Julieta Adriana, Nadia Gallardo
Humbertho Lozano , Mayra Orozco and Karely Lara  all Danceme Academy students (my students) pose with Raqia Hassan after 2nd day of workshops

Raqia and Isabel

This is Raqia Hassan with Bellydancer Isabel Contreras winner of the Miss Raqia 2010 competition
after Sundays hot and heavy workshop with Raqia.

Raqia Hassan gave away 3 prizes in the event. One in recognition to Niral for her outstanding effort on organizing the event and welcoming her to Mexico. Raqia  took about 20 minutes on the stage saying that she was so sad and angry that other teachers didn’t come to greet her at the event.

We had lots of fun on this hectic weekend, from dancing with Raqia to Moroccan Dance with Hakima, the competition, the Gala show, the second day of workshops, and, of course, the trip back home.  While the weekend was intense, all participants are looking forward to 2011 when Madame Raqia Hassan will visit us once again.

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