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Saturday Photos

Rakkasah East Festival 2010

Photos by Carl Sermon
Commentary by MaShuqa
posted October 14, 2011

Rakkasah East Festival 2010, the 11th year of this annual festival in Somerset, New Jersey celebrates a blossoming friendship community of East and West coast dancers and musicians.  The festival is the East coast version of the 30 year old Rakkasah West Festival tradition in California.  This art form of dance is in constantly flux and now includes many different influences in costuming and performance.

It was fascinating to observe the new trends in performance, costumes, and dance styling at this year’s festival: Rainbow colors, Fan veils, Feather fans, Silk veils, Isis Wings, and contemporary costuming designs.  A predominant costuming style for dance troupes was similar costume designs with each dancer wearing different colors to personalize their costuming providing a rainbow effect when troupes performed. Flowers and feathers adorned costumes and headpieces.  Silk veils dyed to match costumes, or in brilliant contrasting colors were popular and created height and flow in performance. Some troupes performed excellent choreography wearing dancewear usually worn in class – the basic wrap top, dance pants and hip wrap.

Highlight of the festival was a musical duet by Eddie “The Sheik” Kochak, of the 70’s 33 1/3 rpm records fame, and Scott Wilson of New York.  You can see from Eddie’s gestures as he sings that dancers have been privileged to perform with a musician who animates his music and adds to the show

Festivals are always fun because of the community support and sharing. Likely attending a Middle Eastern dance festival first, two who met at Rakkasah East festival were married onstage.  She, a dancer in a golden beaded dress, and he, a musician wearing his family’s traditional Scottish tartan plaid, were both festival volunteers who met after the passing of their spouses.  Their wedding reception started on stage as the audience began celebrating the marriage by throwing money on the stage as they danced their first dance.

 

 

Saturday

Amity

Amity Alize of New Hampshire

 

Anka Kusu of New Jersey

Anka Kusu of New Jersey

Anka Kusu troupe of New Jersey wore beautiful costumes combining harem pants and skirts with Turkish Ottoman style long vests and fringed belts with yarn decoration.

 

Belly Mystics of New York

Belly Mystics of New York

 

Bliss of New Jersey

 “Bliss” of New Jersey danced with the passion you can see in her image.

 

Calixta of New York

Calixta of New York

 

Desert Moon Dancers of Conneticut

Desert Moon Dancers of Connecticut

 

Dorothea of Massichusetts

Dorothea of Massichusetts

 Dorothea of Massachusetts danced in a costume that incorporated cabaret glitz of long sleeves, beaded chiffon belt, and skirt paired with a folkloric silk blouson top and a large gold necklace of striking design.

 

Eddie and Scott Sing

Scott Wilson and Eddie Kochak

Highlight of the festival was a musical duet by Eddie “The Sheik” Kochak, of the 70’s 33 1/3 rpm records fame, and Scott Wilson of New York.  You can see from Eddie’s gestures as he sings that dancers have been privileged to perform with a musician who animates his music and adds to the show

 

Serpent Secrets of New York

Serpent Secrets of New York

The Serpent’s Secret troupe from New York led by Rakkasah teacher Elisheva mixes urban with traditional Orientale dance.  

 

Fantasha Dancers of New Jersey

Fantasha Dancers of New Jersey

 

Isis of Texas

Isis of Texas

 Another famous crowd pleaser was a special performance by Isis of Texas who wowed us with her fiery personae and her 4-sword performance.

 

Jamileh Belly Dance of New York

Jamileh Belly Dance of New York

 

Kelebek of New Jersey

Kelebek of New Jersey

Kelebek of New Jersey was and danced as a beautiful tribal butterfly complete with butterfly wings costume.

Latifa's Banat Al Beledi of Maryland

Latifa’s Banat Al Beledi of Maryland

Latifa’s Banat Al Beledi of Maryland performed several traditional Egyptian pieces wearing beautiful beaded galabeyah’s, and also flowing ruffled dresses for a spectacular water jug dance.

 

Lilu of New Jersey

Lilu of New Jersey

 

Manhattan Trible of New York

Manhattan Tribal of New York

 

Maia Alexandra of Oregon

Maia Alexandra of Oregon

 

Mariana of Pennsylvania

Mariana of Pennsylvania

 

MaShuqa of California

MaShuqa Murjan of California

 

Mia Naja Oriental Dance Ensemble and Raqs Divas of Maryland

Mia Naja Oriental Dance Ensemble and Raqs Divas of Maryland

 

Naheda and Guenter of Germany

Naheda and Guenter of Germany

A touching performance by Rakkasah teacher Naheda and her husband Guenter of Germany told the story of a doll-maker whose doll comes to life and, through his love of her dancing, she becomes human – and ends in the great love of the century as she dances to the music from the movie “Titanic”.

Naheda and Guenter of Germany

 

Neon of New York

Neon of New York

Neon of New York

 

 

Noel

Noel

 

SaharaDance of Washington DC

Sahara Dance of Washington DC

 

Sera Solstive of New York

Sera Solstive of New York

Sera Solstive of New York

Sera Solstice (dancing at 8 months pregnant) filled the stage with a huge tribal troupe with a sinuous style with an urban street edge.  

 

Shaula of New Jersey

Shaula of New Jersey

Shaula of New Jersey, in a fantastic performance image, displayed black and white butterfly wings to match the polka-dot edging on her skirt.

 

Shushanna of Pennsylvania

Shushanna of Pennsylvania

 Shushanna of PA shows you can channel the famous Egyptian Raqs Sharqi stars and treated us to a very authentic show that was musical and followed the maqams (it’s too bad we can only see an image and not view her entire show).

 

Tammy of Pennsylvania

Tammy of Pennsylvania

 

Tanna Valentine of New York

Tanna Valentine of New York

 

Troupe Hayati of Pennsylvania

Troupe Hayati of Pennsylvania

 

Wedding

Wedding

Festivals are always fun because of the community support and sharing. Likely attending a Middle Eastern dance festival first, two who met at Rakkasah East festival were married onstage.  She, a dancer in a golden beaded dress, and he, a musician wearing his family’s traditional Scottish tartan plaid, were both festival volunteers who met after the passing of their spouses.  Their wedding reception started on stage as the audience began celebrating the marriage by throwing money on the stage as they danced their first dance.

 

Yame of New Jersey

Yame of New Jersey

 

Za-Beth of Massechusetts

Za-Beth of Massechusetts

 

Ziba of Virginia

Ziba of Virginia

 

Friday Photos

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