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Sunday Photos

Rakkasah East Festival 2010

Photos by Carl Sermon

Commentary by MaShuqa
posted October 17, 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.

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.

 

Sunday

Barakat

Barakat Middle East Dance Company of Maryland

 

Basema

Basema of Maryland

 

Dancers of the Pharoah

Dancers of the Pharaoh and Mahalat Kinnari
Dancers of the Pharaohs troupe combined dancers from both coasts including Troupes Mahalat and Kinnari to fill the stage with whirling skirts and veils.

Deni Shazadi

Dena Shazadi Dancers of New York

 

Fatima Al Wahid

Fatima al Wahid of California
Rakkasah teacher, Fatima al Wahid performed a pot dance modern Cairo style

 

Fire Blossoms and BellyQueen

Fire Blossoms, Rising Sirens, and BellyQueen of New York
Rakkasah teacher Kaeshi Chai with Fire Blossoms Rising Sirens, and Belly Queen troupe performed a variety of arrangements from Sharqi to hip-hop to modern dance inspirations

 

Kaechi

Kaechi Chai of New York

 

 

FliegendeZirkusNJ

Fliegende Zirkus of New Jersey

 

Ghada Girls

Ghada Girls of New York
Ghada Girls of New York wore a pastel version of “I Dream of Genie” outfits.

 

Habiba Dance Ensemble

Habiba Dance Ensemble of Pennsylvania
Habiba Dance Ensemble of Pennsylviania performed elegant Raqs Sharqi with Habiba showcased performing a cane dance.

 

Laura Belly Trance

Laura Belly Trance Company of New York
Laura and the Belly Trance Company of New York costumed in Persian robes and headdress performed stately Persian dance with delicate hand and arm movements; and also traditional Persian folk dance in modern dresses and hats.  

Laura Belly trance

 

 

Layla Mary and Scott

Layla Mary and Scott Wilson of New York

 

Leilah of Pennsylvania

Leilah of Pennsylvania
Leilah of Pennsylviania created a beautiful rainbow image with large rainbow circle veils.

 

Metal Goddess Bellydancers

Metal Goddess Bellydancers of New York
Metal Goddess Bellydancers of New York made a dramatic entrance with black capes and large lanterns chained together.  Metal Goddess’ dramatic dance styling with capes, Isis Wings, fan veils befits the heavy metal band that they usual open for at concerts.

 

Nubain Daughters

Nubian Moon Daughters of New York
Nubian Moon Daughters of New York directed by Rakkasah teacher Arianna al Tyre provided a diversity of pieces from modern to interpretative, to folkloric Egyptian – with costumes varying from dancewear to “body paint and shells.”

Nubian Daughters

 

 

Queens of the Univcers

Queens of the Universe of Virginia
A troupe from Virgina, Queens of the Universe, were dramatically presented in red black and gold costumes with swirling skirts that showed off the lines in their choreography

 

Rega

Rega

 

Saidah

Saiedah of New York

 

Samrah of New York

Samra of New York

 

Shadia of California

Shadia of California

 

Shir-El

Shir-El of New York

 

open floor
Open Floor dancer
 Always a crowd pleaser and fun to watch “the future generation of bellydance” taking their first performance steps during Open Dance Floor.  I smile and think “What will dancing at festivals be like for them 30 years from now?”

 

Tempest of Rhode Island

Tempest of Rhode Island

 

Troupe Tahya of Pennsylvania

Troupe Tahya of Pennsylvania

 

Wild Gypsy Fire

Wild Gypsy Fire of New Jersey

 

Willow of New York

Willow of New York

 

Yuliya

Yuliya of New Jersey

 

Zenaide of New York

Zenaide of New York

 

 

 

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