Gilded Serpent presents...

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.




Barakat Middle East Dance Company of Maryland



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 Chai of New York




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






Saiedah of New York


Samrah of New York

Samra of New York


Shadia of California

Shadia of California



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 of New Jersey


Zenaide of New York

Zenaide of New York




use the comment box

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

Ready for more?

  • Welcome to the Gothla! Dancing Along the Sulk Road Review of 3 DVDs
    The costumes are fabulous. It’s almost like—who needs all that dance technique if you’re wearing an enormous leather headdress that makes you look like an alien refugee from Star Wars? Tempest’s approach in particular is a painterly one, not surprising from a student of the Rhode Island School of Design.
  • "The First Tribal Cafe"
    It was the first all tribal belly dance event sponsored by MECDA IE and took place on August 21st, 2004 in Montclair, California.
  • "Dancing Darkly"
    This may come as a shock to many, but Gothic Belly Dance isn’t really a new phenomenon, and it’s not just centered in California. First of all, it’s simply a merger of two entities that go well together, like peanut butter and chocolate.
  • "The Art of Tempest"
    The first image, "Dance," is inspired by the Minoan priestesses and is a monotype/mixed media
  • RECREATING RITUAL Enhancing our daily lives with drumming and dancing
    The rhythmic patterns and dance movements of this tradition, steeped in antiquity, steeped in women’s ancestry, rekindle a natural and sacred state of well being.
  • The Ghawazi: Back From the Brink of Extinction (For now)
    The really fabulous news is that Khairiyya’s sister Raja has come out of retirement and is dancing again.

  • Amity, Anka Kusu, Belly Mystic, Bliss, Calixta, Desert Moon, Dorothea, Eddie Kochak, Scott Wilson, Serpent Secrets, Fantasha Dancers, Isis, Jamileh, Kelebek, Latifa, Lily…
  • Friday Night Photos from Rakkasah East- October 2010
    Desert Embers, Dharma, Fahtiem, Leila Haddad, Mystic Wiles, Nadia Layla, Najma, NightShade, Phoenis, Raks Shiva, Troupe Shahibat
  • Bellydancers "Gotta have a Gimmick!", Excessive Use of Props
    I get the impression from watching such performances that a prop wasn’t incorporated in the show because it helped the dancer express an emotion in the song, but the property was intended to be the focus of the performance.
  • Dreaming in Massachusetts, Photos from MassRaqs 2011
    The celebration of those traditions, along with the fervor of Boston’s intellectual culture, the talent of our local community of dancers and musicians, and a desire to connect that beautiful history to the global present and future of our dance drives the work we do in our event.
  • MaShuqa interviews Ali Hamidzadeh of Turquoise International,
    Ali tells us about how he came to produce his first cymbals. He is interviewed by MaShuqa. He also talks about Dahlena, Bobby Farah, his education, inferior copies of his zils, how to know that you have genuine Turquoise cymbals. Testimonials from Jillina, Princess Farhana, and Marta Schill.
  • Assiut / Assuit, Fascinating FAQs
    However, mosquito netting was invented by the Egyptians and dates back thousands of years.
  • Aubre Hill, New Fussion Energy in Taiwan
    As time has passed, the local community has found itself on a changing path. The heavily choreographed (written notation) dance trend remains the staple of the main stream while increasingly, local dancers (and instructors as well) have begun to realize that there is something else in addition to set notations of dance movements to learn.
  • Competition Strategies, A Judge’s Suggestions
    Choosing a costume that fits and flatters your choreography is equally important. If you want to highlight your amazing hip work, be sure to choose a costume with lots of fringe and tassels on the hips so the judges cannot fail to see that hip work.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.