Gilded Serpent presents...

Amani Oriental Festival Photos

October 25-29, 2011, Beirut, Lebanon


Most photos by Gabriel Monserrat Lopez
Introduction by Lucia
additional help and some photos from Aradia
posted February 11, 2012

Intro, Opening Gala photos, Saturday Finals, Workshops, Tours & Shopping

On October 25 – 29, 2011, Amani of Lebanon hosted the Amani Oriental Festival 2011 in Beirut, Lebanon. The show and workshops were held at the Al Madina Theatre in downtown Beirut. The organizers included, Amani, Ali Reda and the Amani Team. The event attracted performers from around the world, and instructors from North America, Central America, the Middle East and Europe. There was media from the LBC and the opening and closing night sceremonies were televised and internationally broadcasted.

As a professional performer, I was impressed with the high caliber of dance instructors. The majority of instructors were Lebanese and offered a diverse repertoire of Lebanese Oriental and folkloric technique with emphasis in dramatic moves, staging and communication through movement with modern dance components.

Classes were offered in makeup, staging, use of props. There were also special ethnic classes in Morrocan tray, Brazilian Samba Fusion, Flamenco Fusion, Indian Doholla, Dabke, and more.

This was my first time being in Lebanon and it was a thrilling experience. I have traveled several times to the Middle East and attended weeklong+ seminars/Festivals in Turkey, Egypt and throughout the USA. The classes were smaller in size than the Ahlan Wa Sahlan, or Little Egypts Intensive seminars, so we received more individualized attention. Instructors were close by, so we could see their every move, their emotional flare and sense the spirit of dance.

The students were more polite – no charging, pushing to get to the front of the stage. It was as if everyone was there to learn as a professional, to enjoy and share the passion of dance and to treat one as a professional. Our questions were answered on the spot, and we were permitted to review material several times. It was delightful.

The competition was held on Wednesday, October 26 with a preliminary round. Applicants were previously required to submit 2 pieces of music by email to the Amani Team, subject to the posted rules. At the preliminary round, judges (instructors, including Amani) watched each performer dance to the 2 pieces of music. Competitors were picked in random order, and we were permitted to watch each other.

On Saturday afternoon, finalists for the competition were announced. That evening, the 11 finalists performed and additional judges were summoned to watch and score each dancer. The audience also participated with wild cheers and clapping. After the 2nd round, 6 performers were selected to compete in the final round to a ‘surprise’ piece of music, selected by the Amani Team. Amani performed and captivated the audience with her exquisite technique and passionate, fluid moves. The entire closing ceremony was televised, with celebrity vocalists and musicians. In the final round, all 6 competitors danced on stage to one of Amani-Bassem Yazbek’s famous drum solos. This was a very exciting event and I was thrilled to participate and win 2nd place. The awards ceremony was held at the end of the evening and each competitor received a certificate for their efforts. This was a fun, gracious ending to a fabulous seminar.

Opening Gala

Wednesday October 25, 2011
Al Madina Theatre, Beirut Lebanon

Amani TV interview

Amani is interviewed by a local TV station there covering opening night.
She is wearing a tradition Lebanese princess outfit.


Amani dances and emcee’d the show in the princess outfit

Amani and Mayora

Amani and Maya Gaorry backstage

Amani Jabril

Amani Jabril of Georgia, USA, teacher performs in Opening Gala


Aradia of Las Vegas, NV

Duet Balancing Trays

Perla and her group perform Moroccoan Shihat


Dalyla of Spain


Double sowrd by

Double sword dance by Margo Kalfayan of Lebanon.



The folkloric dance troupe, SAWA.


George and dancerLucia

Georgia Schmid and Lucia Herlinda dance to Walid Assaf
They are both members of Morwenna and Walid‘s dance group which is based in Los Angeles, CA


Helena of Spain

Helena Rull of Spain performs Double Veil.
[editor’s note -notice awesome snake costume!]

Helwa and

Munir Nellmeldin (From Argentina, taught Dabkeh) and Helwa (From Brazil, taught Oriental Samba Fussion)
Helwa’s husband, Gabriel, is the photographer for most of these photos. They live in Spain.


Helwa doing Samba Oriental


Maya Gaorry of Italy.


Munir Nellmled in Dabkeh dance


Nayin dances as a Georgette Bebara choreography. She is part of
Gerogette Gebara’s ballet and modern dance company.



Singer Marwan Al Chami thrilled audience with his folkloric songs

Morwena and Walid

Morwenna and Walid Assaf.

Dancers joins the singer onstage

Dancers join the singer onstage for the finale before intermission.


Below- Walid Assaf exciting Lebanese rhythms
Mizmar player Ali Al Madbouh and Tabl player.

Georgette saying thank you

Gerogette Gebara saying thank you after receiving lifetime acheivement award.
Georgette is a famous teacher in Lebanon.

Sumana, 1st place

Sumaya won 1st place.
This photo of her in the black costume is from dancing in prelimniaries on Wednesday.

Giada of Italy Made it into the first round of finals

Jeanine Khoury of Lebanon

Jeanine Khoury of Lebanon, competed in prelims Wednesday night

Mi-ki of Japan

Mi-Ki of Japan dancing in the prelims on Wednesday.


Saturday Finals Night

Amani with winners

Amani with a few of the winners on the Finals Night
1- Diaini Vacaro of Brazil living in Lebanon, 2- Sumaya of Bella Russia wins 1st place-"Sultana",
3- Amani, 4-Maria de Fatima of Portugal, 5- Lucia Herlinda, 6- Skurchinska Svetlana of Ukraine.

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At the end of the Closing Gala, all the teachers, pupils, and contestants received a certificate of participation.

CLaudia Jovel of the USA
Claudia Jovel of the USA. She is student of Aradia from Las Vegas.

In this photo she is competing in the finals.

1st winner
1st winner- Sumaya of Bella Russia– with trophy

Lucia 2nd place
Lucia Herlinda 2nd place. Here she is competing during the Finals on Saturday

3rd place winner

3rd place winner- Skurchinska Svetlana of the Ukraine.
Competing during the Closing Gala.

Diana of Brazil

Diaini Vacaro of Brazil won the "Audience Award of Presence"


Silvia Schori of Switzerland-award elegance

Sivia Schori of Switzerland received the "Audience Award for Elegance"

Fadi sings for an audience member

Fadi Harb sings to Georgette who is sitting in the audience on Saturday. This accurred Midway through the 2nd half.




Bedouine Dance Workshop taught by Lebanese Teacher, Francois Rahmeh
1-?, 2- Diliani from Spain with flower in hair, 3-?, 4 Helwa, 5-?, 6- Perla in red scarf, 7-?, 8-?


Amani’s workshop

Helwa and mi-ki
Fun during a workshop
Helwa and with Mi-ki


Amani and Tony Hanna dancing

Tony Hanna (in black hat) dancing with group. Tony owns this beautiful restaurnat in Byblos on the ocean.
He is a well known performing and recording artist .


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The tour lunch was at Tony Hanna‘s "O de Mer" restaurant. His restaurant is on the beach in the old city of Jbeil.

1- Claudia, 2-Lucia, 3-Silvia Schori, 4- Aradia. 5-Selene of Las Vegas, 6-?, 7-?, 8-Amani, 9-(behind Amani) 10- Munir, 11-Perla Elias, 12-Christina del Vecchio, 13- Helwa, 14-Alma de Flores, 15- Jessica Alaimo of Argentina in blue and white, 16- Dalylah al Qmar (in bangs) who translated the whole class, 17-Mi-ki, 18?

Dancing during the tour at the restaurant
Participant dance the debke during the Munir’s workshop held at the restaurant



Thursday’s Excursion: Bus tour to Byblos, Jouneih, Castle
Evening Dabke class with Mounir Nellmeddine
Dinner at Tony Hanna’s restaurant, Byblos

Shopping on Tour
Shopping on tour. Aradia models a Lebanese wedding outfit- it also came with the pointed hat!

COffee the Lebanese way
Coffee the Lebanese way. We went to a castle and then we walked into this room. The man in the fez is holding percusion instrument that he plays by striking it with a stick.

Names L-R: 1-student of Amani Jabril, Linda, 2-Aradia posing (only!) with argeela, 3- musican.4-unknown camo guy, 5-lady in black is in Perla’s dance group, 6-Lucia, 7-Mario Harb II of Green Lights with camera– see on facebook.

Beiteddine Palace
1-Teresa, 2-Amani Jabril, 3- American girl?, 4- Georgia, 5- in red shirt ,Perla, 6- Aradia, 7- sun glasses?, 8-sunglasses on head?, 9- brunette- Perla’s girl?, 10- Helwa, 11 ?, 12- Japanese girl in hat, 13, sun glasses?, 14-?, 15-Japanese girl, 16-Japanese girl, 17-Dalyla, 18-Linda

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The harem at the Beiteddine Palace


Just a couple more photos from Aradia to show more mileau!

Shopping with Selena

Hamra Street in Beirut

Tony Hanna

Beach in Byblos

Next year’s festival will be held…….. next festival June 19-23, 2012
for more information see….


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  1. Larry Greenwald

    Feb 13, 2012 - 10:02:40

    Lucia and Georgia are with Morwenna and Walid Assaf’s group from SAN DIEGO, CA *not* LOS ANGELES, CA. Please correct the comment.
    Please don’t lump LA and San Diego into generic southern California, we’re very different communities.

  2. Selena Kareena

    Feb 15, 2012 - 04:02:49

    Thank You for sharing the Memories, Lovely Photos, Maybe next year I will tag along! All the Love, Selena Kareena

  3. Georgia Schmid

    Mar 2, 2012 - 11:03:04

    Wow,what a lovely article!  Just happened to come across it, I’m delighted to find my picture here.  Be sure to let me know next time, I love sharing these things with my students, friends and family!   🙂  Many thanks!

  4. Rita

    May 2, 2013 - 06:05:36

    loved it, miss Lebanon, AHHHH one day I will live there again

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