Drum, Dance, & Music Festival
with Karim Nagi!
by Lisa Chen
All photos are courtesy of Christine Du
Drum, Dance & Music Festival (DDM) had grand finale on
October 12, 2008 at Taipei, with an extraordinary hafla performance
by both local bellydance/percussion community and special guest instructor
DDM Ė the Bridge
and Platform for Arab Dancers and Musicians
is organized by the leading Taiwanese female Middle East percussionists
as well as bellydancer Christine Du. With her
musician and dancer background, Du feels it is essential to present
and promote Arab
performance art not just merely as bellydance, but with a more
profound and comprehensive vision from rhythms, percussion, and
to find the bridge between dancers and musicians, performers
and audiences while still keeping its
cultural roots alive. DDM is the platform for dancers and musicians
working together and exchanging their professional experiences.
cultural background and growing up at America, Karim Nagi possesses
very versatile creative characters: he plays almost all major
Arab instruments, he fuses traditional Arab music with modern
techno and other musical styles, and he also dances Arab folk
dance. Nagi is a great example as bridge between dance and
music, east and west. He understands well about music and dance
and is well renowned for his innovative, energetic and yet
very inspiring teaching methods as well as his vivid stage
presence. Du went to learn with Nagi in America and Egypt respectively
for percussion and Arab folk dance and she invites him to be
the guest instructor and special guest performer for the first
Live Arab Music and Dance for the First Time
had tabla workshops and rhythm with movement workshops for dancers.
Nagi explained the historical background of each rhythm he was
going to teach first and had students sing first with the rhythm
pattern. Then students learned to memorize rhythms by clapping,
vocalization, and eventually with body movements Ė when rhythms
connecting with body physically, rhythms naturally become part
of body memory. This could also prevent students from speeding
beats. Many workshop attendees experienced live drumming and
Arab rhythms directly at first time. They were very excited and
inspired by Nagiís creative and instructional teaching.
Drummer meets with drummer: Karim
Nagi with young Taiwanese drummer Eason
Lin of Al Maha Middle East Ensemble at Tabla Workshop, October
9, 2008, Taipei
Most of DDM
event/workshops were held at Taipei, where major bellydance
and Middle East performance art resources gathered, and Fongzi
Bellydance at Taichung invited Nagi to give troupe members
internal training on rhythm/movement and basic finger cymbal
techniques. It is rapidly increasing demand from middle/southern
Taiwan to have more Arab/MED art resources as bellydance grows
more popular around Taiwan.
Great Finale! -
DDM Hafla Night
first DDM Hafla Night was held at the auditorium of Ming-sheng
Community Center on the evening of October 12, 2008. Diplomatic
from several Arab cultural areas and Taipei parliament member
Mr. Shih-cheng Wu came for the performance. Du invites several
local major troupes and percussion/rhythmic groups to present
a three-session hafla to the local audiences. The three sessions
were named as Halla, Shadia and Hodia, Tunisian
terms for entrance dance, joyful dance and enjoyment. This
is how Du and her troupe Al Maha Middle East Ensemble vision
DDM and this is the message that all participants for the hafla
wish to deliver to the audience as well.
Al Maha performed
several experimental pieces including ATS with Chi Drum and
Japanese flute, Tabla dialoguing with tap dance, and an outstanding
fan duet with live percussion performance. This is very few
and exceptional to the local bellydance community as well as
local audience since we donít have much resources and musicians
available for live Arab percussion.
Taipei-based troupes Arabesque Troupe and DanceDivas, Isis
Bellydance Company from Taoyuan, Fongzi
Bellydance Company from Taichung and Magic
Wonderland Arabe Dance & Bellydance
Company from Kaohsiung also participated to show their support
performer, Karim Nagi also presents three sessions of performance:
percussion, Arab folk dance (Dabka & Tahteeb) and turbo
tabla. The audience and dancers at back stage as well, were
awed by his amazing stage performance and percussion techniques.
Without much surprise, the audience was not very contented
and they wanted more of Nagiís performance. Right after his
third performance piece Turbo Tabla, the audience shouted for
encore. Nagi thus had encore piece with several local bellydancers
to demonstrate how percussion could work well with dancers.
was very impressed with the organizer Duís well-preparation.
Overall, they love the performance very much for the flawless
program and rich contents. They are very impressive with Nagiís
live percussion performance as well as his vivid Arab folk
dances. Even though the audience may not know the context or
meaning behind each movement of the Tahteeb (stick dance),
they know it is story-telling and just simply enjoy it for
the joy and vitality of dance. For dancers and percussionists
who participated in this hafla night, they learned more from
Nagiís live performance and gained more exposure to the public
audience. This is a wonderful win-win finale and we definitely
look forward to another DDM in 2010.
Maha Middle East Drum & Dance Ensemble performed American Tribal Style with Japanese fusion costume
and live Chi drum
Du (center), leading female drummers and organizer of
learn Middle Eastern dance rhythms and movement with Karim
October 10, 2008, Taipei
Bellydance Company from Taichung
Chen, director of Magic Wonderland
Arabe Dance & Bellydance
Company, from Kaohsiung, South Taiwan
Chung, director of DanceDivas performed
cymbals and drum solo
Grand Finale of DDM
Nagi and Fongzi Bellydance Company, with troupe director
Vanessa Wung (center with black top), October 11, 2008,
Tabla Workshop with Karim Nagi, October
7, 2008, Taipei
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