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
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 Egypt’s 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.
Wednesday October 25, 2011
Ready for more?
- 1-20-05 Amani “Around the World” DVD Report
She has put her dancing on stage and has created numerous theatre productions in the past 10 years and this show is the first one on DVD.
- 3-26-05 My Aim in Organizing a World-inclusive Oriental Dance Festival
Dancer Amani of Lebanon Comments, "Oriental dancing has become a widespread art; it is now found all over the world, and among all levels of society in all the five continents! "
- 9-25-07 My Teacher, Fahtiem
As performers, we tend to often dance improvisation with moves that are ‘safe’ and comfortable. It is often difficult to step out of the box.
- 11-3-08 Teach, Reach and Dance- 3 DVD Reviews: “ Hilary Live: Belly Dancing Around the World with Hilary Thacker”,“ Angelika Presents: Oasis at the Races” and “Belly Dance with Jrisi”
This uneven exchange between music and dancer, I feel, took away from a performance that had the potential to be much more dynamic.
- 2-9-12 Group or Troupe Division of the Belly Dancer of the Univerce Competition Photos and Video,
The Belly Dancer of the Universe Competion is produced by Tonya and Atlantis in mid February each year in the Long Beach Convention Center. Most photos are linked to enlargements.
- 2-4-12 Nelly, Beloved Star of Egypt, An Interview with Nelly Fouad
I asked Nelly if there was any comparison to the Awalim of Mohamed Ali street and she said no, they were different; the Alexandrian Awalim had a real school for teaching the arts — they were strict and corrected your mistakes.
- 2-2-12 Last Round of Visits, Family Dinner Party and Wrap Up, A Month In Cairo, Report #6 by Leyla Lanty
I’ve seen this often here, that men and boys will readily play with the little ones in an involved and endearing way.
I have observed a cycle in which, periodically, emerging dancers who have obtained slightly more prominence in the craft begin to make recycled attempts to regulate it through instructional devices in order to control it to their own personal ends.
“Sabri worked everywhere, especially the Nile Hilton. He did a lot of weddings, so we worked at all the hotels. We subbed for Nagwa Fouad at the Meridien hotel on her night off. We went all over Cairo and Alex too, so it was a good way to get around and know the area.
- 1-23-12 Gigbag Check #33 with Sa’diyya of Texas!
Gilded Serpent catches Sa’diyya backstage at the Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition in February 2011. She shows us her tools of the trade, including:safety pins (of course), mirror, curling iron, carpet tape, and all of her jewelry organized in a binder full of zip lock bags. She also tell us about using a fedora in a modern folk dance from Iran or Persia. Her mother helps her with her costumes.
- 1-20-12 Sahra’s Drum Solo Class with Amir Sofi at the Bellydancer of the Universe Competition in 2011,
Sahra is also given the lifetime achievement award. Lovina gives testimonial to how much she enjoyed the class