On Saturday July 16th, 2016, MAS filled with enthusiastic folk dancers for our first Arabic Folkdance Intensive with Aubre Hill. The day included three dance workshops and a 2 hour historical roots lecture encompassing a wide range of dance from the Arab World.
The day started with a two hour intensive on Saidi dance and raqs assaya. We learned about the people, culture, music, costuming, and how the dance is portrayed in different contexts. This dance embodies joy and by the end we were all inspired and smiling.
Our second intensive took us from Egypt to Morocco as we learned about the Shikhat with their grooving 6/8 rhythms, rapid percussive isolations, and super fun foot patterns. The Maghreb offers such unique dances and music, and after 2 hours we were all covered in sweat and laughing at the amazing challenge and fun of this dynamic dance.
The last dance workshop for the day was the infamous Binat Mazin Ghawazee dance! We busted out our finger cymbals and got to work on learning this influential dance that hugely shaped many aspects of bellydance over the decades. By the end of our two hour intensive, we were even improvising as trios in the traditional form of the Mazin sisters.
The day wrapped up after a short dinner break with a 2 hour lecture by Aubre Hill about the historical roots of bellydance weaving together history, cultural context, and invaluable connections to bring together a full picture of the evolution of this dynamic art birthed out of folk dance and continuing to change with each artist. Our heads were full of information and inspiration. And we can't wait to learn more next time! Huge thank you to all that joined us for this incredible day of folk dance and history. SHUKRAN!