Lebanese + Egyptian Love Affair III Experience!
This past weekend was jam-packed, physically draining and ultra fun! It was an all-in-one event with all my passions placed together – dance, art, learning, and making friends. Hosted by international performer, choreographer and instructor, Valerick Molinary, Lebanese + Egyptian Love Affair III was a beautifully cultural event with a warm environment. I’m proud of this woman for her strength and courage to present Arabic Dance as an art form in this top-quality event. It’s one of the many best “Belly Dance” events hosted in Miami, hosting intimate workshops with master instructors and a blazing theater show to top it off.
This year we had the pleasure of learning with Mohamed Kazafy of Egypt, a pupil of the legendary Mahmoud Reda and performer in the internationally renowned Reda Troupe*. It was such an honor to take his workshops and learn culture and roots of this art! His form is spectacular in technique and grace – it was all over wonderful! I’ve always held a great deal of respect for Reda style! So clean and elegant, the slightest of movements has so much refinement, taste and meaning.
<<Mr. Reda and Farida Fahmy were significant pioneers in what we call “Belly Dance” today, more formally known as Oriental Dance/Raqs Sharqi. With a well trained group of dancers and musicians back in the 1960’s and ‘70’s, the Reda Troupe harmonized every-day life into art through dance and theatrical presentations. More on the history of the Reda Troupe at http://faridafahmy.com/history.html >>
L.E.L.A also brought Simon of Lebanon, my amazing Dabke teacher and mentor, someone whom everyone falls in love with! His workshops are as equally enticing! His knowledge of the art form is vibrant and wholesome in his own right, a rich performer and supportive teacher. I had the honor this year of being part of his Al Awtar Zaffa ensemble for one night! It was my first theatrical Dabke performance! Six of us collaborated on this performance including Anne Caruthers who helped the five of us look good in formation. A sincere “thank you” to Simon and Sandra for teaching us the steps, getting into character and preparing us overall! We had only two rehearsals including one in the hotel parking lot among the shining tall buildings of Brickell. Getting off the stage that night made me want to perform this over and over again! Dabke live is powerful – and to think that I haven’t seen Dabke in its natural environment yet! Crossing my fingers I can get to Lebanon this year….! The experience was thrilling and memorable, from the jitters of when Simon first sent us the video to the performance on stage!
One of my favorite things about these type of events is the socializing and networking. I made new friends and had the chance to dance and spend time with friends locally and from out of town during and in-between workshops. I met Leon of China who is such a beautiful soul and performer! At the welcoming dinner Friday night I had the chance to see Nadirah perform, love her flavor! She so calm and serene and works beautifully with veil! Back in 2015 I painted her performance on stage at the Houston Oriental and Folklore Festival Simon coordinates. It was great to see many other local Miami performers and students at the events and workshops.
Valerick also invited me to display my art work in a pop-up art exhibition – that was exciting!!! I have been working on two larger pieces – two sisters – which were ready to display this weekend. I will write their stories in my next blog. I was happy that many people asked about them! I know how tough it can be to look at art, sometimes intimidating. Through my education I know many times we over look art, seeing only what we want to through our eyes that first judge and not observe what is there. I’m guilty, though I try not to be! Haha! I will explain this more in my next blog too.
This opportunity to combine art and dance is exactly what I’d love to continue to do even if it’s incredible hard work and may get harder. It’s what we have to do to continue sharing our love and passions in a diverse world of colors of peace, chaos, the blind, the open, the black, whites and grays, the antiquities and the futurists.
I can’t lie – the whole experience was a little nerve-wrecking only because I wanted to do my best. What are nerves but the desire to push oneself to the best of their abilities? Without team work and combing our efforts to achieve good things together, we would never be able to reach such heights on our own.
So from the bottom of my heart, thank you, Valerick, for giving me this opportunity and for continuing to inspire love and passion!
One crazy weekend down… one more to go! Belly Motions 12 year Anniversary Theater show, "Oriental Fantasy," here we come!!!! This Saturday our girls will experience a similar thrill of shining on stage and realizing all the wonderful efforts and hard work they made to get there.