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SO HERE’S THE DEAL:

We weren’t able to find munch info on this dancer but found this cool excerpt from an old publication:

“Ella Lola was born Sept. 2, 1883, in Boston, and made her first appearance as a dancer at the age of eleven years, and by her clever work has steadily come to the fore, until now she takes rank among the best in her class. She has been featured at various times with road companies, and has met with success at the leading vaudeville houses through the country.” – The New York Clipper, 19 April 1902, page 167.

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SO HERE’S THE DEAL:

We know it’s no #TBT or #FBF,  but better late than never right? #SentimentalSunday

Although there isn’t much info on the beautiful Nahed Sabri, we did come across a post online and an article by Kamala on the Gilded Serpant.

Nahed danced in the 60’s and 70’s she was featured in many movies including the famous “Cairo.” According to Kamala, Nahed was “a little spit fire!” She was seemingly a very passionate woman whose shows were “as hot as she was.” She was also a bit moody and when she felt disrespected or she didn’t like the music, she would just walk off the stage and that would be the end of the show. Even though the musicians were scared of her, they respected her and said she was their favorite dancer to work with.

Nahed was very … feisty… we thought this story Kamala told was hilarious:

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Popular Rai artists (L to R): Cheb Hasni, Cheikha Rimitti, Khaled

 

This past weekend I went to Anahid Sofian’s Saturday class (www.anahidsofianstudio.com). Anahid is the best because she exposes us to all different forms of Middle Eastern and North African dance and music, like Rai. In the past I  have danced to Rai, and Saturday she brought it back – woop!

SO WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH RAI????

Rai is cool because of it’s content and it’s beat. Rai literally means “opinion,” it’s full of passion and expression. It’s rebel music, sung by the youth for the youth about poverty, police harassment, survival, alcohol, sex and love.  In a way, in terms of message, it can be compared to hip-hop in the early 90’s – Tupac, Biggie, Nas, Public Enemy… that kind of thing.

Anahid explained to us that Rai rhythms are mostly 2/4 and 4/4 with the heavy beats on the 2 + 4 like Western music instead of the 1+ 3 like Middle Eastern music.  When dancing to Rai you use your whole body to express yourself, it’s very loose and free with African tribal influences when appropriate.

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image                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Photo by Lauren Weissler

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SO HERE’S THE DEAL:

In honor of Black History Month we thought we should recognize the wonderful Nakish. Nakish is known as the first African American belly dancer in the US and worldwide. She was also the first and only Black dancer in Bal- Anat in the early 70’s. Her other firsts include being first Black woman to teach at the YWCA (in San Fran) in 1977, and one of the first teachers to ever teach at Rakkasah.

Nakish was born in San Francisco. She was a dancer from a very early age. At 6 she took ballet and later in high school she studied flamenco and modern dance. Although she was studying the Martha Graham technique, she did not want to pursue this in New York after school, where she didn’t know anyone. Instead she went to the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance and studied Modern Dance at City College simultaneously.

In 1962, Nakish explored other aspects of her creativity and went to the Louise Slinger Academy of Fashion and graduated in 1966 becoming an assistant to Patricia of London Design in 1967. Nakish also took interest in stone and gem cutting and jewelry design.

Nakish was introduced to belly dance through her boyfriend who worked at a Renaissance Pleasure Faire as a blacksmith. At first she didn’t’ feel right about participating as a belly dancer because it wasn’t part of her ethnic culture. A year later, she went to watch and saw Jamila Salimpour’s troupe Bal-Anat perform. In an interview with Gilded Serpent, Nakish said, “ Rhea (Rhea of Athens) was performing with her sword. She saw me standing there watching the dancers and came up to me and said, ‘You should be in our group!’”

And so it happened. In 1969 Nakish began studying with Jamila and became the next sword dancer in the group when Rhea left to go to Greece.

In 1973 Nakish left Bal-Anat and began teaching. Although she didn’t really like the nightclub scene she would gig about once a month and she was very protective of her students. She demanded that club owners respect her students, saying that if they were disrespected she would not dance at their club. If they were respected she would pack the house.

In 1983 Nakish was invited by Dr. Bousaini Farid, the President of the Women’s Club in Egypt at the time, to go to Egypt and dance for the Friendship Force International program. She said this experience was her pride and joy. She danced at the Nile Hilton for Egypt’s elite. While she was there she also danced on NYE at the Yacht Club for over 50,000 people, but it was cut short because she had pneumonia.

She stopped teaching in 1993 when she injured herself working on “The Phantom of the Opera” where she worked in the wardrobe department. She does teach the occasional workshop.read more

Register for the workshops here

About Assala:

From early in Assala’s childhood in Iraq, she was surrounded by the rich traditions of Iraqi culture and Oriental dance. She spent many evenings accompanying her mother to work, where she assisted in the preparation of weddings and henna parties. Assala would watch in awe how the women danced at these parties. These past experiences played a major role of her interest of dance, and helped influence her art.

Assala studied at the University of Baghdad, graduating with a degree in Education. In 1993 she moved to Switzerland, and was determined to preserve the rich traditions of her heritage through furthering her studies in oriental dance. She turned to the shaabi people (people from the countryside and working class) who keep their traditional way of dance and music. Assala believes that learning authentic traditions is where wisdom in dance comes from. This is why Assala has found the shaabi people have transcended a highly refined school of dance. She also furthered her studies with the addition of pilates, yoga and breathing techniques. Her ultimate goal is to combine traditional folk dance with proper technique.

With an immense repertoire of dance styles, Assala is trained in shaabi (Nubi, Saidi and Gezwazi), classical and modern Egyptian Sharqi, Baladi, Sufi dance, Zar, Tribal Fusion, Iraqi Gypsy and El Kawliya dance. Assala pays particular attention to dance forms that are at risk of becoming lost like Zar and El Kawliya dance. She has helped to preserve these dance forms by reintroducing them in her teachings and performances.  Through her many years of research, performance, and teachings, Assala has developed her dance into a recognized and highly appreciated art form. Currently, Assala performs and teaches internationally in Middle Eastern countries such as Egypt, Jordan and Syria, and also Switzerland and now in the U.S.

Buy tickets here!

youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9dlPM239zU?feature=oembed&w=500&h=374

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Iraqi born Assala Ibrahim will be teaching two workshops in New York City February 20-23, 2014. Iraqi dance and Zar. Please keep checking the event and tumblr pages for updates. http://assalainnyc.tumblr.com/

 

 

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SO HERE’S THE DEAL:

Shooq:

Shooq is known as the first belly dancer of Egypt. She reached the peak of her career in 1871.

She established an honorable status for herself amongst the wealthy and important families of Egypt, she was the first dancer that was able to accomplish this.

She was the only dancer allowed to perform at parties hosted by the Viceroy. When he opened the Suez Canal, she danced at the ceremony.

In 1871, Shooq was invited to dance at the wedding of an upper class family. When she took breaks the family would dance for fun. It was there that she saw Shafiqa Al Qibityya dance for the first time. Soon Shafiqa became Shooq’s protégée.

Shooq became an example for many dancers like Badia Masabni, Tahia Carioca, Samia Gamal, etc. to look up to.

Shafiqa Al-Qibtiyya:

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