Monday, November 14, 2016

Raqs Sharki 1-2-3 - Part 3: Modern Legends

This is a post for background information, pictures, videos and links to go with the 'Raqs Sharki 1-2-3: Time traveling with Egyptian Stars' workshop series, a series I'll be teaching in the Netherlands (2016) and Denmark (2017) in the near future.
I will start this blog with part 3 (Modern Legends), as the posts will be read in reverse order later on.

Go to Part 1: Favorites of the Fourties/Fifties
Go to Part 2: Stars of the Sixties/Seventies


About the workshop series - Raqs Sharki 1-2-3
This workshop series takes you on a journey in time with the great dancers of then and now. It can be taught as one combined workshop or split up into 3 separate sessions of maximum 3 hours each.
  • Raqs sharki 1 – ‘Favorites of the fifties’ – Contains combinations and techniques inspired by the legendary dancers of Egypt like Samia Gamal, Naima Akef, Nadia Gamal and Taheya Carioca.
  • Raqs sharki 2 – ‘Stars of the seventies’ – Inspired by famous Egyptian dancers from the 60-80s like Suheir Zaki, Nagua Fouad and Fifi Abdo.
  • Raqs sharki 3 – ‘Modern legends’ – Contains informationa about, and techniques and combinations inspired by the famous dancers of this age

Part 3 Modern Legends

Egyptian stars that have inspired me over the years, and who have been inspired by the stars of the 40ies/50ies/60ies/70ies themselves.

Nesma Al-Andalus (ES)

NESMA lived in Cairo from 1993–1998, where she obtained her extensive knowledge of Oriental dance, Egyptian folklore, Arabic music, culture and traditions. During this time she performed as a soloist with her own orchestra in over 3,500 shows on the most prestigious stages of Cairo. She broadened her artistic career in the National Egyptian Folkloric Ballet, The Reda Troupe, becoming over the years one of Mahmoud Reda’s closest collaborators. 

Since 1998 she has danced and taught around the world. In Spain she founded her own school and a prestigious dance company, Al-Andalus Danza. She presented her shows in prestigious stages in Europe and at the Cairo Opera House, the Opera of Alexandria, and the Library of Alexandria in Egypt. Her early interest in creating shows inspired in the Spanish Moorish heritage made her a pioneer of Andalusian style dance.

Along with her dance company, Nesma has established a record company, Nesma Music, presenting a great line of authentic music and videos, and a major festival, Raks Madrid, which takes place yearly in July in the grand city of Madrid.

(Source: Nesma's FB page)

Nesma performing Wahashtini. Live band featuring Khamis Henkesh, Cairo 2011
GARIB AL DAR Nesma presents Mahmoud Reda choreographies, Madrid 2014
AL HAGALLAH, Nesma presents Mahmoud Reda choreographies, Madrid 2014
Nesma performing 'Enta Omri' (Om Kalsoum) at Raks Madrid, 2016
See more videos at Nesma's Productions youtube channel: 

Note: I've been lucky enough to have taken workshops with Nesma at different events over the years, and she is one of the most inspiring artists I have met.

If you'd like to know more about Reda style, Andalusian dance, understanding Egyptian music and folklore, and/or working with live music and/or finding femininity and elegance in dance, I highly highly recommend her workshops, festival and formations.

Also be sure to check out her music CDs, which have beautiful full-orchestra arrangements of known and new songs.

Randa Kamel (EG)
RANDA KAMEL was born in Mansoura, Egypt. When she was a kid, she had many problems with her family because she used to dance in her friends and neighbours weddings and in scholar festivals. In that traditionalist city, her family disapproved her pleasure of dancing.

At the age of 15, she began studying egyptian folklore with the famous group Reda. She took part of it during 7 years. Nevertheless, she never attended to oriental dance courses, she always developed her own style.

After studying to be a psychologist (which is a discipline that helps her to be a dancer), Randa began her career as a professional dancer at the age of 21, in Alexandria. She lived there fore two years.
Afterwards, she moved on to El Cairo and worked in restaurants and cabarets during four months until she began to work in Meridien hotel. There, she shared the stage during a week with the famous dancer Fifi Abdou.

Randa danced as soloist in the hotel´s night show for two years, and later she began to work in Nile Maxim, a luxury cruiser that sails through the Nile river.

She likes working in El Cairo because she loves live music, but she also likes traveling and teaching oriental dance. “When I dance abroad, I feel as my country and my culture´s messenger”. She also tells us about the belly dance prejudices in her country that: “In Egypt, we believe that the oriental dance is a representation of the women’s beauty in order to seduce men. But I don’t agree with this. This is a millenary dance, and one of the most difficult ways of dancing. That’s why I don’t dance in a seductive way”.

About her own style, Randa says that she puts together ballet steps, the folklore style of Suheir Zaki or Samia Gamal and her own invention steps.

For her: “dance must be energy and power, constant movement. I don’t like soft movements. I like to show different expressions, feelings; every single part of my body must move. I want that anyone that looks at me, feels my movements. It’s the only way to catch the spectator’s attention, to surprise them”.

Even if she enjoys dancing baladi and modern oriental, her favourite music is Um Kulthum, because “everything in these songs is beautiful, the music, the lyrics; there are so many feelings that they catch my heart”

About Randa Kamel (from
Randa Kamel (by Yasmina for Gilded

Interview with Randa Kamel (by Orientallimelight)

Randa dacing to Al Eih Besalouni at Oriental Passion Festival, 2011
Randa Kamel at Esquisse d'Orient, 2011
Randa at Spirit of Cairo in, Berlin, 2014
Randa in Dubai, UAE festival, 2016
Tip: You can buy Randa Kamel's workshop/show music via

Tito Seif (EG)


TITO SEIF is an internationally acclaimed male oriental dancer, instructor, choreographer and one of the world's top oriental artists. Born in Egypt in 1971, he started to dance at the age of 14 learning folklore and then oriental. 

Within a very short period of time he became one of the biggest names in the Oriental Dance and a prominent, innovative and mesmerizing dancer worldwide. Tito has been dancing for 28 years and he has been teaching for 18 years.

A prominent, technically proficient, innovative and mesmerizing belly dancer, he is recognized as a leader in the belly dance world. Tito's talents as an entertainer and a gifted prolific instructor are sought after all over the world. 
Source: AlAhram 

Stavros tells of Tito Seif (from

Tito dancing with 4 sticks in Valencia, 2008
Tito performing 'drumsolo on a drum' with Issam Houshan at BDC, 2013
Tito at Stockholm BD Festival 2015
Tito workshop, 2015


Go to Part 1: Favorites of the Fourties/Fifties
Go to Part 2: Stars of the Sixties/Seventies

xx Khalida

No comments:

Post a Comment