Bella Diva World Dance is proud to present master belly dance instructor, performer, choreographer, cultural anthropologist, and dance ethnologist, Sahra Saeeda, who will be presenting “Journey Through Egypt: Abridged” August 19th-20th, 2023 here in Denver, a two-day workshop weekender.
Egyptian Folklore and Regional Dances Workshop
Saturday August 19th 1-5 pm
Workshop: “Egyptian Folklore and Regional Dances”
At Hannah Khan Open Studio 75 S. Cherokee St. Denver, CO
This class will include an overview on the movement, posture, clothing, history, and cultural diffusion in the different regions of Egypt. Sahra’s unique perspective follows how the dance transforms from the homes of the people to the sparkling stages of Cairo. Dances that will be included:
These various dances are put into the context of the local culture and histories. Their transformation from homestyle to the stage will be covered in depth. For several of the dances the students break from lecture to stretch their muscles and learn the movements that can traditionally be found in these dances. The way these dances have been interpreted and adapted for the stage is also discussed and shown, mostly through learning about Mahmoud Reda and his National Troupe.
Oriental Dance Through the Ages Workshop
Sunday August 20th 2-6pm
“Oriental Dance Through the Ages”
At Bella Diva World Dance Studio
This class will explore dance in Cairo starting in the early 1800’s through 1830’s, and then the birth of Raqs Sharqi as a fusion of dances itself. The class will move on to talk about topics including where Egyptian and Oriental dance is today and the current trends and evolutions found in Cairo and beyond. Students will also learn about Sahra’s personal experience living and performing in Cairo as a contracted dancer.
REGISTER HERE: www.belladivadance.com/register
Sahra started her bellydance career at the Arabic nightclub, The Cascades, in Los Angeles, CA.
While she had always been interested in the intersection of culture and dance (her Bachelors was in Cultural Anthropology and Archaeology), a need to grow as a dancer sent her to the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) where she pursued a Masters degree in Dance Ethnology.
DANCING IN EGYPT
Through the course of her study, Sahra had the amazing good fortune to find a great friend and mentor in her program, Farida Fahmy. When the time came to begin research for her thesis on the Zeffat al’Arusah, Farida encouraged her to come to Cairo and pursue that research in person. While in Egypt she received a contract to perform at the Meridian-Heliopolis 5-star hotel, which she held for nearly 6 years.
She continuously held this 6-night a week performance contract for nearly 6 years, performing over 1600 shows in Cairo alone. During this time Sahra recorded several CD’s with her band, “Sahra Saeeda”, “Music for Egyptian Dance”, and “Layali Zaman” and several videos from her Cairo show “Sahra – Direct from Cairo”, “Ahlan, Ahlan”, and “Sahra Saeeda”.
Sahra was honored to perform choreographies exclusively by Farida Fahmy from 1989-1991. The “Sahra Show” with 5 of her musicians and a male Folklore dancer (half of her Cairo orchestra and dancers), came to the USA from Egypt in 1996 and toured 4 states.
Her position as a local dancer gave her an amazing springboard to learn about the zeffah, and so much more, including the opportunity to work with Egyptian dance pioneer & icon Mahmoud Reda.
Sahra now teaches and dances around the world, sharing her theories on dance in Egypt, the regions, the “tables”, and the way everything fits together. She is constantly conducting more research with two trips to Egypt each year, every time hunting for that next “puzzle piece” that will reveal ever more about the dance, and the culture, that she fell in love with over 30 years ago.
JOURNEY THROUGH EGYPT
Journey Through Egypt is the brainchild of Sahra C. Kent (Saeeda). After studying Dance Ethnology at UCLA and studying Egyptian Folkloric dance under Farida Fahmy Sahra moved to Egypt to conduct research for her master’s thesis on the Zeffat al’Arusah. During this research she discovered more and more about the culture & dances of Egypt. Applying her learning of Dance Ethnology and the advice of many of her local resources in Egypt the idea for Journey Through Egypt was born.
First presented in 2008, Journey through Egypt has been offered over 50 times throughout the United States and internationally. Over the years the course has grown past its humble beginning and now spans 4 classes – 2 of which involve travel to Egypt to study in person.
“The lived experience, knowledge, movements, and unique approach of JTE have made me a better and more discerning dance performer, student, researcher, and teacher. I’m doing a better job at serving the various communities this dance is a part of, and that means the world to me. I’m doing a better job honoring the dances, people, and cultures, this dance is a part of and, inshallah, because of that, dancing more beauty into the world.” Shiraz, JtE 1-4 Graduate
No matter what stage of your dance career, Journey Through Egypt can help you gain a cultural perspective that will be invaluable both to you, and those around you.
While the origins and ancient history of bellydance are widely debated and unproven we do investigate how performance dance has changed over the last 200+ years in Egypt. From the banishment of dancers by Mohammed Ali, to the elevation of dance to the national and international stage with Mahmoud Reda, Journey Through Egypt is a comprehensive course on the dances of Egypt and their known history.
To change the way belly dance is seen by the mainstream public, we have to start with educating ourselves, and then educating our students and audiences to the best of our abilities.
Filled with stories, videos, images, and more, Journey Through Egypt is a course that is essential to any Middle Eastern Dance student, teacher, or performer who wants to know more about the history of their dance form.