Workshop participants were treated to an exquisite learning experience in a
totally Egyptian workshop with Taaj fi Qalbi, sponsored by Sitamun in Frederick,
MD on Saturday, October 25, 2003.
Taaj did a beautiful job in taking hte
complexities of the Egyptian style of performance and breaking it down for each
and every participant to hear and absorb into their own dance experience. She
started breaking down the style into certain elements, styles, and
interpretations via outline and started out with almost a classroom approach.
Throughout this discussion, we shimmied to start warming ourselves up. She did
not teach a routine per se, but had each person interopret her instructions then
demonstrate within their own dance style. She observed our progress with helpful
hints and many positive reinforcements, bringing her complex knowledge of
Egyptian technique to actual personal experience in each of her attendees.
I admit I was a little skeptical at first. I am so used to basic choreography
at workshops and everyone performing exactly the same moves that "doing your own
thing" to the music as you heard it (or were supposed to hear it) was a little
intimidating. However, by the end of the 2 1/2 hours I was totally charmed by
Taaj, her teaching style, and the beauty of the Egyptian style of dance- and
totally thankful for her constant patience!
It is difficult for many dancers not familiar with this dance style to define
exactly what si specific to Egyptian and how you can interpret it in your own
dance. I found that Taaj did much to "unveil the mystery" with well-coordinated
outlines and demonstrations. She did not limit the experience to her
interpretation only, but demonstrated various possible interpretative
techniques. After observing her little fledglings spread their creative wings
and express themselves, she would ask one or two lucky divas (who seemed to
really have a unique way or excellent grasp of the move she was trying to
verbalize) to share their interpretations with the rest of us. This reinforced
not only our graps of the move, but expanded our minds to various
interpretations and gave marvelous ideas on the many ways to work with the music
in Raqs Sharki style.
All participants seemed to respond positively to the way in which the
material was presented (clear and concise) and to Taaj's superb knowledge of
this style of dance. Patience was a word mentioned again and again, not to
mention the grace and expertise shown by Taaj. After all, it took a great
teacher to draw together a group more at home with "Gypsy", American, Turkish,
and various folk dance styles. The workshop ended with a light lunch privided by
the facility and shopping with quality vendors present throughout the entire
A hafla featuring workshop participants followed: many beautiful dance styles
were observed and enjoyed. The show ended with a marvelous and absolutely
stunning Taaj fi Qalbi performing to the music used in the workshop. Her dance
was classical Egyptian, magnificently presented and interpreted with an
authenticity not often seen in the U.S. We considered ourselves very lucky to
have experience Taaj in Frederick and would highly recommend her workshops in
Andaleeb of Artamas, PA studies with Sitamun in Frederick, MD and is a
senior memer of the Tears of Aset Troupe.