World Arts West
SF Ethnic Dance Festival
Hala dancer

FESTIVAL DANCERS

Hala Dance Ensemble

NATIONAL/ETHNIC IDENTITY: Egyptian
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR:
Hala Fauzi
First Appearance in SF EDF:
2004
Website:
www.haladance.com

Middle Eastern Dance has been called by many names over the years as the rest of the world has tried to make sense of this intriguing, earthy and sensual form that focuses on the hips and belly, and has been done by peoples across the Arab world for centuries. These names have included, Raqs al Sharki, Oriental Dance, Danse du Ventre, and finally the more commonly known name, simply, Belly Dance.

Although there are many different kinds of Middle Eastern "Belly" Dance, from rustic villages to urban nightclubs, many believe the roots of the form go back to the matriarchal fertility rituals of ancient Egypt and North Africa. Company director, Hala Fauzi, grew up in her native Egypt surrounded by these dances at family gatherings where everyone from children to grandparents would get up to dance. She later studied with some of the great Egyptian and American teachers of the day and in 1999 formed her company to preserve the more traditional and folk aspects of the dance art.

2004 PERFORMANCE

Hala dancersTITLE OF PIECE: NILE CRUISE-AN EGYPTIAN DANCE JOURNEY
CHOREOGRAPHY: Hala Fauzi
DANCERS: Brisa Zamudio, Diane Qwan, Gabriela Arais, Hala Fauzi, Isami Kaneko, Leticia Altieri, and Sonia Milgotin

Set along the Nile, this suite of Egyptian dances, directed by Hala Fauzi, incorporates two distinct styles of Egyptian dance. The first represents a village cane dance from the countryside of Southern Egypt, where canes were used for herding, shaking fruits from high trees, walking on the rough
terrain and for self-defense. The women dance to a folk style song, which
expresses the excitement upon a lovers return. The second piece plays with
the moods and dynamics of a modern Egyptian pop song that proclaims the love
of the singerís life.

The costume worn by the dancers is a traditional Arab dress, the galabeyya. This much fancier version is intricately made out of black lace with hundreds of pieces of light tiny silver or gold metal folded over the netting.

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