Fitness & Recreation Building
915 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA
$30/$20 with student ID.Tickets are only being sold at Boston University, cash-only. Please arrive early to ensure that you can attend. Tickets will sell out!
ONE NIGHT ONLY! A stunning array of renowned international artists performing traditional and contemporary Middle Eastern dance. Our star-studded gala show will feature the MassRaqs faculty and interational belly dance stars including...
Hadia of Canada - Karim Nagi of Egypt/Boston - Katia of Boston - Meiver of Boston/Chicago - Belly Beat of Boston - Jeni of Maine - Melina of Greece/Boston - Paula of Dominican Republic/LA - Roshanna Nofret of Miami - Shema... and more!
Sponsored by the Boston University Lebanese Student Club.
Learn about the performers ...
Hadia is considered by all who see her as a dancer's dancer—in every sense of the word. A world-renowned dancer, researcher, and award-winning instructor based in Montreal with a career spanning over 30 years. "She has the energy of a five year old, the wisdom of an old woman and the ageless spirit of a true dancer."
Hadia has lived and performed through the Middle East and has studied and worked with many of the great masters of oriental dance and Folklore including Ibrahim Akef, Farideh Fahmy, Zohair Zeki, Mona al Said, Dina, Ibrahim Farrah, Ahmad Jarjour, Raqia Haasan, and the Kohmeya National Folkloric Company of Egypt.
Her understanding and mastery of the very soul of Raks Sharqi and her innate ability to weave the subtle nuances and textures of oriental music into movement have earned her an international reputation as an exquisite performer of impeccable quality.
Visit Hadia's website...
Karim Nagi is a native Egyptian drummer, DJ, and folk dancer. He is the creator of Turbo Tabla, and has released two internationally distributed CDs of this unique brand of Arab House/Electronica using acoustic instruments.
His performances boast a dynamic concoction of live drumming and dance, done in unison. Because of his proficiency in both music and dance, his workshops deliver students to a new physical understanding of the connection between these two disciplines.
As a dance and drum teacher, Karim has taught in nearly all major bellydance festivals in the United States and Cairo, as well as all major Arab Culture festivals in the USA. Karim Nagi is a true crossover artist, uniting the Cabaret and Tribal, Traditional and the Modern, the Ethnic and the Urban.
Visit Karim's website...
A member of NYC's Middle Eastern Dance Hall of Fame for performance and choreography, Katia received most of her training from her mentor and Lebanese-American dance master, the late Ibrahim Farrah of NYC. She continues to study with Mahmoud Reda in Cairo, Yousry Sharif, in NYC, and International Dance Artist, Velerie Camille in NYC.
Through annual travels to Egypt, as well as travels to Morocco, Turkey, Greece, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia where she has studied dance, Katia has expanded her personal knowledge of North Africa and the cultures of the Near East, their music, and dances.
With 15 years of experience as a night club performer, Katia also has taught extensively in the U.S. and abroad for the past 35 years. She was Artistic Director of the Near East Dance Theatre of Boston for 12 years, and now directs and performs with the "Stars of the East" trio.
Visit Katia's website...
Meiver, the host of MassRaqs, is a fiery entertainer hailing from Dominican Republic, via Boston, Massachusetts. With natural grace (her middle name!) combined with a keen feel for Arabic rhythms, she is one of Boston's favorite and most sought after performers.
Meiver is delighted to be doing, thinking, living, breathing, and researching belly dance full-time as a Performance Studies doctoral student at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL. She also holds a Masters Degree in Gender and Cultural Studies from Simmons College, and a Bachelors Degree in International Business and Economics from the University of Massachusetts - Boston. She has been involved in feminist activism and social justice work for many years, and recently contributed a chapter along with fellow activist Carol Gomez to "The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities" (South End Press, Cambridge, MA. 2011).
Meiver has been a student, researcher, and practitioner of dances from the Middle East since 1996. She has been performing primarily within Boston's Middle Eastern communities since 2000, and teaching dance since 2002.
She has performed internationally with the Belly Dance Superstars, Collage Dance Ensemble and toured the Northeast of the US with Karim Nagi's Belly Dance Overdrive. Her dance and choreography style combines a unique blend of flavors learned through transnational study of these dances. As a student she has been interested in the many ways belly dance traditions are taken up and cleverly altered with subtlety in many parts of the world, adopting local flavors and preferences, while preserving the ability to please communities seeking traditional performances. Her dance is carefully directed and studied, energetic, and decidedly modern.
Following the long-standing traditions of originality and personal innovation in the performance of Middle Eastern dance styles, her dance reflects love and respect for tradition and culture while it is also infused with individuality and personal grace.
As an instructor Meiver is a careful technician that works to develop her students' physical strength and flexibility, proper posture and clean habits for an ongoing, safe practice. She passes on not only dance movements, but also a method for dance study focused on self-development, enthusiasm for growth, and paths to learning. Her excitement for the subject at hand is infectious; her keen eye and understanding of the dance provides individual, useful and targeted feedback. Her teaching approach emphasizes the development of a dancer's technical skills and artistry, awareness of the dance's history, culture and context, musical literacy and performance readiness.
Visit Meiver's website...
Bellybeat Dance Company, directed by Odella, made its debut in August of 2010 in Cambridge, MA. Since then, the company has been received with open arms by the dance community and has been invited to perform at various events.
Consisting of four core members - Celia, Dilya, Soraya and Odella - the dancers bring a wide ranging background to the stage, blending elements from ballet, modern, jazz and hoop dance with traditional belly dance. Odella, a classically trained ballet and modern dancer of over twenty years, uses her background in performance and choreography to create highly complex and unique choreographies.
The name "Bellybeat" allows for limitless exploration and does not pin the troupe to one specific style. The members of Bellybeat share a collective hope that their work and presentation of new ideas will progress the art form, honor tradition, and entertain with the utmost grace and elegance.
Visit Bellybeat's Facebook page...
Recently relocated from Los Angeles, Jeni has been dedicated to studying and performing Middle Eastern dance since 2003. She was originally drawn to this art form through her love of dance as well as her Lebanese heritage. In 2005 she joined Jillina's renowned company, The Sahlala Dancers, affording her the privilege to train with one of the world's most sought-after belly dance instructors.
Along with her weekly shows, she has performed in numerous theatre productions in and around the L.A. area, including "Belly Dance Evolution," a groundbreaking production that tours the world. Between 2008 and 2010 she danced in segments for popular TV shows including ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" and Fox's "Good Day L.A."
In addition to performing in various internationally distributed videos, including the upcoming release of "Belly Dance Evolution," Jeni also worked as a script supervisor on Jillina's most recent line of Instructional DVD's.
She currently teaches regular classes in MA, NH and ME and also works as a guest artist at Lowell High School teaching Raqs Sharqi to students in the dance program.
Visit Jeni's website...
Melina of Daughters of Rhea (Melinda Pavlata, Ph.D.) is a second-generation belly dance artist & circus performer. Melina is co-founder of her family's belly dance company Daughters of Rhea, and produces her own European family tented circus Cirque Passion. She and her husband, Czech circus star Sacha Pavlata, direct Moody Street Circus, a belly dance and circus studio for all ages in Waltham, MA with a mission to foster friendly community, strengthen bodies, hone skills, fuel and support joyous dreams, and promote positivity and fun.
Melina is on the faculty at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health and teaches a weeklong retreat -- "Wild Hips, Gypsy Heart: Belly Dance as Self-Empowerment" -- in the summertime. This year's retreat is August 14 -19, 2011. Come and dance with Melina 5 hours a day, do yoga, swim in the lake and eat delicious healthy food in a beautiful setting!
Born to a folk guitarist singer/songwriter father (Phil Marsh -- he played with Energy Crisis, Country Joe and the Fish & was Pickle Family Circus Band Leader in S.F.) and a gypsy-artist belly dancer mother (Maverick Trailblazing Icon of Oriental Dance Rhea of Greece) during the late 1960s Berkeley, California cultural revolution, Melina exited her mother's shimmying womb into a vibrant life of dance, folk music & performance arts of all ilk. She grew up performing with her parents on taverna stages & cabarets and in the circus ring, dividing her time between the ancient city of Athens, Greece and various cities on the East and West coast of America.
Melina is known for her daring and innovative use of props. Her dance acts include balancing a tray of lit candles on her head while belly dancing (a prop she has performed with since the age of seven), balancing a sword on a dagger clutched in her jaws and descending into a full split (she is the only belly dancer in the world to do this), an acrobatic tango on a ladder act, Whirling Dancer/Turkish Drops, serpentine floorwork, a romantic trapeze duet, an aerial hoop dance and circus fusion act, dancing atop mobile candle holders and glass goblets, spoken word/snaking hips and more is in the works. She has created numerous choreographies that are performed by students worldwide, including Cleopatra's Frenzy, Pho Pharonic, Walk like and Egyptian, Omar's Delight, Misirlou and more.
Visit Melina's website...
Paula is the 2011 "Champion of Champions" in the Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition. A former member of Jillina's Sahlala Dancers and Zahra Zuhair's Ghazella Dance Company, Paula is originally from the Dominican Republic and has performed and studied in several cities around the United States and her country such as New York, Tampa, Los Angeles, Dorado, and Santo Domingo. She's certified as a Dancer and Instructor of Oriental Dance by the renown dancer, master teacher and choreographer Zahra Zuhair.
Paula began performing professionally at the age of fifteen in Contemporary, Modern, Jazz, and Afro dance styles, and later taught dance at several universities in the Dominican Republic. In addition, she participated in multiple public and private events such as dance festivals, theater musicals, and television shows.
In the U.S., she was a guest artist in Bellydance Evolution, the new Belly Dance theater extravaganza created by dance superstar Jillina, where she was selected the "People's Choice" title winner. In this production, Paula shared the stage with Jillina, Sharon Kihara, Elizabeth Strong, Louchia, Angeles from Argentina, and the Georgian dancers Zura y Gia, among others. She's featured in the DVD "Ya Amar" of Dr. Samy Farag along with star dancers Sonia, Tamra-Henna, Maryam (Mexico), Aubre, and other internationally recognized dancers. In addition to her love for dance, Paula is a visual artist and holds a BFA in Fine Arts and a BA in Advertising.
Visit Paula's website...
A soulful and versatile artist, Roshana Nofret displays strength, grace, elegance, and fluidity in her dance. Fluent in Classical/Modern Oriental dance style, as well as various traditional folkloric dances of the Middle East and the fiery dances of the Roma, her diverse background in these genres of dance evokes brilliant, captivating and exciting performances, full of emotion and passion; and with an incredible connection to her audiences. Roshana seamlessly infuses traditional and contemporary dance elements, turning her presentations into a uniquely delightful and engaging cultural experience.
Born in Miami, FL of Cuban parents with Spanish and Lebanese background, Roshana started dancing at the young age of 14 under the instruction of Tamalyn Dallal and Bozenka at the Mid Eastern Dance Exchange, and continues her training with many world renowned dancers including Mahmoud Reda, Raqia Hassan, Dr. Mo Gedawwi, Mona El Said, Helene Eriksen, Virginia, and Karim Nagi to name a few.
This talented artist has also performed internationally in large-scale cultural festivals and events such as Orientalia 2008 in Hong Kong, for the Isis Club in Shanghai, China (2008), the International Bellydance Conference of Canada in Toronto (2007), and Raqia Hassan's Ahlan Wa Sahlan Festival in Cairo, in which she was the first American dancer to perform Tribal Fusion style in 2005. She is also the First Place Winner of the 2008 Miami Bellydance Convention's Professional Raks Sharqi Competition.
Visit Roshanna's website...
"Delicately lovely," Shema is renowned for her elegant and feminine styling with a powerful and glamorous approach to Middle Eastern Dance. Always interested in the history and development of this art form, Shema specialises in presenting traditional Folk dances from the Middle Eastern and Arabic World and exploring how they have influenced modern bellydance. These styles include Tannoura, Sai'idi, Khaleegy and Moroccan Tanjaoua Sha'abi as well as modern fusion styles such as fire sword.
Shema maintains an integrity within the dance — her passion, musical interpretation and approachability make her a sought after artist and instructor- she has taught and performed at Raqs Britannia (2010), is a regular guest at Planet Egypt in London and was invited to perform and present an academic paper at the International Bellydance Conference of Canada (2010). From 2008-2009, Shema was a member of Yasmina Ramzy's Arabesque Dance Company, also playing Kemanja (Arabic Violin) in the inspirational Arabesque Orchestra under the direction of Bassam Bishara. Shema is currently based in the UK, teaching, performing and running her company, Tangerina Dance Company.
Moroccan Tanjaoua Sha'abi is a street dance from Tangier, where Shema has studied on many occasions with local women. She is the only dancer in the UK to specialise in this specific style- a highly energetic and enigmatic mixture of Berber (Rifi) moves, Egyptian dance and elements of Gnawa and Shikhatt from the South.
Visit Shema's website...