313 Highland Avenue, Somerville, MA
Panel only: $25 (Cash only if paying at door)
These terms "globalization" and "cultural appropriation" have been at the center of many debates in belly dance communities for a very long time. Many of the online forums we read (bhuz.com, gildedserpent.com) are filled with essays and positions, as well as heated debate around these issues. What is cultural appropriation? What is globalization? How are these questions related to belly dance? What role do we play in these issues as practitioners? Why should we care?
This panel is comprised of respected artists who also contribute to our community through researching and writing about their dance practice. They are all accomplished dance teachers, performers, and speakers on a variety of styles of Middle Eastern and American forms of belly dance. They each will present their perspectives responding to the central topic of this panel. Meiver will introduce the panel and moderate the Q&A session.
Bring your notebooks and your questions! This historic conversation is not to be missed! Open to the public.
Panelists: Donna Mejia - EmmaLucy Cole (Shema) - Hadia of Canada - Karim Nagi - Katia of Boston - Naraya Ligouri - Tempest - Moderator: Meiver De la Cruz
Learn about the panelists ...
Donna Mejia is a choreographer, lecturer, teacher, administrator, and performer specializing in contemporary dance, traditions of the Arab/African Diaspora, and new fusion traditions in world electronica. Donna is amongst a handful of artists authorized to instruct the Brazilian Silvestre Modern Dance Technique.
Donna teaches, choreographs and performs an emerging genre of dance that dialogues Arab, African and nomadic traditions with American hip hop and electronica. Presently based in Massachusetts, she lectures and teaches for colleges, private organizations and dance festivals internationally such as Jacob's Pillow and the Bates Dance Festival.
She taught at Colorado College for 10 years and was Director of the Colorado College International Summer Dance Festival for the last half of her term. For twelve years she served as managing director of the award-winning Harambee African Dance Ensemble of CU-Boulder. Donna was Guest Artist in Residence with the Smith College Dance Department for three years and continues to teach for the college.
Donna is the founder and director of The Sovereign Project: a nonprofit arts collective dedicated to a reverent connection to the body by addressing social repression, distortion, sedentary lifestyle and acts of violence.
Visit Donna Mejia's website...
EmmaLucy began research into feminist and performance theory whilst studying at undergraduate level in the UK. Initially developed to further understand the role of women in the Art World, this gradually became intensely related to her career as a dance Artist (Stage Name 'Shema').
She has presented Radio shows and been featured in Music Videos and TV pilots as well as being a published writer with articles, short stories and reviews printed both in the UK, North America and online. EmmaLucy was invited to present an academic paper at the International Bellydance Conference of Canada (2010) which was on 'The Duality of the Medusa' in modern bellydance performances and which is currently being serialised by Gilded Serpent.
In May 2011 she helped to organize a conference on Expatriate Literature at the University of Bristol as part of her MA in English Literature, which brought together academics from across many disciplines to discuss the themes of expatriate writers, exiles and cultural diasporas. She is continuing this research into Orientalism and American expatriate writers in North Africa, gradually relating this to the appropriation of Middle Eastern arts in general by Western artists as well as exploring the current stages of Neo-Orientalism. She plans to begin a PhD in this area in 2012.
Visit EmmaLucy's website...
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.
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Meiver De la Cruz is a Performance Studies doctoral student at Northwestern University. She 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 also 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, combining 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 and is also infused with individuality and personal grace.
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Naraya is a third-year doctoral student in Anthropology at Brandeis University. Named a Schusterman Scholar for Israeli Studies in 2009, Naraya examines the ways in which Israeli and Palestinian theatre influence the social fabric of the region.
As both a form of cultural production as well as grassroots methods of conflict management, theater provides a means by which trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are addressed while simultaneously examining the ways in which these issues come to affect the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
Additionally, her lecture entitled, "The History of Belly Dance," examining the ways in which colonialism has come to affect what we now know as Raqs Sharki, has been presented at the Middle East and Middle Eastern American Center, CUNY in New York City, Boston, Salem and elsewhere throughout the East Coast.
Founder of Vadalna Tribal Dance Co., Naraya has over 13 years of dance experience blending elements of traditional cabaret into a foundation tribal fusion styles. To date, Naraya has performed at some of the most sought after venues and events including: Lincoln Center, the UN, the Egyptian Embassy as well as on the set of popular independent movies and national series such the hit TV show — Rescue Me with Dennis Leary, and many others.
Currently you can find Naraya traveling with Vadalna Tribal Dance Co. as well as at her weekly intermediate classes and may be contact directed at: email@example.com
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Based in Providence, Rhode Island, Tempest pulls from her visual arts background (BFA from RISD), literary tendencies, and global inspirations to create dance that crosses the boundaries of time and culture.
She is the premiere instructor of Gothic Bellydance in North America, and her extensive work in the genre has helped to define and develop the movement across the world. Her compelling performances exemplify her distinctively theatrical and expressive style, and are rooted in oriental dance technique with a transcendent approach. Her costume designs have revolutionized the look of modern bellydance, and continue to inspire new and old generations of dancers alike.
Tempest regularly studies with masters of the dance, particularly focusing her study on traditional and folkloric forms of the dance as she feels that the best fusion comes as close to the source as possible. In particular, Amel Tafsout, Artemis Mourat, Dalia Carella, and Lee Ali are treasured teachers and inspirations.
Tempest has taught over 175 workshops on Gothic & Steampunk Bellydance and Ritual/Sacred Dance across the continent and around the world, and actively travels each month teaching and performing. In addition, Tempest co-produced Gothla US from 2008-2010, and is producing Tapestry: A Dance Retreat Experience in 2011 and Waking Persephone in 2012 - both in New England.
Visit Tempest's website...