photo: Lori and Mandy Naseelah with Zoey Jakes (center). October 2015
THEY ARE IN PINK AND POINTING AT A GIRL IN THE MIDDLE HOLDING A CERTIFICATE
With Schoolhouse Raqs fast approaching, I have been thinking back on all of the workshops I have ever taken. There have been a lot! I have been rather privileged to belong to a great lineage of dancers through my primary teacher, which traces back to Fifi Abdou (love that woman). Add to that the long list of dancers whom I have taken workshops. Local and regional favorites, as well as some very well known dancers, are on that roll. Taletha Al Badr, Avassa, Zoey Jakes, Chandara Gamal, Laylia White, Yasmina Ramsey, Amy Sigil…the list goes on and on.
One may think I would stop taking workshops at some point. Or perhaps I may start to feel as if I must only follow my own style. However, I want more workshops. I would love to soak up all of the energy, knowledge and wisdom from every dancer possible. I have a “style,” I think. But to me, each and every workshop is an opportunity to learn a new move, a new way of doing the same move, a look at my self as a dancer and to admire those great dancers around me. I may know a lot at this point in the game, but I definitely have a long way to go, and I don’t ever presume any one dancer ever knows it ALL (except maybe Fifi…lol). Workshops are where I get to tap into all that makes the art what is.
I once read that great runners never try to beat someone else’s time. The great runners run to beat his/her own previous time. This is how I feel workshops should be. I am not looking to exactly duplicate the style of that dancer, but to improve my own style. Maybe I will learn a new a favorite move. Maybe I will just tuck that move into my mental “file” to be pulled out at a later date while hammering out a choreography. Maybe I’ll use it in during an improv because it suddenly feels like the time and place to throw it in. However, if I had never taken the workshop, I would not even have that particular tool in my box to pull out.
There is always something to take away from workshops – always.
And so, with this sentiment in place, I want to formally invite you all to our spring “thaw out” event: Schoolhouse Raqs. Please see the info at http://www.troupezephyr.com/schoolhouse-raqs. Also be sure to check out our autumn event, Gypsy Mystique, as more details become available.