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4000 Years of Egypt - Student Dance Concert

Classical Middle Eastern dance held its first student concert on January 19, 2002 in DeMattias Performance Hall at Newman University. 240 guests attended the concert, which featured the cultures of ancient and modern Egypt. Our dance styles reflected Saidi (rural) dance, Danse Orientale, and a mix of Arabic and Flamenco movement.

We're indebted to Allan Flesberg for his documentary photography of the rehearsals and performance.

Leysh Nat'Arak, inspired by Elena Lentini, imagines how the ancient Egyptians must have moved, and worshipped, and mourned their dead.

Tech Crew: Sandi King, production stage manager and lighting designer, works with her daughter Leslie to cut out gels for the stage lights.

  • Creative Staff:
  • Artistic Director: Safira Zeki
  • Production Stage Manager: Sandi King
  • Lighting Design: Sandi King, Desiree Rodgers
  • Light Technician: Jared Rodgers
  • Sound Technician: Tim Seitz
  • Set Design: Jared Rodgers
  • Costume Design: Jared Rodgers

Rehearsal: The company helped make the show a success by working hard and attending extra classes. Here they rehearse Leysh Nat'Arak the morning of the show.

Stephanie Baumfalk (Shazadi Ahmar), Laura Burghart, Susan Carr, Kenya Cox, Dana Cumberland (Balqis), Judie Dansby, Kathy Ditty, Kelly Dorris, Sonja Flesberg (Tahirah), Christina Gregory, Karina Hernandez, Melinda Jacobs, Donna Jensen (Nashita), Lorrie Kessler (Zahreen Nur), Judy Leach, Nancy Mendell, Dana Newby, Irene Perez (Asiya), Nell Ranney, Staci Rhodes (Najla), Desiree Rodgers (Scheherezade), Cheryl Savage (Tabassum), Teresa Schwind, Carol Skaff (Ma'isa), Robyn Tiemeyer (Habibah), Connie Williams, Nancy Witzell.

Danse Orientale: Nebtiti Minin El Hikiya (“When did the story start?”), choreographed by Maleeha, might have been inspired by the Casino Opera, a 1930s Cairo cabaret that brought us the first Egyptian dance stars and composers. Music composed by Mohammed Abdel Wahab. Performer: Safira Zeki.

What is classical dance?
Classical Middle Eastern dance emphasizes the steps which are performed by dancers in their native lands: Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Turkey. We try to understand how the native dancer would think, feel and move, right down to the bounce of a shoulder or the flex of a foot.

Arabic-Andalusian: This fusion of Flamenco and Arabic dance was inspired by movement from Mariano Parra and Elena Lentini.

  • With thanks to our volunteers:
  • Production Assistant: Renee Sanders
  • Production Assistant, Dresser: Aronda Kerns
  • Dresser: Elaine Kinder
  • Video: Jim Gregory, Jacob Burghart, Staci Rhodes, Tim Seitz
  • Photographer: Allan Flesberg
  • Tickets: Victor Sanders
  • Ushers: Tarita Gordon, Javel Rhodes

Reprise: Sonja Flesberg takes a moment to acknowledge the audience, their applause, the gift of dance.

Our mission:
The mission of Classical Middle Eastern Dance is to enhance respect for Oriental dance both in Wichita and the greater dance community. We wish to share our knowledge and love of the cultures of the Middle East, and to present these cultures in a positive, honest light. We experience the feelings of the Middle Eastern people by learning their dances. Through movement--first by learning, then by sharing with others in performance--we promote a greater friendship between cultures.