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Journey to Saqqara

Classical Middle Eastern Dance Studio held its second annual concert on January 11, 2003 in DeMattias Performance Hall at Newman University. Our show featured the dances of a broad range of cultures. This year, our student company included 28 dancers. There were 360 guests in attendance, filling the auditorium nearly to capacity. Our studio photographer, Allan Flesberg, has prepared a wonderful photo collection.

A Tribute to Om Kalsoum

This music was originally recorded by the famous Egyptian singer. The dancers play Egyptian hand drums called defs.

Qasr Al Shoq

Qasr Al Shoq is a district in Cairo and the title of a book by Naguib Mahfouz. The dance is classical Danse Orientale from Cairo and Beirut; the costume is Turkish. Dancer: Robyn Tiemeyer (Habibah)

Saidi Dance from Robabekia Suite

This saidi, or country, dance was choreographed by Mahmoud Reda, the founder of the Reda Troupe, the national dance company of Egypt. Mr. Reda taught this choreography during his 2002 tour of the U.S. Dancers pictured: Donna Jensen (Nashita), Sonja Flesberg (Tahirah)


This traditional Egyptian men's dance is performed with a quarterstaff. It was once a combat dance in which men demonstrated their fighting skills. Dancer: Jared Rodgers

Remember the Ghawazee

This saidi dance alludes to the movements of the Ghawazee, the famous dancing girls of Egypt. They were both the “finest” women and the “most abandoned” of 19th Century Egypt. Dancers Pictured: Tamara Korenman, Dana Wright (Fatinah Hayat).

El Walad Da

Nubian folk dance, from the region of the Aswan Dam, is important today among Egyptians who are re-discovering their ancient and ethnic roots. Dancers Pictured: Judie Dansby (Jala), Safira Zeki, Christina Gregory (Alima Hasna), Desiree Rodgers (Scheherezade), Staci Rhodes (Najla), Donna Jensen (Nashita)

Simarik (Kiss-kiss)

“Eyes painted black, coquettish with glaring red lips, she stands up to me defying me . . . New customs have entered the old village.” The dance is Lebanese and Egyptian; the music is Turkish. Dancers Pictured: Marilyn Knowles (Bahiya), Norma Gheen, Stacey Hodges (Amunet), Lynne Bare (Najlah), Chelsea Pantle

Tahia's Dance

This is classical Danse Orientale, rooted in village dance, but long ago transported to the city. The music belongs to Tahia Carioca, a star on the Egyptian Silver Screen. Dancer: Lorrie Kessler (Ayesha)

From Tokyo to San Francisco

This duet celebrates Tribal Belly Dance, a California-born fusion of belly dance and Middle Eastern costuming. The musicians are a Japanese Taiko drum ensemble. Dancers: Stephanie Baumfalk (Shazadi Ahmar), Cheryl Savage (Tabassum)

Khaleegy Dance

Saudi Arabian women dance with their glittery, full dresses and their hair. Dancers Pictured: Stephanie Baumfalk (Shazadi Ahmar), Lorrie Kessler (Ayesha), Cheryl Savage (Tabassum), Desiree Rodgers (Scheherezade), Staci Rhodes (Najla), Christina Gregory (Alima Hasna), Judie Dansby (Jala), Sonja Flesberg (Tahirah), Susan Carr (Sawsan Zarra),

Take Five

Expressionist dance inspired by Elena Lentini, director of the Caravansary Dance Theater in New York. Dancer: Safira Zeki

The Lady and Her Five Suitors

In this Arabian Nights tale, the lady plays a grand joke. All laugh, and everybody is happy. The music is an Armenian 5/4 rhythm. Dancer: Desiree Rodgers (Scheherezade)


In character dance, the dancers take on slightly different personalities. Together we can imagine what it is like to be from another culture. Dancers Pictured: Connie Williams, Brenda Swanson (Rafiqa), Robyn Tiemeyer (Habibah),

The Magic Hat

A Spanish rhumba and a flamenco sombrero. Dance inspired by Elena Lentini. Dancer: Safira Zeki


This Andalusian gypsy dance form mixes Middle Eastern and Spanish influences. The music is from the movie, “Blood and Sand,” starring Tyrone Power and Rita Hayworth. Dancers Pictured: Stephanie Baumfalk (Shazadi Ahmar), Desiree Rodgers (Scheherezade), Cheryl Savage (Tabassum), Susan Carr (Sawsan Zarra),

Paquita Variation

This ballet is the story of a Spanish gypsy in love with a French nobleman. It dates from 1881. Mara Whitaker is a principal dancer with MBW. Dancer: Mara Whitaker

I'm Yours

A fusion of Spanish and Arabic influences. The song was originally a hit from Colombia. Dancer: Sonja Flesberg (Tahirah)

Naeima's Hip

The drum solo is a favorite of Middle Eastern musicians and dancers alike. Dancers Pictured: Judie Dansby (Jala), Desiree Rodgers (Scheherezade), Lorrie Kessler (Ayesha), Donna Jensen (Nashita), Cheryl Savage (Tabassum)

Samia's Dance

In Egypt's Silver Screen era, dance epics featured casts of beautiful girls and soloists who celebrated the self-expression of the dance. The music was written for the famous Samia Gamal. Dancers Pictured: Sonja Flesberg (Tahirah), Connie Williams, Tamara Korenman