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Beyond the Desert

Classical Middle Eastern Dance Studio held its third annual concert on January 24, 2004 in DeMattias Performance Hall at Newman University. We joined Scheherazade in a journey of dance discovery through the Middle East, visiting the dervishes, and danced primitively. We saw Orientale in the haramlek. We paid tribute to Billie Holiday, Elena Lentini and Mahmoud Reda. It was a splendid, sold-out affair and was warmly received by the packed house. A high quality video was professionally shot from multiple camera angles and is available now. To order your VHS or DVD copy, contact Safira Zeki. Reserve your copy for $20; $25 if you require shipping. This year, our student company included 58 dancers. There were 425 guests in attendance, filling the auditorium beyond capacity. Our studio photographer, Allan Flesberg, has prepared a wonderful photo collection.

Video clip of the show!

To download the large file, right-click HERE and save.
To get a free copy of Quick Time Player, click HERE.

Buy a high quality DVD or VHS tape of the whole show for $20. Multiple cameras and digital editing make this a fine keepsake or documentary. Contact Safira Zeki

Act 1

Welcome to the Dance

An American Scheherezade enters the world of dance with the help of her muse. Pop meets antiquity as we progress to a fusion of Algerian trance music, dervish spins and primitive dance.

El Marouge

The dance is contemporary Danse Orientale as you might see it in a nightclub in Cairo or Beirut. the costume is Turkish. Choreography, Costume, Dancer: Safira Zeki

Olurum Sana: I would die for you.

“Oh, at last, love has found my doorway / And came creeping to me softly / And entered my soul.” Mid-East dance to Turkish rock music.

The Spanish Hat

A fusion of Spanish dance and Argentine tango from a Middle Eastern perspective. Choreography: Elena Lentini, NYC


Fred Astaire inspired the famous Egyptian choreographer, Mahmoud Reda. This cha cha, courtesy of Dance Connection, is our nod to appreciation of East for West. Choreography, Costumes: Lou Ann Schmidt

The Falling Leaves

A Middle Eastern ballet. The music is a waltz from Turkish television. Choreography: Mara Whitaker

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.

Russian Gypsy

Middle Eastern culture has been influenced by the Gypsies for thousands of years.

Natacha's Tango

Egyptian music and dance meet American-style tango in this fusion of Egyptian and Argentine culture. Welcome Dance Connection, Wichita's ballroom exhibition team. Choreography, Costumes: Lou Ann Schmidt

My Man

A remake of the famous Billie Holiday song, performed in the style of classical Egyptian music.

Raks Tahira

Danse Orientale and movement from Alexandrian Greece, inspired by Elena Lentini in her Summer Intensive in New York, July, 2003.

Act 2 - Banat Eskendria

Act 3

Al Hinna

Vintage dance and staging reminiscent of the Egyptian Silver Screen era. The music is a classical composition by Mohammad Abdul Wahab. Choreography by Maleeha.


The Odalisque: reclining on silk, pampered in the harem? The costumes are a nod to Mata Hari, the theme Orientalist, the music from composer Farid Al Atrash. Inspired by Maleeha.

Protecting the Harem

Aaron Allen and Stephan Hedden put their gym time to good use.

Raks al Sayf

(Dance of the sword) The sword dance illustrates women's strength and power as well as their poise and balance.

Bafta Hendi: Cloth from India

A selection from Mahmoud Reda's Robabekia Suite. Mr. Reda taught us this dance during his 2002 tour of the U.S.A. Choreography, Music: Mahmoud Reda, Cairo.

Cairo, Istanbul

The music is contemporary classical; the dance, Arabic-Turkish. From Elena's 2003 Summer Intensive in New York.


A dance to drive away the evil spirits. Floor work has long been a part of Middle Eastern dance in nightclubs and restaurants. The zar movements in this dance, is popular in the Egyptian countryside.

Lirrili Reprise

Our farewell to you. We hope you enjoyed our show!