Hadia's International Belly Dance Academy archive
Category: Dance History

April 7, 2014

An Invitation to Morocco…

by Hadia
Categories: Dance History, Travel & Tours
Tags: No Tags
Comments: Comments Off

“Hadia’s Tours” are renowned for sharing authentic and unparalleled experiences into the History, Culture, Dance and Music of Exotic and Vibrant lands, including Turkey. Now I invite you to join her for an unforgettable journey to the Magical Kingdom of Morocco.

After more than a year in the planning, this Moorish adventure sets a new precedent by bringing you into the heart of the thousand year old Moroccan Berber culture via the 49th Festival of Folk Art in Marrakech. Unlike most countries who present professionally-trained dance companies to perform their folklore, it is the people of Morocco’s villages who travel to Marrakech from the mountains, desserts, oases, river valleys and sea sides, to present their living folklore in the outdoor theatre of the ancient El Badi Palace near D’jma al Fna. Among this year’s performances will be ‘Bidat Rma, Ahidous, Ain A’arma, Ahouash Imentanout, Ahouash Ouarzazate, Ahouash Tisint, Aissawa, Daqqa lMerrakshiya, Gnawa, and lGuedra.

New to this year’s event has set up a small village in the olive groves of the Shabab gardens of the red city, which will feature authentic Moroccan culture and traditions. A mobile exhibition will also roam Mohammed V Avenue to bring traditional music, song and dance to the general public. Finally, a large residence will also be provided for the Lem’elmin (masters of Moroccan folk arts), their traditional bands, and a group of students artists to share their knowledge and culture across the generations.

Here is a quick peak at some young ladies from Tisint and check out the headdresses WOW, now this is real taste of Tribal! Can’t wait for the shows and our class with them!!
Here are some young ladies from Tisint — check out the headdresses WOW! Now this is real taste of Tribal! Can’t wait for the shows and our class with them!!

We have been able to arrange exclusive lessons during the day with several of the festival’s groups of dancers and musicians. I will also review the folkloric class material plus share my own unique and oh-so-yummy version of oriental dance with the group during our stay in Marrakech.

We will have many more fascinating things to do and see in Marrakech as well as 5 days of Fesitval performances and classes, before continuing our adventure through Berber villages of the Atlas Mountains (including Kenifra and Azrou) en route to the majestic medieval city of Fez, home of the Sacred Music Festival. Our exploration continues in Fez with a multitude of ancient sites and a very special trip to an authentic Moroccan hamam (bath). We will continue onto Voulubis, the Roman capital of Northwest Africa; Rabat with its many amazing sites and finally end our adventure in Casablanca, the largest port city in the Maghreb, as we discover the mystique of Spanish Moorish influence, as well and Colonial French Connection of its Art Deco décor. But, I will paint these pictures for you in my next post, coming up in the next few days.  While you are waiting, feel free to drop me a line at hadia@hadia.com (I am still on tour over in Asia, so please don’t call before April 18th) and I will be very happy to give you more details about this very special journey. You can also have a look through our itinerary and pricing at http://www.hadia.com/travel/morocco2014.

This really will be the trip of a lifetime, so hope to have you along for the ride. See you soon!

oxox Hadia

September 9, 2013

Moroccan Magical Mystery Tour

The Sahara, Mountains, Mesas, Beaches, Verdant Valleys, Oases, Magic, Music, and the most incredible living Folklore, Tribal Berber Life and French Elegance, Sumptuous Cuisine, Hamams, Africa ….

As I was writing Chapter Eight of my memoirs, which begins in Spain and continues into Morocco, every memory, sound, sight, feeling, smell, and touch was as clear as though I was right back there in Marrakech; exploring the Medina and Djema al Fna; soaking up the magnificent Marrakech Folk Festival under the stars; driving through the ever-changing, mystical country. So, I thought that I would share a little glimpse of this amazing place with you right here and now and the exciting news that I am setting up our very first Tour to Morocco this coming summer. Make sure that you mark your calendars right now for the end of July!! I will continue to give you details of this amazing tour that we are planning along with a short introduction to a different selection of Moroccan Folklore with each new article. Today I am going to introduce you to one of my favourite and perhaps the best know of all Moroccan Folklore – the Guedra.

Guedra Pot

The Guedra is actually a large earthenware cooking pot, which is transformed into the primary percussion instrument for this intriguing dance of the same name. It is a ritual dance practiced by of a faction of the Tuareg People (also known as the Blue people from the indigo dye that stains their skin a blue colour). Although the Tuareg are largely nomadic people who traverse the sands of the Sahara, some have chosen to settle in areas like Goulimine and Tan Tan. They are a matriarchal society, where women enjoy a great deal of freedom and independence. In fact, the women do not wear a face veil (like many of the traditional Berber tribes in Morocco). This is an honour reserved for the men, once they reach puberty.  Now this version definitely gets my vote!!

Unlike the Moroccan ‘Hadra’ or the Egyptian Zar, which are ‘exoricsim’ or trance dances, the Guedra Dance is an ancient ritual of healing and blessing. The ritual begins with the Guedra Drum played at a slow tempo that  resembles the heartbeat.

Click the “play” button to hear Guedra

This is accompanied by hand clapping. and singing in the traditional African ‘call and answer’ fashion. The dancer wears a kaftan or ‘jalaba’ covered by a very long length of fabric called a ‘haik,’ which is wrapped around the kaftan, pinned at the mid collarbone with fibulae (old roman safety pins), a complex headdress of cowrie shells and beads, with tightly braided hair incorporated into the headdress. A blue or black veil covers her head and face and a large “magic” necklace is placed over this veil, around the neck.

Often the dancer will begin moving hypnotically from a standing position, which is called the T’bal, while the hands follow the rhythm with small staccato movements, sometimes flicking the fingers in particular directions. Once she moves to a kneeling position this is referred to as the Guedra. As the tempo increases, so do the hand and arm movements which address the four directions: North, South, East and West; the four elements: Fire (the sun) , Earth, Wind and Watesun, the sand, the past the future, the liver, the soul, and all present who receive the blessings of the dancer.

As the tempo and dance crescendo, she will also incorporate swaying and tossing of the head from side to side and chest lifts and drops and eventually removes the veil from her face and head. But a video is worth a thousand words so enjoy…

I will be back soon with another featured dance of Morocco and more details about our fabulous Moroccan Magical Mystery Tour!!

Also don’t forget to join the incomparable Master of Egyptian Folklore and Lead Dancer of the National Egyptian Folkloric Company and myself for a Fabulous Four day weekend of wonderful workshops featuring authentic and traditional dances of Egypt, oriental dance and (perhaps) a chance to try out the Guedra!!? Winnipeg, November 8-11, 2013. For all info and registrations just click on this link http://www.nicola-bellydance.com/?p=2241

And don’t forget to get your deposit in before the September 30 deadline and make sure that Denise and I don’t forget to come and teach you a tons of wonderful information and fill you with inspiration!!

— Hadia