Better late than never! The Mia Sha’uri weekend of workshops and a gala show October 15-16 was a resounding success. Kudos to Cassandra Al Warda for sponsoring this event. Every year, she outdoes herself with an autumn workshop and show.
Mia Sha’uri, premier international phenom from Puerto Rico was the guest instructor and featured performer. She lived up to her reputation as “the queen of props.” On Saturday, she presented a workshop utilizing the veil in many elegant and unique ways. Sunday’s workshop with the tambourine was a fun challenge. Dancing the intricate choreography was one thing, trying to master the tambourine while doing so was quite another. The number of attendees who could actually do both was impressive.
Mia made the use of both props seem effortless during her two dances at Saturday evening’s big show. Her tambourine routine in cabaret garb was enchanting and her Spanish fusion veil routine is striking black and red was mesmerizing.
A variety of Northeast Ohio’s dancers and troupes also performed during the two-hour show. Some were making their debuts at the annual event held at the Bohemian National Hall in Cleveland.
Lara Adrienne, a professional dancer visiting from Turkey performed a delightful solo to open the show. Ellway followed with a solo, performing choreography by Zahra Zuhair, adapted by Angela Prato.
Cassandra Al Warda’s Level 2 students from her Beachwood studio, danced a glitzy cabaret routine. Kelly Belly was next with a sensuous and sultry solo, the consummate “lady in red.” Farah Page, new to belly dance but with innate talent danced a tribal fusion piece, a la her instructor Rachel Brice. She is Level 1 certified with Rachel.
Cassandra Al Warda took to the stage with a lively cabaret routine, as fiery as the orange glow of her flowing costume. Local legend Dahmia and her Ahawat el Rakisat troupe added to the joie de vie with a syncopated zill routine and drum dance.
MaeLa from Columbus performed an Egyptian-style solo. After came one of the area’s newest dance troupes with the most seasoned members, Pro Ohio. Professional dancers Mariah, Kelly Belly, Ellway and Erika Elliott joined forces in a glitzy cabaret group routine. After, Soma and Farah mirrored each other in a delicate tribal fusion piece. Like twins in dance, their similar styles meshed beautifully.
Closing the first half of the show was Mia Sha’uri with her spirited tambourine dance. As stated, she made it look easy.
After intermission, a time to grab some luscious desserts from Kan Zamann and beverages, the show continued.
Mariah opened with “assaya”, an exquisite folkloric cane dance. Soma came next with a piece incorporating her Indian heritage, all beauty and grace. Ladies from Cassandra Al Warda’s Westlake studio appeared next with a lively cabaret routine.
Making their debut at the Hall were Lilli and Nailah. Yes, it was one of the first times I’ve danced in front of my local dance peers. There is a lot to be said for dancing in front of fellow dancers, even to a short piece … it’s nerve-wracking. Funny, I can dance in front of 300 strangers as a soloist and my nerves dissipate. In front of those who you fear may be critical … talk about stress. Lilli was wonderful, though, in the duet and her solos to the hip-hop, Arabic-inspired dance tune.
Dance du Soleil out of Akron followed with their amazing and elegant style. Justine Burhen brought her sword for a graceful solo.
Cassandra Al Warda’s premier troupe, the Wind and Sand Dance Company performed their truly amazing Khaliji routine, complete with gorgeous lavender and gold costumes. The music, choreography and costuming were wonderful.
What can I say about the next performer? Erika Elliott is the “queen of the zills.” In her flashy Bella costume, she was nonstop motion: isolations, floor patterns and those zills pinging. Wow!
It’s nice to see that dance troupe Raks Chandani has continued on as a cohesive and lovely dance group.
Safiyah came next. A petite dynamo, her performances are always so precise, smooth and pretty.
Closing the show was Mia Sha’uri with a Flamenco-inspired fusion veil routine. She is so pretty to watch. Yes, she makes it all seem so effortless!
Until next year … another autumn workshop and show …