A Weekend with Morocco “Aunt Rocky” in Salina, Kansas!

It was by chance that I stumbled upon a Facebook event for Morocco’s workshop in Salina, KS. Honestly, I knew little of this incredible woman who calls herself “Aunt Rocky,” and had no idea what to expect. Morocco shared stories and facts regarding dance and culture, and she incorporated her brand of sassy humor with every tale. Seriously, if you were not laughing and learning, you had no pulse!

The first day Morocco shared her choreography to the song “Basbousa.” Basbousa is a sweet cake made with lots of honey, a few other ingredients, more honey, and love. I don’t think I will ever get the true meaning of the song out of my head, and you’ll have to go to her workshop to hear it for yourself (I certainty can’t do it justice to explain it).

Morocco presented the breakdown of the choreography, with help from her assistant and lovely dancer Karima Nadira, in a way that was very tangible to an array of students at various levels. One phrase would be taught, then performed three times (“thrice” as she would say), before another phrase was introduced. Each time you performed a new phrase, you started from the top. You learned this choreography! She was not kidding when she told you it would be “embedded in your DNA!” 

The second day, she shared another choreography to the song “Khalik Fakirny” (Keep Remembering Me). It was a slower choreography, and beautifully done. My student that I encouraged to come along fell in love with this song and choreography. It moved her to tears, actual tears!

I could go on and on about my admiration for Morocco, but I also have to give credit to those who worked so hard to make this experience happen. The sponsor Sondra Crank (Zereh) and her assistant Julia Hardestry (Jaleeah) put together a very welcoming, professional, and absolutely wonderful workshop and show. This is the fourth year they have hosted a workshop as an annual benefit to The Tammy Walker Cancer Center in Salina, KS. Sondra focuses on educational workshops to benefit dancers that have little to no exposure to the rich history of the dance and culture. She has hosted legends such as Amaya, John Compton, Dahlena, Morocco, and next year Raffa!

Sondra and Julia created an environment that was very intimate, encouraging, and comfortable for any level of dancer. Prior to attending we were provided information on hotels in the area, and there was even a discount for mentioning the workshop! I was floored by the eagerness of the whole group to help you find your way around town, and they even accommodated for dietary restrictions and specifications in the lunch provided. The workshop vending offered numerous items such as belts, costumes of all types, music, props, jewelry, DVDs, you name it. Good luck walking away empty handed! The evening show was excellent, diversified, and very organized. I was honestly nervous about performing in the show having just coming off an injury, and Sondra encouraged me to just have fun on stage. I am so thankful for her kind words.

I already plan to return next year, and hope to have even more students attend. I also hope to see all those lovely ladies there again! Thanks for an unforgettable workshop, for your work with The Tammy Walker Cancer Center, and for all your effort to putting this workshop together.