An Evening at Casbah Theater: Concert w/ Morocco & Tarik, Jan. 3, 1998

The evening started with an exotic otherworldly dance by Shoshana and Ayshe. The intense imagery projected by the dancers and ethereal movements of their veils transported the audience into the tormented fever dream of the dancer and her demons. The pleasure and the pain of the dance, of life became real to the onlookers, as the music and the dance swirled and crushed into a stunning and surprising ending.

Following, this dance, the Casbah Academy Intermediate Class performed two dances. To see the elegant graceful lines as the women performed in unison was inspiring. Then Nesrin’s Oriental solo quickly followed and it was fantastic. She is beautiful, and moves with a sumptuousness that only a talented experienced dancer possesses. The ever incredible, saucy Rayhana performed “Ghalbi Mala” next. So full of life, her dances are well worth the trip from anywhere. I highly recommend seeing her whenever you can. she is an outstanding performer and her smile is as light and airy as her dancing. Bravo!

Having never seen a male performer, not only educational but also a pleasure as well to see the mastery of the male component of the dance that Tarik abd el Malik (Tarik Sultan) has accomplished. The strong powerful lines of the sword and the amazingly graceful movements of Tarik were exhilarating to watch. He is incredible.

The waterjug dance, “Raks al Balas”, was a show within itself. Lights, camera, action! Gamila el Masri is so versed in the art form of the dance. It is as if it is as much a natural function to her as breathing. It is obvious she enjoys performing as much as audience enjoys watching her. What a delightful treat to see such feisty, spicy performance from such a knowledgeable dancer.

The audience held its breath waiting for Morocco to come out onto the dance floor. One of the most renowned dancers in the United dancers, she is a Master of her craft. Smiling and singing constantly with the music, the fiery performer skillfully moved around the room. Her costume seemed to be created out of living red beads, dancng with a life of its own, all induced by her masterful shaking. The audience’s applause, zaghreets and cheering was deafening. Such a elecrifying performance, such life!

And before the audience could even catch its breath from the dazzling performance by Morocco, Artemis Mourat floated out onto the floor in a swirling mass of yellow skirts. Performing the Rom A La Turca, gypsy dance, Artemis expansive knowledge of dance and her unbelievable energy( if one could only bottle that energy and sell it!) absorbed the audience into another world, another time and place. Her incredible zil work coupled with her dancing brought zaghreets of approval from the audience. who clapped and cheered her on An outstanding performance to end the first half of the evening!

After a brief intermission, the fantasy lights come on again and we waited for the second half of the program: Raks Sharki Salad. Starting with an aggressive performance by Sandra Catena, the evening rolled on followed by Tarik who performed a male version of Raks Sharqi. Then the ever amazing Morocco again masterfully painted a dance of movements, light and sound. There is nothing more beautiful than a woman who is in complete mastery of every part of her body. Then Artemis Mourat returned for Oryantal Dansi, she performed with the same energy as before, an incredible feat! How can she maintain that intensity?! But the finale of the evening was more than worth the price of the ticket. A performance of the ying and the yang of the dance, Morocco and Tarik danced “A La Kefek” duet. The dance accentuated the female and the male form of the dance to contrast and compare. It was a feast for the heart and the eyes! As if it was possible the applause was louder and longer than the dancers, I think, but inspired and exhilarated as well. And to think, Morocco and company were to perform again the next day in a Sunday matinee.

I have but one more thing to say – Morocco is scheduling her 20th Anniversary Gala Concert and Fundraiser on April 4 at 8 pm at Haft auditorium at F.I.T. Beg, borrow or steal the money for a ticket, if you have to…. it will be more than worth it….

(January 3, 1998)