Review of Morocco’s August 2006 Weeklong Seminar (or Magical Morocco)



Reading the recent dance posts on the MED list, I thought was would add my 4 cents about Morocco’s weeklong workshop, which I will never forget.

Luckily and finally after 5 years of studying this dance , I was recently able to take Magical Morocco’s weeklong workshop in NYC. I had no idea what a delicious dance meal I was in for.

I had taken a few single classes with her over the years and sort of knew what her big colorful personality was like and that she was a much respected expert in this field of dance but I was amazed by the combination of people and information for us she put together in a very intense week – she presented the “heart” of the dance like a diamond with many facets, all related, but each very different.

Everyday we warmed up to the same wonderful, controlled, classical oriental exercises. For me this was more than bliss. It was like being “home” the way I always have felt in a ballet class when there is daily, disciplined consistency, basics to work on, which can be perfected and filled out ever more, like fine wine, by practicing over and over and getting better slowly.

Every day after the warm up we learned with a myriad of teachers, choreography and dance styles. Forgive me for not remembering all the teacher’s names because there was so much. The dancing they taught I will always remember.

We learned a very dancey Oriental piece and cane dance from Magical Morocco, and a dramatic Oriental entrance piece from Tarik, her “wonder boy” (as she calls him).

We had a Persian class from Medea Mahdavi, learning new expressions with eyes, hands, arms and lilting steps.

Ayshe arrived with her beautiful and unique wings design and movement ideas for using the “Isis Wings”.

Joe Williams taught his gentle and loving Delsarte approach to all movement. If we all practiced Delsarte the world would be more peaceful.

Our very last class of the week, which was for me “the ultimate dance circle of life class” was an Isadora Duncan class. It my very first Duncan class after a long life of Isadora being my life/ dance/ muse.

Some of us who have studied Modern dance know too well that she was the “mother of modern dance”. And we know all about Ruth St Denis and the thread that continued through Martha Graham etc. But, my own self,  knowing all that history was wondering – How can a Duncan class be connected to Oriental dance which comes from the East? The movements, the feeling, the aesthetic, the costume, the music are all completely different but guess what?

Morocco knows this connection and she is putting it together for us and I feel that this is partly her greatest gift to this dance. She connects the diamond dance dots. She knows that all dance movement comes from the source of love and from ultimate self expression, no matter what you call the class or dance style – if it comes from East or West.

During this last class, in addition to a warm up (very different than the daily Oriental warm up of the week) we learned snippets of choreography ideas. But we also learned a “Gypsy dance” to a Chopin Mazurka. I really felt, dancing to that gorgeous music and using those gorgeous movements, as if I had died and gone to dance heaven.

In addition to all the classes, of course, were the performances. At the beginning of the week all the teachers performed, for the students and dance community in Morocco’s wonderful transforming studio. At the end of the week all the students, performed at the famed Lafayette Grill. Last but not least Magical Morocco (she could be called the “energizer bunny”) danced solos and a beautiful duet with her “wonder boy”, Tarik.

Tarik in true pro style – gave us a wonderful improvisation on a drum solo. (Here is a good lesson to remember) He’d forgotten his CD music of the night. I was completely honored when he asked to borrow my drum solo. I didn’t know at all what to expect – no one did, probably we were all expecting another dancey drum solo but no!!! – He danced the entire solo standing on a dumbeck!!! Amazing – Just hip work, mirth and glee!

I want to add here that during the entire week we never used veils or skirts or zills or any other props. It was all pure and wonderful, pure technique!!!

Here’s the URL for a recent article about Morocco and her career:

Much love Barbara, the dancing spirit.

Dancers interested in participating in Morocco’s January or August week long seminar, contact Morocco at: