Monday, November 12, 2007

Santa Cruz Weekend

This past weekend my dance group went to Santa Cruz for a workshop and performance. It was quite a big deal----at least from what I could tell. We were taking a masters class by a world-renowned choreography named Yousry Sharif.

Our class started first thing Saturday morning around 10:30 a.m. and we didn’t finished until 4:00 p.m. It was an awesome workshop, and one I’m glad I was invited to participate in. If I’m being really honest, I felt like a little fish in a big pond with all these phenomenal dancers. Just taking our workshop in a professional ballroom was impressive. :-P

Immediately after the workshop we rushed back to our hotel, took showers and quickly prepared to go to a show to see two performing musical groups, accented with dancers. The opening group was called AZA. They were incredible. They were a young, hip group that actually did Arabic music infused with reggae and other twists of music. The lead band members were Moroccan and they were soooooooo much fun.

(AZA - AZA, local favorite and rising star on the international world musicscene, will open the show with their delightful music and spontaneoustraditional dancing. Recently returned from their second concert tourto Morocco and France, AZA combines traditional Tamazight (Berber)music indigenous to the Atlas mountains of Morocco with the globalinfluences of its diverse members, featuring deep danceable grooveswith infectious vocals and melodic style.)

Here’s a small sample of their music.

The main performance was The Georges Lammam Ensemble. Oh my goodness these people were absolutely incredible. Georges is a marvelous violinist. His brother Elias played the accordion unbelievably well, and the other brother, Tony, was a fabulous drummer. They also had a Pakistani woman that sang who was out of this world.

(The Georges Lammam Ensemble, noted for its awe-inspiring presentations of a panoramic range of the Arab musical repertoire, with the Santa Cruz premiere of its latest CD, Dreaming the Diaspora. Blending artful Eastern improvisation with Western harmonic and melodic styling, this original music will sing to people of all cultures - songs for love, songs for dance, and songs to heal. As artistic director of the Georges Lammam Ensemble, Georges is devoted to bringing the rich diversity and passion of Arabic music to listeners everywhere. He performs throughout the United States as a featured artist and with global fusion groups.)

Here’s a sample of their music as well as one of the dancers that performed.

On Sunday we had a free day to leisurely walk about the town. We found a little coffee shop called Bad Ass Coffee – Coffee with an attitude. :-) Meandered through a little flea market as well as some cute little shops.

Later that evening we performed at a cultural center with dancers from all around the world. Again feeling like a little fish in a big pond, myself and the two girls I roomed with, were really nervous. However, once we finished our performance we were all thrilled we survived. ;-) After the show, we went to a quaint restaurant and celebrated our teacher’s birthday and ended our time together with a wonderful meal and wonderful conversation.

Truly it was a memorable weekend filled with fun and laughter, alhamdullilah.


dusk till dawn said...

salam ibee
when u said u being into Santa Cruz i thought u have flown to Venezuela ha ha for along weekend.then i realized u got alot of spanish names in USA ,u seem realy had gr8 times and fun lough, and danced the nites away,thats what they call a weekend break,the music sound realy good,and the belly dancer is a mazing better then shakira,did u have a go?
what make me lough was the little coffe shop logo,Bad ASS woooooooooow is that refeering to the donkey?or it it a mule?
thanx for sharing it, was brill

PH said...

Great to see you having a fun weekend how was the weather over there? Over here its like -6 no hope of having the fun you're having here :p.


ibeebarbie said...

Salam Dusk Till Dawn,
LOL@flying to Venezuela. Well let me tell you, if I get two days off in a row it's like flying to Venezuela, African and Europe all in one. LOL

The Bad Ass Coffee shop was a great little spot to hang out, but of course we didn't have much time so didn't really get hang out too long. However, I had to take a picture as I thought the name was great.

Salam PH,
Oh poor habibi, you are freezing. :-( Amira and I invite you to come to California and we'll have some fun.

adnan said...

I am happy that you enjoyed the trip
Moroccan band was amazing, I enjoyed
And belly dancing makes the heart glad followers to enjoy every minute I wish you happiness

ibeebarbie said...

Salam Adnan,
Indeed the Moroccan band was amazing. The one guy, Fattouh, was soooo incredibly talented. I think he could play every instrument in the world, mashallah.

There was a Pakistani woman in the other band that sang some kind of spiritual song, which of course we didn't understand the words, but nonetheless it just moved you to tears. It was extremely powerful. Truly for me the dancing is an absolute art expressing the feminity and beauty of a woman. It's too bad others try to turn it into a sexual thing because it's not.