WORLD PREMIERE / Egypt
In Tahia’s Dance, soloist Nicole Maria presents Egyptian raqs sharqi, dancing her homage to the great twentieth-century belly dancer and film actress Tahia Carioca.
Raqs sharqi, also known as belly dance, evolved from Middle Eastern and North African folk dances traditionally danced by women in their homes and by traveling entertainers. In the 1920s, during Egypt’s Golden Era of dance, entertainer Badia Masabni took the earthy and intimate raqs sharqi to another level in the cabarets of Cairo. She and her dancers—including Samia Gamal and Tahia Carioca—transformed the dance to a form of sophisticated cosmopolitan entertainment, with extravagant stage performances, grand entrances, a revealing two-piece costume, wide traveling steps, and lines seen in western ballet. In the 1930s, Cairo became glamour-struck by Hollywood, and soon opened its film industry. Tahia Carioca became an Egyptian film star, performing raqs sharqi for millions with her lovely serpentine arms, and her natural musicality and grace.
Nicole Maria’s choreography evokes the classic style of Tahia Carioca’s raqs sharqi, and contributes a personal, modern twist. “Every dancer brings their own unique flavor to the classic Egyptian style of raqs sharqi, as I am bringing my own style and movement quality to this performance,” says Nicole.
Nicole Maria is an award-winning belly dancer based in Oakland, California. She has been studying, teaching, and performing contemporary and traditional forms of Middle Eastern dance since 2009. With a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology and World Music from San Francisco State University, Nicole’s focus is on the intersection of culture and dance.
The Georges Lammam Ensemble joins Nicole Maria onstage to perform Tahia’s Dance, a song originally composed by Mohammed Abdel Wahab for Tahia Carioca’s performance in the 1958 film Habibi al Asmara. The melodies are played on violin and keyboard, and the percussion includes doumbek (tabla), tar frame drum, and riqq tambourine.
July 6 & 7
Choreographer/Soloist: Nicole Maria Hoffschneider
Musicians: The Georges Lammam Ensemble: Amina Goodyear (percussion),TeriAnne Gutiérrez (percussion), Hashem Abdel Hadi (oud), Khader Keileh (keyboard), Georges Lammam (violin), Susu Pampanin (tabla, percussion), Mohini Rustagi Vora (percussion)
Photo: RJ Muna