*These comments are my own. Very grateful to be a member of Atlanta’s Intl Community happily supporting dancers throughout the city. This Nigerian-American is eager for all the shows!
AFBD hosted an outstanding event to commemorate their 7th anniversary. It was a joyous and very emotional event because the evolution of the dancers that took the stage was overwhelming. Being a member of this community for just over a decade I have watched dancers start as students and blossom into teachers and studio owners. I have to say the efforts and hard work are paying off for several. Some of the highlights and most notable performances pertaining to my experience are below.
Shoutout to Sig Sawyer who was very entertaining and one of my favourite hosts for any show. He’s always dressed well and is very polite no matter who you are or what your status may be in whatever circle. He’s all kinds of equal opportunity kindness and doesn’t do that clique-ish tomfoolery. I appreciate that. *pardon but my program was ruined so I don’t have everyone’s names and forgot to grab an extra at the studio last week to try and edit this to respectfully give these great artists their proper titles… So bare with me.
Their opening was very modern and had an air of mystery to it. The whole set was just really beautiful to watch. They certainly have a theatrical feel and are worthy of a stage. The lighting and entire presentation was stellar! The costumes were a really nice touch.
Again, another amazing costume in this show. She’s a great dancer and in this particular performance put a lot of effort into the entire presentation. Not only did she execute moves very well she looked polished and complete. Nothing was half-assed. For me this is a model performance for professionals. It can be taught and mastered. Hadil made it look very natural, non-manufactured. This is American raqs sharqi.
It’s awesome when we have extra cultures represented in the shows. This was a celebration of not just bellydance but the real global dance, things you’re going to see if you’re out and about in the world spending time “with the people.” Heidi gave us a very raw yet delicate cultural glimpse of salsa? from Cuba. It was quite lovely. I saw someone do a similar style in a beautiful yellow dress once and this brought me back to those cherished moments of sitting down in the square watching the grown ups as a kid in the international community. What a joy to see it as an adult. Great work and what a gift to share.
Here’s another stellar example of a cultural moment come to life. Whether she likes it or not or wishes/doesn’t wish to be considered this, Majda is one of few cultured kids we’ve got in the Atlanta “Bellydance” community doing raqs on the real. I’m talking straight up, non-fusion, raw raqs sharqi. While she is a wiz at music and dance, making her one of our most highly educated teachers in the Atlanta raqs realm, she is also one of few to truly do a solid cultural set to truly perfect music. Sidi Mansour with zills in that dress? Oh heck yes! That right there is what I grew up seeing and just as I was getting worried that I’d never see it again from someone in my own age group stateside., there it was! I hope others will follow suit and keep that style alive. That’s what you’re going to see when you hang out “with the people.” I could watch Majda for hours and not grow tired. This is what gets me out of bed in the morning. THAT. THAT right there!
Really enjoyed their set. I had been wanting to see them for quite some time and was glad to finally experience their energy. I hope they will be regulars on the Atlanta scene and join the dance teams, teach workshops and more in the area. They are very important.
Karma was stellar as expected! Great performance!
Nahari was another gorgeous spirit that floated out on stage. I was really impressed with her presentation, her whole look was just captivating. Even with the costume malfunction it was gorgeous. I shamefully wanted her to just keep going despite it all. It was so damn pretty and she handled it so well, so graceful that you’d have thought it was part of the show. I actually liked it. Is that wrong? It probably is. She is just sooo gorgeous. I’ll stop there. But not before saying yes, I noticed her outstanding work on that skirt! OMG!
Aziza Nawal was praised heavily. I, too, lost my voice making zaghareets for her. I mean what else can one say? How many times can we say, she was awesome? That goes without saying. Her stamina, energy and joy have covered this city and others. We are simply blessed to have her in this town, hands down. She is one of the best raqs artists in the nation.
Sabeeya’s salute to Bhangra superstar Lavesh was gorgeous and energetic. I just lose myself in his work and so it’s nice to see it well replicated! Very nice!
There was a group of latin dancers there that just floored us! They were outstanding and I really hope they come and dance at future events even if the theme is something else entirely!
One must mention Awalim as they have such an impact in the area of Tribal Fusion Bellydance. I’ve always enjoyed watching them. They are mesmerizing and their music is always perfect. This is one of my favourite pieces in their repertoire and many in the audience were humming along and participating. They’re an Atlanta favourite. It was great!
Aziza Nawal’s class Banat Nawal also presented a lovely piece and shout out to them for wearing several unique pieces from MissBellydance.com! *Big hug from MissBellydance.com for the students being in so much of the brand’s newest selections. Everyone looked really good. The outfits flowed so nicely. What a gorgeous set that complimented the students and their amazing teacher.
Fatin’s class’ Raqs Masri presentation made me cry. I was absolutely taken aback by their fantastic tahtib/assayah set. It was such a celebration of this wonderful part of Egyptian culture and was performed so well. I just felt myself trembling watching them. So much history in that piece. I’m crying as I type. Sets like these are essential and should always be included by groups who have a passion for it. They let us know that this was deep down in their hearts!
There were also two ladies from North Carolina I believe? They were a joy to watch as well. I hope they come back to Atlanta and spend some time with us. They were so lovely and their dance presentation was just beautiful. Bravo!
!!!!Colleen Shakti!!!!– I don’t even know where to begin. I need more of her spirit in this town. I want lots more of that. Being a child who grew up with so many cultures very active and around me in that we were constantly fasting, feasting and celebrating because between the South Asians, Africans, Greeks, Middle Eastern, the French, the English, Chinese, Japanase, Malay and Taiwanese, there really wasn’t a holiday we didn’t celebrate. Watching her reminded me of the wonderful, traditional dances I saw from South Asians in our community. There were young kids and adults who were trained in this discipline and I loved to watch them for hours and was known to do so. I would sit at the dance stage and go to the studios and just watch til nightfall. Seeing Colleen Shakti in both sets was such an erethreal experience, I sincerely have no other words. I wanted to scoop her up and take her home with me. I wanted to put her in a delicate doll bed and just pray over her and thank G-d I had her. She became magical to me as she performed. I felt like I was in the presence of something really great and bigger than anything I’d ever experienced. It was really something. I was spiritually swept away.
Again, there wasn’t one person in that show that didn’t put forth a great deal of effort. The above are the ones that really stood out to me. Even when mistakes were made or something went wrong, it didn’t ruin the set or mar the show. Everyone held our attention and deserved the applause they received. Very nice! Praying, trusting and already grateful for year 8 insha’Allah!
Big thanks to all who make AFBD and those they support, so absolutely amazing! Here are a few more video snippets and photos from the night:
Thanks for reading,