Dearest readers, we are absolutely thrilled to present a series of interviews with the inspirational movers, shakers, and beautiful dance-makers that inspire us.
This is An Interview with MOROCCO – Part 2!
Since 1964, Morocco has written for several publications in her field and been reprinted in dance, medical and feminist publications internationally. A true pioneer in the field, she taught a 3-credit course in Middle Eastern Dance and Culture at the State Univerity of New York (Purchase, NY) in the mid 1970s. Her first reference book, “You Asked Aunt Rocky: Answers & Advice About Raqs Sharqi & Raqs Shaabi” has received numerous 5-star reviews and is fast becoming the go-to book in the field. It has been translated into Chinese and German and will soon be in Spanish. You can purchase the book here.
Morocco will be visiting Vancouver, BC from April 21-23 to bring us the very first workshops and lectures for her new book, “The Fundamental Movement Vocabulary of Raqs Sharqi“. Want to know more? Read on! Workshop information is after the interview below…
Enjoy Part 2 of Angelina’s 3-part interview with Morocco!
Continued from “An Interview with Morocco – Part 1”
Angelina: Beyond knowing the correct “steps”, what, in your opinion, are the most important qualities of a dancer who performs Raqs Sharqi? What are some essential qualities that you like to see in a dancer?
M: In all innocence, you have hit the major misconception right on target. A Movement Vocabulary is *not* simply a series of specific “steps”, just as a novel or poem or lecture is not simply a collection of words or letters, imitated or repeated by rote or formula. You could program a robot to do that, but it’s not really dance.
The movements are the “elements” we combine & assemble to “illustrate” the beauty of the music & express our souls. Each “letter” is a piece of that word/ language & can be used by itself or in myriad combinations with many others …
It’s a particular dancer’s *understanding* of the movements, culture, attitudes, meaning of the lyrics/ music chosen & then interpretation of the music, phrasing, rhythms, *attitude*, etc. with individual artistry within those permitted perimeters that make it dance and Art …
A: What do you think are the most important qualities & qualifications for a teacher of the dance to have?
M: Knowledge, patience, ability to explain things correctly/ how to do the movements safely/ get the points across and inspire / enable the students to access the very best in themselves …
A: The communities connected to the world of Raqs Sharqi love your “no nonsense” approach to teaching. Keep it real for us, Aunt Rocky – what do you see happening in the world of dance right now that you would rather not see?
M: Bigger/ harder/ faster/ stronger is *not* what it is. It’s *not* a gymnastics competition at the Olympics. (& I ought to know – I used to beat the music to death!)
“Popping”, “locking”, “hitting” are words/ concepts that shouldn’t even be *thought*, let alone acted upon. This sort of attitude is anathema to real Raqs Sharqi & dangerous to the dancer …
Sometimes overdoing can cause serious injuries – so can over”drilling” & too much fusing ends up being CONfusion…
A: The flip side of the previous question: Are there any new forms or approaches to the dance that you have been enjoying?
M: Actually, a real return to learning the basics thoroughly; *then* if one wants to, taking it to many wonderful “places” from there is what is needed more than ever. The continual search for “new” will mean almost eternal frustration with oneself.
To be continued…
Part 3 of our 3-part interview with Morocco is coming soon! Stay tuned for more!
Want to study with Morocco in Vancouver this Spring? You can!
These workshops and lectures run from April 21-23 at the Firefighter’s Hall in Burnaby BC, and are a valuable opportunity for dancers of any style to expand and refine their knowledge of this rich, beautiful dance form.
Morocco is proudly presented by Azrakesh – a local dancer and producer (check out her amazing shows 4 times per year at Seven Lounge in Vancouver) who is so happy to be hosting Aunt Rocky in Vancouver yet again!
Registration opens December 1st with some amazing Early Registration discounts! Due to the cumulative nature of this immersive weekend, single-day registration is not currently available.
Only a few spots remain!
December 4 – January 31: Register for $300 CDN ($240 USD) Save $50!
February 1 – April 20: Regular pricing at $350 CDN ($280 USD)
* Pricing does not include Paypal fees. E-transfer is also accepted.*
**Please note that while registration is non-refundable, it is transferable to another participant if you can no longer attend.**
Contact Azrakesh at firstname.lastname@example.org for registration info and details, or find more information about the workshops on Facebook.
To learn more about the marvelous meanderings of Morocco, her work, life, and upcoming events, visit her site.