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 3!
Morocco created the Casbah Dance Experience to show the varied, fascinating ethnic dances of the Middle East and North Africa to the general public and give “a bit of home” to North Africans and Mideasterners in the West. She’s spent over 56 years trying to find, recover, preserve and present them before they disappear, due to modernization and/or fundamentalism. It’s a valuable heritage that must be saved from extinction!
Morocco collects as much music, steps & styles possible of each dance from many on-site viewings, questions & participation, etc. and chooses a variety of the most typical steps & figures, presenting them in choreography true to their origins, while pleasing to the eyes & ears of the theater public. She opened the door for Mideastern Oriental dance in museums, schools, at Lincoln Center, SUNY-Purchase and as a valid, valuable concert form. Research has taken her to Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tadjikistan, Kirghizia, Georgia, Armenia, Greece, Yugoslavia, etc.
Morocco continues to teach, research, write, lecture and perform and hopes to keep on “till 6 weeks after I’m dead”…
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 the final part of Angelina’s 3-part interview with Morocco!
Continued from “An Interview with Morocco – Part 2”
Angelina: What is happening in the world of Raqs that has your interest piqued?
Morocco: Au contraire – my interest is *not* piqued – I am very concerned!
Newbies seem to be afraid to *trust themselves* to learn Raqs Sharqi well enough to be really creative *within* the rich, complex/ plastic language they are given & were drawn to in the first place.
They pick “styles” they think are easier to handle / less “foreign”, mistakenly assuming they can’t do the real stuff or their audiences won’t like the “real” music or they opt for styles that are far more strenuous/ athletic because they don’t trust the strength of their own onstage persona to “win” their audience.
I believe that if they really learn these essential movements well enough that they become second nature/ automatic, their beautiful inner artist/ soul will emerge triumphantly from the cocoon & not require being “dragged out”…
A: You’ve had the opportunity to learn from and dance beside some of the most influential performers and teachers of the 20th Century. Who left the biggest impression on you?
M: The real people, the aunties, grannies, uncles & cousins dancing from a place of joy within themselves at weddings, engagement parties, with friends, etc.
FWIW, there were no “teachers” or schools when I started – dance was assimilated within the family & shared.
A: Is there anyone you didn’t have a chance to learn from or share a stage with that you wish you had?
M: Would’ve loved to have been a fly on the wall in the Opera Casino.
A: If you weren’t a dancer, teacher, and researcher for the past 56 years, what would you have been?
M: Miserable …
A: After all these decades of exploring the music of so many cultures, what music is your absolute favourite? Composer/Song/Style/etc. – what “gets to you” more than any other music?
M: Can’t narrow it down that finitely … too much great stuff, too little time …
A: These days it is harder than ever to be an artist. Politics, socio-economic factors, attitudes towards professions in the arts – they all present challenges for folks like us…
M: This isn’t a “challenge” – it’s a total betrayal.
I was truly ready to quit after the so-called “election” (I was actually planning on moving here to Vancouver, BC) but I’m not gonna let that rampaging 2-year old win. I decided to stay & fight.
The unbelievably horrendous rhetoric, behavior & lack of morality/ humanity of people/ politicians who should know better. The racism/ sexism/ xenophobia of a much larger segment of the population than I ever imagined existed. I am incredulous at the bottomless stupidity of the media that gave that rampaging narcissist so much free publicity & attention.
A: …so my final question to you is, what keeps you dancing? What keeps you educating others about the dance?
The love & acceptance I get from sharing with people like you & in situations like this – I decided I wasn’t going to let ignorant racists/ fascists take that away so easily …
Thank you, Aunt Rocky, for a most enlightening Q & A!
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 email@example.com 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.