Live Music is Magic

Dancing to music by Ritim Egzotik last weekend was such a treat! If you haven’t checked them out in Portland, you should. The bonus? They are usually playing for a bevy of beautiful belly dancers, as was the case last Sunday night at the Hawthorne Theater Lounge. Here’s a little video from my performance. I have not danced to live musicians regularly, but I hope that will change now that I’m living in Portland. It really changes the dynamic of my dancing and keeps me even more present in the moment. It’s magic, really.


What makes you an artist?

Artist StatementI came across this on the web the other day and it gave me pause.  What makes an artist an artist?  By definition (Webster’s) an artist is someone who ‘professes and practices an imaginative art’ or ‘a skilled performer.’   It can also mean ‘one who is adept at something.’  These definitions deserve consideration.  As dancers, are we artists because we are imaginative and creative beings, or does it take more…the honing of skills over time, combined with our creativity, before we are truly artists?  We are all creative beings.  Does that make us all artists?

In some respects, I would say yes.  There is an artist in each of us and that part of us deserves to be nurtured and expressed.  But to publicly call and market oneself as an artist requires more (which is why I am considering this question to begin with.) Do I qualify as an artist?  Creative type, yes.  Experienced, indeed.  Professional…ARTIST…maybe.  Let’s just say I’m working on it.

You see, I think a professional artist is someone who connects to others emotionally through their art.  You catch their attention, through sound, shape, form, color, words, rhythm, or movement and touch an emotion within them.  You connect with that emotion inside of them and draw it to the surface.  Not everyone can do this.  I’m not sure it can even be learned.  But I’m exploring.  Hoping.  And continuing to grow both technically and emotionally.  Growing and evolving into what I hope will one day be called “artist.”

Bollywood, Bhangra and Bellydance in Bend, May 7th

This is made of awesome! Join the High Desert Bellydance Guild as they host Samantha Riggs for two amazing Bollywood & Bhangra workshops and an exciting Gala evening show!  Workshop and Gala show details are below. High Desert Bollywood Poster

Workshops & Gala on Saturday, May 7th @ the Performing Arts Center
1155 SW Division Street, Bend

10am-noon: Temple Bollywood – Train your body to project emotion through the use of Indian postures and classical hand positions. Learn to perform a “Bollyasana” that can be used as either a warm-up or as a performance piece. Great for all types of dance styles and levels.

1:30-3:30pm: Bollywood via Punjab – Learn a spirited new choreography by Samantha, specifically geared to give a taste of both styles. Learn steps, hand positions and poses from the Bollywood style and how to transition into the athletic exuberance of Bhangra.

7:00pm: Gala Evening Show: “High Desert Bollywood” featuring Samantha Riggs & Portico

Workshop fees: Pre-register for $35 per workshop or $60 for both – Drop-in /day of workshop $40 each or $70 for both
Gala Evening Show tickets: Pre-pay: $10 for members, $12 non-members online: (service fee) or $15 at the door.

Please contact Rasha to pre-register or for more information.

Photos from the High Desert Bellydance Guild’s Winter Showcase at Silver Moon

Kamilia Bellydance

Kamilia Bellydance performs at Silver Moon Brewing Co. Photo: Nils Eddy.

Kamilia Bellydance

Kamilia Bellydance Photo: Nils Eddy

Enthusiastic Crowd

The enthusiastic crowd at the showcase. Photo: Nils Eddy

Just a few photos from the recent High Desert Bellydance Guild Winter Showcase at Silver Moon Brewing Co. on Jan. 16th.  It was a great event, with many wonderful performances and a very supportive crowd!   You can check out all the photos from the show here. The showcases only happen four times a year, so check out the next one in April at Common Table!

Event: Mosaic: A Day of Music and DAnce

Mosaic Logo

To view more information about this event, please click this link.

Mosaic: A Day of Dance and Music
Event date: Sept. 25th
Venue Name: Community Music Center
3350 Southeast Francis Street, Portland

Workshop is at 1pm for those who have a workshop ticket.
Concert is at 8pm

Brothers of the Baladi are pleased to announce a day of music and dance workshops and an evening concert focusing on the appreciation of Middle Eastern music. This event, Mosaic, is funded in part by the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC) that works to integrate arts and culture in all aspects of community life. RACC has served the Portland tri-county area since its inception in 1995, when the city’s Metropolitan Arts Commission transitioned into a separate not-for-profit organization based upon the recommendation of ArtsPlan 2000+.
The day will begin with afternoon workshops by Michael Beach, Ishmael, Bobak Selehi and Amel Tafsout. There will be a panel discussion and a Middle Eastern style souk (market) with food from Hoda’s and a wide variety of CD’s provided by Music Millennium. There will be afternoon showcases sets by local Middle Eastern groups: Arabesque Ensemble, David Rheihs and Friends, Negara and the Rhythm Keepers. The award winning film, Belly, by Cecilia & Chad Rinn will be shown as well. An evening concert will feature the Middle Eastern/World Music of the Brothers of the Baladi and will feature dance performance by Jane Archer.

Michael Beach: Vocalist, multi-ethnic drummer/percussionist and founder of Brothers of the Baladi & Arabesque.  Beach and his bands have been bringing their music to festival, college, concert and Belly Dance audiences all over the world for three decades. Allegro Media distributes their 11 recordings nationally as well as Beach’s 2002 solo CD, Hands of a Thousand Dances.  Michael’s 1991 Basic Middle Eastern Rhythms DVD was the first Middle Eastern Drum instructional video ever marketed and he continues to be one of the most sought after clinicians – from Basic Beginner to Advanced levels.

Amel Tafsout: An accomplished, international dancer and choreographer of North African Maghreb Dance, a story teller, a singer, a language instructor and a dance anthropologist. Fascinated by dance since childhood, Tafsout is versed in dances both new and old from her native Algeria as well as the multitude of ethnic/tribal/folk dances from neighboring countries. Her work draws on ritual and traditional dances from the Maghreb and the Middle East. In her early twenties she emigrated to Germany founding the successful Pan Arabic dance group: Banat As-Sahra (Daughters of the Sahara Desert), a company which was instrumental in dismissing Western prejudices about Arab women, bringing Arabic dance culture to Europe.

Ishmael: An acclaimed and well-respected professional master of the kanoun, 72 string zither of the Middle East. Born to Assyrian parents from Northern Iran, Ishmael studied Middle Eastern Maqam theory with Turkish kanoun master, Ismail Sheshalar in Istanbul and with oudist Harant Effeni in Los Angeles. As well as being fine pianist, Ishmael performed as a timpanist in the Santa Clara Philharmonic Orchestra. Known for his unique improvisational style, he performs the many varieties of Arabic music (Egyptian, Saudi, Lebanese and North African) as well as Turkish, Armenian, Persian, Greek, Hebrew and American music.

Bobak Salehi, MBA: Multi instrumentalist, Bobak was born in Tehran, Iran. He ventured into the music world when he was eight years old under the direction of his father maestro Hossein Salehi. He expanded his training into Western classical music by studying with classical violinists Anita Jones and Eileen Dies. In 1999 the Oregon Historical Society recognized him as master artist on Setar (Persian Long-necked Lute). In the same year, he founded the Damâm Ensemble, focusing on the classical and folk music of Iran. In 2003 he co-founded râz where he focused on blending the popular music of Latin America and the Middle East.
Bobak will demonstrate detailed examples of the Persian modes on Kamancheh, Setar, Tar, Oud, Daf, Tombak, Violin, Guitar and Voice.  Students will have the opportunity to try out some of the instruments, and ask hands-on questions about the scales, rhythms, or general materials.  The workshop will conclude with a small ensemble demo.  Students who play an instrument (any instrument) are encouraged to bring their respective instruments to the session.  Sheet music will be provided.


WHEN: Saturday, September 25th, 2010—begins at 1pm
WHERE: Community Music Center
3350 Southeast Francis Street, Portland
(503) 823-3177
ADMISSION: Workshops: $15
Concert: $12
Workshop/Concert: $20
Music Millennium
Timbuktunes on Hawthorne