A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to study some different dance traditions when the Master Egyptian percussionist and dance expert Karim Nagi taught a workshop in San Francisco.
Master Teacher Karim Nagi
It was my first chance to study with him, since in the past his workshops have always been sold out by the time I have found out about them! And now I know why firsthand: he's a great teacher. He's expert in breaking down the movements and giving corrections. He has wonderful energy and his ability to dance, drum and shout out instructions all at the same time is truly amazing and just fun to see. While I of course loved learning about all the different dances, my favorite thing about the workshop was hands down being in his presence for 3 hours, observing and listening to him.
Tahtib and Debke
Our workshop covered different folk dance traditions and the ones we concentrated on most were Egyptian tahtib, or the men's stick dancing, and debke. Nagi infused his teaching of movement and technique with cultural background, explanations of the lyrics of the songs we were dancing to and stories of his travels and talks with the people who do these dances as part of their lives, and this is absolutely what made the workshop for me. I would love to be a able to travel through the Middle East and see the dances myself, talk to the people who dance them but that is only a dream right now. It's lovely when a little of that comes to me :). I love learning about how dance fits in with everyday life.
Karim Nagi Videos
Of course, I have some favorite Karim Nagi video clips to share. Here is an older tahtib performance:
And here is a newer clip I saw just the other day on his Facebook:
And, just for a bonus and because I love zils so much, this is one of my absolute favorites: