Reminiscence 2024

3 New England States
8 Dancers

5 Choreographers from around the World
An Orchestra of New England's Finest Middle Eastern Musicians
One Unforgettable Celebration of Middle Eastern Culture in New England

A dance extravaganza featuring live music and dancers from throughout New England, Reminiscence brings dance and culture fans together for an immersive experience of Middle Eastern folkloric dance and Raqs Sharqi (known as Belly Dance in the USA). Featuring the choreography of international artists of Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, KSA, and America. Through the universal language of music and dance, "Reminiscence" celebrates music and culture of the Middle East.

The Schedule:

November 3rd: TBA Shortly

November 9th: Regent Theatre, Arlington MA

November 16th: TBA Shortly

Would you like to be a sponsor or see us stop at your venue? Email raqondance@gmail.com

Sponsor the Project (links also below)

 

 

 

The Choreographers:


 

Ashraf Kodak (Egypt) is a well-known and acclaimed folkloric dancer and actor in Cairo, Egypt. He has a lifetime of dance performance, both as a solo and an ensemble artist and as an actor of stage and screen. As a baby Ashraf’s family moved from Upper Egypt to Cairo where he started learning hip-hop at the age of 10 and Egyptian Folkloric Dance at 14. He formed his own dance group, the Nubian Stars at the age of 17, and at the age of 22, Ashraf was performing daily for over 5 years on the Nile cruise boats, the Nile Maxim and the Nile Pharaoh. During his twenties, Ashraf performed at the Fairmont and Semiramis hotels, and at the age of 28 he signed a contract with the Egyptian Ministry of Culture's new style dance company, the Forsan El Sharq Heritage Company. He has studied with several folkloric troupes has performed with many famous Nubian singers over the years. Ashraf has been contracted with the Cairo Opera House since 2012 and participates in the Egyptian Belly Dance Festivals, Camp Negum and Cairo Khan as a master teacher every year. Ashraf performs often at the Cairo Opera House and is well-known for his work in the Saidi style, being featured on television and in movies, and can be seen performing often as a solo artist, with other dancers, and teaching at Egyptian and International festivals. As an actor, Ashraf has performed in many shows, including at the Cairo Opera House, and in movies. 

 


Khadijah (KSA) is a respected teacher, dancer, ethnologist of African-origin dances. She has been a choreographer for 22 years and is grateful to be considered one of the most influential names in Arabic dance and folklore. Khadijah is based in Denver, CO and is of Kenyan descent, born in the Kingdom of Saudia Arabia (KSA). She is known for having unique style of teaching Afro-Arabian Folklore, both in its music and its cultural aspects. Khadijah is highly sought after in the Denver community and can be seen performing live in Denver's top establishments. She is thankful to have been invited to teach and perform in multiple U.S. states and abroad, both in the past as well as for her current engagements. Khadijah continues to perfect her dance education by studying with great masters and composers of Afro-Arabian Dances worldwide. Khadijah travels frequently to improve her approach, stylization, technique, and cultural aspects of these dances as well as the culture that is embedded deep within the foundations of the African diaspora. Website: https://www.thedancerkhadijah.info/

 


Shadia Tohme (Lebanon) began Middle East dance as a teen, dancing socially in the Lebanese and Turkish communities. Her first teacher was her father Mikhail, who taught her women and men’s folk dances of Azerbaijan. In Raqs Sharqi Shadia performed as a soloist and folk dancer with many top artists and musicians from Lebanon, Egypt, and Syria on the Middle Eastern Entertainment circuit along with her late husband, Ibrahim Maalouf. They toured throughout the United States, Cananda, South and Central America) for eight years as part of complete show that included, singers, full band, monologist and folklore. From 2006 to 2010, she and Samia Maalouf directed and trained teens sponsored by the World Lebanese Cultural Union to perform traditional dances of Lebanon.

In 1985 (to 2015) she created the Mirza Dance Ensemble (named after her father) which presented folkdances from the Arabic speaking countries as well as Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. The Mirza Ensemble performed at numerous ethnic festivals throughout New England, New York, and U.S. In its last three years, Mirza expanded its repertoire to include traditional and contemporary wedding tradition (zeffa) and celebrations. Mirza was popular on the college circuit in New England and made numerous appearances for the Center for Arabic Culture’s Spring Fling concerts. There have been over one hundred Mirza members, spanning three generations since its inception. Shadia has been teaching, choreographing and conducting Raqs Sharqi and folkloric workshops since 1975 ….and still going strong! In 2015 She was commissioned by Boston College to train students of Middle East studies to perform, Lebanese, Iraqi and Palestinian folkdances for their Astaza Middle Eastern Orchestra’s Annual Concert.


 
 

Soumaya MaRose (Morocco) is an award-winning performer, teacher, and cultural ambassador based in the U.S., between New York City and Boston. A member of the International Dance Council, UNESCO, Soumaya is the only dance artist to have been repeatedly invited to perform at the Boston Global Music Festival, the CrashFest, and has been honored to collaborate with Atlas Soul (North African music), Club Mediteranee (Arabic and Balkan music), Salma Dance Company, Walid Zairi and Talween, Boston Camerata, the Moroccan Festival in Revere, and The Dance Complex. Formerly a member of Belgium music ensemble El Housna, Soumaya is more recently the creator, producer and director of several productions in collaboration with renowned organizations: Morocco Nights - in collaboration with the institute for Global Arab Media, Democracy and Culture of Chicago, Ya Msafer - in collaboration with Center of Arabic Culture (CAC), Madarej El Naghem - featuring the music compositions of George Maalouf, and Attai Sharq - Théàl'Oriental - a cultural exchange forum. As a teacher, Soumaya has taught master dance classes of Moroccan Culture, domestic and international, as well as at several universities around New England. Combining her academic training in Geography, her personal heritage, and self-reflection, she works to deepen her students' understanding of dances from both the Arabic-speaking world and the Amazigh World. Website: https://www.soumayamarose.com/

 

 

 

Amity (USA) is the founder, director, choreographer, and instructor of the multi award-winning dance school, Raq-On Dance, and is the director of Reminiscence. Amity fell in love with Middle Eastern dances at the age of 15 and has never looked back. Trained by the musicians and dancers of New England, Amity sought further instruction and research through annual trips to Egypt and was invited to teach at the Camp Negum Festival in Cairo in 2015. With over two decades of experience, Amity has taught over 10,000 dance classes, hosted over 100 special guests for workshops from across four continents, and produced New England's largest dance festival, the Northeast Shimmyathon Festival. Her dance style incorporates the classic New England style of performing, Vintage American Oriental, which arose from performing with live music, along with the Classical Golden Era style of Egyptian Cinema.Website: Raq-on.net

 

 

 

 

 

The Musicans:

Jamal Sinno (Kanoun) is a New England favorite and member of many ensembles. More to come soon!

George Mansour (percussion) born in Syria of Syrian and Lebanese descent, is a professional Arabic drummer based out of Boston, Ma. His love of drumming started around 5 years of age when a family member bought him his first dirbaki (tabla). He grew up listening to many Arabic drummers but especially loved the style of Basim Yazbek. His first formal drum lesson was with the well known Boston drummer Ibrahim Malouf. Years later he took lessons from the very knowledgeable Mohamad Mejaour, and presently plays a newer style taught by the technical Turkish style of Raquy Danziger. His love for different drumming styles has led him to incorporate instruments like the cajon and timbales. He continues to study different rhythms and styles and enjoys writing out drum solos and playing gigs with different musicians. He has played in the Boston Arabic scene since 1990; recently at Arabic venues such as Lava Lounge, Opa, Byblos, and in private weddings and haflet. In 2023, George accompanied the Boston College Arabic Orchestra as a drum teacher and musician

More musicians to be announced shortly!

 

The Dancers:

 


Alashiya (MA) has studied the art of belly dance since 2005, originally learning the techniques of the dance from Serena and her proteges at Serena Studios in New York City. In 2013, she stepped into the role of co-director of Snake Dance Theater Company with a vision of harmonizing members' dance movements and highlighting their unique styles. Alashia also holds a Maser's Degree in Arts Education from Havard University. She is passionate about sharing her artistic vision and love of dance. 

 

 

 

 


Ankara Rose (NH) is a professional dancer, choreographer, and instructor based out of southern New Hampshire. A lifelong passion for movement, and study in a variety of world dance genres has influenced Ankara in developing her own signature stylization she calls “Celtic Fusion Belly Dance”, which is a dynamic fusion of Irish Step, Scottish Highland, and Middle Eastern music and dance. Performing professionally since 2005, Ankara has performed as a solo dance artist as well as appearing alongside top Celtic and World music acts at festivals and in stage productions across the U.S. and Canada. It is Ankara’s goal to create community and to share her passion and joy for these dance forms and the cultures that they represent. Ankara currently teaches regular classes and workshops in the Southern New Hampshire and Monadnock regions. Website: https://www.AnkaraRose.com/

 

 


Bri Adoara (MA) started learning the art of Middle Eastern and North African dance in 2007 with Kahraman Dance Studio in Iowa City, IA, with teachers Farida and Maleeha. While dancing with Kahraman Dance Studio, joining their folkloric company in 2011, Bri explored the dance through workshops with the legendary Mahmoud Reda, Francois Rahme of Cara Calla, and renowned midwestern dancers, including Mona N’wal, Arielle Juliette, Sonya Blacker, Cassandra Shore, Leila Gamal, and Ruby Jazayre. Bri performed live music for the first time while working with Salaam Band, a brilliant musical ensemble from Indiana led by Dena El Saffar. Since moving to Boston in 2013, Bri Adoara has continued to grow as a dancer and artist, studying with many teachers as well as discovering her own voice through this beautiful art form. Bri has focused her study under Shadia Tohme and Soumaya MaRose, and has taken classes and workshops with Nadia Jamal, Laurel Victoria Grey, Karim Nagi, Aszmara, Yasmina Ramzy, Khaled Mahmoud, Lubna Emam, and others. Bri was a regular dancer at the Middle East Nightclub in Cambridge, MA and has performed at Karoun, Athenian Corner, Moksa, Belly & Soul, Cafe Raqs, and Byblos. Bri Adoara is also a proud founding member of Lionesses El Atlas, a MEHNAT dance troupe led by Artistic Director Soumaya MaRose, focusing on cultural education and experiences through music and dance

 


Hannah Christine (VT) discovered Middle Eastern dance in 2005, exploring Egyptian, Lebanese, and Turkish styles under the instruction of Ishara Gamal in Illinois. Hannah wandered into the world of fusion styles of Belly Dance and studied under a variety of teachers in Illinois and across New England. In 2015, she discovered Amity Alize and Raq-On Dance Studio and jumped headlong into studying dance. Hannah fell in love with the graceful movements and confidence the dance brought and was forever hooked by the deep history, culture, and music of this dance for. Hannah loves the emotive aspect of the dance, especially when it allows her to express and share joy with an audience. She performs solo at community events and theatre productions as well as with Raq-On Dance's student troupe, The Raq-ettes. Hannah continues her growth and love of dance by taking weekly classes with Amity Alize at Raq-On Dance as well as with Aurel of Ancient Art Studios.


 


Kaylin (MA) is a MEHNAT and fusion dancer who has studied a variety of dance forms including Raqs Shariq, folkloric dances from the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey, the Mediterranean, and western dance styles. Kyalin’s study of MEHNAT dance, music, and culture has involved workshops with various world-renowned professionals including Tamalyn Dallal, Sahra Saeeda, Jillina, Yasmina Ramzy, Leila of Cairo, Artemis Mourat, and Karim Nagi. She completed a Dance minor at Mount Holyoke College and received her Master’s in Dance Science and Education at the University of Edinburgh, and has traveled to Cairo, Egypt on a dance anthropology tour in 2018. Kaylin’s primary goals as an instructor are to increase her students’ body awareness and self-confidence, giving them the ability to access different styles of instruction, movement, and expression in MEHNAT dance. Kaylin is currently teaching classes and workshops and is available for performances. Email: kaylindance@gmail.com



Namid (MA) has been dancing since she was a young girl and became involved with Middle Eastern dance in the late 1970s. After taking a long hiatus, Namid once again found Middle Eastern dance in 2003. She has studied locally with Brooke Bishara, Katia of Boston, Amar Garcia, Riena, and Kaylin, in addition to travelling to Turkey and Egypt multiple times for dance and cultural enrichment and education. Namid is a founding member of the Origins Folkloric Dance Company, a group specializing in dances of the Middle East and North Africa, and she has co-produced live music shows featuring local belly dancers of all levels with The Belly Dance Circle Co-op and AKM Productions.

 

 


Raquel Mansour (MA) has been studying and performing folkloric and Shariq dance since 1998. Her specialties include playing zills, balancing, and layered shimmies. Concentrating in the Oriental styles of Egypt and Lebanon, Raquel started her training with Mystique and Casita of Boston and has studied most extensively with Christine “Shadia” Tohme Maalouf. Raquel studied floor work and balancing technique with Johara and was a member of Johara’s Snake Dance Theatre of Boston. Raquel currently studies with Sara Al-Hadithi for targeted training in the dances and music of Iraq. She has traveled to Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon, and Syria to study the culture, language, and history of some of her favorite places on Earth. Raquel is currently performing in various entertainment venues, for weddings, special events, college student organizations, and Arabic haflet around New England

 

 


 

Rebecca (VT) has been obsessed with dance for many years and grows more inspired by, and in love with dance as time goes on. A native of New England, Rebecca loves to travel and immerse herself in new places and cultures. The culture, depth, creativity, and community that come from this dance in all of its forms are an inspiration to her, as are the many amazing people Rebecca wouldn't have met if it weren't for dance.