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3 Oct 2011

Arabesque Dance 15th Anniversary Gala

Arabesque Dance  15th Anniversary Gala

Last week Arabesque Dance Company & Orchestra celebrated its 15th Anniversary, with an exquisite  “Best of Arabesque” – Black Tie Gala Event Arab Music, Arab Dance – a Bridge to the Arab Soul at the lovely Fleck Dance Theatre located at the Harbourfront Centre. For those who don’t know Arabesque Dance Company & Orchestra was established in 1996 by Yasmina Ramzy, a master and evolutionary choreographer in the art of Bellydancing. Yasmina’s career spans 30 years and has been quite an eventful one from performing around the around for the likes of Middle Eastern royalty and heads of state, after which she decided to found the Arabesque Dance Company and Orchestra, Arabesque Academy and the International Bellydance Conference of Canada (IBCC). The brilliance that is the Arabesque  wouldn’t be if  the collaboration between Yasmina and the knowledgeable musical director Bassam Bishara wasn’t so beautiful, over 60 choreographies and eight full scale productions later and the magic of Arabesque continues to be an amazing showcase of Middle Eastern dance and music.

The night began with a beautiful cocktail reception where guests sipped wine, munched on delicious hors d’oeuvres (the chicken skewers were a hit), treated to a wonderful photographic history of Arabesque Dance Company and Orchestra. And of course what would be a black tie gala without a silent auction… items such as: bellydancing classes, electronics, spa day, camping gear and a whole bunch of other goodies.

One of my favourite treats of the evening was the delightful hand-made beaded bracelets that you could buy for $20 and guess what… one lucky box had a gold bracelet!! It was the perfect little game to play, too bad I didn’t win.

The highlight of the night was right after cocktails… the full dance company and orchestra of 17 dance artists and 11 musicians performed a uniquely creative repertoire marking highlights of previous works.  The MC and founder of Nations United, Chaker Khazaal opened the show with great with charisma and  briefed the guest on Arabesque history and facts… the curtains lifted and magic filled the theatre. ”Audiences are always enriched when making the emotional connection with the timeless and profound Arab art which is Arabesque Dance Company & Orchestra,” says Yasmina Ramzy. ” The choreography is of the wall, I mean bellydancing on top of  drum and contorting your waist while balancing a shisha pipe!! Insane, I know.  Not to mention the deep and haunting acoustic music that had my heart beating and violin solo so intense it made my knees weak.  No wonder The Globe in Mail said “Arresting imagery…Seduces completely“. After catching my breath we were lucky enough to participate in an intimate Q&A session with the entire company.

What a wonderful night, I can’t wait to use my complimentary dance class!!




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