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Summer Hafla brought dance and joy to Medical Garden

THOSE who braved the late-July heat wave to attend the seasonal teahouse within this year’s Summer Hafla in Bratislava’s Medical Garden on July 20 were rewarded with live jazz-fusion music, various styles of Oriental and tribal dance, delicious teas and Oriental snacks, and a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.

(Source: Zuzana Vilikovská)

THOSE who braved the late-July heat wave to attend the seasonal teahouse within this year’s Summer Hafla in Bratislava’s Medical Garden on July 20 were rewarded with live jazz-fusion music, various styles of Oriental and tribal dance, delicious teas and Oriental snacks, and a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.

This year’s Summer Hafla was a repeat of last year’s premiere within an event called FestTeaval. Hafla translates roughly as “party” in Arabic, and a private hafla thrown by a belly dancer usually involves Middle Eastern music, performances by belly dancers and an open-floor dance that gives everyone the chance to get up and move to the music. This year’s Hafla offered a variety of genres performed by different dancers and dance groups, from traditional folklore (Belledi, Shaabi, Saidi, dancing with finger cymbals) through a more modern take on Oriental folk dance (Melaya, Hagala), as well as cabaret-style, tribal and tribal fusion, and the Egyptian-Gypsy style, Ghawazee.

The event culminated in an improvised tribal dance involving all of the performers, who took turns leading the circle with the others following the leader’s movements. This unique finale highlighted the friendly and non-confrontational character of the whole event. It also reached back not just to the roots of tribal dance but also to the roots of Oriental dance as a joyful celebration of togetherness.

The Hafla civic association’s next event, the Pressburger Dance Festival on September 27 to 29, will be more “confrontational and competitive”, but there will be more informal and playful Haflas to come, like the “Halloween Hafla” on November 2.

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