Spectator on facebook

Spectator on facebook

Valentine's comes early

ONE way to mark St Valentine’s Day is to celebrate the feminine, sensual and sophisticated side of life through Oriental dance.

(Source: Boris Tytykalo)

ONE way to mark St Valentine’s Day is to celebrate the feminine, sensual and sophisticated side of life through Oriental dance.

Local dancers organised a hafla – an Oriental dance party in which dancers (both professional and amateur) demonstrate their skills in a non-competitive environment – shortly before the holiday of love, called the Sensual Hafla, on February 8.

This party of sensuality revolved around a lesser known form of dance combining Andalusian and Oriental styles, called Muwashshahat. With its sophisticated rhythms and artful, stately grace, it is sometimes referred to as “palace” or “court style”.

Muwashah is the classical poetic style of Anadalusian Arabic literature, and Muwashshahat is plural, meaning a set of poems recited to music and expressed through dance movements.

The hafla began with a lecture and demonstration on Muwashshahat by Prague-based Syrian poet and musician Marwan Al-Solaiman. Later, the Mafra Divas troupe and dancer Zaynab performed the Muwashshahat to an improvised piece of music played by Marwan. The second part featured a guest dancer from the Czech Republic, Katka “Kathreen” Krejčová, performing to more of Marwan’s improvised music.

“I graduated to be a civic engineer in former Czechoslovakia,” Marwan told The Slovak Spectator. “Then I returned home for about eight years, but afterwards I came back to the Czech Republic and stayed – for 24 years already.”

When asked about his path from construction to music, he said: “I have played various folklore instruments since my childhood, but learned to play more sophisticated instruments like the lute or the flute only here.”

He explained that he currently plays with a band accompanying dancers at various festivals, but also at private parties or events.

Kathreen told the audience that she discovered Oriental dance after suffering health problems as a student of the dance conservatory. While it remains her main focus, she explores other styles, like scenic dance and performing in musicals and earlier even in ballet. She also had a cameo appearance in a Czech film called Ženy v Pokušení / Women in Temptation, by Jiří Vejdělek, but she comments on this with a laugh: “if you blinked, you might have missed my performance, it was so brief”.

But the traditional Andalusian style was not the sole focus that evening, as haflas usually involve a variety of dancers and groups performing numerous styles. This time, the audience got to see Raks Sharqi, Tarab, Modern Belledi, as well as a drum solo, Tribal Fusion and modern Indian Bollywood style performed by Czech and Slovak dancers.
A Spring Hafla is planned for April 5.

The processing of personal data is subject to our Privacy Policy and the Cookie Policy. Before submitting your e-mail address, please make sure to acquaint yourself with these documents.

Top stories

We want a decent Slovakia, people chanted in squares

On the eve of the Velvet Revolution anniversary, people protested in the thousands, calling for a decent Slovakia.

Bratislava protest November 16, 2018

What we didn't know about our freedom

In 1989, we thought that once the job was done, we would only go out to the squares for Sunday walks.

November 1989 in Bratislava

Bratislava gets a taste of international poetry Video

The international poetry festival Ars Poetica will host poetry readings and other performances at various sites in the city.

Camilla Nelson

Fico sticks with his old-style politics

Only the former PM knows whether the inspiration for his latest stunt was the success of the For A Decent Slovakia-supported candidates in the municipal elections.