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On a recent trip to Morocco, Julianne (the troupe's choreographer) had the rare  opportunity to accompany a Gnawa and Berber (Imaziren) group of musicians.

This experience inspired her to explore and research more of the hypnotic 6/8 rhythms so prevalent in the North African cultures.

The experiment evolved into an intricate call and response choreography with dancers creating their own percussion using zills and Qarkabeb, the Moroccan iron castanets of the Gnawa people.


Derived from photos by: JUDDY LANE'S (c)2005
Julianne's Moroccan-inspired choreography

Judging from the volume of positive feedback from audiences who have seen the performances, the resulting dance has proved to be compelling as well as entertaining.


Julianne with local drummers in Morocco, 2006



Photo: Melissa R. Wilson (c)2006



A fiery, sassy Karsilama is always an exciting and energetic finale to a Sahara Silk performance. Karsilama is a Turkish rhythm which is also found in Greek music. It is a 9/8 compound time signature, challenging and fun to dance especially with full ruffled skirts and lots of attitude.

Associated dances originating with roots in the Romany culture can express anything ranging from the energetic and high spirited Turkish version to the "earthy" raw, and sensual "Rom" styling, which uses the 9/8 rhythm with a slightly different accent.


The Khaleege, a dance from the Gulf region, is fun to perform as well as to witness. The dance reflect the demure, modest and reserved persona of the classic Middle Eastern woman in a traditional dance setting which encourages her to "shine", to display her jewelry, her wealth, and her whimsical ways.

For expressing this very strong and hypnotic rhythm indigenous to the Gulf region, the dancer wears the traditional Saudi dress, thobe nashal, a large loose dress beautifully encrusted with sequins and embroidery. The thobe nashal is traditionally worn over the woman's street wear and used only during these festive celebrations.

The skillful manipulation of the colorful thobe combined with the tossing of the dancers long flowing hair to a very specific musical rhythm, produces quite a joyous celebration and dance visual.



Next: Tribal Fusion



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