MAGIDAH: Featured Performer August 15, 2008
Magidah spent 10 years studying jazz and ballet, but she found her true love in the music, costumes, artistic expression, and technical demands of Raqs al Sharqi, the dance of the east, commonly called Egyptian Cabaret Belly Dance. The vibrant history and cultural relevance of the dance form compelled Magidah from the moment she first saw it performed more than 15 years ago. Magidah has a deep-seated respect for the art form and communicates a heart-felt desire to elevate it in the eyes of the general public and to her student dancers. She has studied with leading dancers and musicians from around the world, and now shares her love of Arabic dance through performance and teaching. At the Working Artist’s Collective in Portland, OR, Magidah creates a nurturing environment for students of all ages and abilities. Her teaching philosophy, drawn in part from her experiences as a former massage therapist, is grounded in the technical aspects of the dance including form, structure, and body mechanics.
Magidah’s greatest pleasure comes as students in her small classes move beyond technique, falling in love as she did with the playful, body-centered awareness and joyful expression of the dance’s music and movement. In her performances, audiences feel the joy of Raqs Sharqi radiating from Magidah’s movements. Like the women who originated the dance, Magidah has a healthy woman’s body that brings to life the rich character of the music. Though her teaching style is based on the fundamentals of Western dance styles, her evocative shimmies, remarkable isolations, and flirtatious veil work are firmly rooted in the unique culture and traditions of the Arabic world.