Middle Eastern Moods
Santa Fe, NM—1/27/96
by Sally Elgin and Jon Bedford

Middle Eastern Moods, Joan Kafri’s annual show to start off the new year, teamed Joan with Atnaya, Sakti and Travis in a concert of new work inspired chiefly by contemporary Middle Eastern music and played to a standing-room-only audience.

Travis was accompanied by Polly Ferber’s drum ensemble, playing a variety of tempos and percussion instruments. Travis added rhythms with her zills as her assuit beledy dress sparkled and accentuated an exciting variety of classic belly dance movements, climaxing in a zar and final drop to the stage.

“The Middle Sea Trio,’ David Bilides on kaval and baglama, Polly Ferber, percussion, and Kathryn Stately, vocals, accompanied Travis’s second set. Dancing in a elegant peach colored costume, she included a beautiful routine with a veil which looked as if it were made of moonbeams. She finished with a rousing Armenian dance.

Dancing to modem Egyptian music, Sakti was next with her distinctive crisp and dramatic choreography. She set the stage ablaze with the glitter of her latest Cairo costume. Sakti’s second dance opened with a chorus of “oohs and aahs” from the audience as the lights revealed her in red glittering beads. She danced a routine that she also taught in her workshop the next day, and was a big hit. In the second half of her set, she used a cane with folk style steps.

Special guest Anne Hitchcock’s superb presence and her 1800’s style costume, along with her sinuous arm and body movements, created a hypnotic mood. Anne’s dance evoked the older more earthy styles of Belly Dance.

Joan Kafri’s Greek style dance, with layers of shimmering skirts and beaded scarves flashing, matched her masterfully choreographed folk style routine - a real crowd pleaser. Joan’s second set began with her lyrically floating a long silk veil. Her costume was purple and gold and winking like stars, a lovely effect. Her routine then took a traditional turn and she finished with veil flying and the audience clapping for more.

Joan Kafri is sponsoring a Middle Eastern Dance Camp/Workshop in Israel on October 11-21. Instructors are Elena, Sakti, Shlomo Haziz (of Israel) and Joan.

Amaya danced with her characteristic flair for the dramatic and supreme assurance, in a beautiful glittering red dress with a beaded belt. She moved into a veil section and a slow routine ending with the audience in the palm of her hand. Her second set was a masterfully done fusion of Flamenco and Middle Eastern, which is why she calls her dance Andalusian. Midway through she disappeared and returned without the Flamenco skirt, elapsing into a fine drum solo finish.

The evening ended with the audience participating in a line dance to celebrate a great performance.

(The Crescent Moon, Middle Eastern Dance News & Reviews: May-June 1996, Volume 3, Issue 3)


SAKTI RINEK, World-Famous Bellydancer