Published in the SAMEDA Papyrus, March, 2007

Angelika Nemeth – A Shining Star in Middle Eastern Dance

By Lucia

On November 4th, 2006, Angelika opened the show at the Orange Coast College Faculty Dance Concert, an annual event featuring various forms of dance by renowned artists and musicians. Angelika’s performance was exuberant and exciting, demonstrating her vivacious style and mastery of dance. As often is the case, Angelika was the shining star of the night…

How often does one find an International Star Performer who is also an outstanding instructor and gracious person? It is rare to find such a gem – but here she is, Angelika Nemeth.

When I first met Angelika at a Bedouin Bazaar event years ago, I was impressed with her knowledge of dance, handouts and detailed preparation for the workshop. Angelika taught lively cane choreography (see www.bedouinbazaar.org) and discussed the origins of Raks Assaya. I was delighted to learn some pertinent history of folkloric dance and authentic Saidi moves. An experience shared by many. That memorable workshop delivered new inspiration – to learn more, to practice and to gain further insight into the history of this extraordinary passionate dance. I saw Angelika as a role model of what professional artists should aspire to be - a genuine, gracious and elegant performer with a heart to match. I had no idea what commitment Angelika had endured in order to attain the knowledge and experience for such a high caliber of instruction.

For over two decades, Angelika Nemeth has journeyed through the terrain of Oriental Dance, and has studied with many notable Middle Eastern Dance Artists in Egypt and the United States. She teaches workshops, lectures and has performed in Canada, England, Germany, Japan and the USA. In 1982 and 1983 Angelika arranged two dance study tours to Egypt and will be hosting another tour to Egypt in 2007 for the Ahlan Wa Sahlan Festival, where she will also be teaching this year. Since 1987 she has been producing critically acclaimed World Dance concerts at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California. Throughout the 1980's and 90's, Angelika performed in all the major Middle Eastern restaurant/night clubs in the Los Angeles area. Her photos have adorned Oriental Dance magazines such as Jareeda, Habibi, Zaghareet and Belly Dance Chronicles. Angelika’s photo is also featured on Jalaledin's Volume III album cover and she has been filmed on numerous dance videos, e.g. Raja Zahr's Dancing Live to Raja, Angelika and Ensemble Live in Concert, Little Egypt’s 2005-2006 videos with concerts including Dina, Dandesh and Aida Nour and is coming out with a new DVD of her recent production, Oasis at The Races, for Cairo Carnivale’s 2006 Saturday night concert. Angelika is a recognized leading exponent of Middle Eastern Dance and continues to flourish as a shining star.

ANGELIKA’S BACKGROUND
Angelika was born in Germany to Austro-Hungarian parents and immigrated to the United States at five years of age. During her teen years, Angelika encountered diverse cultures and became intrigued with the world of Middle Eastern romanticism in films such as Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. Like many, Angelika became enamored with Middle Eastern art forms and eventually began taking classes with Feiruz Aram, a Master Instructor. Angelika was inspired by Feiruz’s “unconditional love for her students and this dance form”.

In 1974, Angelika was given an opportunity to lecture to the B’nai Brith in the city of Downey. During her research, Angelika was surprised to find there were minimal publications about Middle Eastern Dance. Angelika embarked on a mission to study and educate others in this ancient form – an endeavor that she continues to this day.

Since then, Angelika has been a faculty member in the Dance Department at Orange Coast College and developed a fine Middle Eastern dance program and International Concert series. Through her countless hours of dedication to Middle Eastern Arts, Angelika has paved the path for generations of dancers now and to come. It is no surprise that Angelika is one of the nation’s premiere instructors and performers of Middle Eastern dance.

Despite Angelika’s vigorous schedule, I have been fortunate to receive private instruction. Additionally, on September 9, 2006, I presented Angelika (with co-sponsor Patrisha Productions) to teach a workshop of ‘Egyptian Style vs. Lebanese Style” in San Diego. The event was well attended, enjoyable and students found it extremely helpful to learn about the many differences between the two styles of Oriental Dance. We received handouts and a brief lecture on how the geography, climate, religion and politics of each country has shaped and influenced its dance. We watched video clips of Nadia Gamal from Lebanon and Mona Said from Egypt and learned technique and combinations that exemplified each art form. There were many requests for more workshops of this caliber. I hope to present Angelika for an “Egyptian Style vs. Lebanese Style II” workshop in the future.

Egypt 2007 Tour

In June 2007, Angelika and Fahtiem are scheduled to instruct Oriental Dance at Raqia Hassan’s annual Ahlan Wa Sahlan Festival in Cairo, Egypt. An exciting tour is planned. For details, see www.angelikanemeth.com

SAMEDA FAIRE JULY 2007

This July, Angelika will be a featured instructor at our Annual SAMEDA Faire. She will present a spectacular workshop on taksim, the art of slow, sensual Raks Sharki. Taksim is an important, but often over looked part of Raks Sharki, which is the essence of movement in harmony with music. Angelika will emphasize mastering exciting yet graceful, slow taksim movements with an array of emotions and also developing an understanding of musical interpretation.

We look forward to welcoming Angelika to San Diego again and to the light that she delivers so brightly.
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Lucia is the President of SAMEDA, Belly Dancer of the Universe Champion in the Egyptian Category 2005 and a Finalist in Belly Dancer of the Year Pageant 2005 Competition. Lucia instructs, performs and resides in San Diego. See www.luciadance.com for details.