A Weekend with Hadia
by Zahirah and Lucia

For the first time Hadia, a well known and respected Middle Eastern Dance Artist from Montreal, came to San Diego to not only perform in the highly successful show, "A Night in Cairo," but to also teach two full days of workshops. The events were sponsored by Lucia.

Hadia has over 30 years of dance experience and is a multi-award winning performer, choreographer and master instructor. She is the recipient of a multitude of awards, including IMEDS Best Choreographer 2000 and Best Modern Egyptian Dancer 2003. During the weekend, Hadia demonstrated a gift of dance through her extraordinary teaching of three interesting and fun Oriental dance choreographies.

On March 31st, Hadia delivered two outstanding performances at a sold out- standing room audience at "A Night in Cairo" with an encore finale. The next day, she taught a five hour workshop held at the wonderfully decorated in ethnic dance motif, Dancing Unlimited Studio. Hadia's workshop goals were twofold. First, she taught and demonstrated how to use various muscle groups in Oriental dance. Second, Hadia taught an Oriental dance choreography to the lyrical song "Tales of the Sahara."

She began the workshop, having us stretch all parts of our bodies and loosening up our hip joints, on the floor. We learned Hadia is also a licensed massage therapist, with a deep understanding of body physics. During the workshop, Hadia often spoke about methods to avoid injury; she emphasized isolations and how to break them up. We performed drills, learning how to use and work on specific muscle groups. In the first couple of hours, Hadia taught us the "basic technique" required to learn the choreography. I even learned another way to shimmy!

As we worked on the choreography, Hadia took time out to focus on body alignment and positioning. She traveled about the room, correcting our posture and technique. Hadia was energetic and happy to share her knowledge with us. At the end, those who felt up to the challenge performed the choreography with veils. It was a fun choreography; I learned some new combinations and new ways to think about how to best execute a dance move. We ended the workshop with more stretching on the floor, working to really lengthen and tone our bodies.

Sunday's workshop was a five hour workshop held at Attire by Lea, courtesy of Paula and Lea. Their refreshing friendliness added a nice touch of charm to the venue. We first learned a cane choreography to "Kempf Zaman," an exciting piece, full of fun and playful Sai'di moves with a cabaret flavor. I learned some new cane moves including a "psuedo" golf swing and one where you tap the cane in front of you and slowly draw it over your head in a circular pattern. We learned a short, challenging drum solo to Hossam Ramzy's "Samba Tabla." This workshop was a blast! Perhaps it was because the weekend was drawing towards an end and we wished to learn as much as possible from Hadia before she departed. Hadia was so wonderfully helpful and encouraged us to email her with any questions.

Caveat: To benefit from any workshop; you must have the expectation that you will learn new dance moves and technique. Don't expect to learn an entire choreography in a few hours - it's unrealistic. This is something we've encountered during dance experiences at week long camps, seminars and workshops. We encourage everyone to keep up their dance training and take advantage of all the wonderful resources we have here in San Diego. Thank you Hadia for your outstanding dance instruction. This was an extraordinary weekend!!!

From Lucia:
I want to thank all that attended the show and workshops. This was an extraordinary experience. Although Hadia has been in this business for over 30 years this was the first time she was in San Diego. The time and effort dedicated to bringing celebrity artists to San Diego is substantial. To continue this trend, we must respect the artists and their sponsors and extend our support as much as we can. We are extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to take workshops from the top local performers and Celebrity Middle Eastern dance artists from around the world. Let's collaborate with others to truly enhance this extraordinary art.