An Evening of Experimental Middle Eastern Dance
EEMED Audition

n Evening of Experimental Middle Eastern Dance (EEMED) 2007 - DVD Review
by Sharina

Zaghareet! March/April 2008: 54.

Although I have been aware of An Evening of Experimental Middle Eastern Dance for several years now, this was my first chance to actually share the experience. I had heard that these performances were a bit controversial, and after reading the warning on the video cover of "contains nudity, violence, and other images that may not be suitable for all audiences" I wasn't really sure what to expect! But I thoroughly enjoyed the DVD, so I'm happy to say ... what a lovely "evening" it was!

For those of you that think that "experimental" means totally avant garde, dark and/ or bizarre, or possibly some sort of fusion that is not at all recognizable as Middle Eastern dance, let me assure you that was not the case. This production was filled with talented Middle Eastern dancers who didn't mind taking that extra step to blend interesting costumes, non-traditional music, and novel concepts into innovative performances of Middle Eastern dance.

There were 12 performances in all, ranging from the dark and dramatic to light and entertaining. "The Tortoise and the Hare," performed by Subee Djinn, was a wonderful way to open the evening! It was a very clever performance by this duo and as we watch the antics of the hare circling around the tortoise as she steadily makes her way across the stage, you could hear the enthusiasm of the audience. And the music selections were wonderful, including "Chariots of Fire" as the tortoise won the race!

"Babayaga," performed by Desert Sin, is the story of a crone who lives in the forest. We see her house move around on chicken legs! The costumes are very creative (which is back and which is front?) and the dancing in this piece is very enjoyable as well!

"Falling for Echo" gave the producer, Amara, a chance to shine in a lovely performance to Vivaldi as a woman who is in search of the person who has given her a gift. This portrayal allows her to demonstrate a wide range of emotions as she is hopeful, happy and disappointed. In contrast, "Ashes and Bone" is a rather dark performance by Sayyidina with interesting movements, both angular and fluid. "Thanks for the Mammaries" used "black light" type effects to show the influence of the female body in our American culture on Middle Eastern dance, and is too funny for words!

Ariellah's "Transformaton" was one of my favorite performances of the evening; it was very dramatic, showing the dark travels of a spirit to find the enchanted one beneath, and displayed Ariellah's full range of movements, "Egyptian Ella" featured Amara in an old-time vaudeville sort of performance as "the gal who can quake and shake" and it was performed with just the right combination of technique and sense of humor.

The evening ended with "Pirates of Arrraby" (performed by the Perfumes of Araby) in a colorful display of swashbuckling pirates dancing to upbeat music tempos ranging from Pirates of the Caribbean to Harry Belafonte! EEMED 2007 was a wonderful evening filled with talented performers and innovative interpretations of the music, and this DVD would be an excellent addition to any dancer's library! For more information on EEMED, see their website at