Dancing and Drumming Arabic Poetry: A Family Workshop
November 4 @ 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
A hands-on family workshop exploring the rhythmic and musical aspects of two genres of sung Arab poetry: the classical Arab-Andalusian poetry called muwasha and the vernacular poetry of mawwal. Musician and scholar Taoufik Ben Amor, accompanied by master dancer and percussionist Ramzi El-Edlibi and multi-instrumentalist Zafer Tawil, will open with a demonstration of muwasha and then lead the audience in activities to identify, vocalize, drum, and dance to the poetic meter and rhythms. The artists will also provide historical and cultural context as well as technical information throughout. Everyone will have a chance to perform! Open to all ages.
Taoufik Ben-Amor is Gordon Gray Jr. Senior Lecturer in Arabic Studies at Columbia University. He specializes in Arabic language and linguistics, language and identity, Arab music, and music in Sufism. His research combines his interests in music, language and identity in the Arab world through the study of lyrics. He has published extensively, including a textbook on Tunisian Arabic. Ben-Amor is also a vocalist, percussionist, and oud player.
Ramzi Edlibi (dancer, choreographer, musician) began his study of Arab dance and ballet at an early age in Lebanon with Wadia Jarrar and Abdel Halim Caracalla, historic figures in the development of Lebanese dance for the stage. He went on to perform dance with the leading vocalists and dance companies of the Arab world such as Fairuz, Sabah, Wadi Al-Safi, and Caracalla Dance Theatre. Ramzi then traveled abroad to perform and teach, learning other dance traditions along the way with 20th century dance masters, including Vladimir Duckodovsky of the Ballet Russe De Monte Carlo. Ramzi is currently Artistic Director of Dance Around the World, an Arts-in-Education program that brings dance and music to public schools.
Zafer Tawil is a renowned Palestinian musician who has mastered oud, violin, and qanun, among others instruments and the full range of Arab percussion. A virtuouso in the field, Zafer has performed with Arab music greats such as Simone Shaheen, Chab Mami and Bassam Saba, as well as with Sting, and avant-garde composer/performer Elliot Sharpe among others. He has composed music for a number of films including the Oscar-nominated film Rachel Getting Married, and has worked on many collaborative concerts involving classical Indian and Persian music, and Arabic/jazz fusion. In addition to performing, Zafer is an experienced arts educator, giving lecture demonstrations in universities and music conservatories, as well as interactive programming for school-age children.
Nicole Macotsis has an MA in Cultural Sustainability (Goucher College), a Master (Diplôme) in International Development (IEP Paris) and a BA in Cultural Anthropology (Wesleyan University). She speaks Spanish and French and is conversant in basic Portuguese and Egyptian Arabic. She is an independent public folklorist in Brooklyn, specializing in vernacular dance and Arab cultural traditions. In partnership with Arab American communities she has developed programs such as A Dabkeh Tour of Bay Ridge; So You Think You Can Dabkeh and Tarab Together: Sing and Dance bil ‘Arabi, promoting sustainability of Arab music and dance traditions. Her social media based project, Tradition In Motion: DABKEH! features ethnographic interviews with local Arab American and Palestinian performers evoking the cultural significance of the traditional levantine dance, dabkeh.