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Dancing and Drumming Arabic Poetry: A Family Workshop

November 4, 2017 @ 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

A hands-on family workshop exploring the rhythms and music of al-muwashah, a form of classical Arab-Andalusian poetry. Musician and scholar Taoufik Ben Amor, accompanied by master dancer and percussionist Ramzi El-Edlibi and multi-instrumentalist Zafer Tawil will introduce al-muwashah and show participants how to identify, vocalize, drum, and dance to the poetic meter and rhythms. The artists will  provide historical and cultural context, as well as technical information throughout. Everyone will have a chance to perform! Free and open to all ages. No experience with Arabic necessary.

Please RSVP here.

This program was made in partnership with independent folklorist Nicole Macotsis, who produces Tarab Together, family programming featuring Arab dance, music, and cultural traditions in Arabic.



 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 is an independent public folklorist in Brooklyn, specializing in dance and Arab traditions; she is also a dancer. In partnership with Arab American New Yorkers, she has developed programs such as A Dabkeh Tour of Bay RidgeSo You Think You Can Dabkeh and Tarab Together: Sing and Dance bil ‘Arabi, prioritizing Arab American participants’ voices and promoting the  sustainability of Arab music and dance traditions. Her social media-based project, Tradition In Motion: DABKEH! (traditioninmotion.tumblr.com), features ethnographic interviews with dabkeh performers in NYC and Palestine, highlighting the cultural significance of this traditional Levantine dance. Nicole has a MA in Cultural Sustainability from Goucher College.


212.529.1955 x18


City Lore Gallery
56 E. 1st Street
New York, NY 10003 United States
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212-529-1955 x18

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