Article about Rafi'ahs Teaching

Annual Winter Workshop Weekend 2016
Mentoring in Motion
Current Classes
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About Rafi'ah
Background/Teaching Philosophies
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Articles about Rafi'ah
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News & Reviews
Madame Rafi'ahs Tea Room
Living Art Centre/ New location & Map
Mercury Cafe Bellydance Schedule/Directions & Map
Dancing to Live Music
Fall Dance Intensive in the Rockies 2012
 -by Cathy Walton-Smith (Kysheema)
..published Jareeda Magazine July/August 2007...

Kysheema at Welcome Hafla
Kysheema at Welcome Hafla
I first met Rafi'ah about 10 years ago at one of her workshops in Breckenridge, Colorado. Immediately, I connected with her teaching method. She starts with one simple move, perfects it, adds a second, works on the transition, perfects it, adds another . . . and another . . .until, without hardly any effort, she has 15-plus dancers of all levels moving in choreographed formation . . . and feeling like great dancers.

But, that's not all, Rafi'ah and I connected on a personal level too. Family, children, men, costuming, other dancers and our frustration with teaching and staying with a dance form which, at that time, had been in about a 10-year slump. We connected on all levels.
My mountain town classes in Grand Lake (population 400) were well attended by 5-8 student dancers, but I had had no contact with any other dancers since leaving Alaska in 1985 and Rafi'ah awakened a welcomed rebirth of bellydance for me just as it was beginning its rebirth in the entire country.


Veil workshop 2006
Veil workshop 2006
I attended her many workshops but regular classes were out of the question, with a two-and-a-half hour drive between us each way, and my professional obligations to my real estate career. The answer was simple, I brought her to us. She became a regular guest teacher for my classes and brought her performance talent to local restaurants on special Middle Eastern, Moroccan and Greek nights. As our collaboration expanded, three years ago we came up with the idea for a three-day fall dance intensive, not just for my students but for dancers everywhere.

Nestled at the base of the Continental Divide on the western side of Rocky Mountain National Park, Grand Lake has been a summer time tourist destination since the mid-1800s and yet remains relatively unknown. Visitors get a sense of rest and relaxation, a feeling of going back in time, an opportunity to let go of the need to even keep track of time. The beauty of the aspen trees turning gold, bright blue skies and crisp fall days makes late September the perfect time for a bellydance intensive. And the fresh air and quiet solitude makes Grand Lake the perfect place.
This September 21-23, will mark the Third Annual Rocky Mountain High Bellydance Intensive in Grand Lake, Colorado. And each year it just gets better. Designed to be an all-inclusive fun-filled event, the long weekend includes a shared room, several meals, three dance classes, a costuming class, two chances to perform, a costume fashion show, vending/trading, and a Moroccan themed dinner (a fundraiser for our sponsors, the Grand Arts Council) . . . all for one low price of $210.


With over 22 years of experience as a celebrated performing artist and instructor, Rafi'ah graces the stages of local, national and regional restaurants, concerts and events while performing weekly at venues throughout the Denver, Boulder area. Her skill, knowledge and obvious love for the music and dance of the Middle East inspires and brings out the best in students as well as teachers and dance professionals.
 Rafi'ah blends her fluid serpentine style with skillful technique and a powerful stage presence. Her classes and workshops are inspiring. She can make you feel the magic, as if you've been transported to an ancient place filled with all the sensuality, beauty and joy of this exquisite art form.

By "fluid" and "serpentine", I mean that her muscle control and skill with isolation give her a boneless quality, down to the smallest muscles in the last joint of her pinky finger. This is what she shares in her classes. There are no secrets . . . feel free to ask "How do you do that?" and Rafi'ah is right there making sure you get it. Her spontaneous dance style and method of teaching will bring out the same in you. She will teach you to dance with a freedom dictated by your soul and the music, that allows you to break away from the constrains of choreographed performance.

You will check in on Friday, September 21, at the Western Riviera Motel located on the shore of Grand Lake (www.westernriviera.com) and share a room with another dancer. There will be a welcome hafla that evening with food, dancing and a chance to model your favorite costumes, Rafi'ah will teach two dance classes on Saturday, featuring her famous movements, technique and control of the dance. I will show you how to chop up a thrift store gown and turn it into a great costume for pennies (and very little sewing). Don't hesitate to bring projects you're stuck on for a little redesigning, snipping or pinning. Saturday night is the big Moroccan dinner with a chance to be in the show.
Please also bring things to sell or trade: the costume you don't wear, instruments, jewelry, bits and pieces of stuff. Sunday, there will be another class after breakfast with everyone heading home by mid afternoon. It's a full schedule and a bargain for $210. Don't miss this opportunity to spend time with like-spirited women; a time for soul nourishment, to ignite inner beauty, and rekindle self esteem.
See photos of previous events, registration information, and find out more about Rafi'ah at www.rafiahdancer.com.

To register call me,
Cathy Walton-Smith (Kysheema) at 970-887-2995 or e-mail me at waltonsmith@rkymtnhi.com.
 Learn more about the Grand Arts Council events and what they do for the arts at www.grandartscouncil.org

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