TEACHES DANCE FROM THE SOUL
Cathy Walton-Smith (Kysheema)
..published Jareeda Magazine July/August
|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
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
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
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,
Performances, Instruction, Choreography,
Bellydance & Performing
Meditative Dance & Healing through Movement,
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