Edinburgh Review

Dance and Drum with Tahya...."incredible experience!"
by Andrea Parker Halford

Location: Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
January 6, 2001
Presented by NADA ~ Northern Arabic Dance Association ~ Scotland

Tahya is a lovely dancer with a vibrant and natural presentation. Her grounded, earthy, sensual style celebrates the beauty that is within all women. In this four hour workshop, twenty Scottish dancers gathered to learn how to play the frame drum and dance at the same time. It was an incredible experience!

One highlight from the workshop that I particularly want to mention was the "de-stressing" exercises and imagery we did early on. Tahya invited us to center ourselves and to tap into our creative energy and then allow it to flow out. These exercises stop the mind from focusing on stresses and fears (which inhibit the dancer) and allow the creative part of the self to become dominant, filling and radiating from the body.

These exercises were extremely helpful for me to learn because I can be inhibited when I start to dance in front of people. I get stressed and freeze up inside, and so even though I may be trying to dance, I cannot dance freely. My joy feels squashed.

Tahya is a lovely dancer with a vibrant and natural presentation.
Her grounded, earthy, sensual style celebrates
the beauty that is within all women...

It was amazing to look around the room and see the transformation these exercises had on the other women in the room. They were dancing unselfconsiously and with ease. It created a lovely feeling.

Another highlight for me was the veil work and performance skills section. This was VERY interesting to do, and VERY interesting to watch others do. What we did was look someone in the eye across the room, and projected our joy and energy to them as we danced (with veil) towards them, while getting in tune with them and their movements, so that we danced as a balanced pair. We then passed each other and danced towards the next person, blending and shaping ourselves with them. Fascinating.

And I can see why Tahya had us practice doing this, because you need that syncronicity when you are playing music together.

The best part of the workshop was, of course, when we did sagat and drums, and that just blew everyone away! We got so excited!!

She taught in a very calm and clear manner, and built up a sequence of more and more difficult rhythym patterns. We were dancing while playing from the first rhythm pattern. Then we put all the rhythm patterns together, with different people playing different parts and different instruments, and did movement as well as floor pattern choreograghy!!

I found it very difficult, but the sensation of being in a group playing different rhythms together, while moving in syncronicity, was electric! Brilliant!!

Everyone wanted more, but the time had flown by.

When I try to explain why it felt so great, I can only say that the resonance of the drums seemed to touch us at a very basic and primitive level, and the repetiton became rather hypnotic. There was a feeling of being a tribe, rather than a group of individuals together, and I can only recommend that everyone try this for themselves.

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Andrea Parker Halford is an actress/dancer from Austrailia, currently residing in Edinburgh, Scotland with her husband and two daughters. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tahya & friends
Edinburgh, Scotland
January '01

NADA (Northern Arabic Dance Association) of Edinburgh, Scotland,
sponsored Tahya for an afternoon workshop Saturday, January 6, 2001.

After the workshop we enjoyed delicious mediterranean cuisine at Hala El~Berin's VINE LEAF, 22A Nicolson St., Edinburgh.


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