This past Sunday when I arrived for my Oriental bellydance class at Saffron Dance in Clarendon, the studio was a frenzied hive of activity. Costumes fluttering, dancers rehearsing in every available space, everyone giving their all in that wonderful energy that takes over the week before performances. Every glimpse I catch inspires me to try harder in class so that one day I might be able to shimmy around a stage. But until then, I’m content with enjoying not one but two performances this weekend at Rosslyn Spectrum - and I highly encourage you to do the same.
First up, Saffron Dance Company performs “Shimmy” on Saturday May 16 at 8pm, highlighting classical Egyptian inspired bellydance as part of the Planet Arlington World Music Festival. What makes this performance really exciting is that they will be accompanied by live music. Moroccan vocalist Hatim Idar (whom I’m told is rockstar incredible) and the El Anmari Ensemble will perform original musical compositions on traditional Arabic instruments including the oud, nay, qanum, violin, tabla, riq and frame drum. It’s a rare treat to be able to watch the interplay between dancer and musician, and will no doubt make for a captivating evening. Tickets are $25.
The following night, Sunday May 17 at 6pm, Saffron’s student ensembles take their turn for “Casbah,” where they will highlight a variety of bellydance styles from classical to tribal. Instructors will also be featured as well as the Maqsoum, Ayoub and Beledi resident student companies. Student performances are always fun to watch – the rehearsals I’ve caught glimpses of are lively and heartfelt. Tickets are $20.
For more on Saffron Dance, Washington Post did an in-depth feature on Saphira’s studio back in March. Perhaps it will inspire more of you to join me in class this summer! But if you prefer to be a spectator, there’s plenty to enjoy this weekend.
1611 N. Kent St.
Arlington, VA 22209