Revolutionary Women

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Resistance and Revolution: Sisters Challenging and Changing the World is the manifestation of the belief that strengthening the bonds between girls and women in Oakland with those in Egypt is vital to the global campaign to stamp out violence against women.

This multigenre show features North African, modern, Capoeira and, of course, bellydance! Thanks to the support of our communities, we are able to stage this performance with no admission cost. We’ve posted blogs about the pieces that will be presented by Girls Raks, Raks Africa and solo performances from Tammy and Etang. We’d now like to give you a sampling of the pieces that will be performed by our guest artists Amel Tafsout, Sarah Bush Dance Project, Hala, Stephanie Bastos and Monica Berini.

Amel Tafsout Presents Ifriquiya

This performance calls in Amel’s ancestors and tells the story of her journey through North African Maghreb Dance. Amel’s dance opens with an interpretation based on North African Amel 2Tribal rev. 2013(1)spiritual influences through her unique dance style, then flows into a traditional Andalusian dance from Algiers that conveys the history of the Moors from the Oasis of Biskra , where bagpipes and strong rhythms invite you to join the joy of the dance.

The legendary Amel Tafsout, meaning “Hopes of Spring”, is an international and inspirational first source master dance artist, choreographer, instructor, frame drummer, singer, poet, energy worker and one of the finest exponents of North African traditional and contemporary Maghreb Dance of our time.

Sarah Bush Dance Project Presents Always At The Mercy Of The Elements

Performed by Nina Wu and choreographed by Sarah Bush, this piece is done to the backdrop of the poem “My Own True Thing” by Sarah Webster Fabio. Fabio ( 1928 – SBDP2015-222-FINAL1979) was a poet, literary critic and educator. She taught at Merritt College in Oakland. Students at the time included Maulana Karenga, Bobby Seale and Huey Newton. Fabio’s poetry quickly became associated with the Black Arts Movement through her work in establishing Black Arts departments throughout the West Coast.

This season, SBDP invites you on a journey of site-specific performances to celebrate the wild of our city and ourselves. In a time defined by constant development, technology and distraction, SBDP calls us back to This Land. Oakland.  Visit for more information.

Hala Presents A Celebration of Confidence

“Ma Teegi Hena” (Why Don’t You Come Here) expresses the voice of a strong female character who takes initiative in romantic relationships, expresses herself fully without being shy, demure or playing games. This is a relatively new trend in Egyptian pop songs.HalaBluePointing The woman is no longer the shy, passive one to be pursued and wooed. Today’s girl knows what she wants and goes for it with no apologies. The performance concludes with a lively drum solo that celebrates our natural human rhythms.

Hala grew up in Egypt and has been dancing since childhood.  She has been performing and teaching her native art all over the world since 1997.  In 2006, she opened Halanda Studio in San Jose, where they offer classes in many international dance and movement arts. You can find out more about her at

Stephanie Bastos Presents Timeline

imageTimeline is an intimate and abstract movement study weaving choreography, poetry and song to offer a visceral experience of a dancer’s life through themes of love, fear, identity, discovery and loss. It is choreographed by Leymis Bolanos Wilmott in collaboration with Stephanie Bastos.  A first-generation Brazilian-American, Bastos received a BFA in Dance from New World School of the Arts in Miami and has been performing and teaching Modern Dance for more than fifteen years throughout the United States, Germany and Brazil, after losing one leg in a car accident. Winner of the 2011 San Francisco “Izzies” Award for Outstanding Achievement in Performance Ensemble with Ase West Dance Theater Collective, she has also worked with the Isadora Duncan Dance Ensemble, Urban Bush Women, Axis Dance Company and Ron Brown’s/ EVIDENCE.

Monica Berini Presents OM AL DUNYA

Monica brings a lifetime of inquisitive, respectful and passionate study of Egyptian dance to the stage to combine Saidi style music, stylings and movement with Cairo style dance and presentation. Saidi is an adjective referencing the region of Upper Egypt, an area Monica_Berini_Shamadan_HighResPromosouth of Cairo and north of Aswan. Her first piece, a traditional Saidi song, asks “Oh my healer, why have you left me down and out?” Her use of the stick references tahtib, a very old men’s martial art from Upper Egypt that was adapted by folkloric dancers and belly dancers to be staged as a dance in the early to mid-20th century. A woman playing tahtib is out of the norm and in the context of Egyptian dance can play a bit with traditional gender roles. This is followed by a slowly intensifying song that features the rababa. Finally, Luxor born Metqal Qanawi sings “Salamat Salamat” as Monica plays along on sagat (finger cymbals). The song offers warm greetings, and Qanawi sings “I miss you, and my mind will not rest until I know you are happy.”

Monica is a San Francisco-based performer and instructor who has studied the culture of the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey since her teens. She had a lengthy professional solo career and has spent the last decade focusing on teaching, including at Alonzo King Lines Ballet since 2003. Find out more at

Check out these pieces, Raks Africa’s Two Women, and Girls Raks’ The Calling, at Resistance and Revolution: Sisters Challenging and Changing the World.

Saturday, November 21st, 7:30 p.m. at Laney College Theater, 900 Fallon Street, Oakland. It’s FREE, and it’s about FREEDOM

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