Sunday, September 14, 2008

Kamala's workshop

Learning two and half minutes of choreography in two hours? It might not sound like a lot to you, but it's unprecedented for me. Compound that with the fact that the choreography includes about a dozen turns with tricky directional changes and lots of other Reda-inspired moves, and you might understand why I haven't felt this tired since... well, I'm too tired to even think of a comparison.

Marlena Shaw sponsored today's workshop at the Reflections studio in Anaheim, and about a dozen of us took part in this great opportunity to learn from one of the region's most accomplished dancers. Kamala is not only a terrific instructor in Los Angeles County, she's been dancing professionally since the 1980s and learned from the famed Farida Fahmy of the Reda troupe, among others. She's also performed with such world-class musicians as Hakim, Amr Diam, Cheb Mami and Alabina.

This lady has some pretty impressive credits, but she's also one heck of a teacher. I'm about as dyslexic as they come about learning new choreography and that Kamala could still get me through the whole thing -- if not gracefully at least sufficiently -- is truly a testament to her ability. She was great about breaking down steps and letting us repeat them with and without music until we felt comfortable before moving on to subsequent sections. She was also super positive and encouraging, which made all of us feel at ease.

I'm really excited about working with this choreography, and if I can ever make it even a tenth as beautiful and fluid as it was when Kamala performed it, I will be a very happy dancer.

If you'd like to know more about Kamala, check out her Web site at

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