El Kawliya, Qawilya or Kawleeya?
Hell, I’m not even sure how to pronounce it yet! One thing I know is that I have had so much fun learning about this dance. Reading about it, watching YouTube videos, trying to disseminate it in my body. So you who know me, I’m not a writer. I made my apology about my amateurish attempts at writing from the get go, when I started this. But I do love to study dance and I am a note taker. I’ve got notebooks from 30+yrs ago, that I still refer to. Now, I’m putting it here for myself and you if you want it.
So, first things first. This dance is not new. It has been around for longer than I have danced 30++. When I started dancing, most of us didn’t know where Iraq was on the map, never mind know about this dance. It wasn’t in the news, until the last decade or so.. There were no writings about it or YouTube videos.
The first dancer I saw do this Malayeen. I loved the wild music and hair flipping, but didn’t get it. in 2010 I was seeing Yana adored her and the dresses she wore with this new style of dance I was learning.
In 2012, I watched her dance live in Eliat, Israel. Amazing! Too bad the music has been muted in the link. Read a little about it in Amina’s blog and I referenced it here. Then 2 years ago, found this video. All this time mind you, there were lots of Russian and Ukrainian dancers emulating Yana, that were a delight to see. Last year, I read about an Iraqi woman residing in London, Assala Ibrahim who is the expert and compiled this awesome, fricking video, if you missed the 1st time I linked to it. Told you I was amateurish! Of course there is this woman, I think of her as an Arab Lady Gaga. She’s amazing, a chameleon. Singer, dancer extraordinaire. I don’t know if Lady Gaga is all that ( I don’t know her work, because I’m too busy studying Kawleeya! but I do know about her meat dress). Myriam Fares, this video has been around a few years, and I still adore it and her, she is all kinds of inspiring to me. FYI, a few Arabs I know, well everyone over 40, hates her!
Of course there has been an immense amount of coverage of Iraq in recent times as shown in these posts from NYTimes.
Last summer GildedSerpent published Amani Jabril’s observations.
OK girls and boys, homework is over. Except, I’m so excited to have Sabrina of San Diego come and teach us Kawleeya next month. She is the West Coast expert She is a multi awarded dancer who I consider the West Coast expert and actually has taught this Iraqi folk dance in Egypt! How exciting is that. We’re so lucky. You students are so lucky I just shared all my notes with you too!