Zeina is from Sweden, married to an Egyptian (one of the organizers of the Nile Group festival) and used to perform here in Cairo, although she told us in the workshop today that she hasn’t performed since '95. There is seemingly a very strong and talented dance following in Sweden- and I can imagine if they have had this woman's guidance over the last ten years at least then that's part of the reason.
I have to say I was dubious at first….. She went over some of the drum rhythms, but the drummer kept interrupting and correcting occasionally…….. and people couldn't hear at the back (well – I couldn't) so although a lot of people seemed to learn a lot from that section- I actually felt confused after where I had felt fine before hand!
However- then the dancing started…… she started with a few different combo- mostly with shimmy's - to a couple of rhythms…. Then a few moving around the room combos…. You felt that these were really nice pieces of dance that were useable to a variety of different styles of music and nice to adapt into your own style of dance. Then she said lets start the choreography- and low and behold she had taught us a large section of the start of the dance- it was a lovely feeling- to be almost dancing to the music from the first listen as we had drilled the combos so well that we only had to concentrate on connecting them- oh except for arms. Zeina has lovely graceful arm movements- I felt like an awkward baby foal trying to copy- as though my limbs were just too long and not within my control!!! It was a lovely dance and we finished it in perfect time in the workshop. I really felt I could dance at least parts of the routine, and focus on putting feeling and emotion into it rather than worrying what steps came next. It wasn't an exceptionally easy routine either- just the organized manner of teaching it really helped it stick in my mind far more than is usual with other people's choreographies!
I had been toying with going to Dandash's workshop instead of Zeina… but I made the right choice… especially since Dandash failed to show up and her workshop had to be covered by another teacher at the last moment! When it comes to energy and feel and fun- Dandash has it- but as for teaching skills- Zeina any day!