Aida's workshop was on the last morning of the festival. I arrived slightly late- so if she explained any of the info about the fellahi dance she was going to teach I unfortunately missed it. The dance was simple enough… the type of simple that after a short while you stop thinking about what comes next because it seems to easy and therefore you make mistakes (well that’s what was happing to me- but perhaps that has more to do with the fact that the fact started at 10am- ungodly hour that!)
She taught in a strange manner- which worked. She taught us one combo which we did for the entire song. Then another combo which slotted in at the choruses and so on… with the ending and the intro being added on last. A different approach from starting at the beginning and working though which on the up side meant you could dance the entire song each time- rather than just the 1st 20 seconds over and over and then the 1st 40 seconds etc etc. But It confused me slightly and I know, since I stupidly forgot my camcorder that there would be no way I could reproduce that dance- simple and lovely as it was!
The Fellahi are the peasants, farmers from the delta region in Egypt. For the dance you wear a large, very flarey, multi coloured (usually with bold huge flowers in the print) galabeya's and the pom pom style head dress one usually associates with melaya dance. As it is a folklorique dance it doesn't have a great deal of complicated moves and involves a lot of skirt swishing. Very pretty.
Aida also did another dance with us- more her usual style- shaabi music and strong, uncompromising movements, mixing grace and elegance with earthy rawness. Fabulous- loved it!