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ISPAHAN Magazine • Issue 3 • 2012

ISPAHAN Magazine Editorial E-mail Editor/Art director Manon Claus Editorial staff André Elbing Izida Krasimira Yaneva Luisa Molina Rachel Schraven Tjarda van Straten Tracey Gibbs Valérie Alberghs

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Coverphoto/Photography Manon Claus

Internet ispahan_magazine_no3_2012 (previous issues: no1 / no2)

Next Issue The next issue wil be the Autum issue (November 2012).

Copyrights It is not allowed to copy or use anything from this magazine without permission of the editor. Please always contact us first if you would like to share, show, or redirect on Facebook or other (social) media, internet or print. See page 138 for our disclaimer. Ispahan Magazine©2012Manon Claus


ISPAHAN Magazine is a publication of The ISPAHAN Oriental Dance Company. The ISPAHAN Oriental Dance Company is a vibrant and exciting dance group, based in the (south of the) Netherlands. All dancers have a sturdy background: many years of experience in dancing, performing and teaching Oriental Dance. More information is avaliable via: For questions, copy, advertisements or bookings, please contact us via:



Ispahan Magazine, Volume 3 - Summer Edition 2012

The Flying Carpet Issue! We feel so blessed to have gotten such great and overwelming respons to the previous Ispahan Magazine! Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts ! It gives us courage to continue and lots of inspiration too. This inspiration was the driving fource behind this brand new Summer issue, lying before you. Text & Photographs by Kashka

A lot of dancers feel attracted by the thought of escaping, even if it is just for a short time, to a wondrous mystical and magical land. We fly away on our magic carpets, to this make believe Oriental world, were we all can be beautiful and elegant dancers in gorgeous costumes, spreading the wonder.. Aladin’s shiny lamp makes wishes come true and, as in any good get aways, there are lots of sparkling things! Closets filled with beautiful and colourful garments, lovely soft fabric, skirts with lots of ultra light layers, lushes big jewelry.. There are cushions to ‘drape’ yourself comfortably on while Henna paintings are being drawn on your feet and ankles, there are peacocks, there is refreshing tea and a fountain that splashes musically. And there is music of course! The soft and sensual tones of ancient instruments, that accompany the spectacular view of sand dunes very well.. Warm weather, the sun -not too bright, not too hot- a small pool with pretty Moroccan hand painted tiles, cool harem-like rooms and tents, coloured glass, fresh dates, grapes and soft carpets with intricate flower motives. There is turquoise, there is burgundy and purple, there are lovely scented flowers like Jasmine and Water Lilies. There is the soft tingling of beads and coins.. And in the evening, there is incense and Oriental lamps that spread magical little lights all over the ceiling, like little mirrors. And let’s not forget the smell of lovely tagine food with plums and almonds! We are there for mere pleasure, to dance for others, but even more so for ourselves. For the

joy of dancing and feeling feminine, gorgeous and powerful. Someone tells an ancient story and we all warm ourselves around the fire. We are in a dream, were there are only pretty things, lovely smells and sweet sounds.. This dream can be elongated by making trips to Marrakesh or other magical cities and countries (organised by Oriental Dancers), just for women.. Visiting costume and other stores, dancing, taking classes and workshops, eating well, lovely mint tea with a tiny drop of orange blossom essence and lots of sugar ..and sleep in beautiful Oriental -but in a deluxe way- hotels. Can you blame us? Who wouldn’t want that! The question is why we don’t incorporate more of this world into our every day life. Not practical you say? Oh, but there you are wrong! In this issue, you can read, see and experience how you yourself can make dreams come true and how others did this before you. It is all about taking back some of the imagination we lost with childhood. About risking it, taking chances and being bold. About following your dreams and be brave enough to believe in them. Let’s all hop on this flying carpet and fly over the tops of palm trees, towards the oasis that is called ISPAHAN Magazine..! Enjoy!

With love, Kashka (editor)


RED (CARPET) BEACH The Red Beach is located in the Liaohe River Delta, about 30 kilometer southwest of Panjin City in China. The beach gets its name from its appearance, which is caused by a type of sea weed that flourishes in the saline-alkali soil. The weed that start growing during April or May remains green during the summer. In autumn, this weed turns flaming red, and the beach looks as if it was covered by an infinite red carpet that creates a rare red sea landscape. Most of the Red Beach is a nature reserve and closed to the public. Only a small, remote, section is open for tourists.


Selling a Costume?

Or a Service?

At very reasonable prices?! E-mail ISPAHAN Magazine for more information

Organising a Hafla?

PR for your Shop?


1. Luisa Molina Director of Kids Programs, Belly Dance Instructor and Performer at Belly Motions Inc. 2. Tracey Gibbs Professional Photographer at Tracey Gibbs Photography Ltd. Founder Bellydance Agency UK ‘Taste of Cairo’ 3. Valérie Alberghs Dancer, performer & choreographer 4. Rachel Schraven Professional Photographer at Rachel Photography 5. Izida Krasimira Yaneva Oriental dancer & instructor Miss Summer Bellydance 2011, Netherlands Leading lady in “Aladin und die Wunderlampe” von Dr. Gamal Seif 6. André Elbing Professional Photographer at Artistic Theatrical Oriental Photography, Colone 7. Tjarda van Straten (Tribal) Fusion dancer, choreographer & instructor Founder of the Uzumé Dance Company and troupe The Amano Project honorary member of UNMATA 8. Manon Claus Founder of The Ispahan Oriental Dance Company & dancer, choreographer, website and costume designer Founder of ISPAHAN Magazine, editor, art director, advertising manager & publisher







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© Kashka ISPAHAN 11







002 | Editorial 005 | Editor’s Page 008 | Contributors of this magazine 136 | Join us: be on the ISPAHAN Magazine team 138 | Disclaimer

070 | Highly recommended! Books & more.. 071 | Great ISPAHAN gifts 086 | Upcoming Great Event 087 | What’s in that Bollywood Bag? 102 | Ispahan Shopping 132 | Oriental Parfume

PERSONAL STORIES BACKGROUND STORIES 022 | Interview with: Izida 042 | Costume design 101 090 | The Dancer & The Photographer: Tjarda & Rachel 124 | Miss Luisa: Architect -Oriental Dancer- Professor 134 | Valérie: And I, I dance..

034 | About the Ispahan Oriental Dance Company/ Ispahan 4 Flexibility 018 | 1001 nights.. 068 | Tagine

DESIGN FOOD 046 | Oriental recipes: Sweet Potato Salad 062 | Moroccan Mint Tea 116 | Figs! 122 | Oriental Cocktails

FUN STUFF 120 | Fun quotes

074 | Flying Carpet Design 118 | Flying Grass Carpet

PHOTOGRAPHY 050 | Tracey Gibbs: ‘shooting’ the Randa Kamel Festival 108 | André Elbing: Raks Sharqi Dancers!



See page 34 for more info!

Yoga Reiki Massage





To see in large and/or buy these illustations, please go to: Read about her at:

Virginia Frances Sterrett (1900–1931) was an American artist and illustrator. Sterrett received her first commission at the age of 19 (shortly after she was diagnosed with tuberculosis) from the Penn Publishing Company to illustrate Old French Fairy Tales (1920) - a collection of works from the 19th century French author, Comtesse de SÊgur (Sophie Fedorovna Rostopchine). A year after the publication of Old French Fairy Tales, a new title including commissioned works from Sterrett was presented by the Penn Publishing Company - Tanglewood Tales (1921). From 1923, in failing health, Sterrett was able to work on projects for short periods of time only and as a result, she was able to complete just one further commission prior to her death - her own interpretation of Arabian Nights . Her best known work is this suite of illustrations for Arabian Nights (1928). She died of tuberculosis.


One Thousand and One Nights (Kitāb: alf laylah wa-laylah) is a collection of Middle Eastern and South Asian stories and folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age. It is often known in English as the Arabian Nights, from the first English language edition (1706), which rendered the title as The Arabian Nights’ Entertainment. The work was collected over many centuries by various authors, translators and scholars across the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa. The tales themselves trace their roots back to ancient and medieval Arabic, Persian, Indian, Turkish, Egyptian and Mesopotamian folklore and literature. In particular, many tales were originally folk stories from the Caliphate era, while others, especially the frame story, are most probably drawn from the Pahlavi Persian work Hazār Afsān (lit. A Thousand Tales) which in turn relied partly on Indian elements. What is common throughout all the editions of the Nights is the initial frame story of the ruler Shahryār (meaning “king” or “sovereign”) and his wife Scheherazade (possibly meaning “of noble lineage”) and the framing device incorporated throughout the tales themselves. The stories proceed from this original tale; some are framed within other tales, while others begin and end of their own accord. Some editions contain only a few hundred nights, while others include 1,001 or more. Some of the stories of The Nights, particularly “Aladdin’s Wonderful Lamp”, “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” and “The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor”, while almost certainly genuine Middle-Eastern folk tales, were not part of The Nights in Arabic versions, but were interpolated into the collection by Antoine Galland and other European translators. The innovative and rich poetry and poetic speeches, chants, songs, lamentations, hymns, beseeching, praising, pleading, riddles and annotations provided by Scheherazade or her story characters are unique to the Arabic version of the book. Some are as short as one line, while others go for tens of lines. source:


IZIDA Leading lady in ALADIN

Interview with: Can you tell us something about your background: you started dancing at age 11 doing modern dance... not a dance style dancers usually start out with, can you tell us more about this? And how did you get interested in dancing to begin with? When I was eleven years of age, a modern dance teacher came into town. Everybody said that she was quite good. My older sister and her friends went to trial lessons and took me with them. Modern dance and dance in general became an integral part of my life. As a child, I was also playing the guitar and I sang in a choir that had several tours in Europe. Also I was quite intensively engaged in drawing (black and white). But all these things were a hobby to me. As a child I thought I would study at an university and later work in an office. So I did. But during my time at the university, I first saw an oriental dancer, dancing live. I immediately asked the dancer for private lessons and a few months later I was dancing before an audience.


A Bulgarian Event organising agency took me under their wing and I had a lot of gigs. The first eight-month contract for Manama, Bahrain came six months after I started dancing before an audience! This dance style seduced me and not a day goes by that I do not think about it, ever since. It turned into the greatest passion of my life. You lived and studied in your motherland Bulgaria and only ‘arrived’ in Germany (now your place of residence) about 10 years ago. How did you end up in Germany and how did you get acquainted with Oriental Dance scene there? Take us with you on that journey.. I came to Germany on holiday and I had no intention of staying here. During this holiday I saw two shows and took trial oriental dance lessons. After that, I decided to stay in Germany to study this dance style, because back then in Bulgaria there were no teachers and I would not have the opportunity to study intensively.

Suddenly I realized that I wanted to be a dancer and to achieve this I had to stay in Germany. However, it was not easy to stay in Germany because I had to learn the language and I needed a visa. To achieve this, I applied to study at the University of Cologne, was accepted and began my studies there. A month after my arrival in Germany I was already performing: my first show was in an oriental restaurant in Cologne (Ya HabibiI). Its owner is an oriental dancer herself (Nasra Nefer) and she invited me to audition. In only one day I had to find music and a costume and get ready for the show! She liked me and for the next three years I danced there, two or three times a week. In the restaurant in question I met many fans of oriental dance as well as other dancers. They gave me lots of information about festivals, teachers, opportunities for participations, etcetera. They took me with them at various shows and seminars, were recommending me to participate in shows in other places and they came with me. Very quickly, I received a lot of information about oriental dance in Germany and things started running quite intensively. This was the very first oriental restaurant in Cologne I had visited, and it was only a five minute walk from my apartment. I just wandered in to ask if I could work there as a dancer.. So it felt predestined, effortless. Although it was just an ‘ordinary’ restaurant, it turned out that this was the best start for me, because of my acquaintance with many people from that community. There the dance was art and I was preparing for my participations as if I would dance on a big stage. There are no coincidences in life. I believe that not only I chose this dance but it chose me as well. My career started to develop quite intensively without significant effort on my part. Immediately after my arrival, I also began attending the school of Shahrazad and signed up for all possible oriental dance courses. Almost as soon as I signed



up there , Shahrazad invited me to join her ensemble Solomons Daughter, something I confess that I was not ready for. If we look at the teachers you have studied with since (Shahrazad, Raqia Hassan, Randa Kamel, Dina, Nagua Fouad, Gamal Seif, Khaled Seif, Aladin El Kholy, Amir Thaleb, Zaza Hassan, Amar Gamal, Lulu Sabongi, Mahmud Reda, Farida Fahmi, Rajaa & Momo Kadous, the list goes on and on..), what would you say is the main thing you have learned from them, what is it that you wouldn’t have wanted to miss or couldn’t have done without..? And is there a teacher that stands out for you personally, that has been crucially important in your development as a dancer? I attend oriental dance workshops with great pleasure. For me the process of learning is quite interesting and it is like the discovery of new worlds, or to look at the dance from different perspectives. I do not think I will ever stop attending seminars of other teachers. This not only gives me technique and knowledge, but also many wonderful experiences. I was always setting goals and I always knew

what I wanted to study. I was looking for the right teachers and I took private lessons. I have especially travelled abroad for private lessons with a particular teacher. It was not always the most important thing to learn something new or to improve my technique. I wanted to get in touch with these teachers and to observe what personalities and characters they have and I always wanted to take a little bit of their inspiration, energy, creativity and experience. I was always observing how a particular teacher was organising the lesson and for specific topics I attended workshops by several teachers, in order to see as many perspectives to one topic as I could. At the same time for me it was very important to find myself in a particular style rather than simply repeating what the teacher was showing me. I never wanted to be a good copy of a good teacher. Shahrazad and Gamal Seif had the biggest influence on me. They are both teaching in Cologne and I have attended their lessons regularly. I learned many and different things from both of them. Sometimes I realize that I had the good fortune to meet these two teachers and got the chance to learn from them. ISPAHAN 25



I danced for the first time on a real stage with the ensemble of Shahrazad. Later, for the first time, I had a small solo part at the Shahrazad’s twentyfive years anniversary on stage. Recently, Dr. Gamal Seif also gave me the opportunity to dance the lead role of Jasmine in his dance theatre Aladdin and the magic lamp. Both of them are more than teachers to me. They are accompanying me on my way and gave all of themselves, not only lessons and technique. It is obvious from your resume, that you have become very successful, certainly in these last five years: you are a teacher in Oriental dance, you performed in many shows, won prices at contests, were featured in many (international) TV shows, danced at concerts and other events.. What drives you.. is it fame, is it accomplishments, is it getting the world acquainted with Oriental dance..? And what are you goals for the future? My passion for the dance is my drive, a very strong desire to choreograph beautiful dances and present them on stage, to share them with the audience and thus to create a small beautiful world. Also, it gives me great pleasure to teach. I am especially happy when I see the result of my work, when I see that I have succeeded to give something to my students. My next goal will be to establish my own school! You must have had calls from (dance) talent shows.. Would you participate in such a TV contest like ‘So you think you can dance’ or ‘Deutschland sucht den Superstar’? And why would / wouldn’t you? In Bulgaria we have a TV show called Dancing Stars, where celebrities learn to dance different styles of dance. When they had the task to perform oriental dance, I was invited in the show to dance live on television. At the moment I can not imagine taking part in a contest format, but I would gladly make choreographies for other people. At best, for men and women, so I would be able to realize some of my ideas, patiently waiting for the opportunity.



I have participated in several oriental dance competitions, but this page of my life is now closed. We just had the premiere of the dance theatre Aladdin and the Magic Lamp by Dr. Gamal Seif, where I played the lead role. At the moment I think to concentrate more on this show and my career as a dancer and a teacher and my desire for the next few years, is to travel. Apart from being a very beautiful woman with absolutely gorgeous hair and, more importantly, the fact that you dance with obvious passion, feeling and love for the dance and music, what do you think characterises you as a dancer.., why should people come and see you dance? Or what is it that you want to come across, transmit to your audience, while dancing? The beauty of the dance is in the feelings and the emotions. They, for me, are an integral part of it, for me there is not a single dance or a workout without feelings. If I manage to turn off all feelings and emotions, my body is unable to move. Of course, good technique and good choreographies are not second. They are quite important for a dancer, to be able to express what she wants. Why do people want to see my dance? Hmm ...? I do not know why, but I hope they do it with pleasure! I can promise the audience only one thing! My feelings are not played or false, they are a reality and for me this is the reality. This summer, as you already stated, you were dancing in “Aladin and the Magic Lamp”, a professional dance show under the direction of Dr. Gamal Seif. Can you tell us more about the show, how did it come about (who’s initiative was it) and how did you get involved in it?


For five years I am attending the projects and the workshops of Dr. Gamal Seif, organized by Martina Houben (Marimars Tanztempel). For a long time I wanted to be part of a group and have Gamal Seif as a choreographer. Since he travels a lot and he is very busy, it did not happen until 2010. At the end of 2010, Martina Houben shared that she has the intention to organize the project Aladdin and His Magic Lamp and that she succeeded to win him as a choreographer for this project. I was very glad to have the opportunity for long-term and intensive work with such a good and world renowned choreographer! Working with him brings great pleasure and a lot of knowledge and experience. He is really talented and for me great pleasure to be a part of this project. And of course we’d also like to know what it gave you, to be part of this project, having had this experience.., working with professional actors and dancers. What surprised you the most (in yourself or in others), or was unexpected? And what was the best about the whole experience? Furthermore: is the show perhaps going on the road, on tour? Undoubtedly, the best for me about the whole this was having the lead role in a dance theatre by Dr. Gamal Seif and, in general, my participation in such a big project. The most valuable thing has been the experience and everything that we learned as a result of one year and six months intensive training.


I learned to keep working consecutively, even when I reached the limits of my physical and mental endurance, or I’m sick or sad, to set high goals and achieve them, to work with many people together, not to hesitate, no matter how hard it seems, to know what is my goal and to follow it, to grab the chance and in the right time to show what I can, and... and ... and …

It surprised me how far are the limits of the human possibilities, and how strong the motivation of a group of people can be. In any case there will be a tour of Aladdin and His Magic Lamp! The exact dates and locations of the performances shall be announced when the time comes.. And what comments did you get, how was the show received by the audience, so far? Who was the audience, do you know? Was it the same audience that goes to Oriental Dance Shows, or has this ‘approach’ been able to find and appeal to a new ‘target group’, do you think? Reactions to the show were very, very good. There was a ‘professional’ audience from Germany and abroad, as well as an audience that is not particularly interested in oriental dance and both audiences were very excited about the show. The show is not just for a professional audience, or an audience that is interested in oriental dance, this is a show for all people of all ages and nationalities, which makes me especially happy. Are there future projects of yours, you would like to tell us about? I am currently working to upgrade my repertoire. I have a few new dances which I will start presenting in the second half of 2012. I intend to continue to study intensively and yes ... I have a new project, but it is too early to talk about that! Okay, we will have to be patient, then.. Do you have any advice for fellow dancers, to conclude with? What is the essence of dance for you? Do not ever stop learning, attend dance workshops and courses. No matter how good a dancer is, if she stops learning, she will stop her development. The technique is a tool that helps us. Emotions, feelings, individuality and personality make the dance beautiful and fill up the stage. A series of complex movements do not necessarily make a good dance.! There is the circus for this purpose, where the artists make much more complex things. Our task is to get in touch with the people and to take them with us on a journey into a wonderful world, so that they can experience with us our feelings and emotions.

None of the great dancers were loved and cherished b Thank you very much, Izida and we wish you lots of success in the future!

Izida’s website: All photographs Aladin show, courtesy of André Elbing Izida photoshoot mermaid costume: Roland Nikrand Izida photoshoot red costume (Cairo): André Elbing


because they were technically brilliant!






The ISPAHAN Workshop at Mundo Oriental When we were asked to give a workshop at the Mundo Oriental Festival in Germany, by lovely organiser Amira, we were of course very flattered and one thing was clear from the start: we are a dance group, so we will all be involved in this and it will have to reflect us, as a group. After thinking about it, we decided to be ourselves, as authentic as can be, so this workshop is about (how to be ) a dance group.. Born this way... Our group was not born in a ‘organic’ way, out of a dance school, dance class or a group of friends, we did not even know each other, really! We came together and had mutual goals, but realising them proved to be an challenge, as we are all have different characters with very strong opinions! Deciding on music together, or on choreo’s and costumes takes us longer than a group that has a teacher or leader who is ‘in charge’. We all come from different backgrounds, dance at different levels, have different kinds of performance experience, had very different teachers, who had different methodes.. And so there was one thing we all had to ‘learn’.. : Everything will be fine, as long as we show motivation, ambition and above all group spirit. Not everyone always gets their way. So we have to be resilient, or: flexibel..! It is an ongoing struggle, but one we would like to share and tell you about. ISPAHAN 4 Flexibility.. There are different aproaches to this subject, apart from the physical one you can train by stretching and exercises: the psychological one (what is flexibility?), the practical one (how to apply this to dancing in a group) and the spiritual one (what will it bring us?) and we will be touching on all of them. So this will not be your average workshop, it will be about what goes on behind the curtains, what you normally don’t see or hear about, about the functioning of a group who has one thing in mind: to dance together beautifully.

So join us, if you are interested in the ‘mechanics’ behind a group..! ISPAHAN 37


What you can find on the ISPAHAN Oriental Dance Group web site: • • • • • • • • • •

How and why ISPAHAN was founded, how we operate, our vision and our good cause. Information on our group name, background stories and some cultural information as well. How to book us (for both private and business parties). How to join us (if you are an Oriental Dancer) Our performance schedule (in case you would like to see us dance) and a brief history of past performances. Videos and lots of pictures of past performances & photo shoots. A blog, of all our ISPAHAN adventures, updated frequently, so you can taste the atmosphere and feel part of our team. Information on al ISPAHAN dancers, their background, projects & links to their personal pages. Our ISPAHAN fan store, were revenues go to our good cause, and much, much more..




Zahiriz: “I wentt to Amsterdam Amst Am stter rda d m and bought a triba tribal al belt b lt be l in in a bellydance shop and d I was wa as happy h p ha pp py with it, but it wasn’t sn’t very ver ery y cheap... ch hea e p. p .. .. so at first, I was a bit sad sad when wh he en a friend of mine bought ough ht me me a very ver ery y cheap tribal belt on a market mar rke kett in n Rome, wich seemed ed to o be be made made ma d of de of the same materials als and an nd q quality! ua ali lity ty! ty Mmm.. But that did inspire ire me me to try try and and d make my own costume! ostum me e! So So after afte af fte ter d to buy bu uy a plain plain la ain n a while I decided tthe cheap ch he ea ap black bra and cut the tribal belt into two wo pieces, pie ie ece c s, s which whi h ch h e cups pss and p and d then the en could overlap the fab briic to to sew sew used all the left over fabric on the back and side of of the th he black blac bl ac ck bra. It was quite a job b to t place pla lace e all allll the bigger and smaller smallle er coins co oiinss in in a nice pattern, because becau usse it it wasn’t wa asn’t sn’tt sn possible to sew on n a machine. ma ac chi hine e.


On the original belt, there were also pieces like pendants or amulets and I used them to cover up the place where the bra closes on the back, and in the centre front I placed the heaviest coins. It turned out to be very comfortable, although it is a bit heavy because the coins are antique, not plastified fake ones. But it is beautiful matching ofcourse and, together with a skirt and the belt from Amsterdam, making a full costume!!!”

Zahiriz is a member of the ISPAHAN Oriental Dance Company, for more information, please go to: and take a look at the ‘Dancers’ page!



he earth spreads out a green carpet. The dasies open up and the world blossoms: peak of the white lily and praise its beauty. And forget not the magnificence of the rose.

And place the narcissus on the left.


nd mention not the jasmine, until it blooms..

Arabic poem in mutwashsha form by Eleventh-century Andalusian poet Ibn Guzman




Moroccan Sweet Potato Salad* This warm salad could be accompanied by roast chicken with harissa and pilaf rice. Ingredients: 1 large onion, coarsely chopped 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 lb (450g) sweet potatoes, peeled 1/2 tsp ground ginger 1/2 tsp ground cumin 1/2 tsp paprika salt** juice of 1/2 lemon 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley 6 or 7 green olives (optional)

How it’s done: Fry the onion in 2 tablespoons of oil, until golden. Cut the sweet potatoes into pieces (about 1-inch cubes), add to the pan, and barely cover with water. Add the ginger, cumin, paprika, a little salt**, and 2 more tablespoons of oil. Cook until the potato pieces are tender, about 20 minutes - keep watch so that they don’t suddenly fall apart. The liquid should reduce to a sauce. Serve at room temperature, mixed with the olives (optional), and sprinkled with lemon juice, the remaining olive oil, and the chopped parsley.

Bon Appetit! *This recipe is not taken from the ‘The Arabian Nights Cookbook’, (picture on the right), however we can certainly recommend this cookbook and here’s how you can obtain it: **The use of salt is not necessary in this recipe, don’t use salt in case of high blood pressure or a special diet.



The sinking sun is taking leave, And sweetly gilds the edge of Eve, While huddling clouds of purple dye,Gloomy hang the western sky. Crows crowd croaking over head, Hastening to the woods to bed. Cooing sits the lonely dove, Calling home her absent love. With “Kirchup! Kirchup!” mong the wheats, Partridge distant partridge greets; Beckoning hints to those that roam, That guide the squandered covey home. Swallows check their winding flight, And twittering on the chimney light. Round the pond the martins flirt, Their snowy breasts bedaubed with dirt, While the mason, neath the slates, Each mortar-bearing bird awaits: By art untaught, each labouring spouse, Curious daubs his hanging house. Bats flit by in hood and cowl; Through the barn-hole pops the owl; From the hedge, in drowsy hum, Heedless buzzing beetles bum, Haunting every bushy place, Flopping in the labourer’s face. Now the snail hath made its ring; And the moth with snowy wing Circles round in winding whirls, Through sweet evening’s sprinkled pearls, On each nodding rush besprent; Dancing on from bent to bent; Now to downy grasses clung, Resting for a while he’s hung; Then, to ferry oer the stream, Vanishing as flies a dream; Playful still his hours to keep, Till his time has come to sleep;

Title: Summer Evening [The sinking sun is taking leave] (excerpt) Author: John Clare ISPAHAN 49





‘Randa Kamel of Course’ - A Photographers View

...The countdown clock is on for me and the third of these special weeklong festivals from one dancer only! When this course was announced late last year, the buzz around the dance scene was palpable. With the support and drive of Sara and Sherif Farouk to help Randa make this happen, places were soon booked up. As this course was very very unique and new on the festival calendar for Cairo, both Randa and Sara were keen to make it even more special by having a photographer dedicated to covering all of this very very special week. How could I refuse???? With two now under my belt of what proves to be one of my busiest working weeks as a photographer, what can I share with the world of dance especially that of live performance photography. Both of the previous weeklongs have started with the fabulous opening welcome show by Randa on the Nile Maxim, this is the first of my full on nights. The energy and range of what Randa does gives me lots of opportunity to find great live dance images. Aided by the extra work Sherif does with lighting for this special night. The night goes something like this: Cards check. Lenses check (time for the big boy) my wonderful 80-200 2.8 zoom Batteries check. Flash no … I am at heart a fly on the wall kind of photographer and just don’t like flash on camera if I can help it. Site lines check. Always always see if there are places to the sides rather than just in the middle, these can give you different feel and access to more shapes the dancer presents to the audience. I’m focused on the dancer and she did not disappoint, there is something so intangible with Randa in her exquisite natural use of space and use of stage that it is hard to get a bad shot. With the addition off a smoke machine giving the light an even more rock concert feel I was off, up down around in up down…




‘Randa Kamel of Course’ - A Photographers View

As ever trying to be considerate of the audience there is nothing worse that a !!!@!!!!!!! photographer getting in your way …. Be prepared fellow snappers that, yes, you will have to crawl about the floor, learn how to melt into the shadows and have eyes in the back of your head to avoid bumping into a waiter. So with many cards now marked red (i.e. full) in my holder we headed back to the hotel were I began a new routine of downloading and cataloguing with a gin close by. As the week progresses, I can be found dipping in and out of the workshops capturing the attendees from all over the world as they work and smile learning with Randa. The fabulous ballroom of the Barceló is set with a stage in the middle and is the hub of the weeklong. During the week there are stages for the competition, dancers can opt to have me photograph their performance. This is where the two of me come together, my photographer me again cards at the ready, dressed to scamper around the room to find the shot. I don’t tend to stay in one spot and wait for the action. This could be accredited to the dancer me, as I am familiar with most of the music choices and can to a degree predict where the dancer will be at a set time in the music. It requires a huge amount of energy and drive, as each piece is only 4 min long. The advantages can be great, separation from the background to make the dancer shine, also more variety for the performer. Another part of my week is the early morning portfolio sessions for dancers: an early start usually around 7am, but worth it as the light at that time is indeed magical. In January the dancers did shiver a little I am hoping August will be a bit less chilly. There is something truly magical to have your images taken there in Cairo, the hotel staff are great and now just smile at the crazy folks around the pool in full costume and make up at ridiculous o’clock. My style comes from years of work in the fashion and beauty industry, which I like to bring to the world of bellydance for images of elegance and a quiet sexuality if that makes sense..


‘Randa Kamel of Course’ - A Photographers View

The week becomes more and more intense with backing up, backing up and logging individual dancers images, the only downside of digital.. The final night is the competition final and dancers who have opted to dance with the band, outside of the competition. This is my busiest night and huge fun, the shear joy, excitement of all the performers is clear. My job on this special night is to capture this for every single dancer. I am usually found singing or humming their music choices and find myself smiling as I kneel, lie, stand and run around the back of the room to my next sightline. I did my first live action work in Cairo for Ahlan Wa Sahlan way back when it was held at the Hilton Ramises on film!!!!! That was hard, as film needs a lot of work to make ambient light work, both on the night and also in the processing after. Clip tests, tweaks in processing. This is one of the big changes for me as a photographer; with the cameras I use now so fantastic at low light levels meaning I can use higher speeds and no loss of clarity. The dancer I captured then was none other than Randa. So here I am the dedicated photographer for Randa and now also Eman Zaki whose new collection I will also be doing in August. To sum up my experience of this unique course, lessons learnt urrmmmm.. Maybe just a few too many images. Would I recommend this course? Without hesitation, would I like to go back? Are you kidding? And one moment to remember? The one where Randa liked so much the shots I had taken of her performing “ how do you get these beautiful images Tracey?” Because she is a dancer came the reply from Sara.. Do the two go together? Yes! The knowledge on both a physical and intuitive/ interpretational way give a dancer/photographer an edge makes a change in this ever-competitive world - and for the photographer/ dancer such a complete experience in every way (barefoot or not). Tracey Gibbs.





Tracey is available for work internationally contact information: -


All photographs are copyright ŠTracey Gibbs Photography



Moroccan Mint Tea with Orange Blossoms Fresh orange blossoms are in season for only a very short time and bitter orange blossoms from the Mediterranean region are used to make orange flower water (orange blossom water) and syrups. If you’re able to get fresh orange blossoms, try the fragrant Moroccan tea, which combines orange blossoms with spearmint. The recipe reflects the fact that most Moroccans like their tea quite sweet. Adjust sugar to your personal taste. Serves 2 to 4. Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 10 minutes Ingredients: 1 tablespoon Green Tea leaves 1 handful fresh orange blossoms, washed 1 handful fresh spearmint leaves, washed 1/2 liter (about 2 cups) boiling water 1/4 cup sugar Preparation: Boil at least a liter of water. Rinse a small tea pot with about 1/4 cup of the water. Add the tea leaves and another 1/4 cup boiling water. Swirl the pot to wash and rinse the leaves, and pour out the water. Add the orange flower blossoms, mint leaves and the sugar, and fill the pot with 1/2 liter (about 2 cups) boiling water. Leave the tea to steep for about five minutes, or set the tea pot over medium-low heat and bring the tea to a simmer. Remove from the heat, and allow to steep several minutes more. Gently stir the tea, pour into small tea glasses and serve.





Albert Einstein: There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.




tajine, or tagine (Berber: tajin), is a Berbe special earthenware pot in which it is co the cuisine of Cyprus. The traditional taji sometimes painted or glazed. It consists o low sides, and a large cone or dome-shaped cover t designed to promote the return of all condensatio can be taken to the table for serving.

Tajines in Moroccan cuisine are slow-cooked stew meat with aromatic vegetables and sauce. They are cover which has a knob-like handle at its top to fac lifted off without the aid of a mitten, enabling the co mix the contents, or add additional braising liquid.

Most tajines involve slow simmering of less-expens browning; if there is to be browning it is invariably flesh has become butter-tender and very moist. In contain some fat, which may be skimmed off later.

Moroccan tajines often combine lamb or chicken w quinces, apples, pears, apricots, raisins, prunes, da without honey, with or without a complexity of tajines include ground cinnamon, saffron, ginger, famous spice blend ras el hanout. Turkey meat is al

What Tunisians refer to as a “tajine� is very different f tajine is more like an Italian frittata. First, a simple ra cooked with onions and various spices, such as a known as baharat, or a robust combination of grou Then something starchy is added to thicken the jui chickpeas, breadcrumbs or cubed potatoes. When ingredient has been chosen to be the dominant fl fresh parsley, dried mint, saffron, sun-dried toma brains. Next, the stew is enriched with cheese and pie dish, either on the stove or in the oven until bot are just set. When the tajine is ready, it is turned out by wedges of lemon. Tunisian tajines can be made


er dish from North Africa, that is named after the ooked. A similar dish, known as tavvas, is found in ne pot is formed entirely of a heavy clay, which is of two parts: a base unit that is flat and circular with that sits on the base during cooking. The cover is so n to the bottom. With the cover removed, the base

ws braised at low temperatures, resulting in tender e traditionally cooked in the tajine pot, the conical cilitate removal. While simmering, the cover can be ook to inspect the main ingredients, add vegetables, .

sive meats. Very few Moroccan tajines require initial y done after the meat has been simmered and the n order to accomplish this, the cooking liquid must

with a medley of ingredients or seasonings: olives, ates, nuts, with fresh or preserved lemons, with or spices. Traditional spices that are used to flavour , turmeric, cumin, paprika, pepper, as well as the lso sometimes used.

from the more well-known Moroccan dish. Tunisian gout is prepared, of meat cut into very small pieces, a blend of dried rosebuds and ground cinnamon nd coriander and caraway seeds; this is called tabil. ices - common thickeners include cannellini beans, n the meat is tender, it is combined with whatever flavoring. Examples include but are not limited to atoes, cooked vegetables, or even stewed calves’ eggs. Finally, this egg and stew is baked in a deep th top and bottom are crisply cooked and the eggs t onto a plate and sliced into squares, accompanied with seafood or as a completely vegetarian dish.


ISBN-10: 0230714854 ISBN-13: 978-0230714854 Hala Jaber is a British-Lebanese journalist born in West Africa and currently writes for The Sunday Times. She was awarded the Amnesty International Journalist of the Year Award in 2003, won Foreign Correspondent of the Year at the British Press Awards in 2005 and 2006 for her coverage of the Iraq War. She co-won the Martha Gellhorn Prize for her work in Iraq in 2007. Jaber explains in this book, her brief relationship with a beautiful, burnt young girl, Zahra, and how this turns into a five year journey to understand the Iraq war, and to reconcile her response to the conflict as a journalist and as a woman. A very emotional personal journey, since she describes the horror of seeing so many injured, orphaned children while being devastating disapointed of never being able to have children herself. A film (DVD) from 1924 about a recalcitrant thief who vies with a duplicitous Mongol ruler for the hand of a beautiful princess. With a magnificently surreal Bagdad, enchanted forests, ocean bottoms and magic carpet rides. Billed as “One of the truly great silent films of the 1920s.” A thief falls in love with the Caliph of Bagdad’s daughter. The Caliph will give her hand to the suitor that brings back the rarest treasure after seven moons. The thief sets off on a magical journey while, unbeknownst to him, another suitor, the Prince of the Mongols, is not playing by the rules... Fairbanks is a whirlwind of muscular, balletic flamboyance. And while his princess (Julanne Johnson) is a stereotype of vapidity, there’s gleamingly malevolent support from Anna May Wong as the evil Mongol Slave Girl. Through Amazon. ASIN: B0001XLX2U (PAL format) Be careful you buy the right “Region’ code!

From ‘The book of Kings’ (Shahnameh), Ferdowsi’s poetic opus, the story of Zaal has been put to music in “Simorq” (Simorq is a legendary supernatural bird in Persian literature). It is the story of the birth and growing up of Zaal and his love for Roodabeh, the daughter of King Mehrab of Kabal: luck, fate and destiny, greed, fear and disgrace with the need and desire for fame and love, under the canopy of an epic story. Hamid Motebassem (among Irans most distinguished composers), whose distinctive compositions are renowned for their excellence and his ability to create polymelodic pieces for Iranian instruments and Iranian musical modes (“dastgahs”), has undertaken the formidable task of writing polymelodic pieces for national Iranian musical instruments of the Simorq Orchestra (34 instrumentalists and vocalists) and Homayoun Shajarian (one of Iran’s best known current vocalists). Visit:


Gifts by




*from 7 - 14 August, with our Vouchercode



Acccording to a tale, told by Scheherazade in One Thousand and One Nights,

K King Solomon was given a flying carpet w when God appointed him king over every created thing.

The carpet was made of green silk

interwoven with pure gold, embroidered with figures. It was sixty miles long & sixty miles wide and could transport Solomon himself, his throne, two lions, four princes and two of his armies.

When Solomon sat on the carpet, he was

transported by the wind so quickly he “breakfasted at Damascus and supped in Media�. And the journey was so smooth the cooking pots of the cooks did not spill a drop of food!



Flying Carpet Chair by: Simon Desanta/ Rosenthal Einrichtung products information via:


‘East meets West’ by: Tonio de Roover information via:


‘Karpett’ by: 5.5 Designers for Tarkett information via:



‘Flying Carpet’ by: Cappellini information via: ‘Grandbazaar Sofa’ by: Maybe Design information via: ‘Magis Me Too’ by: Eero Aarnio information via:


‘Flying Carpet’ by: Nani Marquina information via:



‘Flying Carpet’ by: Cai Guo-Qiang: Long Scroll 2006 Collection of Martha Herford information via: projects/flying-carpet-0

Coffee table “Flying Carpet” (Merlau wood) by: Jerome Abel information via:

‘Flying Carpet Daybed’ (Stainless steel) by: Maria Pergay information:

Flying Carpet Socks by Cat Bordhi

‘Flying Carpet Socks’ by Cat Bordhi, Designed for the Duets series of patterns. The model shown is knit in Lorna’s Laces Gold Hill and Mountain Colors Wilderness. There are 5 other color combo’s: * Mixed Berries & MC Winter Sky * Sassy Stripe & MC Sun River * Tahoe & MC Mountain Tango * Rainbow & MC Meadow * Iris Garden & MC Wildflower


Flying Carpet Music



12-19 August

Hof Oberlethe Intensive Course with Shahrazad

India This Summer Intensive Seminar is meant for Oriental Dancers and Students, who already have some basic knowledge about Bollywood and/or Indian Dance, and wish to deepen their understanding of these dance forms. Every day of this intensive week, there will be Yoga and hours of intensive Dance training, Basic techniques and Choreographies in Bharat Natym, Kathak-Mujra, Odissi, Bollywood and Folklore style. There will also be a mini course in Hindi and in the evenings you can watch Indian Dance Films. On Saturday there will be a dance show. It is possible to attend only one or more days, seperately. Details via

Shahrazad, internationally celebrated dance phenomenon, was born in Holland and grew up in a goldsmith family where art and musik was part of every day life. Next to her six year study at the Maastricht Artacademy she turned more and more towards oriental cultures. Shahrazads extensive knowledge and ability in middle eastern, east Indian and Nepalese dance, her experience with the mentality of different peoples and languages as well as her spiritual and wordly feelings flow into her perfect dance and raise it to art.


Put this in your Bollywood Bag! Clockwise Brooch: Bag: Keyring holder: Little purse: Kundan Jewelry: Bangles: Shoes: Bindi’s: & Bag:


“For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul.”

Judy Garland




TJARDA & RACHEL Dancer & Photographer series Dancer & Photographer The second episode in this series of duo portaits, where both dancer and photographer of a specific photoshoot talk about themselves and the project they did together. This time it is all about Tjarda van Straten, professional dancer, choreographer and theacher and Rachel Schraven, professional photographer.




Question: You have studied at several academies (Academie for Art & Drama, Academy of Music & Dance) and are a Grammar School student (‘Gymnasium’). Would you say a certain level of education, intelligence and creativity has formed an essential basis for were you are today? What does ‘intelligent dance’ mean to you? To what extent is your body ‘only’ a vessel and are you dancing what’s inside your brain? Tjarda: Everything what I have done in my life has made me to what I am today. If I had attended other educations it might have been slightly different. I don’t really describe my dance as “intelligent”, cause there are multiple intelligences (Howard Gardner’s theory) that work together, which is normal to me and will be different for every dancer/choreographer. I do find the subject very interesting as through my research I came in contact with the studies of Rudolf von Laban, a scientist, who later applied his knowledge to movement. His approach is very mathematical and makes a lot of sense to me. In my career as a choreographer, I have heard quite often that


people find my choreographies clever or mathematical. I didn’t do this on purpose; it is just my way of thinking/feeling/acting and seeing things and it is very nice to discover that more people are interested in the same thing to learn more and more every time. Science, psychology and movement and how they relate to each other, fascinate me. You can approach movement for example from your thoughts/brain or from movement itself. People move in certain movement patterns which comes naturally to them and what will already express some kind of story, this can give you lots of insights on who you are and new areas to explore. You can start there or start from a concept and find movement that will relate to this. Both ways are very interesting to work with and to explore new horizons. Question: A broad-minded curiosity of things has led you to Fusion Belly Dance. Can you imagine it not stopping there… or rather: what is on your horizon? Tjarda: I don’t know what is on the horizon for me, as I try to take it day by day and it will evolve from there. The only thing I know for sure is that my body has to keep on moving or else I get very cranky. In what way or form is not important. Whether it is called fusion belly dance, modern dance, dance expression or something else, as long as it is true in its emotion. I am very interested in what stories or memories are hidden in the body, as our body holds a lot of information that we are not yet aware of yet. Through dance/art we can share and connect with each other on a deeper level about things we cannot explain in words. We all come from the same source, but we are all exploring the same or different areas, as I also believe in a collective consciousness. Why do you like a certain performer at a certain moment in your life or for the rest of your life? We all recognize something of ourselves in the different dancers. So I might go back to dance and movement therapy in a few years, if I can find the education for this that fits me. I am not only working as a dancer and a choreographer, but also collaborating with HipSick – Unusual Theatre,

which is under the direction of one of my best friends Nadîja Broekhart. Here we combine dance, theatre and performing arts, another way of expressing and connecting with each other. I also started taking singing lessons last year, but I am too shy to sing in public…but who knows what the future will bring. Singing makes me feel even more vulnerable then dancing. Question: Your resume reads like a success-story, has your life really been a fairytale so far, or have you encountered hardship on your way as well. If so, would you like to share how you dealt with this? Tjarda: A resume will mostly not tell the hardship behind someone’s path. If you read my resume from the point I started dancing it does read like a success-story and I feel very lucky and blessed. It doesn’t say how I deal with insecurities or negative response to my work. There is just a force in me that doesn’t want to quit, it is stronger then my thoughts and I try to not listen to that and just continue my research. Being gifted doesn’t mean you can just sit back and relax. I do believe that this was meant to be for me, as I had the same opportunities as every body else. From the moment I started dancing, it all went really fast and I worked and still am working hard for this. My life before dancing was different and I never knew what to do and also my parents didn’t know what to do with me. Every test they would have me do would have an outcome, which said I should be a dancer, singer, painter or some form of artist. But I was too old to start dancing is what we believed. I couldn’t…and still cannot draw/ paint and they said I couldn’t sing. My family send me to Schoevers and I now hold 3 diplomas for being an office manager, so working at an office and trying to make the best of it was the way to deal with life. Studying from books and sitting in a classroom is very hard for me as my brain likes visualization and that doesn’t go well with the school systems we have here. Being unhappy with my office job after 7 years, I was advised to do something fun next to working. I took a belly dance class and that was that…


I never left. I quit my job, moved to another city and started all over again. I took 4 dance or other art classes a week, found a new job with a whole new network from where I got offered my first performance as The Uzumé…it all came together. I believe in that everything you do in life will have a purpose, whether it was a good or a bad experience. The Schoevers education now helps me with managing my own business already for the past 5 years. Question: You are awarded for your choreographies. What would you say is key to a good choreography and how does a solo choreography differ from a group choreography in your view? Tjarda: When I got awarded for my choreographies of The Uzumé, I didn’t study for this yet, I did what I wanted them to look like or what I wanted to express. I was and still am keen on synchronicity, formations, dynamics, musicality, spatial awareness and creating from the source. The choreographies that I create now for The Amano Project or in collaborations with Samantha Emanuel and Anasma have a clearer concept to start from. I believe in what one of my teachers ones said to me “if you know what you are doing, it will translate to the audience”. People don’t have to like what you do, but you will always find an audience that will understand your work…whether it’s a small or a big group. We are all walking our own paths at our own tempo. Sometimes we meet people that walk the same route as you at that time and your story will translate to them or it will translate to a whole new group of people as they might recognize something they weren’t aware of yet. We can all learn from each other and luckily we are never done learning and exploring. As dancers we are mirrors for each other and our audiences. In a group choreography the choreographer needs to instruct the dancers with what he/she needs from them, the group needs to work as one unity/energy. I also dance with UNMATA a USA-based troupe and this is one of my favorite quotes of their Streetteam troupe: “To be a part of a team is to see beyond yourself. It takes the willingness to extend a hand without being asked, to open one’s ears when others speak, to humbly offer energy and effort to 94 ISPAHAN

a mutual cause, not for personal glory but to create something more beautiful and meaningful than individual interests. There is magic in working together!” I personally find dancing as a soloist harder then in a group. It is just you on the stage and you have to work harder to get your story across to the audience while using the different tools to create a choreography. Personally I love asymmetry, which will still be harmonious, not only in my personal life but also in my group choreographies, which might go under the mathematical view on things. I also love to try things that are harder for me, to learn more about myself and discover new things. So working with symmetry too, just to challenge myself to see where this will lead too. One thing cannot exist without the other; asymmetry might not be seen if you only use that or could look messy. The same for dynamics, if you only use one, it might not stand out so much, cause there is not comparison. Interchanging between different dynamics will make them more visible and keep your audience’s like telling a fairytale to children with intonation, different voices, stops, whispers, shouts, etcetera. There is no right and wrong. I am a visual-spatial learner and my own way of seeing things and so will every dancer/ choreographer have its own personal view on things. It is what is already in my mind; I do believe you can develop this further when you get aware of this. Awareness comes before learning. My grandfather was a carpentry teacher, my uncle was a mathematics teacher and my dad was a German teacher…so it might run in the family.. Question: The Hipsick shoot..? Rachel has been around in the same scene as Nadîja and me for years. She has seen several performances of HipSick at different events, so she knew what kind op impression and vibe swarms around this unusual theatre group. And of course Nadîja and me already knew what kind of work Rachel made. Rachel already mentioned a year ago that she would love to do a photoshoot with HipSick and with the new performance “HipSique Toumante” ready for promotion, we found a good

reason to finally have this shoot. Nadîja was responsible for the styling and we discussed with Rachel what the vibe of the pictures had to be, to get the right attitude across to our audiences. Knowing each other mades us all a little nervous, wanting the shoot to be perfect to please both parties. While shooting Rachel mentioned a few a times that she didn’t know if we would like the pictures. During the break she showed us a couple shots and we were immediately blown away and told her not to worry anymore. She really had some great input/ ideas for our positioning and postures. In my entire photoshoot carreer, this is the best one I ever had to be honost, also because of the fact that Nadîja is one of my best friends and we had a lot of fun while shooting. We will definately work with Rachel again in the future. Tjarda van Straten.

Tjarda’s website: All photographs: courtesy of Rachel Schraven Upcoming: 22/09/2012 Workshop with Tjarda in Hasselt/ Belgium Workshop 1: Shapes and Sizes Workshop 2: Travelling and Transitions Info & payments:


Questions & Answers

Question: What is your usual ‘modus operandi’, do you study the person or assignment thoroughly beforehand, or do you rely on your instincts and the momentum? Rachel: Since I mainly work for the fashion industry, I always know beforehand who to expect and what I’m supposed to do, since the whole concept is already thought of and communicated. The model has to fit the concept and the clothes. These girls are usually send by an agency, and are selected by the customer or myself. So this is a very different approach opposed to the Hipsick shoot. In this case, I looked for images that inspire me, thought about who would be in front of my lens and had a very open and frank talk with this person(s), before the shoot, to be able to achieve a result we can all be happy with. Question: How did you personally experience the Hipsick shoot with Tjarda? Rachel: That shoot was incredibly cool and easy going.. I have a lot of experience in shooting fashion and usually I photograph models. Now I had a small theatre company in front of me, totally different but so much fun. Question: What is your main focus, during a shoot: an artistic end result, your own vision or opinion, catching the personality of the model… Rachel: That solely depends on the assignment and the concept. Sometimes it just has to be a great looking, catchy image for a fashion series or a cover and I need the models to act, personify a certain character. Some series have a story to tell and others are more like portraits. If the later is the case, I strive to keep it personal, letting their character shine thru.


Question: What do you do in case a model has a hard time being open in front of your camera, is too shy to open up? Rachel: I think that it is an important trade for a photographer to be able to make people feel at ease in front of your camera, so they can open up. I always make sure that I myself am open and calm. It is very important that there is a good atmosphere and that there’s a click between photographer and model, or the whole team. Humour is an important aspect in that, I feel.



Question: To what extent are you an (1.) artist, or (2.) a service provider? In other words, is a good photographer someone who leaves his or her own mark on the end result, or someone who complies totally with what the contractor wants? Rachel: I always think of myself as an artist. Obviously I have to deliver a good job and client satisfactory is important so I will have to take their demands into account, but when I am booked, I am booked for a specific style, my style, so fortunately there is a balance between the both. In my own work, I am totally free to do whatever I want, of course.

Question: Does there have to be chemistry for a good result? Rachel: Definitely! It’s a deal breaker if it isn’t there.

If the chemistry is lacking, you have to work ten times harder, but you can also try to accomplish a better working environment by stimulating your customer(s) to be more open. Also, as a photographer, you have to be on the same page with the stylist, make up artist and model, and that can be challenging sometimes! Question: Do you know, during a shoot, which photographs are good (and how do you feel when you have accomplished that?) and, looking at your portfolio, in what way can we recognize ‘Rachel’ in your work, what’s your ‘trademark’ so to speak..? Rachel: Yes, I know immediately if the photograph is good, sometimes my best photo is the first one I take, sometimes I’m looking for it for hours, but when it’s there, I know it. I feel totally energized, when that happens. It is always thrilling, you never know if it’s going to work out the way you want it


to, but when it’s good, it’s magical. My personal style has to do with the use of light and a specific style I developed, but I am still working on that, every single day. Question: Why did you become a photographer? And is a photographer a voyeur, someone who wants to ‘fixate’ reality, or someone who wants to create his or her own reality? Rachel: Photography was the first thing I felt truly connected with. I surged for my passion for a long time and found it in photography; it stimulates me on a daily basis. I think a photographer is all the above, a mixture of all three. I love real stories and real people, capturing a certain look or a specific moment. But I also love to bring my fantasies to live, a process that starts in my head and then must be ‘transferred’ to a designer and/or model. If the cooperation works, all of a sudden the image in my head has become an actual image. Question: Do you carry a camera everywhere you go, or is it an 8-to-5 job for you? And who are your role models, your heroes and why? Rachel: It is neither, actually, I don’t always carry a camera with me, but it is certainly not an 8-to-5 job. I choose to give myself some time off, occasionally, because being a photographer, you are always watching. That can be tiring if, let’s say, you’re at a birthday party. My heroes are Paolo Roversi, Tim Walker and Erwin Olaf. They all create a world that doesn’t exist, but could exist. I love to look at their world and lose myself in its beauty and fantasy. Question: Our final IM question: What are your goals, what is on the horizon for you, which way are you going? Rachel: I aim to develop and deepen my own style even more over the next years and become a sought after photographer, of course, someone that stands out. I would love to do a Vogue shoot someday, but that will take some hard work on my part. Furthermore, I hope to be able to enjoy photography forever, not having to ‘sell out’ to commerciality but find a balance between art and commerce. And I hope to touch people with my work.

Rachel Schraven /





Clockwise: Soap Rose D’Ispahan by ‘Le Comptoir des Savonniers de Guérande’ Gommage au sucre (sugar peeling) de rose d’Ispahan by Baïja & Beurre de karité à la Rose d’Ispahan by Baïja 100% biological Les Roses D’Ispahan by Faure La Rose d’Ispahan Flowershop, 170 AVENUE DAUMESNIL, 75012 PARIS



Come fly with me, let’s fly, let’s fly away.. If you can use some exotic booze There’s a bar in far Bombay Come on and fly with me, let’s fly, let’s fly away. FFrank rank Sinatra. Sinatra.



Flying Carpet Glass Bowls by: Jill Alan information via: art-flying-carpet.shtml



This page: Prince Erkan Serce/ Turkey Opposite page: Tito/ Egypt



This page: Said El Amir/ Germany Opposite page: Rachid Alexander/ Netherlands Ihlan/ France


This page: Asi Haskal/ Iraq Amir Thaleb/ Argentinia Eliran Amar Edery/ Israel Opposite page: Ahmed Fekri/ Egypt


André on this subject: “There is a great Artist way of male dancers in the whole World! All of them are great performers on stage and mostly very good teachers as well. In the point of stage presentation, they are in a high level of esthetic and expression of their love to music and dance. Of course in comparing with female “Bellydancers” there are only a very small number of well known dancers in the Bellydance scene…. But all of them with high reputation! Her are now some of great Dancers from different countries and with different styles--- always a great experience to watch and to make photos in their highly expressive emotional moments…”


This page: Momo Kadous/ Egypt Opposite page: Magdy El Leisy ‘s Dabke Group/ Germany Cihangir/ Turkey




Ficus carica

is a monoecious, deciduous tree or a large shrub. It is native to the Middle East. It was later cultivated from Afghanistan to Portugal, and from the 15th century onwards, was grown in areas including Northern Europe and the New World. In the 16th century. The Common fig tree has been cultivated since ancient times and grows wild in dry and sunny areas, with deep and fresh soil. Like all fig trees, Ficus carica requires wasp pollination of a particular species of wasp to produce seeds. Situated in a favorable habitat, old specimens when mature can reach a considerable size and form a large dense shade tree. Its aggressive root system helps the plant to take root in the most inhospitable areas. The fig tree cools the environment in hot places, creating a fresh and pleasant habitat for many animals that take shelter in its shade in the times of intense heat. The flower is not visible, as it blooms inside the infructescence. Although commonly referred to as a fruit, the fig is actually the infructescence or sсion of the tree, known as a false fruit or multiple fruit, in which the flowers and seeds are born. Figs are one of the highest plant sources of calcium and fiber. Dried figs are richest in fiber, copper, manganese, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and vitamin K, relative to human needs. They have smaller amounts of many other nutrients. Figs have a laxative effect and contain many antioxidants. They are good source of flavonoids and polyphenols. In the Book of Genesis in the Bible, Adam and Eve clad themselves with fig leaves after eating the “forbidden fruit”. The biblical quote “each man under his own vine and fig tree”, is used to denote peace and prosperity. Buddha achieved enlightenment under the bodhi tree, a large and old sacred fig tree (Ficus religiosa).

Ever had Figs with..: * Figs wrapped in Parma ham * Marinated figs with prosciutto, mozzarella & basil * Roast Figs with Blue Cheese * Roast Figs in Filo Pastry * Fig and orange salad * Spice cakes with walnuts and figs * Figgy Bread * Roast figs with cinnamon, thyme and honey? Try these recipes via the Good Food Channel, BBC:


Go to: Easy transportable: it can fly! Rolled up a small carpet of 18 x 21,6 meters consists of 12 rolls. Each roll weighs proximally 200 kg. One roll of carpet has a diameter is 0.6 meter and is 3.6 meter wide. To transport the 18 x 21,6 meters Carpet one lorry with fork-lift truck is needed. A bigger Carpet needs to be divided over two lorries. When transported by boat the small carpet fits in a 20 foot container. The big carpet fits in a 30 foot container.


In case you would like to order the Flying Grass Carpet for your city, please contact: info@










From Architect to Belly Dancer: Belly Dance IS a Profession In June 2005, just 2 months shy of having received a Masters Degree in Architecture and in the midst of the first opportunity I had to finally focus all my energies on a new job, I took my very first Belly Dance class in an attempt to do “something” with my spare time after work. I had never imagined that seven years later I would be where I am today – A Professional full-time Oriental Dancer and Director of Kids Programs at Belly Motions, a prestigious Oriental Dance Studio in Miami, Florida. What was once a very special “me-time” hobby has completely changed my original career path. It was never my intention to take this art form to a professional level, therefore my experiences in Belly Dance have always been fun and giving in nature. Initially, it was a positive way I felt I could contribute to the community. This later became the reason I accepted an offer to take a training course that would lead me to teach a Beginner’s Level program in January 2007. My purpose was to share this experience with other women as a means to help them in whatever form they needed. I taught this Beginner’s course once a week for many years and would use the income I earned from it to continue to feed my personal Belly Dance education. In addition, I would donate classes and performances whenever and wherever I could, such as at a local Wellness Center where I taught weekly classes to cancer victims and survivors. It was all a training process that, although I was then unaware, would open up many doors for my future. To this day I continue to enjoy donating classes and performances to good causes and I firmly believe the power of dance heals in many forms. In May 2009 I found myself without a job due to a poor economy and declining job market. Several months later my sister Alexandra, knowing how much kids inspire me, pushed me to inquire about the opening for Instructor of Kids classes at Belly Motions. I was hesitant at first because I wasn’t sure exactly where I would go career-wise, but time and money were running out! One thing led to another and I decided to go for it 126 ISPAHAN

and pick up additional adult classes wherever I could. With the guidance and support from my mentor, Portia Lange, before I knew it the children’s classes grew quickly and I was promoted to establish and direct the studio’s first official Kids Program (hence my name, “Miss” Luisa!). I now teach 10-15 classes a week to both kids and adults and perform regularly at special events. I have also experienced several accomplishments that I hope contribute to the advancement and acceptance of Oriental Dance as a respectable dance and profession. In the Spring of 2011, I was hired as a visiting Professor at the University of Miami’s Dance Department within the School of Theatre Arts to teach a course on Middle Eastern and North African Dance for college credit. I worked with dancers, actors, artists, medical and law students on several aspects of Oriental dance with a primary focus on Egyptian folkloric dance (Saidi). The success of the course has resulted in an invitation to return in the Spring of 2013! The seven years of experience I have had within this magical world of Belly Dance have led me to solidify my personal goals as a Professional Belly Dancer: (1) To establish that Belly Dance for Kids can be appropriate and beneficial (2) To work closely with reputable dancers to help raise the bar of professionalism for Oriental Dancers and (3) To lead by example and inspire others to reach their personal goals and live their dreams – whatever they may be.


From Architect to Belly Dancer, I can honestly say that my success is a direct result of the combination of my education and professional experiences in both fields of work. It is because I studied my passion in college and later practiced it in “the real world” that I was able to approach a new passion with open arms. I carry with me the same work ethic and principles I applied in the Architecture industry and even find myself performing many of the same duties: clients, contracts, emails, meetings, deadlines…. Hey! Who would have thought? Belly Dance is a profession after all! ;-) My entire life-style has changed for the better – I’m healthier, stronger, happier, and have honestly never felt more efficient and effective in every minute of my work. I invite you to live your dreams, whatever they may be, with an open heart that is full of love. With Love, Miss Luisa Director of Kids Programs, Belly Dance Instructor and Performer Belly Motions, Inc. 430 South Dixie Highway Coral Gables, FL 33146 Studio: 305.663.1553 Mobile: 305.496.0113



When the Art of Architecture Meets the Art of Belly Dance / A Series of Photographs Whenever I share with students, clients and friends that I have a Bachelor’s and Masters Degree in Architecture they are typically shocked that I could have made such a drastic transition. It can be difficult to explain the similarities between the two arts without having an in-depth knowledge of both. This was the inspiration I used, to work with a photographer to create a series of images that would convey 130 ISPAHAN

Elements of design such as rhythm, patterns, and symmetry are all found in both dance and music. Many architects actually look to dance and music for inspiration on their projects! Our photographs would capture lines, movement and perspective in both the architecture and Belly Dance. I chose a local architectural project with strong and expressive gestures in movement, the park alongside the New World Symphony Concert hall in Miami Beach, Florida. It houses beautiful pathways and several highly organic structures that have movement written all over them, and it is also a landmark within Miami’s emerging cultural scene. The result is a series of photographs that also tell the story of my personal journey and overall passion for both the Art of Architecture and the Art of Belly Dance.

Miss Luisa. This was the inspiration I used, to work with a photographer to create a series of images that would convey the relationship between the two art forms.

All Photographs courtesy of A.S. Photography©2012.

Essentially, Architecture is about points, lines, and planes within space – dance is similar in that through movement dancers create points, lines, and planes with their bodies within space! ISPAHAN 131



The elephants around my head, my sister, and I Coming home at nine in the morning, elephants circling around your head, a camel behind you and glitter on your shoulders. Those were the days! My dad used to make me play the violin. But what is a six-year-old supposed to do with a violin and a bow when she’s shaking like a leaf? My big dream was to dance, but I didn’t dare to pursue it. I did dance at parties occasionally, but that was not artistically correct. My friends weren’t exactly artistically correct either in those days. They were all on the run, looking for something. But then you have to grow up anyway. You have to try to make your dreams come true. And that’s when I started with belly dancing. I really loved those lessons. Everywhere I took a class, I felt at home immediately. And then the elephants around your head disappear and you feel that it is right because you have made a choice from the heart. But my sister, my big sister, she doesn’t like belly dancing and all that surrounds it. My God, how she criticized me and pushed me to explore other styles of dancing. My God, she really annoyed me. Yes, my sister, a real nag and a critic. I always wanted her approval, but that never happened. Meanwhile, after a lot of talking and lots of tears, I feel that it’s all right. She knows I have to go my own way. She knows that I can’t be pushed in a direction that I’m not ready for. She finally understands it all. My sister, my big sister, she paints you know. I look at her pieces with big eyes and then I’m really proud of her. Proud of my sister who does what she loves doing and who struggles with the same problems as the rest of us. And I, I dance. And my goal is to dance from the heart. And in order to get there I make choices and I take steps that are terrifying, but necessary. Necessary in order to grow. One day I will get there. Maybe in a year or two, maybe in ten years’ time.


I don’t mind. It is my way, sometimes a right path, sometimes a winding road, sometimes lonely, often together, sometimes a little destructive, though mostly constructive. But I will always keep that goal in mind. Some day I will believe in myself, and then nothing else matters.

Valérie Alberghs.

And I, I dance..


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Copy You can send in your copy as a respons to one of our subjects, or write about someting entirely different and new. Please note that sending in copy is no guarantee that it will appear in the magazine, we also might take the liberty to slightly alter your text or shorten it. ISPAHAN Magazine has a couple of regular topics we would like to get your input for, these are: - Costume Design 101 (for dancers who have made their own costume, not for costume designers) Send us your story in about 120 words, two good quality pictures (with the consent of the photographer) of you wearing the costume and tell us why it is so special to you. -This is me (for dancers/musicians) An introduction of you: tell us your personal experiences and opinions about anything in the Oriental Dance scene (no advertorials please). Include at least three photographs of you (with consent of the photographer). -At the Venue (for anyone, except venue owners/ tenants) Tell us about your experience performing at a specific venue, how you deal with the ‘business’ behind Oriental Dancing.., like the homefront or contacts with clients. What you do, when you realise some guests at the restaurant don’t appreciate you dancing there, what you do if you’ve never been to a certain venue that wants to book you (do you go and check it out?), what you do when you are booked for one thing, but at arrival it appears to be an entirely different story (like a bachelor party perhaps)? Or you can tip us about (Oriental) shopping, beauty, funny stuff and things you simply can’t live without! Please send in your copy in the English language (for translation services, we will ask a small fee). 136 ISPAHAN

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Dance! Otherwise we are lost.. Pina Bausch



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ISPAHAN Magazine, an Oriental Dance Glossy.