Veils of the Nile are a troupe from the Eastside, under the direction of Aleili.  I began taking classes with Aleili last year after meeting two of her students through Oasis Dance Camp, and was HOOKED!  She has such style and grace, and is an excellent teacher, as evidenced by the fact I was willing to drive to Kirkland every week for her classes and then rushing back for Goddess Squad directly after!
I was SO honored when I was asked to dance with the Veils for Med Fest.  These women are so fun, kind, supportive, and beautiful  inside and out.  And while I did not end up choosing to join their troupe permanently, the time spent with them over the last few months, dancing with them and building our friendship, has truly been a highlight of my dance life.
  
Thank you, Heidy, Jenny, Jojo, Lori, Marta, Michelle, Renee, and of course Aleili.

These pictures were taken by my husband, Chris.  Thank you, honey!!

Ghawazee
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Carla leading her fearless troupes onto the stage And here come the troupes! Twirling and brandishing swords Soon enough we get underway with our first dance--Ghawazee Coming on strong with loud zilling and wide swaying hips, arms open wide in welcoming
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This dance is a choreography Aleili's troupe did as long as 8 years ago at Med Fest!  Even the Ghawazee coats were the same--new members made matching coats this year specifically for this performance. Here I am. Um...hello! Swinging our hips to the center *bump bump*
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Here we leaned back into one another as we danced in a circle--a practice in trust! The audience loved this part! Taking our first bow I love it when Jenny smiles!
Karshlima
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Next was the fast and furious Karshlima.  We mingle and play as we wait for the music to come on We kick in with the zils Carla and I mingling and playing--some disco hip bumps anyone? Isn't Jojo's smile lovely?  She was in the troupe the when these Ghawazee coats and the choreography were debuted at Med Fest years ago! And  before you know it, the dance is begun, and never lets up!
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This dance was even faster when they re-recorded it for the show, so the dancers really had to move! A flirtatious moment in the choreography Look at those back bends! Aleili and Ranaiyah spin around one another
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Turning with backs to one another, zils singing overhead Entrancing shimmies Arms swinging high in a joyous step. Cheering on our dance sisters as they move across the stage. Then they spin as the zils play encouragement
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...and in return! Shoulder shimmies!  Watch the coins fly on those coin bras!
Ranaiyah, Selima, and Lori
Aleili, Ranaiyah, and Selima And a triumphant ending, arms extended to the sky.
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Uh oh! Carla's necklace spontaneously exploded off of her! LOL!
Sword Finale
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A reprise of last year's hit, the sword routine is a beautiful and exciting dance. It combines grace with energy in a choreography jointly created by the members of Veils of the Nile Balancing precariously, the swords imbue a power to the dance. And then we dance with them, wowing the crowd. Jenny, me, and Selima trying to look menacing. :)
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Then we pair off for a sort of duet section, where we each get to balance the sword in a different way. For Lori and Jojo, their balancing was their shoulders as they Berber walked across the stage. Not an easy feat! For Aleili and Jenny, the sword is balanced on their heads as they did some beautiful floor-work. Ranaiyah and Selima do a hip balance.
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I still don't quite know how they managed it. Hips are very difficult, especially when doing torso undulations! For Marta and I, it was the head while hip bumping our way toward the audience. Sinuous undulations as we brandish our swords overhead We prepare for the next move by balancing the sword on our shoulder.
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One of my favorite parts--the sword is balanced on the shoulder, and then we spin and spin and spin, hands free! And straight out of the spin, we place the sword on the ends of two fingers, balancing them as we spin them over our heads. More spinning? Yep, later we spin while maintaining a circular formation.  Dizzy? Yes!
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We all line up, and we burst apart in two precise lines, swords drawn. Mock sword fighting ensues. I fought Selima, a worthy opponent. :)
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Aleili and Ranaiyah face off. Building up to the big finish, our lines move forward one at a time.
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Swoosh!  We drop to the floor, swords held high and proud. And Swoosh again!  We sheath our swords in unison. Don't we cut dashing figures? And up we stand for our bow.
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We're supposed to look amused yet threatening.  Am I doing it right? Undulating off the stage for our exit.
 These pictures were taken by Hilo Osawa, a dear friend from Goddess Squad (so there's lots of me ;)  
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Our grand entrance. The first of three routines: Ghawazee. Zilling, zaghareeting, and having a great time The third of our three routines, the sword dance. Intense. Nearing the final pose.
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And the sword is sheathed... Love this picture, catching a particularly exhilarating moment in the choreography! An incomplete group photo taken a little bit after the performance And another pose.  Can you tell we were looking into the sun?

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