Sunday, May 17, 2009

Black Orchid Danse Retreat, Altlanta, GA May 15-17

I need to start this by saying that if Cheryl Bolden has a party, y'all best go. The 2009 Black Orchid Danse Retreat gets two thumbs up. The accommodations were nice, the workshops spaces were nice, etc. My only complaint was she chose a hotel without a Starbucks in it or near by.
I was not able to attend Friday's workshops due to "other" life commitments and in the end didn't attend Sundays but I will get to that in a minute.
My experience started off with checking in Friday evening. Everything was well organized and even though workshops were under way, there was someone to greet me and show me around.

I am getting in the zone before the show starts

I performed in Friday nights Hafla show. There were some minor musical technicalities but all were resolved in seconds. The stage was very nice but carpeted which I had not planned for. This is a lesson learned. I have smooth lyrical sandals for dancing on carpet but they stink and I don't pack them unless I know need too. From now on the stinky sandals go, because I got a bit tripped up on the carpet.

Besides my own grand performance, my highlight Friday evening was Jim Boz who came out onto the floor to dance with the audience including... My Husband!

Saturday's workshops got off to a late a start. I always get there early for a good spot so I wasn't willing to give it up and use the extra time for shopping. I heard some participants complaining about instructors starting late and then going over to have a full two hours. I would have complained otherwise. I paid for two hours of teaching and I wanted two hours of teaching.

My first class was Sagats with Karim Nagi. I have taken this workshop before and will take it every chance I get. Zills are me weakness and not only is his method different from other ways I have been taught he teaches ambidexterity which is key. Someday ladies we will dance on the left.

The second workshop had options and I chose Sultry Sharqi with Ava Fleming. This class focused on slow movements, energy, mood, being sexy, emoting. In other words I got an A!

The first thing she did was ask us to improv so she could see what she was working with. Everyone groaned. WTF? If you aren't ready to improv then don't take an advanced workshop. I enjoyed this workshop and my shoulders got an excellent work out.

Third session I went to Slow Moves and Textures with Jim Boz. Jim is a fun guy to take from. Everything in his class was about food, cocktails or ass. There is a difference in a "Big Ass" Circle and a Big "Ass Circle". We did some nice combos, talked about inserted a feeling section with no count in the middle of a piece, combining slow with fast, and the main elements of a sword routine.

Finally, Drumming and Saidi rhythm with Karim. I had taken his basic drumming last fall, but never practiced once. I like his teaching technique and the way he pushes you to do it simply. He also makes you do it individually until you get it right. I think some people would find it frustrating but it helped me a lot. Right at the end of this class I started to have a crazy eye allergy attack - so random.

Finally, the big show Saturday night. It did not disappoint. Some highlights included Mahasati Janan, Amir Haddad, Aziza Nawal and of course the featured instructors.

Ava & Karim Improv to end the show

I had plans to attend 3 workshops on Saturday but I woke up and Pink Eye (pyscho - screech, screech, screech). Even though it didn't look super gross or hurt that bad, I wasn't willing to risk my reputation and be the person who infected the entire Southeast Bellydance community with pink eye so I decided to pack it up and come home.

I enjoyed everything about all 3 instructors and the organizers of the Black Orchid Danse Retreat. More info on Black Orchid Danse: here.


'Azraa said...

The images can be viewed at There are 2 galleries, "BlackOrchidDanse Friday Show" and "BlackOchidDanse Saturday Show."

'Azraa said...

Some feedback sent to Cheryll -
Some comments on the event....Thank You!
"It was alot of fun, work, but fun at the same time." Sandy & Theresa (GA)

"I really did enjoy the workshop and the evenings....I can't wait for an opportunity to attend another one of your workshops.." Melek (GA)

"Thanks again for organizing such a fun and informative dance weekend!!" Punam (GA)

"Thanks for such a fun workshop. I loved meeting Jim Boz, he was hilarious, and Karim really inspired me with his sagats." Sonja (TN)

"I look foward to next year. I hope to see you soon. Once
again,Thanks for a great event!" Taylor (GA)

"I enjoyed it a lot. Hope to be there next year..." Maite (PR)

"I *heart* Jim! I wish he were closer so I could take more classes from him! When it comes to saggat classes, Karim is right up there with John Compton!" Oracle (GA)

"It was fabulous. I learned so much. Thank you for all your hard work. It was an amazing weekend." Lacey (GA)

"I had so much fun and learned so much! Thank you for all your hard work on making the retreat wonderful. It was worth every tear and drop of sweat and blood ;) Can't wait for your next one!" Dahne (GA)

"I think I only got fired once maybe twice! whoo! Hoo!"....Cary (NY)

"The workshops with Jim Boz and Karim Nagi were two of the best I've ever taken. Magnificent!"....CA (GA)

"Stop firing your mom! ;0)"....Azhia (CAN)

"What a great week-end! Congratulations, I know you worked hard and it paid off."....Jennifer (TN)


"She had her own vision and she knew what she wanted and she got it…she got more than that in fact! And so did we as participants and guests of what can only be called the BEST RAQS WEEKEND Atlanta may have ever seen…"....Andye (GA)

Naima said...

is jealous of awesome workshop!

Cheryll said...


Thanks a million!!!!