Jessica, Jen ('Azraa), Yousry Sharif and Laura (Laziva)
Where to begin...maybe with the pain in my outer thighs. That was a very intense workshop but I loved every tiring minute of it.
I will start at the beginning. It is safe to say that anything Alexia does is professional. The biggest hiccup with any workshop is usually check in, registration and any administrative detail. Alexia's team was well organized and had everything in order. They handled any slight confusion calmly and professionally and kept things on track. The workshop started and ended on time (relative to bellydance time, we get an automatic 15 minute grace period).
Mr. Sharif as an instructor is truly phenomenal. He uses a watch and repeat method but rather than showing the class once or twice, he drills it until everyone is dancing the combination correctly. I was sweating and ready for a break by the time we began the choreography.
The space for the workshop wasn't exactly small but due to the high participation it was quite crowded. Mr. Sharif regularly switched the rows and split the class into two halves to run the dance completely through.
While any dancer should be falling over them self to study with Mr. Sharif, I would not have recommended his workshop for beginners. The choreography moved very fast and no technique was addressed. Any student needing clarification beyond footwork or transitions would be easily lost. I remember being that lost at my first workshop but it did not require the time and financial commitment of one of Mr. Sharif's workshops.
On to the show, as I started by saying anything put on by Alexia Productions will be professional. There were guest stars from New York, Miami, Chicago, Atlanta and Chattanooga. Aside from Alexia and her Troupe, Shahira and Caryn of Troupe Hyetti represented Knoxville in the show. Knoxville has a huge a dance community and I would have liked to seen it showcased along with guest stars.
Of course, due to the restrictions on flash photography I couldn't thoroughly document the show. The picture of the grand opening number did come out very clear although small and demonstrates the orchestration of the show (sorry about that person's head).
This whole week-end was amazing. Mr. Sharif said he will come back to Knoxville and I am already looking forward to it.