Oct 232007
Authors: Kyla Hunt

Dazzling, modest costumes with courageous, spirited dancers illuminated the Lory Student Center Theater stage Tuesday night. These beautiful cultural dances are inspired by traditional Egyptian themes and folklore. Specifically choreographed and adapted for the theater stage, Firqua Kowmiyya Li F’nun Shabiyya, the National Folk Troupe of Egypt brought poise and liveliness to a captivated, diverse audience.

Ahmed Khalifa, the president of the Egyptian Student Association in Fort Collins, spoke of the dreams he had before the show.

“In the beginning, this was simply a dream of mine to bring true to Egypt. With tons of emotional support and the generosity of ASCSU and the deans and professors of the College of Liberal Arts, we began to prepare for this journey,” Ahmed said.

There were approximately 11 various dances performed consisting of Raks Al Samadan-Candelabrum, Dabka el Migwaz, Ghawazee and Tannourawith to name a few, along with an additional short interlude of traditional music.

“There were two main goals going into this original vision: to introduce the Egyptian culture (to) the Fort Collins community and CSU, as well as proclaiming the support for CSU’s diversity. Once we got a great marketing plan, we realized it wasn’t going to be easy, but with (liberal arts professor) Mohammed Hirchi’s help and the support from the rest of the faculty from the Liberal Arts Department, we knew we would be able to attract at least 500 people,” Ahmed said.

Famous in Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Syria and the Egyptian cities of Sinai, Luxor and Sumbat, the dances are spreading throughout Egypt rapidly because of the uniqueness and energy that is exerted through these performances around the world.

Traveling from Egypt, 10 of the 40 dancers brought an enriching cultural experience to CSU for the first time ever. The students that are a part of this traveling performance have not brought a show to the U.S. since 1986.

The 10 performers began preparing for this event six months ago, where tons of heart and talent were put forth to enhance the experience and make the Egyptian culture even more understandable.

“The entire group put feeling and happiness into their talent and skills,” said Dr. Omnia El-Hakim, the advisor of the Egyptian Student Association as well as the executive director of Diversity Recruitment and Retention Professor of Civil Engineering.

“It is of utmost importance to share with the Fort Collins community how beautiful the Middle Eastern culture is through diversity and love,” he said.

Whether the dancers used a heavy multi-colored skirt called a tanoura, a hand-held harp called a semsemiyya, or a modest garment called a milaya leff, the audience and the sponsors for this event were completely consumed throughout the performance.

“I think that their costumes were very vibrant and their costumes were well represented for their respective culture,” said Caitlin Boykin, a freshman visual art major.

“The Tannoura dance was my by far the best. It showed the most talent and was very unique.”

The Egyptian Student Association acknowledges all of the sponsors that went into helping this event happen and wishes to generate a similar show throughout the U.S. by next fall.

Reporter Kyla Hunt can be reached at news@collegian.com

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