Rockin’ the Casbah Notes: Baba Mama

I thought it would be fun to write about some of the pieces that you saw in Rockin the Casbah last week. I haven’t been able to say much about them for fear of spoiling the surprise. But now I have lots of material for lots of posts! yay!

Every choreography has a story. Here is the story for Baba Mama.

Way back in 2000 I went to a workshop in New Brunswick and saw a little dance troupe from Main perform in the show. They were a crowd of young women and their teacher. They were having a blast doing a choreography to a really cute piece of music. It is funny how some things will stick in your mind for years. But I remember they did a really cute little series of chest drops while pulling the fingers down. I even remembered the music that the movement went with. But nothing else. I never knew the title of the music, nor did I remember anything else they did, nor the name of the group – just this little chest & hand bit and a sketch of the melody that went with it. I loved it so much that I incorporated it into a piece the troupe did years ago called “Casino Opera”.

Last fall I went to Calgary for a workshop with Mohamed El Hosseny and I bought the workshop CD of music. I didn’t listen to it until I got home, and then – Oh my! There was that song! I finally learned the name of it: “Baba Mama”! A goofy sort of name for a goofy sort of song.  And there was that bit of melody that I remembered! This is a really cute and fast older piece of Egyptian pop music. I still have no idea who the artist is. Unfortunately, the CD label just had the name “Baba Mama”.

But , LaLaLa! Here we go!

So in honour of that memory and of those little student dancers from Main, I put that chest & hand pull movement into the dance. Then I just had a blast choreographing the rest of it. And I think the dancers had just as much fun performing it! This is a piece of Egyptian Sharqi that will be a crowd pleaser for a long time. It’s a keeper and I’m sure you’ll be seeing lots of this dance in future performances!

photo: Alistair Maitland

Photo: Alistair Maitland

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