Aunt Rocky

Morocco, better known as Aunt Rocky, has spent her entire adult life – over 40 years – travelling throughout Egypt & North Africa studying and documenting the dances of the region, and travelling throughout the world teaching them to the rest of us. Studying under Aunt Rocky on a handful of occasions, including two 4-day bellydance “bootcamps” hosted by Saqra have been powerful experiences for me. But more than fond memories…Aunt Rocky has acted as mentor and guide to me. She has taken the time to sit and talk with me, to offer her opinions and blessing. She has had a huge influence on me as a dancer and dance teacher. I would love to honour her in some way for the contribution she has made, not only to me but to the art of Middle Eastern dance throughout North America and the world. I would love to bring her to Whitehorse so that the dancers here could hear her stories and experience her teaching style.

A very well-written post about her is here:

While browsing her site, I came upon this note (posted on the reviews page) that I had written to a list serve that used to be active – one of the very first for bellydancers, called simply, “MEDlist”. Many of my students will recognize this story – it is one I tell often. Here it is:

From: Tue, 7 Sep 2004
Subject: The one move you had/have
the hardest time mastering
X-62355-Poster: “Nita Collins”

Let me also say thank you to Ruby for her beautiful phrase:
“Basics are rich and varied landscapes each of their own.”

I attended Morocco’s intensive in Seattle (hosted by Saqra)
last June and came home with a huge lightbulb glowing over my head regarding the
fundamentals – only I had a hard time verbalizing it.

Then I spoke to Ruby in an email and she replied with this
wonderful statement and everything became crystal clear for me.

What happened in the workshop was that Morocco first
demonstrated and then taught a dance (Nihna Wal Kamar Jiran) that was like a
revelation to me. Maybe a simplistic one – but a revelation on a very deep level
that the basics are indeed rich and varied landscapes.

The individual movements in the choreography were all basic
fundamental movements. No ritzy stuff. Nothing I couldn’t introduce to a level 1
& 2 class. When Morocco danced it I was totally blown away – I had to sit
for a minute and try to figure out what I had just seen and why I felt so

The dance was very beautiful. The grace and beauty of the dance
came out of the mastery – a “knowing in the depths of the body and soul” these
basic fundamentals and in her ability to express the yearning in the music using
only the simplest of simple movements. It brought tears to my eyes.

The landscapes of hip circles and simple shimmies, hip lifts
and drops, snake arms and undulations … almost without embellishment…l feel
like I’ve had a revelation on the spiritual level. Thank you Aunt Rocky for
opening that door to me and thank you Ruby for putting it into words.


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