November 02, 2009

Presentations feature Arabic music, dance

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- For two days in November, students and community members can come to Southern Illinois University Carbondale to immerse themselves in the music and dance of the Middle East.

Karim Nagi, a musician whose mantra is “Tradition, Reimagine,” shares his mastery of traditional Arabic music with two days of dance and music instruction and performance.

Nagi is a native Egyptian who came to the United States in the 1970s with his parents. He kept his heritage active in his life with annual trips to his native country. As a college student, Nagi found fusion and heavy metal music, but never lost his love for traditional Arabic music. In particular, he mastered the tabla, a goblet drum also known as the doumbek. In addition to learning the traditional musical patterns of the Middle East, Nagi incorporated more modern, Western musical influences, including house, techno, trance, hip-hop and funk, into a new sound with a readily danceable beat. Nagi refers to this as “turbo tabla,” an “enthno-electronic cultural and maniacal trek,” as he describes it.

The Nile Breeze Dance Company and Middle Eastern Dance Enthusiasts are the main sponsors for all events.

Here is what is on the schedule:

Nov. 7

• Arabic folkdance workshop, 10 a.m. -noon, Pulliam Gym. Registration begins at 9 a.m. Registration is $5 for students, $10 for general admission. Nagi will teach Dabke, a popular line dance from Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria, and Tahteeb, a stick dance from Egypt. No dance experience is necessary. Additional sponsors include SIUC Recreational Sports and Services, International Programs and Services and the Undergraduate Student Government.

• Musicality for dancers workshop, 1:30-3:30 p.m., Altgeld Hall, Room 116. Learn how music and movement coincide. For more information on this workshop, contact event sponsor Nile Breeze Dance Company at or 618/924-7223.

• An Evening of Middle Eastern Dance, 7:30 p.m., Furr Auditorium (Pulliam Hall). Tickets are $8 for students in advance, $10 for students at the door, $10 for general admission in advance, $12 for general admission at the door. Karim Nagi, Nile Breeze Dance Company, Middle Eastern Dance Enthusiasts and other regional dancers and groups bring alive the colorful and fascinating world of Middle Eastern dance. The international journal, “Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power,” is an additional sponsor for this event.

Nov. 8

• Arabic drumming workshop, 10 a.m.-noon, Altgeld Hall, Room 112. Registration is $40. Karim Nagi presents a workshop teaching the rhythms and methodology of Middle Eastern drumming. The School of Music is an additional sponsor for this event.

• Finger cymbals workshop, 10 a.m.-noon, Altgeld 116. Learn this specialized enhancement for Middle Eastern dance. For more information on this workshop, contact event sponsor Nile Breeze Dance Company at or 618/924-7223.

• Solo percussion performance by Karim Nagi, 7:30 p.m., Altgeld Hall, Room 112. This free performance presents Karim Nagi’s mastery of Middle Eastern percussion.

For more information about Karim Nagi, go to

For more information about any of the performances or workshops, contact Tedi Thomas at or 618/453-5012.