Raqs Tiki brings belly dance to Kauai

  • Contributed

    Internationally acclaimed dance star Princess Farhana (Pleasant Gehman) and drummer Issam Houshan are both in the lineup for the fifth annual Raqs Tiki in Princeville this week.

  • Contributed

    Internationally acclaimed dance star Princess Farhana (Pleasant Gehman) performs with the Dangerous Beauties dance troupe, and will perform and teach belly dancing in Princeville later this week.

PRINCEVILLE — Middle Eastern dance workshops will be offered at the Princeville Community Association clubhouse for four days starting later this week, showcasing many different styles of dance, in the Fifth annual Raqs Tiki gathering on Kauai.

Set for Thursday, Sept. 12 to Sunday, Sept. 15, the combination of dance and music performances and workshops is hosted by producer, performer and Princeville resident Talia Soleil.

It’s a chance to learn how dance connects cultures and communities, as well as to pick up some belly-dancing moves or learn some drumming from internationally acclaimed drummer Issam Houshan.

“Hawaiians understand the importance of dance as communication of the human condition,” Soleil said. “It seems only natural to broaden our scope and enhance our lives with more vocabulary and movement to better understand the stories of other cultures.”

Soleil teaches workshops and coaches internationally, and is a multi-award-winning troupe director and solo artist, and a principal dancer in Dangerous Beauties.

The event also features internationally acclaimed dance star Princess Farhana (Pleasant Gehman), who has performed, taught, researched and written about belly dance and burlesque since 1990.

She has appeared in Egypt, Turkey, Hong Kong and Australia, toured several times across Europe and the United Kingdom, as well as throughout North America. An artistic chameleon and a boundary-pushing pioneer, she performs many styles of dance with ease, from ultra-traditional to contemporary belly dance and burlesque.

Her diverse talents encompass visual, literary, musical and dramatic arts as well as dance. She has fronted three bands, and is featured as an actor in several motion pictures and television shows, and has been interviewed for numerous feature-length documentaries, including director Steve Balderson’s “Underbelly: A Year In The Life Of Princess Farhana.”

Houshan is now recognized as the ultimate master of drumming for belly dance. He was born in Syria and emigrated to the U.S. 24 years ago. He had formal music training in the Damascus Academy of Music and went on to drum for a host of Arab music stars and famous belly dancers.

He is also the only remaining disciple of the legendary Arab drum master Mahmood Salahadeen. He has performed both with Sting and also with Bellydance Superstars in over 879 shows in 20 countries.

The event also boasts an all-star lineup including dancer and reknowned psychic Crystal Ravenwolf from California’s Central Valley, director of the acclaimed Dangerous Beauties dance troupe and co-director of Troupe Scimitar, along with Surreyya Hada and photographer to the stars Maharet Christina Hughes.

In addition to the dance and music workshops at the Princeville Community Association clubhouse Thursday through Sunday, the Raqs Tiki Showcase is Saturday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m. at the Kapaa Hongwanji Mission.

The cost for the showcase is $15 for adults, $10 for kids 12 to 17 and for senior citizens 65 and over, $5 for kids ages 5 to 11, and free for active military members and kids under the age of 5.

Info: taliasoleil1@gmail.com

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