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Riskallah Riyad
CT Dance Oasis
Center for Middle Eastern Dance




Mahmoud Reda Seminar and Show

July 32 / August 1, 2010



 "Dolores Matzen, a.k.a Riskallah Riyad, is a premier bellydance event organizer.  This little powerhouse of a woman has earned that title by consistently organizing events in the bellydance community that are inspirational, educational, and an excellent value for the money.  The last of these, held on July 31/Aug 1, 2010, was with none other than the grand master of Oriental dance himself- Mahmoud Reda of Egypt.

Attention to detail is what makes the events Dolores organizes special. The workshop was held in an easy-to-get-to location with ample parking. Fruit, water and snacks were provided throughout the day.  Quality vendors lined the walls of the workshop selling both costumes and bellydance art. An air of camaraderie and friendship pervaded the spacious and airy workshop room as dancers were challenged to remember Mahmoud’s intricate floor patterns.  The workshop followed a strict timetable, enforced by Dolores, so that every minute was utilized to the utmost. Dolores seemed to be everywhere at once, making sure that everything was running smoothly and that everyone could see the master teacher.
The show on Saturday night honoring Mahmoud Reda was a continuation of Riskallah’s extraordinary attention to detail.  The selection of the ornate Palace Theater as the venue for this type of dance show held the promise of a wondrous evening.  Well-rehearsed dancers twirled under professional lighting, which brought out the unique sparkle of bellydance costumes that is otherwise lost to the audience in the darkness of clubs.  Live performances by Okbari from Maine punctuated the dance numbers with nimble fingers on oud and drum.  Dolores herself gave a stellar performance, effortlessly maneuvering a very large cape and afterwards a diaphanous red veil.
Among the choice of dazzling performers for the evening, Dolores had invited the fabulous Elena from New York city.  A tiny, unassuming wisp of a woman, Elena is larger than life on stage.  The powerful messages and images created through her dance mesmerize the audience.  Her music is never long enough for all she has to say.  We are compelled to come back to see more- to be drawn into her world, to see her perspective on life.  Sadness and joy intertwine in her pieces like the veils that are in motion around her body – ever moving, wrapping and unwrapping, concealing but at the same time revealing.  In Elena’s work, one sees woman as a composite of many different moods, desires, and experiences. A true artist of the Middle Eastern dance form, Elena’s work pushes ever deeper into the mysterious and the unknown. We can only sit spellbound as she takes us on her dance journey.

Many thanks, Dolores, for allowing us to enjoy the superb artistry of all your performers in such a professional setting. Many thanks for bringing world-class teachers to the tri-state area. Also, many thanks to your husband and cadre of helpers for the tireless hours of behind the scenes activity that allowed the rest of us to further our education in this most unique of dance forms".
 by Aiva Drukovskis


Testimonials from Attendees

"Such a lovely article, and no such truer words can be spoken".
Betsy Ritchie

"Goodness ... what a fabulously-written, generous and ACCURATE description/testimony of the Reda Workshop weekend!  Well done, well done!
I hope that you are basking in the wonderful acknowledgment of this article -- Thanks for who you are, and all you do, Dolores, to share and further the art of Oriental Dance".

Suzanne Candee Tartaglia

"Beautiful article. I think even words can not describe all the great things we observed and experienced that weekend. Many many thanks for everything".
Lida Zadeh

"Martha and I want to really thank you for inviting us to the weekend.  The show was awesome and we were very honored to be included.  It is truly special to be able to take workshops with Mahmoud and we thank you for sponsoring him on his US tour.  Everyone made us feel very welcome, particularly Sharon in sharing her beautiful house with us.  The entire weekend was fantastic and we thank you so much for the opportunity".

Susan Natschke

"I know how much work you put into making this happen. It was an amazing success. I loved the show and the workshop was more than I could have hoped. I actually felt like I was a real dancer".

Laurie Anderson

"The workshop was awesome, Dolores.  It ran so smoothly, and I know how much work behind the scenes that must have taken you.  I consider myself so incredibly lucky to have found you as my teacher, not only because you are a tireless choreographer and mentor to so many, but also because you go to such lengths to make sure we all have the opportunities to learn from such great Masters of Dance as Mr. Reda. What a gift you have given to all of us.
Thank you so much, Dolores".

Sarah Nizzardo


Click here to download The Danbury News Times article

Click here to download the Ridgefield Press Coverage

Click here to download the schedule of dance performances and dancers