As Riskallah finds
her voice in the dance, her choreographies become more subdued, more introspective, and have more to say on a spiritual level.
Especially pronounced was the contrast between A Prison of Our Own Making (2014) and Embrace the Silence, done just 3 years
later. The first sets a dark, somber mood with no resolution of pain. Embrace the Silence becomes a meditation, a prayer of
healing, a counterpoint to Prison. It brings hope and light to those struggling with the darker aspects of life.
Celebrate! also brought to the stage special guest
dancers and percussionists. Aszmara Sherry (NY) swept the audience up in her own unique style of motion while Tashira Wadiya
(NJ) dazzled in a live drum solo and her choreography, Epic Tales. Chelydra ( NC) lent an
flavor to the celebration as well as presenting a choreography by the late great ibrahim Farrah. Another special guest, Tava
Naiyin„ found appreciation from the audience with a mesmerizing performance of Se'a Biqurb Il Habib, followed by a live
drum solo. Drumming was provided by James Allen and the indomitable Walid Assaf. Walid and his lovely dancer wife Morwenna,
who also graced the stage in exuberant Lebanese dance, had come from California for the occasion. They are originally from
the Boston area and have many fans on the East coast. Walid's energy on the drums and his passion for entertaining fueled
the audience into a clapping and zaghareeting frenzy.
Riskallah, as both performer and dance educator, is a powerhouse in the field of Middle Eastern dance. When one does
what one loves, there is a sparkle, a gleam, an energy that radiates clear to the back of the concert hall and embraces each
audience member with a sense of enjoyment and well-being. Thank you Dolores for your dedication, your wisdom, and your generosity
of spirit in making your knowledge available to others. Middle Eastern dance survives because of dance educators like you,
and those within your special circle who have dedicated almost half a century or more to this dance form. Here's wishing you
many more years of doing what you love" !
~Aiva Drukovskis, NJ