Published 30 June 2011: East Grinstead Courier & Observer
Night Boat to Cairo!
Egyptian dance superstars Hossam and Serena Ramzy staged a triumphant home-town show at Chequer Mead on June 25th.
Split into two sections, Dance Queens of the Nile was a visual and aural feast. The first act was an enticing series of vignettes depicting Egyptian goddesses and queens, such as Nefertiti, Isis and Cleopatra, through music and dance. Janet Johnstone’s terrifically authentic ancient Egyptian costumes set the scene perfectly for the Ramzy Dance Company’s hieroglyphic routines and Hossam’s delicious musical fusions.
Displaying a variety of influences from the Flamenco infused Gifts to the Pharaoh to the Latin-flecked Six Daughters of the Sun, Serena’s choreography was seductive and imaginative. With the marvellous Dilshadance and Pedralta dance companies popping up throughout in fabulously glamorous costumes (not to mention a novel way of storing swords), there was plenty of passion on show.
The second act opened with the versatile Drumzy School Dancers showing off their persuasive percussion skills but thereafter Hossam and his astonishing 6-piece orchestra took over. Their intricate musicianship and telepathic understanding was the backdrop for a convincing array of dance portrayals of twentieth century Egyptian dance stars such as Naima Akef, Taheyya Karioka and Samya Gamal.
The undoubted highlight, though, was Serena. She’s a supremely elegant dancer with an incredibly deep understanding of the complex Egyptian music. Poised and graceful she set the audience aflame with a sensational series of shimmies in an enthralling improvisation with Hossam.
As well as displaying his legendary Tabla skills, Hossam also made a lively and funny host from the stage. Most impressive of all, though, is how he and Serena have created Dance Queens of the Nile to bring an exquisite art form to life.
For all sorts of useful information about this dynamic couple, including CDs, DVDs and workshops, have a look at http://www.hossamramzy.com/