Footloose but not fancy free: Dancing in Morocco

By Alexis Miller. Photos by Alexandria Saurman

Rabat — “I don’t get paid for this and I don’t think I would want to be…,” Hajar Regragui says while unlocking the door to the dance studio at International University of Rabat (UIR). She’s about to teach 60 college students choreographed dance routines in various styles: Hip-hop, African inspired dance, and Salsa. The course lasts three hours and is completely a labor of love. She seems to look happiest when drenched in sweat.

Hajar Regragui is a 21-year-old political science and international relations student at UIR, but she introduced herself to me first and foremost as a dancer and told me about her favorite spots in Casablanca for dancing.

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American artist creates home for henna in Marrakech café

By Regan Reeck

MARRAKECH, Morocco – A short walk from Marrakech’s landmark Jemaa el Fna square, a blue door, painted with sandy browns and yellows marks the entrance to the Marrakech Henna Art Café. Upon entering, the melancholic blues of the Dire Straits fills a bright entryway and the café’s owner Lori K. Gordon, 58, born and raised in the plains of South Dakota, appears with a cheery hello.

A man and woman wander up the blue stairs, they inquire with heavy accented English about getting henna done. Realizing that there would be a wait they get ready to leave, disappointed, but as Gordon deftly interjects they stop.

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Sub-Saharan African migrants in Morocco find hope in art and performance

By Robert Dozier

RABAT, Morocco – Jackie Zappa, is an artist from the Ivory Coast — one of an estimated 30 thousand migrants from Sub Saharan Africa. A painter and sculptor, Zappa says he lived in Tunisia and Algeria but his art was not appreciated in those countries.  Communities of migrant artists, musicians and performers are flourishing in Rabat and Casablanca.

“Morocco is the only place in Africa where I can improve my talent,” said Zappa.

Last year alone, more than one million people migrated to Europe, mostly from Africa and the Middle East, according to the International Organization for Migration. 

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The 2016 Marrakesh Biennale Pays Tribute to Leila Alaoui

MARRAKESH, Morocco–Saad Alami and Othman Zine of the local artist collective the Zbel Manifesto glance through a foggy window, out into the busy streets of Marrakech. Their eyes meet the steadfast gaze of the late French-Moroccan artist Leila Alaoui’s Les Marocains, a series of photographs revealing the diversity of Moroccan communities.

The gaze of Les Marocains that lingers through the rainy nights and sunny afternoons is one that the Zbel Manifesto created as a personal tribute to their lost friend.

Interrupting a wide boulevard of the Gueliz neighborhood, the installation stands upright, alongside the abandoned Art Deco building housing the L’Blassa Gallery.

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