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Rhythm at Cultural Crossroads 


A music and dance retreat with Ana Maria Fonseca in collaboration with local artists


March 6th-14th & 20th-28th, 2015


Visit with us this winter and let your artistic spirit feast. An ancient red city, pulsing trance music, sumptuous local cuisine; a riot of sensory experience. And that is just the first day.  


Beginning with the public music and dance of Marrakech's Jemaa El Fna plaza and ending with sufi trance experiences and West African percussion in the coastal city of Essaouira, participants will eat, dance and drum their way through a world of food, music and movement rarely experienced by visitors to Morocco. 


Food is a central part of each retreat. Shopping for olives and dates, eating at the stalls in Jemaa El Fna and local restaurants, sharing home-cooked meals and learning the art of Moroccan cuisine from the ladies of the Amal Women's Training Center and Restaurant will all be part of your gastronomic experience. 


Retreats will be hosted by photographer Laila Hida at 18 Derb El Ferran, a community cultural center in the heart of Marrakech's medina. On the open air ground floor of the riad turned cultural center is a literary cafe with a peaceful atmosphere. There are three comfortable and artistically appointed double rooms located on the second floor of the riad. On the roof top terrace overlooking the medina there is space to soak up the sun or sit in the shade with a book. For photos Click Here


This retreat will also be held at the lovely Dar Villa Kulla in the countryside near Essaouira. The German-Scandinavian owners have carefully decorated fusing modern Europe and traditional Moroccan styles. Retreat participants will stay in one of the three rooms surrounding the large blue and green tiled swimming pool. Music, dance and cooking programs will take place in one of the many beautiful communal spaces in the main house. Meals may be taken outside on the patio overlooking the garden. For photos Click Here


Professional guides will work closely with each group and help participants explore the city of Marrakech, seaside Essaouira, and the High Atlas Mountains as they work towards their artistic goals.


Workshops during this retreat will include a two-part contemporary African dance workshop with dancer and choreographer Driss Bouissa, a three-part West African drumming workshop with Redouane Bentaleb, a talk on popular sufism and traditional music in Morocco with Mohamed Abarda, a guided sufi sing and meditation experience with Abdelhak El Kaab, a Gnawa music and dance workshop with Abderahim Butzar, an evening of dinner and sufi women's music by the Haddarats d’ Essaouira Haddarets led by Latifa Boumazzourh, and a Afro-Brazilian music and dance workshop with Ana Maria Fonseca. During a special dinner, Gnawa Njoum will perform the Gnawa spiritual repertory of songs, dances and colours. Women will also have the unique opportunity to spend the afternoon and evening at beautifully located Centre Tissa de Musicothérapie where they will eat a meal, visit the ocean and to participate in a traditional ceremony with Haddarats d’ Essaouira. Classes in yoga and belly dance with Ana Maria Fonseca will be optional. 


Retreat Includes: 
Transfers to and from Marrakech Airport

3 nights at 18 Derb El Ferran Cultural Center & Guest House 
6 nights at Villa Villa-kulla near Essaouira

6 Workshops 
West African Rhythms with Redouane Bentaleb 
Afro-contemporary Dance with Driss Bouissa 
Afro-brazilian Music & Dance Workshop with Ana Maria Fonseca 
Gnawa Music & Dance Workshop withAbderahim Butzar 
Sufi Sing Meditation with Abdelhak El Kaab 

2 Performances 
Gnawa Music Performance by Abderahim Butzar and Gnawa Njoum 
Haddarate Sacred Music Performance by Latifa Boumazzourh and The Haddarats d’ Essaouira 

1 Talk 
Music, Movement and Popular Sufism in Morocco with Mohamad Abarda


Optional (for an addition fee): 
Classes in Moroccan cooking with Hafida Ezzytuni 
Haddarate Healing Ceremony  
Classes in hath a yoga and belly dance with Ana Maria Fonseca 
Visit to traditional hammam or spa 


Sample Itinerary

Registration & Payment