About Cassandra

About Cassandra

(Note: this is not the official page for Cassandra Shore of Minneapolis; for that, go here: Cassandra's page. Rather this is a page of thoughts about Cassandra, compiled by Sherezzah Bint al-Waha.)

Cassandra doesn't do a lot of self-promotion, so it seems there are a lot of people who don't know very much about her, which is really a shame, because they don't know what they might be missing. And I've never really seen a video of her dancing that really does justice to how dynamic she is in performance.

So what I want to do here is share some things that I think will help reveal how much she's inspired people who do know her. I'm staying away from testimonials, where people just talk about their opinions. Instead, I'm trying to stick to "just the facts," and focussing on behaviour that is indicative of how good people think she is.

  • She is always the featured instructor for Oasis Dance Camp, which has been going on for over 20 years, in multiple locations. This is notable because the event is put on by other people, not by Cassandra herself. The great majority of dance seminars which feature the same teacher every year are those that are put on by that teacher (i.e. the teachers sponsors herself), but that is not the case with Oasis.
  • Many of her regular students often attend her workshops and seminars (including Oasis). These are people who study with her every week, but still feel it is worth the time and money to travel and take workshops from her.
  • A specific case related to the preceding: When I went to Egypt in 1996, I was with a group that included Cassandra and several of her regular students. We were able to study with some notable Egyptian teachers, but still, part way through the trip, her students decided they needed to set it up so we could have a class with Cassandra also. (They were apparently suffering from withdrawal.)
  • On that same trip, one of the group members (who was not one of Cassandra's regular students) decided she wanted to move to Minneapolis so she could study with Cassandra. She had originally planned to stay in Egypt for a few more months after the tour group left, but she decided that, at this point in her life, she'd probably be able to learn more studying with Cassandra.
  • Related item, different occasion: I was talking with a friend of mine after we had both taken a workshop with Cassandra in Miami. She knew I was a Cassandra fan, and said to me [paraphrasing, of course--it was quite a while ago], "Gee, I understand now why you like her so much. I thought that other workshop we had recently with [well-known instructor who shall be nameless here] was good, but what we're learning in this workshop is so much richer. I really feel Cassandra has a lot more to offer. I'm thinking of moving to Minneapolis to study with her." [I'm not sure if this person actually did the move, unlike the person from the previous item who definitely did.]
  • I know of other people who have moved to Minneapolis specifically to study with Cassandra.
  • In a survey conducted in 1997, Cassandra came in first for both favorite teacher and favorite performer. True, it was not a scientific survey, but still, the respondents probably represented a reasonable cross-section of Middle Eastern dancers.
  • One of the respondents in the survey mentioned in the previous item felt compelled to add (even though comments were not requested): "Cassandra is the best darn dancer on the planet!"
  • When the late, great Ibrahim Farrah was doing his final seminar, in Chicago, he was no longer performing. He specifically wanted Cassandra to be the "star" performer and close the show for the event. He chose Cassandra over a number of other dancers who were well-known as his protegés.
  • One of my students who was doing a lot of Internet research made this observation: Lots of dancers have web sites that say they're the "best," but Cassandra's is one of the few that quotes other people saying that about her.

(above, at Oasis Dance Camp South, January 2009)

(above, at Oasis Dance Camp South, November 2000)

(above, at Oasis Dance Camp South, October 1999)

(These items were first compiled by Sherezzah Bint al-Waha in January 2009.)

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