We will be celebrating in a venue worthy of the occasion – the Cultural Institute and Guest House Academia Arabesca in Marrakesh, Morocco.
Academia Arabesca is a noncommercial non-profit institute, making it not only fitting for our retreat, but also remarkably affordable. The venue features many common spaces, patios and terraces for gatherings, dance events and lectures.
The Academia is centrally located in a quiet lane in the southern part of the Medina called Riad Zitoun Jedid. Its convenient location puts us near several parks, very close to the famous and busy square Djem el Fna, the traditional bazaar (“the souk”), the Mellah, and is surrounded by the most famous of Marrakech’s palaces and monuments – all within 5 – 15 minutes walking distance.
The institute also has a small collection of traditional garments from Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and Palestine, an extensive library holding a great collection of books about music, dance traditional costumes, architecture fine arts, etc., of the Middle East and North African (MENA) countries as well as some instruments from the region.
The Swedish founder and director of the Institute, Gita Sellman, is a freelance journalist and photographer. Gita is also Co-founder of the International Dance Council, (NGO at UNESCO), and a former Director of the Dance Center of Sweden. She holds a Master of Arts from the University of Stockholm, is certified in Movement Analysis, and has authored several books on dance, health food, and related topics. She also has an extensive photo collection on dance traditions, which she documented during her extensive travels in Africa, Asia, Latin America, North America and Europe. She speaks English, French, German and Spanish and, of course, Swedish fluently.
For a decade Helene held workshops and organized traditional Moroccan dance events and seminars at the Academia. A special photo exhibition of these historic events will be displayed during Helene’s 40th Teaching Year celebration. Many of the traditions showcased in this display are already slowly disappearing and hard to find or they are being diluted or commercialized for short touristic shows.