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With choreography by Samara, Mosaic Dance Theater dances to the music of Maurice Chedid, in a concert of music and dance from the Near East.

The Latest Update

Posted on January 15, 2018 by Mosaic Dance Theater Company

Audio recordings are being mixed; video recordings are being processed, but a slideshow of production photos is ready to view. Created by Gary Heller, our production photographer extraordinaire. Click on the link, or copy and paste it to your browser to get a glimpse of Mosaic Dance Theater & The Music of Maurice Chedid, December 2 & 3, 2017 at Westminster Arts Center, Bloomfield, NJ.

In the meanwhile, here’s a photo taken of the band. The audience is enthralled.

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Posted on December 8, 2017 by Mosaic Dance Theater Company

It’s hard to believe that the many months of preparation end and the show premieres!  The audiences for our two performances last weekend at Westminster Arts Center in Bloomfield, NJ, were very enthusiastic indeed.  It’s too soon to post any audio/video clips, but here is a first look at the production photos (by Gary Heller). L to R: Kendra Dushac McCarthy, Heather Panikkar, Samara, Morgiana Celeste Varricchio, Nina Brewton.

Posted on November 30, 2017 by Mosaic Dance Theater Company
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We are in the midst of “production week” — that intense week before opening night.  Our day of tech/dress rehearsal was Monday, November 27.  Here’s a short photo montage to take you through the day.  We are all anxiously awaiting that magical phrase, “Places, please!”

Posted on November 21, 2017 by Mosaic Dance Theater Company

And then Saturday, 11/18, was the “library tour.” From Bloomfield, to Glen Ridge, to East Orange, then back to Bloomfield for a flash performance at the Foodtown.  A photo collage captures the day.

Posted on November 21, 2017 by Mosaic Dance Theater Company

We’ve been busy! Last Wednesday, 11/15,  was our first dance rehearsal with the band. The Company was literally jumping for joy, dancing a dabke to “Alouli,” one of Maurice Chedid’s compositions to be featured at the concert, with choreography by Samara.

Posted on November 1, 2017 by Mosaic Dance Theater Company

Instead of a simple posting of an update about Mosaic Dance Theater’s upcoming “library tour,” an event was created — in fact 3! — to list what’s happening on November 18.  All you have to do is click on any of the “Arabic Music & Dance Deconstructed” links under our “associated events” column and you can learn all the details.  However, while not an official event, on November 18 at 4 PM at Jack’s Super Foodtown on Glenwood Ave in Bloomfield, Mosaic will present a little “flash” performance over by the deli counter.  Store owner Jack S. remembers Maurice from when he was a headliner at NYC’s  Cedars of Lebanon, which closed in 2001.  He is very enthusiastic about our upcoming concert, so while we we are spreading the word, we are looking forward to the reactions of the Foodtown patrons who don’t know about it.  Watch for the video!  Or, even better, maybe you can join us on November 18 and see for yourself.

Posted on September 30, 2017 by Mosaic Dance Theater Company

Our reservation “hotline” officially opens tomorrow, October 1, and here’s the link:

NOW the clock starts ticking!  And what are we doing?  Mosaic dancers are busy rehearsing Samara’s new choreography; costumes are under construction; musicians are soon to meet to begin preliminary rehearsals; initial meetings have taken place with the lighting designer and “sound guy;” the PR machine is ready to roll.

To get some additional “buzz” about the show, we have planned a special “library tour” for Saturday, November 18, 2017.  More about this in the next post!

Posted on July 12, 2017 by Mosaic Dance Theater Company

We are thrilled that we are able to present our concert Mosaic Dance Theater & The Music of Maurice Chedid at no charge to the general public, and so are businesses in Bloomfield’s (NJ) downtown business district.  Morgiana Celeste Varricchio was spreading the good word at a recent Meet-and-Greet hosted by the Bloomfield Center Alliance (BCA).  Once again, Mosaic Dance Theater will be included in BCA’s fall “Dinner-and-a-Show” initiative.  Plans are in the incubation stage, but as soon as they are hatched, you will find out.  In the meanwhile, while our ticketing website does not open for reservations until October 1 here is the “official” flyer for the show with all the information.  Lots more details to come as we get closer to December.

Posted on June 18, 2017 by Mosaic Dance Theater Company
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Banat el Emir Suite. Banat el Emir (The Emir’s Daughters) is an “Arabian nights” re-telling of the story of The Twelve Dancing Princesses (but has two princesses only). The excerpt from this 90-minute work occurs near the end of the piece. All three characters are under enchantment by a vengeful sorceress– not only the two princesses, but also the servant girl who tries to rescue them. The choreography is based upon the action in the story as well as being guided by the beautiful, unusual waltz that this excerpt shows. Performers are Nina Brewton (left), Kendra Dushac McCarthy (right), Heather Panikkar (center).

Posted on June 18, 2017 by Mosaic Dance Theater Company

Addendum to Ma Bi excerpt:  The dancers left to right are: Kendra Dushac McCarthy, Heather Panikkar, Morgiana Celeste Varricchio, Nina Brewton, Samara in foreground.

Posted on June 18, 2017 by Mosaic Dance Theater Company
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Nassim As Sahara.  This gorgeous rumba captures the mystique of an oriental-fantasy style of raks sharki.  The veil is an elegant extension of the dancers’ movements, and creates a rich landscape of imagery. The dancers are Kendra Dushac McCarthy (red) and Heather Panikkar (green).

Posted on June 18, 2017 by Mosaic Dance Theater Company
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Mosaic Dance Theater Company brought a video camera into the studio to record a few clips of the dance pieces we have been rehearsing to date, all part of the December concert.  We have much to do, and this is a rehearsal, after all, but it’s always nice to get a preview every now and then of the exciting things we are looking forward to. There are three clips that we will post (this one, and two subsequent posts).

 Ma Bi excerpt.  This clip is in the middle section of the classical muwashashah, a few measures after the rhythm changes to 6/8. Just as the music follows classical structure, so too the dance has its own sensibilities to this musical genre.  The choreography uses classical movements of raks sharki (oriental dance), without heavy folklore.  This 6/8 section has intricate melodies and  the choreography follows this challenging music.

Posted on February 23, 2017 by Mosaic Dance Theater Company
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Ahwaki.  While Ahwaki was originally slated to be part of the band’s music-only interlude, when Samara heard it she immediately decided it would be part of the dance section.  And, since there was no recording of it to use for rehearsal, it was added to our recording session.  This khaleegi piece, with its lively 2/4 rhythm, is a style of music and dance characteristic of the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, and popular throughout the Middle East. 

Posted on February 23, 2017 by Mosaic Dance Theater Company
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Ma Bi.  Maurice’s composition in the muwashshah style, features a poem in classical Arabic (quite different from the colloquial spoken language).  In this clip, you hear the end of the initial section of the piece in the 10/8 samai rhythm and the beginning of the middle 6/8 section.  (Following the 6/8 section, Ma Bi returns to and concludes with the 10/8 samai.) 

Posted on February 23, 2017 by Mosaic Dance Theater Company

Our recording session happened as planned on February 5, to create a dance rehearsal recording for Maurice’s new muwashshah composition.  Master recording engineer Richie Romaniello captured the dynamic sounds that afternoon, and, as the “mixmaster” that he is, produced a fabulous final version. 

Two addition posts will follow with clips from our new recording. 

Posted on February 4, 2017 by Mosaic Dance Theater Company
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We are on our way! Last Saturday, January 28, 2017, we had a very exciting “unveiling” of Maurice’s new muwashah composition. Musicians and MDTC directors were on hand for a rehearsal of “Ma Bi,” the piece’s title.  Maurice and Ramy Nasser (keyboard) had worked out the arrangements at a previous rehearsal, so the addition of our two percussionists Rami El Aasser (tabla) and April Centrone (riq) was a seamless operation.  The “official” rehearsal recording will be done tomorrow, February 5. We’re happy to give you a short clip of the rehearsal.  Please note that Ramy N. did not have any amplification on the keyboard for this rehearsal. We’ll have many more details to share in the months ahead. 

Posted on January 28, 2017 by Mosaic Dance Theater Company

Last-minute notice!  Percussionist April Centrone invites you to a great concert this Saturday night at Mana Contemporary Arts Museum, 888 Newark Ave in Jersey City.  An incredible Syrian singer, Lubana Al Quntar, is coming up from DC for this special performance, all female trio Arabic ensemble.  She was a famous Arabic / opera singer back when she lived in Syria, before she was forced to flee.  The concert is donation-based, so paying entrance is optional.  All donations go toward heating a Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon.  April will be playing oud and percussion, Eylem Basaldi on violin. 

Here is the info!

Posted on December 19, 2016 by Mosaic Dance Theater Company

It’s always nice to share good news — one of our project’s two percussionists,  Rami El Aasser (aka RamiTabla), has had a busy fall touring Europe with Al Sarah and the Nubatones.  They will be appearing a little closer to home in globalFEST 2017, performing on January 8th at Webster Hall.

April Centrone, the other percussionist with the project has just announced she will be leading classes in hand drum technique and shamanic drumming for women. April is the lead percussionist and co-founder of the NY Arabic Orchestra (2007).  She has led workshops in Arabic percussion and Arabic music in educational institutes around the world including Taipei University of the Arts and lectured on Music Therapy at Lebanese American University in Beirut.  April led Ikaro, Beirut-based 15-member women’s frame drum / chant group, and lectured in numerous NYC public schools with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Connect and others.  She has taught in Syrian and Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon via Al-Kamandjati and her project, Juthoor. April has performed with Ziad Rahbani, Marcel Khalife, Bassam Saba, Najib Shaheen and Charbel Rouhana, among others.

Posted on December 10, 2016 by Mosaic Dance Theater Company

MDTC ended our fall season last weekend (Dec 3 & 4, 2016), with three performances of Tales from The Arabian Nights at Westminster Arts Center at Bloomfield College (NJ), the site of this project’s premiere performances to come. We had full houses, and during the Q&A session at the end of each performance, in response to “when will we be able to see you here again” we were able to announce our plans for the dance concert with live musical accompaniment — probably December of 2017. 

I am happy to note, too, that we have set February 5, 2017 as our recording date of Maurice’s new composition, so that Samara can begin the choreography.  Audio engineer Richie Romaniello will be at the controls.  Richie handled the recording for Banat el Emir, a previous collaboration between Maurice’s and myself.  Musical clips to come!

Posted on October 6, 2016 by Mosaic Dance Theater Company
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The flames on the “back -burners” are firing up for our project of Maurice’s music.  He has completed overall composition of his new muwashshah piece, and is working out the arrangements with keyboardist Ramy Nasser.  The rest of us are standing by for the next step.  The “rest of us” is now the complete ensemble:  joining the project as percussionists are Rami ElAasser and April Centrone.  We are excited to have such a stellar group of artists involved.

Meanwhile, Mosaic Dance Theater is getting ready to open our Fall 2016 season with a performance of “Tales from The Arabian Nights” in Allentown, Pa. on Friday, October 14.  Below is a quick video ad, and our flyer for the event.

Posted on August 24, 2016 by Mosaic Dance Theater Company

Our creative team (Maurice, Morgiana, and Samara) met on August 8, 2016 for an enthusiastic first production meeting. Maurice decided that the three additional musicians should be a keyboard played and two percussionists.  We are happy to report that Ramy Nasser will be joining the project as our keyboard player.  Ramy has a lifetime of experience, has worked closely with both Maurice and Samara for many years, and has enviable theater experience on major venues, having been a member of the Arabesque Ensemble which performed with the late Ibrahim Farrah’s Near East Dance Group in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s.  My next step is to identify a recording studio and engineer



Oud virtuoso/singer Maurice Chedid and the directors of Mosaic Dance Theater Company (MDTC), Samara Adell and Morgiana Celeste Varricchio, have a long history of collaboration together as individuals, and also under the auspices of the Company.

Samara and Maurice began their association as featured artists in the thriving Arabic nightclub scene of the 1980s-90s. Their personal collaboration as dancer and musician has continued, and in 2008, Samara produced a CD, Ya Samara, of new music composed by Maurice, which she commissioned specially for this album.

Morgiana Celeste began her collaborations with Maurice with her solo performance of Ali Baba and The Forty Thieves, which toured for Lincoln Center during 1996-97, and subsequently toured to schools in the New York metropolitan area for 10 years. In 2000, Morgiana and Maurice collaborated as storyteller and composer respectively, to create Banat el Emir or The Dancing Princesses. Samara was part of the creative team as choreographer, and all three performed in the off-off Broadway production which featured an on-stage 4-piece Arabic band, playing the score.

We celebrate these fruitful artistic associations by featuring the music of Maurice Chedid in our major New Jersey concert of Middle Eastern dance and music for Fall of 2017. The concert, with choreography by Samara (MDTC’s Artistic Director of Dance), will be performed at Westminster Arts Center at Bloomfield College (dates TBA), with 5 dancers, Maurice, and 3 additional Arabic musicians. A NYC engagement is planned for March 2018 (dates TBA).

The concert highlight will be the double premiere MDTC’s new dance work set to Maurice’s new composition in the classical muwashshah genre accompanied by a live musical performance. In addition, the on-stage music ensemble will provide the other dance pieces with enhanced accompaniment to pre-recorded CD tracks, and the musicians will be featured in live musical interludes of Maurice’s songs and instrumental pieces. The CD tracks for the dance pieces will be excerpts from the Banat El Emir score and from the Ya Samara CD, offering the audience a diverse program of Middle Eastern dance styles through Maurice’s compositions: Lebanese dabke, Egyptian sai’idi, baladi, raks sharqi, as well as the classical muwashshah. Maurice will accompany Samara in a live taksim (improvisation) for oud and dancer. He will also provide live accompaniment for Morgiana as she tells the folktale of Mohammed the Muallim. ensemble.

Samara’s dance works have been described as “virtuosic” by renowned dance critic Robert Johnson. Having worked as a star performer with top Arabic musicians in 5-star venues in the Middle East, she is versed not only in the varied folkloric dance styles and character details of the region, but also in the nuances and emotion, which bring the soul of the people to the dance.

The energy created by live music accompanying Middle Eastern dance is palpable, and everyone benefits – dancers, musicians, and not least, the audience. A theatrical concert of Middle Eastern music and dance allows the public to relish what they are already familiar with or to discover these two exciting artistic disciplines.

Start and End Dates



Bloomfield, New Jersey

21 updates
Last update on January 15, 2018

Project Created By

Glen Ridge, New Jersey
About Mosaic Mosaic Dance Theater Company (MDTC), based in Essex County, NJ, is dedicated to performing the dances and folklore of the Mediterranean region — North Africa, the Middle East, Turkey, Greece, Italy, and Spain. The dances and music, the stories and myths, and the history and legends of this fascinating area of the world…

In Collaboration With

Composer/lyricist/singer/musical director


2 responses to “”

  1. Mosaic Dance Theater is honored to be included in such illustrious company. We are all thrilled to have the support of New Music USA to be able to begin work on this important project for us. Now the fun (and the hard work!) begins.

  2. Mitchell Sohacht says:

    Hello All,

    Does anyone know when tickets become available for: MUSIC OF MAURICE CHEDID ?

    Thank you very much.

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