Marguerite Thrives on Diversity
With Landmark Performances & a Video Release
By Catherine Cruzan (Katerina)
The sun sets on an intimate
The coffee bar stops serving. They silence the music and dim the lights as the clamor in the room settles. Marguerite steps into the center of a Persian rug. She is encircled by an engrossed audience. A shimmering gold veil draped about her body conceals tinkling coins as she slowly pivots, greeting each new face with a penetrating gaze. She speaks softly of a fabled dancer of old. Her voice builds as her tale unfolds. Her gestures and articulation augment the drama, transforming the bustling coffee house into a quaint tavern located somewhere off the beaten, gypsy trail.
She finishes her story to thunderous applause and poises herself. The din subsides to hushed whispers. The first notes of retro Arabic cabaret melody detonate an explosion of black skirts and auburn hair as Marguerite lunges into a spin with the fevered passion of a tornado. Then she stops with an unwavering sharpness and lets her hair fall as her movement becomes sinuous. She takes hold of the veil as the melody pervades, and glides with her arms outstretched, letting it soar. Then she pauses to redirect it, filling the fabric with swirling life as the coins of her bra and belt send glittering patterns dancing across the ceiling, across walls, across rapt expressions.
Marguerite sweeps past and releases the veil. It alights on the floor as she charges forward with controlled abandon, the ring of her finger cymbals riding atop the beat of the drums. She abruptly halts beside a blushing admirer and delays to smile playfully. Then, with a flippant toss of hair, she turns to tease another with a shimmy – hip lock – shimmy – drop. However, his affection is not easily won. He endeavors to retain his solemnity, but Marguerite is not deterred. She continues to toy with him until a smile breaks on his face, and his laughter resonates with the applause of his friends. To each in turn she circles and dances and crisscrosses the room, enticing the unsuspecting, engaging them on a primal level, drawing them out of their routine lives.
* * *
Flash forward to
As Yuval picks up his saz and begins to play,
an unassuming figure walks gently onto the stage. She is unadorned and dressed in a ghwazee
coat made from silk she found in
At the pinnacle of her whirling, Marguerite has become a hypnotic, meditative force with her auburn hair soaring, her skirts and ghwazee coat billowing, encircling her in a cocoon of warm, saffron fire. Her feminine strength is controlled – tempered by a delicate, deferential grace. Her left arm reaches up to the heavens; her right arm grounds her to the earth. As the music swells, she lures the energy in the room. You can feel it expand with the tempo, feel it pulse with the beat, until the culmination of her prayer when she stops dead – without falter – with her arms outstretched in offering back to the audience. Then she bows and softly exits the stage.
* * *
It is versatility that distinguishes Marguerite as a world-class performer of contemporary dance Orientale. Diversity is her forte. She draws from abundant sources, both old and new, and is a pioneer in the art of creative mixture of movement and style. In fact, she is one of the first professionals to incorporate the “fusion” of alternative elements into modern Middle Eastern dance. Her career is comprised of over twenty years of refined Oriental technique. Coupled with a commanding stage presence and innovative vision, Marguerite’s ability to captivate her audience and leave them awestruck is formidable.
In the late 1970’s, Marguerite graduated from
California State University, Fullerton with a bachelor’s degree in fine art and
a minor in art history. By the early
1980’s, she was immersed in her dance education and journeyed to the Middle East
to live in the Negev Desert for over a year.
During her time there, she performed in nightclubs like the
Moroccan-style Club Cleopatra in
Marguerite began a six-year anthropological
After returning to the
Marguerite has been highlighted as an author and a performer in various belly dance publications, such as The Belly Dance Book and Cymbal magazine. She appeared on the cover of Jareeda in March of 2000, and published an article on transformational dance theory in Habibi, Volume 19, Number 2. Her performances appear on widely acclaimed videos as well. She can be seen in several IAMED productions: First Awards of Belly Dance, Third Awards of Belly Dance, Hollywood Babylon and Rockin’ the Casbah. Her devotional fusion masterpiece, Dream of Tara, appears on Amara’s Evening of Experimental Middle Eastern Dance #1.
Marguerite’s skill as a performer and a
teacher of spinning techniques was recognized by Shahrazad of Cologne, Germany,
who brought Marguerite to
As a distinguished world traveler, Marguerite incorporates her life experiences into her art. It would be inaccurate to call her merely a belly dancer, because her background of experimentation marks her as a unique, multifaceted performer. Her dance integrates provocative elements of theater, magic, Asian martial arts, modern dance, storytelling, singing and fantasy makeup and prosthetics. She climbs ladders of sharp swords with her bare feet while balancing swords on her head. She executes sinuous maneuvers with Angelo, her Burmese python, and together they do educational seminars for children regarding the treatment and care of misunderstood creatures – namely, reptiles and insects. She often draws her husband Art onto the stage and into her moving stories, and she has graced the cover of Cymbal magazine dressed as a Middle Eastern man in 1986.
Yet, despite her sometimes outspoken and controversial musings, she is also a solid performer of traditional Middle Eastern dance, American, folk and gypsy styling, Raqs Sharki and modern Arabic-style cabaret. Worthy of the crowds she draws from miles away, Marguerite is arguably one of the most adaptable, multitalented performers of her era. Her dance propels you into distant places and times, or it entertains you with flirtatiousness and humor. Either way, she leaves you knowing that you’ve witnessed something divine.
Visit her website at www.gypsymagic.com for additional information on upcoming shows, classes, seminars and her new IAMED instructional video release.
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