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Middle Eastern Culture Dance and Art Club in Korea

This is a regular feature introducing associations and clubs for expats. This week, Expat Living spoke to Belynda Azhaar of the Middle Eastern Culture Dance and Art Club in Korea ― Ed.

Who is it for?

MECDACK is for anyone interested in the music, dance, arts, language, food, culture and current affairs of the Middle East.

A wide range of Koreans and expats of all ages attend our haflas, from children to students to professionals to diplomats.

What goes on?

MECDACK haflas start with dinner at a Middle Eastern restaurant in Seoul, followed by social dancing. Haflas may also include guest speakers, informative videos on Arab countries, and demonstrations of traditional Middle Eastern music and dance. We also provide an opportunity for dancers and musicians of all levels to perform in a casual and supportive environment, and teach some basic dance moves during the social dance time after dinner.

In addition to our monthly haflas, we provide members with information about Middle Eastern arts and Arab cultural events in Korea via our Facebook page.

Are there any membership fees?

No, and we try to keep the cost of attending haflas as low as possible.

What is the highlight of the year for your club?

Both the Arab Cultural Festival (http://www.arabfest.org) and World Belly Dance Day (http://www.worldbellydanceday.com) are held in May, so it’s always an exciting month for us. Our December end of year hafla is another important annual event.

Plans for the future?

Apart from continually educating the general public about the Middle East and its arts, our main plan for the immediate future is RAK 2011, our 2011 World Belly Dance Day fundraiser event.

World Belly Dance Day falls on the second Saturday of May. It is a day where we promote the art of bellydance, and raise awareness and funds for local charities. This year we will hold a two day fundraiser festival at Oriental House with two shows on May 14, followed by a full day of dance workshops on May 15. Some of the best performers and dance instructors in Korea will be coming together to donate their time and talent for this event, and all profits will be donated to Korean charities for women.

How to join?:

Visit the MECDACK Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/MECDACK.

Name of Club: Middle Eastern Culture, Dance & Art Club in Korea 

Location(s): We meet monthly in Seoul. These meetings, or “haflas” (the Arabic word for celebration), are usually held at a Middle Eastern restaurant.

Number of members: Around 30-50 people attend our monthly haflas, while our fundraiser events can see attendance of more than 200. It really depends on the size of the venue. 

Started: In 2008 by Belynda Azhaar and Ji-yoon Kim.
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