Arab entertainment comes to Islington

Regular and authentic Arabic entertainment is being brought to Islington by a group dedicated to the art.

The Arab Quarter, which is the brainchild of dancer Melanie Norman and musician Chalf Hassan, will be holding regular performance evenings at the Islington Assembly Hall, Upper Street, from next week.

Established in 2009, the group has already staged two major shows at the Bloomsbury Theatre and many live music workshops.

The new show – the Arab Quarterly – comes from another venue in South London and the first Islington performance is on Wednesday (January 11) at 7.30pm.

It features Chalf and Melanie, alongside guest dancers and The Arab Quarter Band which is made up of London’s finest Arab musicians including Bashir Abdel Aal who plays the ney (the Arabic flute).

Melanie, who has studied many aspects of her art including Arabic dance in Cairo, said that The Arab Quarter wanted to encourage as many professional and aspiring dancers from the community to experience dancing on stage to a live Arab band as possible, so each quarterly performance will feature a different line up.

The show is described as a “lively, vibrant and fun evening” with plenty of audience involvement. In each half of the programme, the audience get the chance to take to the floor and dance.

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Melanie said: “It is an open-hearted evening with lots of soul and atmosphere and a good chance to meet people with a strong interest in music and dance. We have a regular following which is growing.

“Our aim is to make this event special to the Islington community, to bring to the door step of this arty constituency a regular evening out of lively and informal entertainment in a classy setting.”

Tickets cost �20 and are available online at Tickets may also be purchased between 6pm and 7.15pm on the day of the event at Zaco Mini Market, opposite the Assembly Hall in Upper Street.