IN THE TOPANGA MESSENGER
BY TONY MORRIS
The Topanga Chamber of Commerce hosted a special fund-raising event at the Mermaid Tavern on Saturday November 18th. A Night At The Oasis featured Middle Eastern dance choreographed, and produced by Melanie Kareem with a group of 20 superb dancers. Guests dressed up in Middle East attire and were entertained by Arabic drumming and music in a candlelit setting. Entering the Mermaid which had been transformed with 25 saris as a Bedouin tent, guests removed their shoes and were anointed with “sacred oil” after being escorted by “Three Wise Women.”
According to Melanie Kareem, the dancers, most of whom were Topanga residents, had rehearsed for four months. Costumes were hand made by each dancer and some dancers had three costume changes. Solo dancers created their own choreography according to Kareem. The most spectacular dance of the evening was the “Candle Dance” which involved dancers holding candles in each hand as they danced in complete darkness.
The Chamber event was sold out by October 30th and over 120 participated in the festive atmosphere. Chamber president Dawn Simmons remarked that there “was a great ambiance with great food and everyone danced and danced