Iskandar Dance Company

Iskandar Company members

Alaitz Arregi Sudupe
was born and raised in a professional artistic family of traditional musicians from the Basque country. She studied History of Fine Art and searched for her own creative expression by studying different dance forms, among them Flamenco and Indian dance. Thereafter, she moved to London to study Hilal Dance in 2001 and began training with Alessandro Bascioni. Alaitz has also trained in the Professional course since 2004. She joined the Iskandar Dance Company (2005) and went on tour with the productions of El Saqiyeh and the Awakening. Alaitz has been a part in Alessandro’s work from the beginning and brings a rare talent and dedication to the work.

Francesca Di Ieso,
was born in Salerno. She developed a passion for and trained in the oral tradition of music/dance of Southern Italy. She acquired great skills in the field, and till today continues teach and perform with the well known group, Canto Antico. In 1999, she began training in Hilal Dance with Sabina Todaro and the Hilal Dance School, joining the professional course with Suraya Hilal in 2003. She became a member of Iskandar Dance Company in 2007 and went on to tour with the productions of Awakening and Becoming.

Magdalena Persson ,
Magdalena Persson comes from the south of Sweden and has lived in Malmo since 1995. After University where she studied Social Anthropology, Islamology, History of Religions, Magdalena travelled extensively through Israel/Palestine and Eastern & Southern Africa which lead her to explore music and dance of these parts of the world. Magdalena studied drama, African dance, and dance-therapy, Tai Chi and Oriental dance. She joined the Professional Hilal Dance Course in 2010 and joined the Iskandar Dance Company in 2013.

Mirella Maciariello,
born in Capua, Italy, studied dramatics and received her diploma from the Accademia dei Filodrammatici of Milan in 1987. She went on to further her studies at the School of Dramatic Arts in Moscow directed by Anotolij Vassil’iv, and then appeared in many theatre productions including: Uomo e gentiluomo of E. De Filippo Direction by Ugo Gregoretti Quartett of Heiner Muller Direction by Emil Hrvatn Ciascuno a suo modo of L.Pirandello Direction Anatolij Vassil’ev. In 2000, she began to study in Hilal Dance in Milan with Sabina Todaro and joined the Iskandar Company in 2009.

Andrea Baumann,
comes from a family of musicians and painters which inspired her to choose an artistic education. She studied at the academy of Visual Arts in Karlsruhe, and completed her studies with a dissertation on the meaning of figure and space in the sacred art of the middle ages and the modern period. She studied modern dance, Aikido and Eastern dances from Egypt and Iran. She was teaching dance in her own school when in 2000 she took part at the professional course (Hilal Dance). She graduated from the Hilal Art Foundation as professional dancer and teacher in 2004. She joined the Iskandar Dance Company since early 2006 and toured with the production of El Saqiyeh.

Claudia Parra Weitzman,
studied ballet in her childhood and later trained as an artistic gymnast and become member of the national team in the native country, Chile. Some years later she moved to London and began to study contemporary dance at the Place. She also started training in Hilal Dance in 2004 and joined the Iskandar Dance Co. to tour with the production of El Saqiyeh, until 2006.

Ibrahim el Minyawi,
master percussionist and teacher, was born in Egypt and comes from the original school of tablah players who accompanied many popular artists in Egypt. He later began to work with Suraya Hilal in her major programmes in London (Queen Elisabeth Hall, Sadler’s Wells, The Place & others) in the late 90’s and has continued working in her company ever since. Ibrahim’s diverse knowledge of rhythms and refined "touch" on the tablah has earned him his popularity with the public. The collaboration with Suraya Hilal has lead to progression and innovation in his playing and in the rhythm for Hilal Dance; and since the creation of Aseel (2004) Ibrahim has worked with the Iskandar dance Company.

Wassim Halal,
born in Lebanon and studied the Darbuka at a young age. After many years of work in the popular Middle Eastern music, Wassim developed an interest in the Iranian and Indian influences on Arabic music and also in rhythmic prose. He has an interest in Jazz and contemporary music improvisation. Wassim became associated with various artists from different disciplines working on the thematic similarities, traces, and differences, which opened possibilities in his technique and in playing the Zarb, tabla and the Afghani Zerbaghali. These influences have enriched his pedagogic language and on many occasions he has been invited to give workshops in various locations such as Paris, Lyon, Toulouse, Brussels, and Barcelona. Wassim, also, regularly works on stage in different projects in Arab music, Balkan music, Jazz, and with dance. Wassim began to collaborate with Alessandro Bascioni in 2009.

Paolo Veronica,
Italian born began to study Arab percussion, in particular, the Darbuka in 2004. A year later, he met his teacher Ibrahim el Minyawi, and up till now he continues to work with him and to study the technical skills of Egyptian traditional rhythm. Paolo opened his cultural centre called Khatawat in 2007 where he also teaches percussion on the tablah and accompanies dance classes. He follows seminars in Arabic percussion on tablah, riq, frame drums and tapan. From 2008 up till now, he continues to train and play accompanying dance workshops in Italy and abroad where he began to work with Alessandro Bascioni’s company in 2009. Paolo also collaborates with the Skutari Orchestra, (traditional Albanian music) and with the quartet Darab (music of the Middle East and Maghreb).