Ballerina Svetlana Zakharova, singers Magida El-Roumi, Sanaa Nabil to perform in Abu Dhabi 

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Abu Dhabi Classics’ grand finale will see Magida El-Roumi wow audiences at du Arena on Feb. 7. (AFP)
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Svetlana Zakharova will perform as part of the ninth Abu Dhabi Classics festival. (Supplied)
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Updated 15 January 2020

Ballerina Svetlana Zakharova, singers Magida El-Roumi, Sanaa Nabil to perform in Abu Dhabi 

  • One of the greatest ballerina of her generation and Bolshoi Ballet stars will perform the Russian ballet company’s classic repertoire under legendary choreographer Yury Grigorovich
  • Magida El Roumi, one of the Arab World’s greatest female vocalists, will headline the Grand Finale of this year’s diverse program of classical and traditional music events

DUBAI: Ukrainian-born prima ballerina Svetlana Zakharova and a star-studded cast of dancers from the world-renowned Bolshoi Ballet company will perform in the UAE as part of the ninth Abu Dhabi Classics festival.  

The event is set to take place over 11 days across various venues in the UAE capital between Jan. 28 and Feb. 7.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest ballerinas of her generation, Zakharova gained international recognition as a prima ballerina performing the Russian ballet company’s classic repertoire under legendary choreographer Yury Grigorovich.




Svetlana Zakharova will perform as part of the ninth Abu Dhabi Classics festival. (Supplied)

During Abu Dhabi Classics 2020, Zakharova will star in “Modanse,” a brand-new double bill produced by Russian production company MuzArts. 

In the first act the ballerina will perform in “Come Un Respiro (Like a Breath),” which celebrates the German composer George Frideric Handel’s music.

That will be followed by a performance by international choreographer Yuri Possokhov’s new ballet Gabrielle Chanel — a tribute to fashion icon and designer, Coco Chanel — with Zakharova in the title role. More than 80 costumes have been designed exclusively for the dance by Chanel Creative Studio. 

On Feb. 6, Abu Dhabi Classics will also host a concert by Egypt’s Sanaa Nabil, the great grandniece of the legendary Arabic singer Umm Kulthum, who shot to fame on “Arabs Got Talent” by winning the Golden Buzzer. 

She has carved a reputation for her contemporary interpretations of complex songs. Nabil will perform “Laylat Saltana” with members of Cordes Croisées, a group of Egyptian musicians, at the Cultural Foundation.

Abu Dhabi Classics’ grand finale will see Magida El-Roumi wow audiences at du Arena on Feb. 7.


Lebanese luxury soap brand sees boost in sales amid pandemic

Updated 27 May 2020

Lebanese luxury soap brand sees boost in sales amid pandemic

DUBAI: In 1999, Syrian-Palestinian fragrance connoisseur Hana Debs Akkari pursued her passion project in Lebanon by founding a sophisticated soap company called “Senteurs d’Orient,” or “Fragrances of the East” in French.

Akkari envisioned that her handcrafted soaps would symbolize the beloved floral essences of the Middle East, particularly the Levant, which is reportedly the world’s oldest soap-making region.

With the pandemic caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Akkari’s small, family-run luxury soap business has witnessed an increased demand in their natural products nearly twenty years since its founding.

Portrait of Sarah Akkari, CEO of Senteurs d’Orient. (Supplied)

“Since the pandemic was declared, we saw a spike in our online sales,” said Lebanese-Canadian and New Yorked-based Sarah Akkari, Hana’s daughter and CEO of Senteurs d’Orient, to Arab News. “People are washing their hands more often, and their hands are becoming drier as a consequence. So, they’re also looking for a natural soap, such as the ones we offer. Our antibacterial soaps are packed with different nourishing ingredients like glycerin, Shea butter and Vitamin E.”

Operating from Lebanon, Senteurs d’Orient’s factory is run by a diligent team of chemists and artisans, many of whom are women as female education and empowerment in the workforce is at the heart of the company’s ethos.

Engraving soaps at the Lebanon factory. (Supplied)

After mixing the chemical-free ingredients by hand, the soaps are air-dried for 10 ten days and later machine-molded and carefully hand-wrapped. True to the company’s name, the delicate floral scents of gardenia, jasmine, tuberose, and rose of Damascus draw their inspiration from eastern gardens.

To show support for the selfless medical workers, some of whom reached out to Akkari and expressed interest in Senteurs d’Orient’s soaps, she recently donated nearly 500 packages to doctors and nurses from four American hospitals — two in Los Angeles, one in New York and another in New Jersey.

Each package is an ‘Oriental Trio Box’, containing three bars of soap, the shapes and engravings of which are inspired by the decoration of ‘maamoul’, the Levant region’s quintessential pastry.

“When you’re facing this type of crisis and you’re receiving emails from doctors and nurses or anyone on the frontlines, it’s a not a request you can reject,” explained the 32-year-old entrepreneur. “It’s something that we really wanted to be part of and it brought us much satisfaction knowing we could contribute in this way.”

The company has expanded its international presence and line of therapeutic products, creating bath salts, multi-purpose oils and thinly sliced, single-use soap leaves. (Supplied)

Under the leadership of Akkari, the company has expanded its international presence and line of therapeutic products, creating Mediterranean orange blossom bath salts, multi-purpose oils and thinly sliced, single-use soap leaves of amber and tea flower.

It is the authenticity of Senteurs d’Orient’s products that Akkari hopes will come through.

“You feel the fragrance is coming straight from the flower,” she said.