Saturday, November 25, 2006

Hemis and Suraya- Performance reviews

On Friday night (last night) Caroline and I went out to see a couple of dancers…

First we went to see Hemis perform at the 'windows of the world' restaurant in the 36th floor of the Ramsis Hilton. She has danced there for years and has defiantly improved over that time. Now she has 2 'dancing boys' to warm up the dance floor for her- not literally- there would be no need- you should SEE the shoes!!!! I have to say I often feel that she would feel and look the part far more if she was ever to invest in decent costumes….. Not so nice. Short skirts on each on, and she doesn't have the most perfect pins in the world and the shoes- well………… I KNOW I couldn't have walked in these let alone danced and spun!

Her dancing was fun and flirty. She makes her audience feel appreciated. She has the usual 'I don't have to try hard at this' type of attitude you often see in Egyptian dancers- usually at lower class establishments; except that she does it all with a friendly smile and wins you over. Her dance really came to life for me on this occasion when she danced to baladi- she got lost in it for a while and you saw all the potential she could have. I often feel watching Hemis that if dance was a more respectable occupation to have in this country and she had been made to feel valued because of it (as I have been lucky enough to have had at home) then she would pull all the punches. To me there is something almost apologetic about her- maybe a fear that she may offend. As it is you are left feeling that it could have been something more….. Her spins (esp. in those shoes) are impressive and her khaleegy and Zar both really got the crowd going- it was a very nice atmosphere. Worth a visit, even if just to enjoy how well the drummer followed each move- or as Caroline put it- a very generous drummer- a lovely a relevant expression, they got me up to dance at one point and he made me look like I really knew the piece of music I was dancing to and I didn’t!

Then we went to see a star. Suraya, from Brazil, at the Casablanca restaurant in the Cairo Sheraton. WOW. WOW!!! I have seen this girl dance I couldn’t tell you how many times- numerous… and often I feel wow she is really good…. But occasionally she actually makes me forget to shut my mouth or even to breathe. This was one of those occasions. Her costumes were stunning- all obviously high quality (at least one by Eman I guessed) and a couple of rather risqué ones too which made me wonder how she could possible stay in place. Her orchestra really tight. And her musical interpretation much more relaxed than I have seen it before (I mean that in a positive way!- i.e. she is not miming all the actions to all the words in a song- although there is still a fair bit of that too) But her moves- TIGHT does not cover it. Her hits and tummy pops were so strong they seemed physically impossible. I felt that I was watching as though I didn't know how to do most of these moves- i.e. with the awe that someone feels when they see their first ever bellydancer (if she is any good!) She did reverse V8's that seemed almost internal. Watching this bundle of beautiful energy dance around the stage and entertain us all really made me feel both that I was a rubbish dancer and should give up and go home now, and also inspired to work harder and try for at least a fraction of the skill she has. I remember years ago coming to Cairo- before she was in the Sheraton (so more than 4 years ago) and seeing her rehearse in Raqia's dance studio- at least 3 hours every morning. That’s a sobering thought and worth taking into consideration! I need to get to the gym!!! She danced to the same baladi number Hemis had earlier that night… and what a difference with a full orchestra and with a desire to do your best for the audience. Watching Suraya last night I really felt she wanted us to really enjoy her dance…. But not in a pleading way- she seemed really proud that she could be doing this and showing us what she could do. Sexy rather than just coquettish too at parts- stronger. Shimmy's to die for- and a tummy pop shimmy which made me gasp out loud. The move was huge and fast- very fast! Her final number was Lissa Fakir and it was the best I have seen her dance to Omm Khalthoum. Especially this first part when it was all on the spot and really controlled. Watching her I really felt that of all the performers in Cairo just now… She is defiantly up there in the top 3. Rhanda, Suraya and I guess Dina (although I prefer to watch Asmahan than Dina to be honest).

Ohh- and I forgot to mention- she has died her hair bright red. Like..... RED!! Looks great- really funky and different- but suits her quirky girl-like attitude.

What a day. 2 workshops and 2 performers. There are times like these where I feel so lucky to be here! It is worth all the down times!!!

No comments: