Monday, February 19, 2007

Bellydance banquet

Wow - what a night last night!
We had a night of food and dance in Edinburgh last night and it was a huge success. The place was full and the atmosphere (esp considering the dreadful lighting) was fantastic.

I was very lucky to have Elspeth doing the MCing for the evening- she is such a good public speaker and considering I was awful and didn't get the script to her before noon the same day- ie 7 hours before the start of the night! she really impressed me along with the rest of the crowd. The script was all about the history of the dance- how different cultures and dance styles throughout history have influenced what we have today as bellydance. I learned a lot about the dance while i was researching it all, i tell you!

The Daughters of Isis opened the show and warmed up the crowd for us- thanks girls! The bedouin dance- in their words, confuses peolpe to start with.... but they soon warm to it! and as elspeth noted after- the egyptians walks had conviction of an ilk you seldom see! I did a stick dance and baladi- not the ideal way to make your entrance - should have been some big stage filler really- but i wanted the evening to make sense with regards the history of the dance- ie some folk dance- then some modern- but folk inspired dance. in general that plot went to plan and people appreciated it.

Saliha did a powerful Flamenco dance for us- such grace and presence. Then I did my bellydance with strong arms - inspired by Tahire Carioca thing. Was really a bit anxious about dance and perhaps doing what looked like a poor imitation of Saliha's beautiful dance... but all the feedback proved that i managed to achieve what I had intended- bellydance- but showing the hint of flamenco influence in both the music and the movements.

The buffet was well appreciated... Khalid put on a lovely spread (along with the rest of the Morocco restaurant staff of course!) - no one left hungry thats for sure (apart from him of course- but hard to eat when you have to prepare everything!)

The Classcal Indian dance group 'Dance Ihayami' performed next and wowed everyone - stunning costumes, beautiful movements, photogenic poses. A fabulous addition to the night. it was a shame Priya (their teacher) wasn't able to stay long enough to watch them dance- she would have been very proud of them! Laura Monteith then gave us a lovely tribal fusion dance.... control and precision. the only thing i felt was that the room was too big and too bright to really appreciate her fully- I like watching Laura dance in small , atmospheric spaces- it suits the mood of her dance more.

The African dancers went on next...... Bebe (not sure if thats spelt right!) who teaches dance at edinburgh university did a healing dance- our only male dancer of the night- but one who could move his hips as much as any female dancer on stage thats for sure! and talking about winding hips- Mara and Isla improvised a West African dance for us- full of circling hips and grace and fun - was really easy to see the close link between African and Arabic dance from watching them!

Then it was just me. I danced to 'alf Leila we leila' and it went down well. I really need to find a good recording of that song- so much easier to dance to live music- you can make them extend or shorten any song I felt i lost it in parts of the music just because it wasn't strong enough to move me!!! Then i donned the tartan costume and brought the style of the dance right up to modern day. My 'souk bene asda fih corniche' went down a storm and was definatly the high point of my night- I felt like i was flying. Everyone got up for a boogie and left with smiles on their faces.

The good news is that due to the generosity of the audience (and dancers- some of whom even donated their earnings for the night!!!) the charity ASIDD (www.asidd.net) managed to make £411 over the course of the 2 events (11th and 18th Feb) Thank you everyone.

It was a stressful night to organise and put on- but before I went to bed Khalid and i were already talking about how we would do the 'next one' differently!!!!! so watch this space!

1 comment:

karen cameron said...

WOW indeed - what a spectacular evening! All the dancers were brilliant and the food was out of this world. But of course the highlight of the evening was our Lorna from Cairo....... apart from the dancing.... and I couldn't even begin to say how fabulous you were...the costumes were stunning. each time you came on Stacey and I were oohing and aahing but longer each time! the lilac one we thought was absolutely gorgeous and then...we saw the tartan one!
Thanks to everyone invovled for a fab show and Lorna thanks for putting such a big smile on my face.
All the best for your future in Cairo - you deserve it!