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!