Today I was lucky enough to attend two workshops at the Nile Group Festival.
The first was with Mercedes, a very talented dancer from Hungary. She has a dynamic, move packed style and I guessed before going to her workshop that I would probably have a hard time keeping up. I have been a solo dancer and teacher for so many years now, that my skill for following other dancers is not strong anymore. I was right! She is a very good teacher and explained everything incredibly well. Breaking every move down and explaining why it follows the last one and what feeling you are aiming for and everything. She was giving so much information throughout the entire 3 hours that my head was hurting a long time before my body was! I mean that in a positive way! I hate doing choreography workshops normally, but she mentioned lots of ways you could adapt parts of the routine to suit your own style and was encouraging you do so even at the same time as learning it. It meant I could relax and dance the way I wanted to with the moves she was giving me which means that I am much more likely to immediately incorporate some of the stuff from today into my own dance. I would happily attend a lot more workshops with her. I felt she had a lot to give and was generous with it. Also her background in different dance styles means that she has a very good dance vocabulary so makes you think about aspects of the dance in a new way.
Camelia’s workshop needed more energy from me than I was able to give, being 5 minutes after the end of Mercedes one! She was doing a Shaabi choreography which was a song based on a woman teasing a man saying ‘come and get it’, then ‘no, you can’t have it’, but resulting in ‘yes, ok I am yours’. It is always a good idea to check out the lyrics in a shaabi song before you perform to it, was the main lesson reinforced in that class! The truth? I think I am too much of a prude to fully make use of what I learned in that workshop. As it was I was adapting a lot of moves so I didn’t have my crotch so far forward or was gyrating quite so wildly. It was very much Camelia style. She was teaching the way she would dance. Which is great, it’s just not me! I did like the way she twisted normal oriental dances moves and made them shaabi (took them to street level). That was very useful and I am really glad I took the workshop. She was working really hard to help us understand the true nature of Egyptian shaabi and everyone was exhausted by the end of the 3 hours!
It was a good, useful and fun day. Now I am going out to a best of British Music night as sung by my flatmate, Ellie of London! Talk about a culture contrast! I wonder if any shaabi moves will come out on the dance floor tonight!
Hi! I was also at the Nile Group festival in April but missed Camelia and Mercedes' workshops. I'm also not keen on choreography workshops but I did enjoy the ones I went to (although admittedly I am not good at learning them!).
My favourite and most memorable workshops were with Asmahan and Farida Fahmy - both of whom focused on technique which I found invaluable. I wish the Nile Group would offer more of these types of classes as I came away having really learnt something.
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