Monday, July 30, 2012

Kent and Cambridge

forgive me...only just publishing last weeks weekend review... never mind having written this weekend in wales (which was fabulous....) here goes;

Kent and Cambridge

It is really quite lovely how excited some of the women in the UK bellydance scene get about coming to a show or doing workshops with a ‘real Cairo Star’ (their words, not mine!!!). In one workshop it was really hard to get people to respond at first, which is not a problem I usually ever have, so I couldn’t understand it. Then their teacher told me there were a little overawed at having their first workshop with an ‘International teacher’.  I laughed out loud and told her to tell them not to be so silly... I may live and work in Cairo, but I am just me, Lorna from Scotland!!

This weekend I was hosted by two lovely dancers, who are also lovely people, Ann Hall in Kent and Emma Chapman in Cambridge.

In UK these days there are so many bellydance events here, there and everywhere that I am always very grateful when people who haven’t hosted me before take a ‘risk’ and do so. Thankfully, as yet, they have never been disappointed and have always asked me back again. I hope I am not tempting fate by saying that when I still have 5 out of my 8 tour cities to go, although I am fairly confident since I know that one of the Manchester workshops  on 4th August had sold out by last week! Fingers crossed for this coming weekend which will be my first time in Wales and thank you in advance to the host there, Sophie Smith who is hosting for her first time ever, in order to get me there (book your places at the workshops and halfa in Swansea now if you haven’t already!!!)

Back to Kent. On Friday night Ann had organised for me to perform at Mandaloun, a lovely Lebanese restaurant in Rochester. I really recommend it! The private function venue was lovely but strange, it was a vault which felt like being in someone’s wine cellar, or inside the intestine of a large animal! It was just perfect for the 48, mainly, women, who came along to partake of the very generous deal the restaurant owner, Joseph, gave us. This is obviously a clever man who understands how to best advertise his venue. Tickets were £25 per head, which included the show (me!) and a 3 course meal (I swear some of the best Arabic food I have ever tasted anywhere in the world, especially the baba ghanoug) AND all drinks included. Alcohol or otherwise!!! Can you imagine? What a fun night!!! 

As I went round at the start of the evening, introducing myself to people and chatting I realised that a lot of people were interested in the same things about my life in Cairo, so I asked Ann’s permission, which was happily given, to do a wee 10 minutes talk about my life in Cairo before we even started the dancing. It is lovely to see so much interest for the country I have chosen to live in. Not just about the dance and trying to imagine the rollercoaster lifestyle of a dancer there, but also about the politics, specifically since revolution and the election of a Muslim brotherhood president. Thank you Kent ladies for making it such an enjoyable night! Most of the time I couldn’t even hear the music because the clapping was so supportively enthusiastic!! Fun.

Cambridge is a stunning city. Especially when seen in the sunshine! My train arrived in early so Emma showed me the college she had attended, and also where she had gotten married! It was like stepping into a film set. Young pretty girls wearing flowery summer dresses were everywhere, cycling on their bicycles which had wicker baskets on the front! It was all very quintessentially English, and beautiful. Since it was a stunning day, between the 2 workshops we went out to sit in the sunshine and then I discovered that Emma had previously suggested to her ladies that we picnic on the grass and people had come prepared with food to share and picnic blankets and everything! It was lovely, as was the sampling of the locally made cider after the workshops had ended!

I loved teaching all four workshops I did this weekend. It is always very interesting to see how people interpret the music differently and how they respond to the ideas I throw at them! It feels too much like blowing my own trumpet to write how good they were... but maybe if I am lucky then some of the ladies who attended my workshops will add their comments to this blog entry so you can see how they felt about them, and hopefully they liked them! Emma did, and has already written a blog entry about them which you can see at . Thanks Emma!!

Heading back to Edinburgh now... will be performing there on Thursday night, in a lovely wee venue where I will be dancing whilst my audience enjoy Cairo style afternoon tea..... i.e.  Cake and sandwiches, but in the evening rather than the afternoon! Really looking forward to it, I just hope there will be space enough to swing my stick around!!!

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