Friday, April 12, 2013

D-CAF ( I am not talking coffee! )

Last night I went to an event organised by D-Caf (downtown contemporary arts festival) It's a great idea for a festival and good to have an excuse to venture back downtown at night... something i have usually avoided doing in the past two years since the revolution. 

I didn’t know what the event was – only that it was in the venue Sherazade club, which usually is one of Cairo’s seedy cabaret nightclubs with bad bellydance, cheap beer and money showers. OK, so I am aware that doesn’t sell it much. However, it is the most amazing place with murals painted on all the walls of oriental dreams and images of bellydancers. The stage has the red velvet curtains with gold braiding within a gold archway. The lighting fixtures (not the fairy lights hanging from everything but the actual fitted fixtures!) are art deco. It is just a fabulous venue. And it was perfect for this event too.
The place was packed... a LOT of people, mainly young, many foreign and all there for the music.
First up was a Syrian hip hop group who had a lot of potential. They mixed Arabic and English and I believe they could go far... I liked most of the tracks... I got a little frustrated though because the mics weren’t balanced correctly so a lot of what was being said/sung which wasn’t audible. Also I got the impression they were not used to being on stage and in fact only after when I read the program did I see that this was in fact their debut. Like I said- potential to go far. Was enjoyable!
The next act had the stage skills down to a tee. Khadafi Dub is from USA and even if his music wasn’t to your taste (dub/electronic) you had to appreciate he had stage presence and was entertaining! I loved the music and was dancing like a nutter most of the night!
In fact, I really appreciated the fact that I was there with a group of friends, who were mainly standing behind me, which meant I could dance my heart out, as if no one was watching, without the fear of anyone trying anything on.... I felt safe and free. It was a much needed night.
I wish that club would be a regular weekly club. I think it has massive potential as a club night, whatever style of music they choose to play there. And it was a lot busier than it usually is as a cabaret! Of course- what I would dearly love to see there is a club night that was Egyptian music; with bellydance... it would be the perfect setting for it!
Afterwards, because one club night in a Cairo evening is never enough... I went to Outdoors at the maxim boat to see the end of Ellie of London’s set there. It was a completely different vibe..... but also a lot of fun. A much older crowd than had been at sherazade, and very different music. I had felt I had used all my energy up in the 1st place- but then the Syrian musicians they have there (wonder violin and keyboards combo who play the music every bellydancer dreams about) played Enta Omri and there was me- up and going for it as though I hadn’t already been boogieing the night away! In fact- I enjoyed it so much that I plan to go back again tonight, after I finish work.  I love dancing with Egyptian women who aren’t dancers.... I learn so much about the attitude and feel of the dance from them!

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

On being a lazy bellydancer!

Working as a dancer in Cairo is a lot like waiting on buses these days. There can be literally weeks without any work at all... and then once your body has relaxed, the muscles have stopped responding as they should and your mood as dropped to an all time low because you are depressed from the lack of movement... then and only then do you suddenly get flooded with work day after day so that your muscles ache and your friends think you have dropped off the side of a cliff!

I am not complaining. Honest. 11 days in a row, performing anything between 1 and 6 shows in a day, is what I moved to Cairo to do!

I am pointing out my failures again. Why oh why when I get days off do I not do more exercise so that my ‘on’ days are less of a surprise to my poor muscles?!!! I never used to have to worry about these things. When I lived in Scotland I was teaching 25 classes per week on top of performing and going out salsa dancing!

Now... now I have become so lazy. I know what I ‘should’ do. I should be drilling moves at home. I should be doing my press ups and sit ups, my stair climbing. I should make a point of going out to salsa. Yes I should.

I think too much. I do too little. I bring myself down.

I rest and then my mood slumps and it is near impossible to move to do the basic stuff of life, never mind ‘extra’ exercise!

I guess routine is the answer to this issue. Push myself to do something every morning when I wake up........ but there is always an excuse; My back is sore from work last night- I should rest, I am late for meeting someone I need to leave house, I need to save my energy for work later on tonight... you name it. I am the world’s best at procrastination!

The only thing I seem good at now is always preferring to climb the stairs to the flat rather than taking the lift (11 floors). However, I don’t leave the house enough to make much of a difference!

I am so bad at pushing myself to exercise alone that I wish social fitness wasn’t so expensive. Gyms in Cairo are very expensive. Pools to go just for a swim are rare and also expensive. Fitness classes, Pilates, yoga etc are available... but again highly priced. I need to exercise because there isn’t enough regular daily work to keep my body strong for the times that there is, but without the work I don’t have the funds to pay for a gym!

See.... always an excuse.

Truth is I am a lazy bellydancer.

I have always been blessed in dance. I learn quickly without having to actually put in a lot of mental or physical work. I know many people who profess to hate me because of this! (I hope they are joking!) The idea of drilling moves fills me with such a dread that it takes away the joy I get from the dance.

So what to do......... This is the point in this blog entry when I say 'Yalla- I am going to do X, Y and Z. Everyday'. I am going to get super fit and strong again (like I used to be).

But I won’t.

I know myself too well.

I will start it. Whatever the ‘regime’ of the moment it. The after a day or two, sometimes even a week or two... that’s it. I am sitting about doing nothing and getting weak and depressed again.

When I analyse my character, look at my good and bad points, this laziness always comes out as the thing I hate most about myself and one of the major things that stops me ‘going further’ in life.

Do I just need to get a grip? Get tougher on myself? Or do I accept that sometimes I will be crazy active and nonstop dancing, and other times I just won’t be?

They say that realising your issues is the first step to dealing with them... I am hoping now I have written this and shamed myself in public that somehow I will just magically turn into some highly motivated being. That would be nice. Maybe.

Maybe I'll think more about that tomorrow....