The answer is of course, home is where the heart is.
The problem with that is that I must therefore have multiple homes! I am sitting on train leaving Edinburgh. I have a salad and glass of wine from marks and spencers in front of me. The sun is shining. I am comfortable on the train the train to Derby (via Newcastle) is, so far, on time. My family are all there, in Edinburgh, and I have friends who are so dear to me there that whenever we meet, even if it has literally been 5 years since we last chatted, feel like we saw each other the week before. These are the friends that are like family. I am so lucky to have such a big family/friendfamily!
I wish I could have seen everyone I care about in Edinburgh during my short visit but it just wasn't possible. What was amazing was having some quality time with my sister and nephew. A 2 day trip that I just know will become a regular event and be just what memories are made of. To watch him learn how to play draughts, tie his shoe laces, and skim stones across the surface of the loch. I feel so lucky to be part of it all. I just wish I could be more often. Mind you, nothing stopping us sending emails to each other I guess... He is 7 and a half now after all!
So, I'm on the train, heading towards Derby to teach two workshops there tomorrow. 'How to dance with an Egyptian accent' and 'Lorna's cairo style'. I am sitting here wondering what it is that makes my dance Cairo style, or indeed how Cairo has changed my style. The only Brit to be currently working in Cairo as a dancer and the 1st ever Scot.
Cairo hasn't changed my dance, it has changed me, and that in turn has changed how I dance.
One of the wonderful things about Egyptian culture is the importance of people. Friends call you daily, just to see how you are and say hi. A phone call beats a text and a visit, no matter how short, beats a call, and a meal together tops everything. It's all about people. About the interaction. About caring.
I feel hellishly guilty that I didn't have the time to see everyone I wanted to see in Edinburgh, but I really loved the exchanges I had. A few friends said, you know , when your time is pressured, we understand, and you don't have to see us.. Which I know is their way of stressing me out less, but the thing is , in that way, I really have become Egyptian. I want to see everyone. I want to spend quality time and touch base. I want to jump past the pleasantries and get deep into the heart felt issues of life. To connect fully. To evaluate the changes, and what has remained the same, in my life and in my friends ( and families) lives.
When I started to learn dance, I took to it very quickly because I was one of the lucky ones that picked up quick. My body could watch and copy and it felt good. I always tried hard so my audience would be impressed with my moves, with my dance, with my body and the way it could move.
Now its different. now it is about who i am, not what i have or what it can do. When I dance now, I am aware that what I am doing is, 'this is me, the good stuff, and the bad, and I am offering it all up to you, my audience in hope that you will 'get' me', interact with me, maybe even show me a bit of you too ( not literally!!!!)
When I watch dancers more and more I look at their faces when they dance. Trying to get inside their head, how they think and how they feel. It's not just about how they move and what steps they know or tricks they can do. Those things are not important. Not to me anyway.
I think this is exactly what I love about Bellydance. The 'realness'' and honesty. When I see that in a dancer, I feel drawn to watch more and more.
So how has Cairo changed me? I think it has made me more aware of who 'I' actually am, and given me the freedom to be me on stage. So for those coming to my 'Lorna cairo style' workshops over the next 2 weekend in Derby, Oxford and Pencoed, you have been warned. Yes I will bombard you with technique, move after move in fact, But I will also be looking for you to explore 'you' in the dance! There- you have been warned! See YOU there!
So, where is home? Home is inside you.... In every place where you have people, who care and that you love and wherever you are free to dance. That's home for me. I am looking forward to teaching at 'home' tomorrow in Derby, and then 'home' in Oxford and 'home' in Pencoed, not to mention 'home' in London for all those private classes I have lined up, and as for Cairo , my actual home, ... I just pray it's in one piece for me to dance there too, very soon...!