Thursday, January 30, 2014

Arabic words you need to know as a dancer in Egypt

I realise that many dancers around the world come to Egypt to dance and to take part in dance festivals here. These are some Arabic words I have found interesting and useful and thought you might too......

Arabic words in dance world;

Raqs- dance
Raqs Sharqi- dance of the east
Raqqasa - dancer
Fanana- artist (f)
fanan- artist (m)
fananeen- artists,
fanoon shabbaya - folk dancers.
Tannoura- whirling dervish
Fananit Raqs Sharqi - oriental dance artist
Negm/ negma- star
Nimra- the number.. The 'one'

The music and the band;

Musiqa- music
Fir'a (firqa) - band
Musaqayeen- musicians
Firit lorna- Lorna's band
Motrib- singer, motriba- singer (f)
Prova- rehearsal
Orneyya- song
Faddi- solo (usually used for tabla solo)


Bedla- suit (2 piece dance costume)
Bedlit Raqs- dance costume
Thobe- dress, can be loose or fitted. Usually bejeweled
Galabeya- usually loose but not always shirt style dress, often plain. (Fifi abdu)
fustan- dress
Labisa- dresser (a girl to help dress the dancer)
Bra- bra!
Hizeem- belt ( beaded or coin belt)
Jupe- skirt
Asaya- stick
Tarha- veil
Melaya lef- a black sheet used for dancing Alexandrian style

Of course there could be many added to this list...  Please do comment with anything you think should be added or with any questions you many have!this lost is not exclusive, but I  have always founds these useful working here in Cairo.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A poem for my friends in Scotland

This poem is inspired by one of my many fabulous friends in Scotland. She said I should write more, so blame her, not me!

To my Scottish Friends.
(ie friends in Scotland, not just those born there, least some take offense!)

I love to see my friends
I love to see them all
But when i don't have much time
In doing this , I fall.

With high hopes I start
Email all around
"Im coming back, We must meet up
Before I'm homeward bound"

I think it will be easy
I'm there for two whole weeks
I'll run around and see them all
There isn't need for sleep

But flights, they are so pricey
That workshops must be done
I'm really not complaining
Cos Bellydance is fun!

Trains and flights and buses
Eat up much of my time
But least they give me space to sit
To write this little rhyme

Trips 'back home' exhaust me
Although I love them too
Excuse me if lose the plot
There's just so much to do

I have to see the family
Who live all o'r the place
Spending time with young ones
So they recognize my face

Don't talk to me of admin
Banking, bills and tax
Sifting through a whole years post
There's no time to relax

My Scottish friends, I understand
though I can pass on sleep
I know that those with jobs and kids
'Normal hours' must keep

I love every stolen moment
With each of you , so much
To eat and drink and hear your news
Deep in my heart you touch

Forgive me those I don't see
It's not that I don't care
It's just I want a long time
With you, that's only fair

A grabbed half hour is not enough
To exchange all of our antics
Our words would drown each other's out
The feel, horribly frantic

So you'll top the list the next trip
And we'll laugh and talk and eat
We'll hit the town, go dancing
Til we cannot feel our feet

Perhaps we'll go out shopping
And moan about our weight
We'll each admire the other
Just because we think they're great

We'll sit at kitchen tables
Clutching huge mugs of tea
The years will just evaporate
As we narrate our lives, you'll see

We'll cry shoulder to shoulder
'bout the trails that we have suffered
Recall follies of young days
And praise how we've recovered

We'll sympathise and empathize
The current crosses borne
We'll give advice when it is sought
For carefree days we'll mourn

For problems shared with good friends
Are problems halved they say
I know dear friends you lift me up
in the darkest day

You make me feel I'm not alone
Despite thousands of miles
Separate the places we did chose
To love and live our lives

So friends I've yet to meet with
In this whirlwind tour of home
Please know that you are special
Not the least bit overthrown

Each one of you is precious
You've all been there for me
Though fun times and for comfort
Through those rough times out at sea

Life out there ain't easy
I'm told its like a soap
Unbelievable to most
Still you help me to feel hope

But now I'm getting soppy
I'll man up and wipe the tears
It's just I am so glad to have such friends
Despite the passing years

I'll see you soon, Yes, that's a threat
A promise and wishful prayer
So meantime, have fun, create new news,
And yes, that is a dare!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Bellydance Burns Night. Edinburgh Sat 25th Jan 2014

On the evening of SATURDAY 25 JANUARY we will be mixing Bellydance and Robert Burns;

...... a Belly Burns Night!
(although that title makes me think more of indigestion than what we actually have in mind!!)

Venue: Cafe Casablanca, 373 Leith Walk from 7pm. 

This will be a Burns Night with a difference!

There will be a wee bit of haggis, there will be toasts, there will be an Immortal Memory – but mainly there will be bellydancing from Lorna of Cairo.

You will have the chance to hear Lorna discuss the current situation in Egypt and how it affects the bellydance scene there. 

Tickets are £20 including a three-course Moroccan meal and Lorna’s beautiful performances. 

Bring your own Bottle (Whisky or wine or whatever alcoholic drink you want!)

Please wear something Tartan!

There will also be Argan Oil products for sale; oil for hair, cream for body and soap for hands!

To book for the evening event, contact Elspeth on

Manchester Bellydance madness 31st Jan and 1st Feb 2014

A weekend down south for me, or up north for some! I will be performing and teaching around the Manchester area..... Always have fun in this next of the woods... Lovely dancers! See you soon!

Stockport- Friday 31st January 2014

Taste of cairo presents: great night with live music from the Babylon Band and dancers from the Taste of Cairo with guest performer Lorna OfCairo

At Bizoqya- Charles street, Impact house , SK1 3JY Stockport

Entrance Fee £5 payable on the door.
There is a fully licensed bar and food so make a night of it!

Manchester- Saturday 1st February 2014

Workshops with Lorna of Cairo, Britain's only current star of the Cairo dance scene!

Venue- Stand Unitarian Church, Ringley Road, Whitefield, M457JL

Workshop 1, 10.30 to 12.30: Develop your Saidi stick to a modern Egyptian style
Workshop 2, 13.00 to 15.00: Love that music? Make it your own! Ways of interpreting a piece of music, developing your own style.

Workshops cost £25 each or £45 for both. Book by PayPal to or by post to Katy Carmichael at 90 Holden Road, Brierfield, BB9 5PR.
Limited places so get it done soon!

Edinburgh Bellydance workshops Saturday 25th Jan 2014

Lorna is back in town! It's been a while since I have done a 'home town' workshop... So I am looking forward to seeing my Scottish dancers once more!

WORKSHOPS at SHAPES STUDIO, Arthur Street, Leith (formerly the Edinburgh Studios)

What are the hottest current moves and combinations in Cairo? Lorna will teach the latest flavours, brand new, fresh and direct from the Cairo stage.

1.30pm – 3.30pm: NO RIGHT, NO WRONG
Lorna will teach how to explore the many ways there are to dance to one piece of music and still have it 'authentically' Egyptian. Don’t be a clone of other dancers - let's find "insert your name here" style!

Both workshops are for dancers of all levels, but are not suitable for absolute beginners.

Each workshop costs £25, or book both for £45.

To book, please contact Elspeth SwishandHips or 07748 183171.

Bookings are only confirmed when you’ve paid, so to book your place:

Post a cheque made payable to Lorna Gow Dance to E. Alexandra, 32 Claremont Road, Edinburgh EH6 7NH
Paypal to , sorry but to cover Paypal administration there’s an extra £1.50 on paypal payments – which means £26.50 per workshop or £46.50 for both.
If you need another way to pay, please contact Elspeth

Monday, January 06, 2014

Christmas, New Year, Christmas

It's Christmas Day, again. Coptic Christmas that is...  This year there have been warnings put out by embassies to avoid the churches in case of attacks by MB extremists. Thankfully, so far, no problems... And fingers and toes are crossed.

Christmas I was at the British club here in Cairo. Turkey and ham no less! Then off to another nightclub to performing my Santa costume. Swinging a giant candy cane instead of my regular saidi stick! We had a lot of fun and finally got home at 5am.

New Year I was back to British club again and more turkey and ham, followed by some sparkly group shimmys and general merriment. Then off to dance the night away at a house party. A gud new year as we'd say in Scotland, and another 5 am home time. This is more like the Cairo I know and love!

After New Year I had a performance at another house party,  very well tipping house party, and another 5am finish. A gig like that every second week and I wouldn't need to take on any other work! Of course, I would still work, since I do this job for the love of dance rather than for the money (god knows it's cost me more to be a dancer in Cairo than it's ever paid me in that respect!), but it would be nice to be in the black for a change too!

Coptic Christmas I am taking time out to actually go out and party for a change... Well. That's the idea, unless a last minute 'order' arrives... And in Cairo last minute can actually mean last minute. ....

I am looking forward to teaching my beginners class on Saturday here in Cairo too. We always have a fun time, and usually stay on after the class to have lunch together afterwards. I love the people I have met in my life through teaching dance!

Talking of loving the people I met through dance, I have especially loved this year all my Christmas and New Years wishes from China. In Chinese. Thank god for google translate. !  

So a fairly restful holiday period, compared to usual, and am having a sneaky wee holiday back in UK at the end of this month too! I say holiday, but of course I will still be fitting in a workshop in Edinburgh (what this space for details!) and in Manchester (sat 1st feb) too. Has to be done really! And yes, I will be available for a few private classes too....!

Here's wishing you and your's a merry Coptic Christmas, and a fabulous 2014.... I hope we can all fit in as much dancing in it as we want to !