Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Bellydancing in Cairo Weddings

This can be one of the best, and one of the worst experiences for a bellydancer in Cairo, I have discovered.

Every dancer wants weddings. Thats where the money comes in. The regular 'gig' is usually the bread and butter, and done to get your name known, but the weddings are what we all are striving towards.

My main reason for wanting weddings is the experience. Im not saying I'd do them for free, a girl needs to pay the rent and buy sparkly things after all. However, it is about a lot more than just the pay. I love dancing with my band and when I do weddings, I can afford to employ an entire orchestra, not just my usual 7 piece band. That is what I really love. That huge sound, better than any recording. Being able to separate out all the instruments and really feel them.

I'm not really sure how to explain that well in writing, but I will try. If you have ever been to watch a large orchestra perform classical music, my experience is that when you actually look at the violin player, its like the sound of the violin soars above the other instruments, it somehow stands out, same for the cello, the trumpet, anything, even the triangle! It's as though the eyes can help focus the ears.

That's how I feel when I work with a live band, so to work with the large band/orchestra that I use for big shows and weddings makes the music so much richer and fuller. I feel when dancing my body can focus in on the different sounds even more and therefore transfer the audio into visual more effectively.
The entrance- Photo by Ellie of London

I felt like a Princess on stage in this lovely Pharonixs costume, with my orchestra and with such an appreciative audience! Photo by Ellie of London
These hips don't lie- Photo by Georges and Samuel Photography 

I also love weddings to get more chances to work with 'my dancing boys'. It's fun to not always be alone on the stage.
Me and my boys- Photo by Georges and Samuel Photography 

Love the interaction- Photo by Ellie of London

Of course, things can go wrong, the band are often late which causes me no end of stress because of course the timing of a wedding needs to run smoothly and you really don't want to be the cause of any stress on a bride and groom's big day. I had one wedding where I was back stage, ready to dance, my orchestra started up and then, only then, did someone in the wedding party decide that bellydance was Haram, i.e. forbidden by Islam and cancelled the show! Then there is the continual stresses with the officials- all of whom collect a fee from all performers, and often want bribes and tips. Very occasionally I have danced at weddings where the bride or the groom, or both have looked miserable. I mean totally grumpy. As if they are being forced to marry and really don't want to, which I guess may be the case occasionally! Those weddings are really difficult to dance at since the responsibility for creating the good atmosphere falls heavy on the shoulders of the me, the dancer.

Thankfully I have had many many more good experiences than bad.

One of my favourite weddings yet was about a month ago at the Fairmont Nile City Hotel where I perform regularly. The couple had decided on a vintage theme and there were melayas and flat caps and fez's and hip scarfs at the entrance for guests to wear for the occasion.

Collect your fez here- Photo by Ellie of London

Think prohibition America meets Egypt black and white film.
Joy- Photo by Georges and Samuel Photography 

the finger click- Photo by Ellie of London

Dancing with the bride- Photo by Ellie of London

dancing cheek to cheek...!- Photo by Ellie of London

 The people were the sweetest, most fun, audience possibly ever and the male friends of the couple, all in their fez's, joined me on stage and danced with me so well it was as though I had a second 'dancing boys' group with me!
Fun with the fez boys- Photo by Ellie of London

love the guys pose in the background- he is lost in the music!- Photo by Ellie of London

Thankfully there were also exceptional photographers there, the professionals as well as my friend Ellie (who also sang at the same wedding and had everyone twisting in the sunshine!)... so I have so many lovely shots of the occasion to be able to share with you.
Father of the Bride- Photo by Georges and Samuel Photography 

Ah, nice memories. I am so lucky to have the job I have and be able to be involved in these fabulous events!

Terry and Ashraf- Congratulations on your Marriage and wishing you both happiness and love always...
The happy couple, and me- Photo by Ellie of London

Thank you Ellie and www.geosamphotography.com for letting me use these images!

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