Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Nile Festival Closing Party

The Party was due to start at 9pm…. So of course- it was nearer 10 when it got underway. A lot less people there- or so it seemed than at the opening party. And frustratingly there were tables reserved up the front for people the organizers obviously wanted to impress etc. I really feel that the people who had paid to attend the festival should get first dibs on seats….. rather than the friends of teachers…. Ah well- that’s Egypt I guess. It is a fairly small hall- seats 250people, and they did have 2 large screens so you could watch the dancer there if your view was blocked which ours was- by the video man of course!!!)

1st dancer was Fatima. She dances regularly at the Marriot nightclub and is young, and Egyptian. She obviously hasn't been performing long- however the potential is there to be a fantastic dancer. A name to watch out for in the future!!! I have to say- I found it hard to focus on her moves when I was distracted by her costumes all the time- 3 costumes all with teeny short skirts… and a miracle her top half stayed where it should too. The 4th costume was a long skirt and she just looks so much more elegant in it- she has a fabulous figure…. And hair to die for- I would love to believe it was a wig, just so I felt less jealous- but I think it was the real thing! I believe she is Aida's protégé… and I believe she will go far. Her band was fantastic! Huge- as big as any I have seen Dina perform with. At least 3 different male lead singers- one of them, poor guy, did an Egyptian version of 'Lady' (which I know as a salsa song- but I believe Kenny Rodgers did it too?) anyway- I have heard the song at a disco- but this guy was so nervous, fiddling with his pockets while singing and shaking that he could hardly get any sound out- poor thing- its been a while since I have seen someone struck with stage fright so bad. She had another notable singer- a blind woman who looked- and dressed, and styled her hair- like Omm Kalthoum- it was a very surreal feeling- watching Omm K on stage with a dancer……… nice gimmick.

After the buffet there seemed to be some dispute who would dance. It turned out to be Leila (American). Beautiful- with stunning costumes- every one. A few Eman Zaki creations in there I am sure. My favourite part of her show is the Nubian section- where she has 2 Sudanese guys dance with her- and they are sooo good. Lovely to see a man dance who is 100% male, and who is not trying to be or do anything other than that.

Then with hardly room to pause- the next dancer. Liza Laziza (part Iranian, I think part British too- or maybe just brougt up in Britain?) She seemed on edge and not as good as I have seen her before- possibly because she was dancing with the same band Leila had- i.e. Safa's (and I don't think she usually dances with them?) Maybe because she had expected to dance before Leila. I liked it when she just danced….. when she wasn't trying to 'do' anything. Her stick dance was the same routine exactly as at the June festival and when you have seen it once- well- that’s enough for me. I felt watching her that woman really do get stronger as they get older- as long as they don't try to be or stay something they are not. Coquettish doesn't work for me past the age of , well even past 35 unless you look really baby faced… but proud and powerful never sits so well on a young woman as it does with someone who has seen and experienced a bit more of life. Liza's Khaleegy was fab. Really enjoyed her feel in it- fun and lively and she didn't have it go on too long either- something which often ruins a khaleegy performance! She looked in her element there. The final costume was the perfect one for her too- white with large-ish pearls all covering the bra and bum……. Straight skirt. Very elegant and showed off the moves well. Such a shame Aida wouldn't allow her the extra time to do her drum solo…. I guess the next band were hassling to start.

The band which came on after Liza was massive- larger, or equal to Fatima's band anyway. I am ashamed to say that yet again I have to let you down- I don't know the name of the singer- she was Sudanese- and seemingly very famous…. A wee bundle of energy and fantastic voice anyway. And she had wonderful fun dancers with her- 4 guys 3 girls. They could DANCE. Not just waiters who had been put into a costume which is the impression you often get here of backing dancers!!!! Really fun- with sticks with tassels on them- all bright colours which they filled the tiny stage with and then went round the audience with- getting people up to dance and circling round them- making these sticks seem like a bright colourful roof above the dancer. Lovely- I couldn’t' sit still and stood up the back shaking my stuff the whole time- so nice to feel like I want to dance again….. I missed that feeling since being ill!

The band couldn't have done double the length of set and it wouldn't have been a problem I think- everyone seemed to be loving them. Maybe cos it was something different from watching a bellydancer yet again? Or maybe cos it was just such fun dance inspiring music to listen to!

Before the night came to a close they had the 2 winners from a recent competition in Russian perform. Not sure about one girls name- but she was very like a very young fifi- lots of big fast moves and covering the stage well- fun. And the other girls Yasmine was fantastically charismatic- full of fun miming to words and very Egyptian in feel.

And so the Nile Group festival came to an end. I am glad I went to the workshops I did. It was also good to see all of the performances- Fatima in particular, I had heard good things about her and had want to see her for myself for a while. I miss the grandeur (and much higher dance level) of the Ahlan we sahlan festival. But this is a good one for people who haven't been dancing so long….. smaller classes and a friendly atmosphere- again more down to the smaller number more than anything. The opening and closing shows I have to say don't compare in my mind to the Ahlan we sahlan festival- but then again- the buffet is easier to get to!!!

Yet another late night. But head bursting with new ideas and itching to get performing as soon as possible!


Anonymous said...

Reading all your reviews of dancers in cairo has got me looking forwards to all the dancers I'm going to see when I'm over there in January! :-)

Natalie x

Lorna (aka BellyLorna!) said...

... and I am looking forward to taking you out to see lots of dancers!!!