Monday, December 31, 2007

End of 2007, start of 2008

what can I say?????????

all of 2007 I have been working on a boat on the Nile as a bellydancer in Cairo. My dreams have come true!!!!

but then -no one is ever happy to stay where they are.... so of course I have yet more dreams and hopes for 2008- but they all involve me staying on here in Cairo-

so this '6 month' trip to Cairo- which will be 2 years after only 2 more months.. will extend yet again. Apologies to those of you in Scotland who miss me and were hoping to have me back soon- but thank you all for the support and encouragement you have given me which does really help!!!!!

Christmas was unusual! My first in Cairo and it was wonderful to have Clair, Cathrine and Michele here to stay and help me celebrate it! We had a long lie, and then opened pressies on the balcony in the sunshine. Then , after a quick stop in a the costume shop to order a couple of cossies, we had a felucca ride on the Nile at sunset with a couple of gin and tonics, a water edge cafe next for some sheesha and cuppa and then onto a friends house for the whole turkey dinner thing. A wonderful day.

The hardest thing about christmas here was missing my family. It was my 1st ever christmas away from them ever.... and I cried when my young cousin (5 years old) called me in tears to say she REALLY really missed me and wanted to dance with me!!!!!!!!!!!! and although I had her, and me, giggling by the end of the call, I would have prefered a cuddle! Ah well........ the price you pay for something you really want has got to be high I guess......

The weird thing about Christmas here was having to remind myself all day that it actually was christmas- I forced the girls to wear tinsel around their necks all afternoon to help remind me.... and we decorated the felucca beautifully! (photos to follow once Michele has downloaded them!!!!) Lovely having my friends here with me!!!

Talking about friends- I have one who moved to USA to follow his dreams too and now find he has even quoted me in his Blog!!!! check it out (esp if you are interested in writing and/or psychology!!!)

So Hogmany tonight and I will be dancing on the Nile Pharoah from 10.30pm- 1.30am..... so seeing in the New Year the way I hope it continues- ie with lots of work and dancing on the Nile. Its been a long year with lots of ups and downs......... but I feel things are really beginning to work out now.... so I am happy with that.

I hope your dreams come true in 2008 too............ and if you dont really know what your dreams are- then THINK ABOUT IT- how can they come true otherwise!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Audience reactions....

well- I have been working a lot the last week or so... and the audiences have been vey mixed. Lots of tourists, esp Americans and Japanese for some reason, plus some Arabs and the rest Egyptians, more or less...

a crowd is a funny thing..........

1) sometimes they are behind you before you even start- they just want a party (I love those nights, they are such fun!!!!!!!!). Weddings are often like this.

2) Sometimes they need warmed up but are with you at the end (thats when you feel you have really made a difference and those nights I feel most proud of myself and my dancing!)

3) and sometimes they are determined to pretend you don't exist (those of course are the nights that make you question the whole point of living never mind questioning your own dancing ability!!!!!). These are usually nights with lots of Arabs in the audience and business men who are out to impress collegues from abroad etc etc so dont want to be seen as frivilous!

Thankfully these nights seem to be more and more the 1 and 2 rather than 3 type of nights!

In fact- one night (a number 1 night), a had 2 tables full of Egyptians actually chanting my name 'Lorna Lorna Lorna' while I was dancing!!!!!!!!!!! their idea- not mine! I tell you- I was so suprised and chuffed I nearly tripped over my feet!

tonight I had a number 2 type of night- but I got some kids up to dance with me and won over those who were refusing to be won by my dance alone......... those kids were amazing! I love it.... really love it. I felt however my dancing wasn't what it could be or should have been- but maybe I am getting used to things too much cos my dresser peeked out for part of my opening dance and said she was blown away- that that was the best she had seen me dance! I suspect I am just my own worst critic!!!

last night was a number 3. well- I thought it was.... there was just no reaction from the crowd at all....I thought I had really flopped, but then at the end I got so many complainments from staff and customers and my band that I figured maybe I had just guaged it wrongly and that it was my mood that was low rather than their response.

oh- and the night before that was another chanting my name night (except this time i was already in the changing room and they were hoping for me to come out to dance again- THAT was very rewarding!- for me- not for them , since the boat had docked so I couldn't give them what they wanted!)

So each night i perform on the boat there are so so soooooooo many factors involved, as to whether it will be a good night or not. My mood, my health, the band (in fact each individual member of the band) whether I have my fanoon or not (the dancing boys for the Saaidi number),my dresser, my boy, the mood of the staff and mangement of the place (all those play their own part) and most importantly - the guests............... and of them all- if the audience is responsive.... then it can lift any bad mood any of the rest of us have and really make for a good night.

the moral of the story- If you are in an audience...............for anything- not just bellydance, let the performers know you are enjoying the show- they will enjoy doing it more and you in turn as a member of the audience will enjoy it more too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

To be honest- I only dance for 2 things......... 'me' and for 'the applause'..........
(the money isn't worth talking about- so it sure as heck isn't for THAT!!!!!!!!)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Dancing through the festive season - Eid Mabrook!

well ... I am dancing through Eid (tomorrow) and through New Year, but have Christmas off (which is going to be nice since I have friends coming to stay!)

Nile Pharoah 18th, 29th, 30th and 31st Dec

Golden Pharoah 22nd and 23rd Dec.

Happy Eid everyone- Kollo sena wentu Tayyibeen.........

(its the Eid (festival) where they spill the blood of the largest animal they can afford to buy- I was woken by the sound of a cow mooing below my flat this morning- i am hoping to God I am not woken tomorrow morning by the sound of the same cow being killed!!!!)

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Music in culture

I had a very interesting conversation with a friend last night.... he is Egyptian and loves music, (although he is a Lawyer by occupation- ie so not personally involved in the music industry).

However he hates the numerous music channels we have here in Egypt- saying that they fill them with rubbishy pop, that is totally commercial and talent free. The fact that these channels exist actively, in his opinion, prevent talented artists from gaining the recognition they deserve. I think its the channels themselves he has the problem with- the idea behind music being made just to fill all these spaces on a channel... rather than because it is worth making. I could have the same conversation with many music lovers in the UK and the rest of the world. Indeed many people feel the same about programs like pop idols etc etc.

What stood out though was a comment he made.

'That the channel did not follow the mood of the Nation'

when pressed to explain he said that when 'we, the people' were sad the music being playing was still faceless, expression-free pop and when 'we, the people' were happy then the music really wasn't capturing it to the same degree. The music wasn't reflecting everyday life.

Think about that for a moment.

Have you ever heard of music being that important as a reflection of a Nation's feelings before? It overwhelmed me. That someone much the same age as me, could come out with a comment like that too made me realise how socially aware people, even young people here can understand the concept of 'the people' and 'the people's feelings' in a way that I have never even considered before!

This is exactly why artists like Mohammed Abdel Wahab, Om Kaltsoum and Abdel Halim Hafiz amoung others were so crucial to the history of Egypt- not just musically- but historicaly too- because they did exactly that- they represented and shaped, the political and emotional sentiments of 'the people' at the same time they were feeling them. There is so much more I could say about these artists and their role in reflecting and shaping the world around them that it deserves another blog entry in its own right- so watch this space!

I guess an equivelant would be something like punk in the UK when it 1st appreared, although that was more of a rebellion rather than a representaion of 'the peoples' feelings!

There are other issues re the 'pop' music today, for instance, it losing its identity which again need more time to discuss!!!!!!

a huge topic... so I'll come back to it another time!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


wow. I just sat and looked through an entire website...... amazing. About a month ago I was interviewed by a freelance journalist (David Wroe) and photographed (Penny Bradfield) too. The pics of me are not yet on her website- but some truely beautiful and stunning photos of Cairo are! Worth a look!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Holiday in Cairo

Last night I tagged along with Kay's group (who are here on a dance holiday from UK) to go and see Rhanda. I wonder if there will ever be a moment when she will stop inspiring me? She creates in me a double edged feeling- that I should give up now... and that I am desperate to improve learn and be like her!

I was so jealous of the girls in Kays trip- today they had 2 hr workshops- one with Aida Nour and one with Rhanda. Tomorrow they have the same but with Nour and Leila. I recommend Kay's dance based holidays!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They are shattered- but happy. I think 3 hours sleep the night before last, and maybe 6 if they were lucky last night!

People have asked me if I will organise another holiday......... and I am happy to if there is demand... now I have been here for so long (it'll be 2 years in march!) I know a lot more people places etc etc and could happily organise private classes etc too.......... so who knows- if you are interested in coming over... and Kay's holiday's don't suit.... let me know.

I am currently staying in a lovely flat with 2 spare bedrooms so can sleep 3 guests at a time (4 if two people want to share a double bed!!!) and am happy to organise small scale holidays if just you and a friend or two want to come over. I have 3 girls coming over for xmas and new year and am already excited and looking fwd to it!

Monday, December 03, 2007


I just caught the end of a bizarre program........ I can't ever imagine this happening in the UK. Its on the station Nile TV which is mostly in English, or Arabic programs with English subtitles which are very rarely a direct translation of the arabic- I am impressed with myself that I at least noticed that much!!!! .

anyway,..........A TV crew wanders the touristic places in Cairo and interviews tourists asking where they are from, why they chose to come to Cairo, how long they are here for and what they think of it!!!!! Then a message to their friends back home.

Thats it- that is the entire body of the program......

Pink and Orange Costume for sale!

Its second hand......... and not in totally perfect condition- but I love it and would still happily perform in it (and did during my last visit to UK and at the EED Halfa!) However... needs must and I now need to sell it on.

So if you are in Scotland and are interested- Khalid has in at Morocco restaurant for you to try on and the whole thing is only £175. For a full professional costume, with all the bits... its a fair price!

There are a few photos of me in it in the blog entry June 3rd 07. titled 'Lorna in Pink on the Pharoah'!!!


Here's a thought...........

In UK, a cloudless sky is a perfect day..............

In Cairo the opposite is true!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Electricity and Water cuts

Another downside of life in Cairo. Often (usually at 2/3am) my electric just goes down for no rhythm or reason. It only lasts 10-30mins max… but I hate it when I am up and in the house on my own!

Then, even more frustrating is when the water stops…. Unfortunately for between 1 and 3 hours at a time, and usually in the afternoon when I need to shower to get out to work! I have taken to filling a few water bottles from the tap when there is water to use in case of emergencies! It's no big deal in the greater scheme of things I know. And I know that there are many families, even in Cairo who don’t have a regular water supply so I really shouldn't complain, But it’s a matter of what you get used to isn't it!

There are 2 theories to these cuts. One is just inefficiency. Things break down all the time here, and often for no apparent reason. The other makes more sense (therefore it probably isn't true!)…. In order to same water, and save on electricity the government organise down time across certain areas for short periods of time in order to save on resources. I guess with the vast numbers of people living in each square meter of the city, it probably does save them quite a lot of money!


no- not yet a video of me- it will happen eventually - when I am less of a perfectionist and can bare to put something up of me here!!!! but in the meantime.... I decided the honour of the 1st video to be included on my blog should go to none other but ......... Rhanda Kamel !

As most of my students and blog followers know- this woman is one of my main inspirations when it come to power and style on stage and musical interpretation. A fantastic dancer- and a lovely person too! She is best live (as most dancers are!) but if you can't make it to Cairo and you are interested in seeing what all the fuss is about then you can check her out here………

St Andrews Day Ball

I am an idiot. I went to the St. Andrews Day Ball at the Nile Hilton here in Cairo last night.... the dance floor was carpet (???!!!!) and I kicked off my lovely, suede soled, orangey/gold salsa shoes to dance and then wandered home at the end of the night and just discovered I left them behind (yes I had other shoes with me- didn't wander off barefoot!) Really hope they turn up in lost property tomorrow- fingers crossed!!!!

The Ball itself was ok. The meal wasn't what I would have expected for the ticket price and I was really disappointed there wasn't either haggis, or a Burns recital of any kind. The speeches were not loud enough or interesting enough... and the ceilidh band was good- but the caller wasn't the best I have ever seen and a few people wandered off down to the salsa night downstairs in 'Jazz up' because they just weren't following the dances enough to enjoy them, because of him. It was a band all the way over from Edinburgh too.

However, there were liqueurs pre and post dinner and wine and whiskey on each of the tables (probably the reason I left my shoes behind!) and the atmosphere was nice- lots of very friendly people. I really miss the Scottish humour living here!

It was also great to see men in kilts again- it's been a while!!!

Only thing lacking was having a bellydancer from Scotland perform in a tartan bellydance costume- now THAT would have been memorable!!!! He he
Me and my beautiful friends all dressed up for the ball....................

Saturday, December 01, 2007

work rota 1st-15th Dec

Am very disappointed to be dancing so little on the boat... but thats what happens when there are too many dancers working in the same place! Not enough to pay the rent!!!!!!!!!!!!!

if you want to come see me dance in cairo over next 2 weeks- this is where I'll be........

Nile Pharoah- sat 8th, sun 9th, tues 11th and wed 12th

Golden Pharoah- mon 10th, thurs 13th, fri 14th and sat 15th.

Lets hope christmas brings more work!

Friday, November 30, 2007

photo request

If anyone reading this blog, was a the Nile Group festival last week and has any good photos of any of the performers or teachers I have mentioned here I'd really appreciate them to post...... feel free to email them to me

Thank you!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Bellydance for Christmas- workshop 8th dec.

It has come time for the Bellylorna 3 hour Cairo workshop again! if you want to dance- and happen to be in Cairo this on 8th Dec..... this blog entry is for you!

Special xmas theme at this one- 'how to wow everyone at your christmas party with your new dance moves!!!!'

Starting with basic beginners level and working up from there...something for everyone! I aim to make these workshops will be informative, fairly energetic and fun. Open to all ages, shapes, sizes and abilities. Ladies only.
The studio is lovely with natural light and mirrors and views over Maadi. Spaces are limited so early booking is recommended.

workshop Date: Saturday 8th Dec 07
Time: 12-3pm
Cost: 150le if booked in advance. 200le on the door.
Venue: Studio in the Sky, top floor, building 5, road 215, Maadi.
to book contact Anna Louise on or 010 150 0902 or check out their new website

please bring a scarf to tie round your hips. We dance barefoot. oh- and remember to bring your sense of humour with you!!!!! see you there!

Overall impressions of the Nile Group Festival, Nov 07.

I really am glad I went. I wish I hadn't missed the opening show (only found out that same day it had started!) and I wish I had been able to attend more of the workshops but since I was performing each night as well it just wasn't possible at all. The Saturday esp was a killer for me- 5 hours of workshops and then 2 sails at night (ie 4 shows). Wow. It really was no surprise that by the time Sunday night came I fell on the dancefloor cos my legs just gave up on me- they called a strike!

I personally enjoyed the social side of it. Unfortunately since I had to work each night I couldn't go to the party nights they put on, but in between workshops etc it was nice to see faces from previous festivals and chat with other dancers from all over. One girl, Katia, an events organiser from Moscow, even said you look familiar- and where was I from, I said Scotland- and she said 'oh YOUR Lorna- I read your blog all the time and have even translated some of it to add into my blog in Russia!' It was so lovely for me to find that these hours of sitting at the computer alone in Cairo actually bring dancers from all over the world together!!!!

The Pyramisa is the perfect location for it- nice and central so people are not stuck in the hotel in times they don’t want to do workshops etc and small enough to feel comfortable in it. There was a large bazaar, selling costumes, and Aida had a very large selection of nice ones for sale.

The whole team were on hand near the registration desk almost all the time, if you had questions or problems.. and there were forever wee surprises- like a tannoura waiting outside the room when Mahmoud Reda's class finished to entertain the girls as they came out of the workshop. Just little things like that made it a lovely vibe and I recommend it to anyone, whatever their dance level.

A great experience!

Workshop with Aida Nour . 25/11/07

Aida's workshop was on the last morning of the festival. I arrived slightly late- so if she explained any of the info about the fellahi dance she was going to teach I unfortunately missed it. The dance was simple enough… the type of simple that after a short while you stop thinking about what comes next because it seems to easy and therefore you make mistakes (well that’s what was happing to me- but perhaps that has more to do with the fact that the fact started at 10am- ungodly hour that!)

She taught in a strange manner- which worked. She taught us one combo which we did for the entire song. Then another combo which slotted in at the choruses and so on… with the ending and the intro being added on last. A different approach from starting at the beginning and working though which on the up side meant you could dance the entire song each time- rather than just the 1st 20 seconds over and over and then the 1st 40 seconds etc etc. But It confused me slightly and I know, since I stupidly forgot my camcorder that there would be no way I could reproduce that dance- simple and lovely as it was!

The Fellahi are the peasants, farmers from the delta region in Egypt. For the dance you wear a large, very flarey, multi coloured (usually with bold huge flowers in the print) galabeya's and the pom pom style head dress one usually associates with melaya dance. As it is a folklorique dance it doesn't have a great deal of complicated moves and involves a lot of skirt swishing. Very pretty.

Aida also did another dance with us- more her usual style- shaabi music and strong, uncompromising movements, mixing grace and elegance with earthy rawness. Fabulous- loved it!

Workshop with Nour. 24/11/07

Wow but this woman makes you work!

Elegant, stylish, fun and cheeky. Loved it. There was one part in the choreography though which was soooo fast and hard I would dread it coming. She had us doing chonks moving to the side- fine, but bobbing on every 4th one, fine, but super fast- saab gidden (very hard!!!!) I thought I was reasonable fit until that move! The only problem was I had forgotten how much she loves arabesques and should have taken shoes with me because doing them over and over in bare feet, on the carpet did go for my knees! What I like about her teaching style is that she leaves you in no doubt what you should be doing- you might not be able to do it, but you know exactly where your weight should be, whether your toes should be flat, demi point , where your arms should be etc etc – everything. Very clear teacher. Her's was the only DVD of the week that I bought, and one I felt I would have to do a lot of work on before I even thought about going to her for a private class! Again- a few of her arm movements in particular have found there way into my own show… so success again!

Workshop with Olfat Hassan. 24/11/07

Me and morning workshops……. Hmmmmmm. 20 mins late for this one. But I rushed in and caught up and was really proud and scared when Olfat pulled me through to the front of the class after 10 minutes to demonstrate!!! I guess it was because I loved the music but I really enjoyed putting lots of feeling and attitude in to the dance and I guessed that’s why she picked on me. The when she found I could speak Arabic – that was it. All classes supposedly directed to the entire class were said to me. I got embarrassed and tried to hide off to one side. She even gave a prize to the 2 best dancers in the class- me and another girl. As much as I didn't approve of this method of teaching- I did really enjoy both the choreographies with her and the 1st which was an eskandarani piece of music would have been wonderful for a private class- so I think I will go get some lessons with her. She was a dancer for the Reda troupe and has performed and worked all over the world. I liked how she gave space in the dance for you to show emotion and she encouraged that. I felt sorry for her cos the air con wasn't working, then was too string etc etc then the music would work, then it wouldn't. She lost a lot of people from the class simply die to technical hitches.

Workshop with Zeina. 23/11/07

I loved the last workshops I had done with Zeina so was excited about this workshop. I wasn't disappointed.

Her teaching skills really so far have been second to none I have found. I just love the way she teaches nothing but combos, without asking you to memorise them, but over and over, so when they 'appear' in the choreography they feel so natural as though you would have danced that move in that way even if she hadn't taught it. She taught a baladi oriental routine… i.e. baladi music and dance designer for a solo stage performer. I didn't much like the idea of doing a choreography to a style of music I feel should always be improvised- but it worked… and since then I have already added bits and ideas from her routine into my own show, which I guess is the sign of a successful workshop!

Workshop with Ahmet Refaat. 22/11/07

This workshop just intrigued me. I had no idea who the teacher was, turns out he has been a celebrated folklorique dancer all over the world and most recently performed with the Reda troupe. Anyway- I was taken with the idea of 2 hour workshop which would cover 3 different styles, saaidi with cane, Eskandarani with melaya laf and Bambuti with spoons. It was as fast paced and frantic as I thought it might be!!!! 3 hours were defiantly needed to give each style the time they deserved. Ahmet is a fabulous choreographer and I loved the routines he did in each of the styles…. But I felt I had time to grasp the steps only and not enough time to get into the feel of each one. The stick dance was great, lots of nice touches, turns, ideas and very fast! Very balletic, and elegant although without much heavy earthy stuff. But lots of usable ideas! A dance I really wish I had videoed! The melaya (my favourite of the 3) was very swooshy- and oh my god did my arms and shoulders ache by the end with all the throwing the melaya up onto my arms then spreading it out again………. Ouch! Not much wrapping yourself up in the melaya – more using it a bit more like a veil- but some lovely turns. Bambuti I knew NOTHING about before the workshop and I would have loved a bit of a story behind it all… but basically we had spoons where the handles where joined together to they looked a bit like castanets, which you had to tap out the rhythms by hitting various parts of your anatomy in time with the music. The music was great- often with empty pauses in it to give the dancer time to fill the gap with the spoon sound, and it all reminded me a bit of Morris dancing to be honest.

Since then I have done a little research on the Bambuti and found that they are the most famous type of Pygmies and come from the ituri forest in Africa. According to the Encyclopedia Britannia ' Their music, complex in rhythm and harmony, is often accompanied by dance or mime'

The knowledge about the existence of the Pygmies dates back to 2150 B.C. They were present in the court of the Egyptian King Pepi II Neferkare and were depicted on Egyptian pottery. The Bambuti were used as the court jesters and entertainers in pharonic times. Hence an entertaining dance form evolved which involves spoons and fun and acrobatics and clowning around.

In Egyptian culture now, people see Bambuti as the fishermen from the Delta region in the north of Egypt.

When I did a search on 'spoon dance' I came up with this! 'There are representations (in Ancient Greek texts) of men and women dancing with spoon-like objects. These objects and the way the dancers hold them remind very much of the spoons, in the spoon dance people from the area of Capadoccia (Asia Minor) still do today. Also Spoons are used as rhythm instruments in Turkey and Greece and there are several versions of spoon dances there.

So it seems.... although I am open to learning more should anyone out there know more! I am only guessing since I can't seem to find the information anywhere......, that

The Egyptian Bambuti Spoon dance is a mongrel- a mix of all these difference influences over the centuries. A fun dance, reminisce of the old pygmy court jesters, done by fishermen from the Delta who had been influenced by the culture of spoon music and dance from Greece and Turkey and of course represented and brought to the modern stage by folklorique troupes such as the Reda troupe.

Nile Group closing party. Part 3- Fatima

Fatima danced after Hanadi at the party on sunday. I liked her. I thought she had a decent amount of technique in there but responded to the music well too. Funnily enough- some people really loved her after Hanadi; since there was space within the dance and others I spoke to thought she was boring- too much standing about. But that is the whole point for me about art- even out of the top masterpieces in the world – not everyone is going to like it, some like Monet, some Van Gogh- it's all subjective!

Fatima has a lovely figure and her costumes show it off well. Unfortunately for her- one of them showed it off more than she probably had intended- it was a peachy colour one long and very tight shiny material with flesh panels, and she was wearing fleshy mesh leggings underneath it, but again- that is all she was wearing! The problem (and I have had this happen to me) is that when there are video camera at an event like that (like at a wedding) the lights they have attached to the camera are sooooo strong that often they make a costume disappear from certain angles. Thankfully for Fatima, I looked on the TV screens and you couldn't see any of that on film.

My favourite part of her show was when she too got Aida Nour up on stage, but rather than leave her to it as Hanadi had done, she danced with her. From the style alone it is obvious Aida has been Fatima's teacher, and the 2 of them danced as though they had choreographed it all- an absolute joy. In fact- maybe my favourite part of the entire night.

Nile Group closing party. Part 2- Hanadi

The band changed relatively quickly after Liza and soon Hanadi was up on the stage. Her 1st costume I have to admit to liking… it was a Spanish inspired number, black with black and white polka dot panels and frilly round the edge- with LOTS of leg showing and big red flowers- one on the belt, one on the bra. Unfortunately when she walked from the door, through the crowd to the stage, she looked miserable, and I found it hard to shake that image off when I watched her dance. Don’t get me wrong, she smiled throughout the show, but my impression from those 1st few second stuck for me (good lesson to learn- smile before you even leave the changing room!!!!) Her dance was not much different from other times I have seen her. Lots of very good moves and tight techniques and power in them, but for me I feel she puts so much into even just one second of music that I can't focus on anything… It's just too busy. She did however dance to An Om Kalthoum number, Lissa Faker I think if I remember rightly, or maybe Alf Leila we Leila (it was a long night!), and because it is a very slow piece she HAD to slow down- it was the best I have ever seen her dance.

After her 1st set, she too came on with a saaidi number for her 2nd set. However she was in full bedlam- i.e. A peach coloured, 2 piece costume, no saaidi influence at all. She did something which I felt was very generous of her…. She got Aida Nour up on the stage with her and gave her the stick. It was great for the audience because Aida is all power and personality on stage with a stick, but unfortuanatly it took all eyes away from Hanadi.

The other thing which did not go well for Hanadi was her costume. It was a very pretty flesh coloured mesh short underneath the skirt- with lovely sequined work on the part of the short that was showing. However……… when she came down from the stage to encourage the teachers up to dance, she flicked her skirt to one side- fully exposing the whole of the shorts…. Both sides, which were only mesh material and did not hide the fact that she had nothing on underneath it! Centre stage, fully stage lighting and full frontal exposure…. A gasp went up form the girls around me (and probably from me too!) (Another lesson learned- never flash your all at the audience- and make sure you wear knickers!!!)

Wake up call…..

Who gave my wakey uppy man a megaphone????????????? I am going to kill whoever it was!!

At approx 9am every morning a man walks around my whole neighbourhood looking for things- any old things… a rag and bone man I guess. I have seen him with anything in his cart from a man's shoe (just one!) to a sideboard.

I still haven't found out exactly what he shouts as he does his rounds to alert you he is there… but as Margaret pointed out when she was staying with me on holiday, it sounds like 'wakey uppy'. Anyway- since yesterday it just got a whole lot louder- grrr!!!!

Since writing this i have had more conversations with people about this wakey uppy man and seemingly the word he is trying to call is 'Ro Ba Beekeya' which is Italian for 'Old things' (any Italian speakers please feel free to correct me on any of this!) It ends up being shortened to 'beee keya' which for some reason really does sound like 'wakey up'!

It comes from the time when the Italians were a large influence in Egypt
(to read all about Italian involvement in Egypt check out this webpage

and since not all of the Italians living in Egypt were rich there is some debate from people I talk to whether it was the Italians themselves who wandered around shouting for old things, or whether it was the poorer egyptians hoping to get better things in their cart, by appealing to the richer Italians!)

Another form of wake up call happened this afternoon. I went to pay my internet bill at 11.30am. just a short walk from my flat. I got curb crawled the entire way home. In broad daylight (wearing jeans and fleece top!) . I was shaking by the time I got to my door- hoping the bowab would be there to send him packing but he was at the mosque. So I just cried on the phone to a friend for a while.

It really will be THE reason I leave this country. I love my job, and the weather and lots of things about Cairo, but these men who act no better than dogs.......... it's horrific. The bowab told me after that if it happens again I've to take the guys number and he'll go with me to the police station to report it. But the thought of being in a police station with all those men doesn't exactly relax me either! As expected my band all just said its cos i am so beautiful....... well- I dont believe it......... these men are animals who don't really care what the prey looks like just so long as they make their kill. It makes me sick.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Just saw a video on melody TV music channel for the song DIDI by band MILK AND HONEY.

They are a german girlband who sing in 3 languages (including arabic), there are 2 girls- one is from algeria and one from germany.

I was soooo impressed by it, compared to the usual video clips it had so much more going on in it, and seemed so much more polished than the usual. Some really beautiful visuals. Lovely to watch. But I guess cos i am compairing egyptian with german maybe?

you can see it on utube- I found out about them through this blog.....

Monday, November 26, 2007

Nile Group Closing party , sunday 25th Nov 07

Lets start my game of catch up at the end!

I arrived at the party (held in the Pyramisa hotel, Dokki) at 10.30pm (after I had done the early sail on the boat) fully expecting to have missed at least one dancer. Seemingly I had missed nothing- and even made it there in time for the buffet- bonus! After I had eaten enough to feed 3 hungry people... Liza started her performance. Liza Laziza is the only other British dancer currently performing in Cairo besides myself, and a wealth of knowledge on the dance having been here for quite some time performing and teaching. Very interesting to chat with!

oh dear- its only a day later and already I have forgotten which costume she worn when... but she was looking really fit and toned, oh I remember- it was a red-y peach-y colour 1st- very nice in fact, for her oriental number (which was a piece from Yasmina's CD, with the ending changed).
Her next set was the thing she is becoming famous for- Khaleegy- and she had a stunning black thobe for that.... I liked the part when she was on her knees doing all the hair tossing- great fun. and even more fun cos she had 4 drummers with her in their white long galabaya's with the headress that looks like a dish cloth (forgive me- i SHOULD know the name of that- but I have forgotten- but you know what i mean!!!)
Then it was the saaidi- with fantastic mizmar player... very bouncy and lively with a drum solo with stick at the end where she balanced and tried to balance the stick in every possible place...... Then I assumed it was over with the drum solo, which would have been a good enough end.
But then we got another oriental set- in a beautiful gold figure hugging dress, another Halla creation I suspect. Liza was happy to have had the chance to dance for her mum. The 1st time she had seen Liza dance in 5 years so Liza was a bit nervous about it- funny how no matter how long we live, we always seek out our parents approval- was nice to hear her feel liek that too!!!!!!!!!! such a shame I dont have pics of her- she did look lovely!

Hanadi and Fatima dance after that- But I am shattered now and going to bed- so that bit will have to wait for tomorrow.

still hectic!!!!

This week I have had workshops with Ahmed Refaat, Zeina, Olfat Hassan, Nour and Aida Nour.

Tonight, after work, I went to the closing ceremony of the Nile Group festval where Liza, Hanadi and Fatima performed.

Tomorrow I am performing lunch and evening sails- which means no time to write up anything now- so you'll just have to watch this space for a couple of days if you want to read my critique of all that has been going on! Unfortunalty I forgot to take my camera to any of the events- so I'll just have to describe things to you!!!

Oh- and tonight, on stage at work , I landed on my backside. mid song, no reason I could see, my legs just gave out under me and I was on the ground. How embarrasing!!!! sitting , on my bum, on the middle of my dance floor! At first I thought it was just my pride that was injured, but by the time I made it to the changing room I was in serious pain in my back. My band knew something was up when i refused to do a drum solo and hurried them up to finish for me (usually I am the one complaining if there isn't enough time to fit in the solo!!!) Yet another benefit of having a live band than a CD!!! Lets hope the ibuprofen kicks in before tomorrow lunch sail! Seemingly the tannoura (whirling dervish) fell tonight too- so maybe something was up with the stage or something- thats not a usual occurance!!!

I mentioned to a friend tonight at the festival what had happened and she said she could top that. She had fallen on stage- well, slipped actually, and landed in the middle of a drum kit, which crashed about her ears- talk about going out with a bang! She made me feel better!

Ah well- at least I didn't have the costume mishaps that Hanadi and Fatima had tonight.................... you'll have to wait to hear more!!!!!!!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

hectic life!

There is so much i want to write about... but no time just now...

The Nile Group festival is on at the moment and I am attending workshops during the day and performing at night. This, of course, is exhausting - but fun!

will write up all about it when i am able to sit for more than 5 minutes!

I'm on the golden pharoah tonight- then the Nile pharoah for the next 3 nights (sun, mon tues). I am hoping I will finish early tomorrow night so i can go to the closing ceremony at the festival!

All go and all good!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Egyptian Dance Holiday- Siwa/Marsa Matrouh/Cairo!

Anyone interested in a bellydance holiday with a difference to Egypt should consider the following!!!! I am not organising it- but I will be attending the Siwa/Marsa Matrouh part of the trip and really looking fwd to it! Sara is a great teacher and no one knows more about arabic music then Emad- so together they should be an outstanding team! And its an amazing price too! Hope to see some faces I know on the trip- I really recommend it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Egyptian dance holiday in Siwa, Marsa Matrouh and Cairo
with Sara Farouk and Emad El Rashidi
10 – 18 May 2008

Arrive Cairo
Overnight luxury coach to Siwa
2 nights in eco-friendly Siwa Oasis with Bedouin dancing [half board]

Luxury coach to Marsa Matrouh
2 nights by the sea in the home of Hagalla [half board]

Luxury coach, via lunch in Alexandria, to Cairo
3 nights in central Cairo [B&B]

Classes on folkloric and oriental dance and music with Emad el Rashidi and Sara….. and more in Cairo

Only 14 places available
All flights and transfers to and from hotels.
Half board accommodation outside Cairo, B&B in Odeon Hotel central Cairo
All lessons and performances outside Cairo [+ a surprise lesson in Cairo…]
Cost 800 sterling
100 non-refundable deposit payable on booking
350 payable on 1st February 2008 350 payable on arrival in Cairo

To book contact Tracey Gibbs :
For more information contact Sara:

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Missing Cairo

I miss Cairo!!!!!!!!!!!

dont get me wrong.... I am loving seeing everyone again, specially spending lots of time with wee sam.... but god this weather here in Edinburgh is bitter. I had to scrape ice off my windscreen last night- now that is just madness! I have become way too Egyptian- i need sunshine to function!!!!

anyway- my workshops this weekend are booking up fairly fast- at moment one of the 4 of them only has 3 places left on it! Hopefully I'll have some busy classes to look fwd to!

Dancing in Morocco restaurant tonight.... love it there- but painfully missing my band. How will I ever really enjoy dancing with a CD ever again???? I am spoilt.

Love shopping here now though......... 'Boots' always was, but now is even more so, my dream shop.,... does that make me weird?????????

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Flight fun!

I had a wonderful weekend in Birmingham. Lovely students, packed workshops and a fun hafla. I also ended up performing at a salsa event on saturday night which was great and then we went on to eat at an iranian restaurant called Tehran. We missed the dancer unfortunatly- but we hit the dancer floor ourselves- so we were there til 3am a great party place!

Monday night I had an extra night in Birmingham because I stupidly missed my flight! however- it was a good thing in the end because we went to an arabian restaurant on coventry road, which had very tasty food, prices and even a seperate family room! I got a chance to practise my arabic too with the owners!

Spent a lovely day today with my sister and nephew Sam, at Edinburgh Zoo today. What a difference from Cairo Zoo!!!!

With all that happening I only confirmed my workshop info for this weekend this second.... hope to see lots of people there!!! (see blog entry below!!!) non stop from now on...........................

Friday, November 09, 2007

Leaving Cairo

…. But just for 10 days!

Of all the numerous times I have flown out of Cairo, this is undoubtedly the hardest. Why? Not sure, maybe I am frightened to leave behind friends, or the sunshine (yes- for sure I'll miss the sunshine!!!) or maybe its because I have only been in Cairo for a month since Eid, and to return to UK now seems like the end of a holiday rather than a visit home. Anyway- it feels weird. The idea of returning to frost, and dancing to CD instead of my band, or maybe its just because I am writing this at 8 am in the morning as the flight is boarding and I just want to go back to bed! Hmmm – Cairo has spoilt me in so many ways!!!

Another thing I am sad about is that I'll have more costumes to sell this trip……… I do grow emotionally attached to my costumes. I have an appalling memory and seeing certain costumes brings back memories of specific parties/ events where I have performed in them. So to have to sell them off, in order to pay my growing debt to my costume designer for the new ones, is hard! Half of me hopes that they don’t sell!!!

Not to say I am not excited too about the upcoming events. Birmingham will be fun- the girls I taught there last year were lovely so looking fwd to seeing them again. It goes without saying that I am excited about seeing my nephew, Sam, again… and all the other kids who are part of my life now.

And tonight I'll be dancing in Morocco restaurant to help them celebrate their 5th birthday! 5 years of Walima- how time flies!!! It'll be Maya's 5th birthday too- I think she is coming along to the restaurant so it'll be a double celebration!

Anyway- queue for boarding is getting pretty short now- so I better go tag on the end of it……

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Workshops in Edinburgh sat 17th and sun 18th Nov.

Its late notice- but better late than never!!!
Workshops with me, Lorna, this weekend!!!!!!!! This is the last chance before feb '08 to study with me (not home over Christmas /New Year!) , unless you are coming over to visit me in Cairo of course!!!!

All workshops will be taught in Morocco Restaurant, 3a1 Dundas street. No mirrors- but a nice cosy friendly atmosphere instead!!!

Sat 17th Nov- 10-12pm - Lorna Style- Mixed level- Moves and more!
1-3pm - Lorna Style- Mixed level- combinations + how to choreograph!!!!

Sun 18th Nov- 10-12pm - Lorna Style- Mixed level- How to maximize your dance potential.
1-3pm - Lorna Style- Master class- Advanced dancers/teachers only please.

Each Mixed level workshop costs £18 (advanced master class £20) , payable cash on day.
Numbers in each class limited to only 11 people max.
To reserve your place email me asap to get your name down!!!

Please bring water, notebook, payment for workshop and sense of humour! No complete beginners please.

I will have the Lorna's Souk- costumes/skirts/belts etc etc on sale at each workshop too- if you are only interested in the shopping then come along between 12-1pm each day!!!

Upcoming Hafla in Edinburgh

A halfa not to be missed- assuming you are in Edinburgh on 18th Nov that is!

The Hafla is in Revolution on Chambers Street in Edinburgh on Sunday 18 November. Doors open at 7.30pm with 'chucking out' time of 12.30am. Tickets cost £10 payable on the door.

There will be performances from professional dancers including Juliana Brustik of London and Lorna Gow of Cairo and from semi professional and amateur dancers from all over Scotland.

Dance styles will include all four Egyptian styles (Classical, Baladi, Folk and Cabaret), Tribal dancing including ATS (American Tribal Style) and Tribal Fusion, Flamenco and, yet to be confirmed, Indian and African Dance styles.

There will also be opportunity at half time and at the end of the performances for the audience to get up and join in. There will also be some 'surprises' in the programme that don't easily fit into the dance styles mentioned but are guaranteed to entertain.

See you there...........

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Giza Zoo

Yesterday I did something i had never wanted to in Cairo. I went to the Zoo. My parents wanted to see it, and I had never been before because I had heard that the animals weren't treated very well... but after reading in the guide book that they were keep in humane conditions I relanted and went.

These guys had it good with a large enclousure, although no area of privacy, or escape from the sun at all....

Others were not so lucky..........

I am not a huge animal lover........ but I was moved to tears twice during the visit. One indian elephant was chained, in the sun, by one front leg and the opposite back leg. it was swaying back and fro and obviously in distress the whole time. the guards were taking money off people to let them go right up to the animals and have their photo taken with them. It was criminal. I was too upset by this to even think to take a photo..

The Lion house though was the pits.

It looked like a prison- with cell after cell with various big cats in them- all in a space where the animal could turn round- but thats about it.

There was a door to an outside area, which was about double the size of the cage- but the bars were down so the 'kings of the jungle' had no choice but be subjected to the high pitched screams of the children and have things thrown at them and of course you could have your photograph taken right up beside the bars for a little backsheesh....... It was horrific.

As for health and safety- 'they' would shut it down...... a few of the animals had nice enclosures- but not many. Their hippos looked happy enough- but the speed at which they rush out the water to eat hay given to them by guides who are feeding them only to coax them out the water for photos and therefore tips... made me wonder how much they are fed the rest of the time.

Children were handed lettuce leaves to feed american black bears with their bare hands........ huge teeth centimetres away from finger tips. I couldn't watch.

It is amazingly packed. Lots of Egyptians take their children there... as it is a very cheap entry price.... but I wish they would increase the entrance fee and put the extra money into getting the zoo into a respectable state!

Their official website is

However, here's some other peoples views and info re the zoo.... and (I related well to this girls stories of harrasment by kids in the zoo- my bum was pinched while standing beside both parent and despie being respectivly dressed. I felt that at points the animals were the lucky ones cos they had bars to protect them!!! By the end of the day if I had heard 'hello, whas your name' once more I thought I would scream! even my parents who up to that point had been overwhelmed at how lovely all the kids were, had had enough and were wishing they would 'go away'!!!!)

..and shockingly this is news from 1999- and nothing seems to have improved since then...

Would I go back- Never. Would I recommened it- Never. Under my heading i have put this as a tourism must- but actually in my mind it is a tourism must not!

Omar Sherif

My mum always used to tell me she married my dad becuase he looked like Omar sherif... I never quite saw it before i saw him on a camel .... but perhaps there is something there....

oops- no, that one is the camel...................

here's my dad..........

and then there is the family pic......

Unfortunatly I think my parents over-riding impression of Cairo was horrific traffic and pollution. a shame really cos I wanted them to love the place as much as I do.... But there were some special moments -like when the guide Hussain took us on camels to see the pyramids. he was fantastic and speaks multiple languages and totally non pushy. I recommend him as a guide for anyone setting out the the pyramids- his number is 010 173 9236. We paid 100le total, which I felt was absolutly earned for the tour we were given.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


well- I have been busy this week.... working a fair bit, and entertaining my visitors (Sarannah, Irene and Margaret- aka 'the daughters of Isis') which has for the most part been a lot of fun- except that i also managed to get a horrible cold ad had to cancel work one night cos my sinuses were so bad... grrr. Anyway- on the mend now, and overdosing on the vitamins- so hopefully that will help keep anymore problems at bay!

Just before the girls arrived i had a fun night too. I was performing and a group of film makers from Belguim came to the boat to film me. They were a lot of fun and are making a travel program which focuses on dance so after they shot me on the boat we went (and met up with quite a few others) to the Marriot nightclub to film Rhanda. I love her to bits- as all my blog readers will know already- but to see her dance with a dance crowd- AND when she knows she is being filmed- WOW she was on form!!!!!!!

Oh and one of my best nights to perform yet was that same night- one whole deck was a private party for psychiatrists from all over the world, they were here on some sort of convention. What a fun bunch of people and an amazing audience!!!!!!!!

Oh- and I have to stop taking people to costume shops.......... every time I do- i end up buying a cosutme, or 2 for myself!!!!!!!!! 3 more Eman Zaki costumes are currently being made for me- oops......... guess I'll have to get some serious work in pretty damn quick to cover the cost of them!!!!!!!!!!

mum and dad arrive tonight- will be very interesting to see what they make of Cairo- its their 1st time!

Monday, October 22, 2007

2nd Cairo workshop!

well- the workshop I did here in Cairo before Ramadan went so well- that I am doing it again........ so if you want to dance- and happen to be in Cairo this weekend..... this blog entry is for you!

Starting with basic beginners level and working up from there...something for everyone! I aim to make hese workshops will be informative, fairly energetic and fun. Open to all ages, shapes, sizes and abilities. Ladies only.

The studio is lovely with natural light and mirrors and views over Maadi. Spaces are limited so early booking is recommended.1st workshop

Date: Saturday 27th Oct 07
Time: 1-4pm
Cost: 150le if booked in advance. 200le on the door.
Venue: Studio in the Sky, top floor, building 5, road 215, Maadi.

to book contact Anna Louise or Shams on or 010 150 0902 or check out their new website

please bring a scarf to tie round your hips. We dance barefoot. oh- and remember to bring your sense of humour with you!!!!! see you there!

Back into things….

Well- it took a while…. After the 1st day when my nerves were shaken somewhat I have to admit, and I wondered why the heck I was out here putting myself through all this. Then I worked the Thursday night and felt so disappointed with my performance (despite the management being happy and getting good reports about it) that I ended up crying in the changing room. Was really considering packing it all in and heading home to Scotland. But, I guess though, if I wasn't so upset when I feel I dance less well than usual that I wouldn't be always trying to improve myself and I would have been content working in the DSS, dancing as a part time hobby rather than ending up here in Cairo as a bellydancer on the Nile! So, although I maybe make my life difficult with it…. Perfectionist is the only way to go for now!!!

Thankfully I even managed to impress the hardest critic, myself, on Friday night. Why? Who knows… but I felt good, actually, I felt amazing, the musicians were tight and strong behind me and the audience was open, welcoming and receptive. Even ignored the rules a little and ended up a whole number just dancing one to one with a girl with learning difficulties- me, her and her Barbie doll. Not really sure what the general audience made of it- but she had a whole lot of fun- and therefore so did I!!! One old Egyptian guy, sitting on his own sat and watched me intensely the whole set downstairs- but didn't smile or anything… so I wasn't sure what to make of it all- but then he followed me upstairs and sat outside on the 'sun' deck watching me repeat my set there- so I guess he must have thought I was worth watching. Families running after me at the end show to get a photo of me with their kids/husbands etc etc…….. can't be a bad sign either I guess…..

The hard bit I find- is the very 1st song……….. I spin on with my veil…. Smiling at all … and seeing and hearing all the disappointed looks from the Egyptians in the audience when they tell others on their table 'no, she's not Egyptian'. I can sense their disappointment before I even start, and know they are instantly lowering the bar- not expecting too much. So, when I get them to the point where they are totally with me, calling me 'adorable' etc it really makes me feel like I have surprised them and cracked it. Wish I could find the recipe to repeat that vibe every night, but with so many variables- the band, the audience, my mood, the stage etc, it is near impossible- and I really don’t want to go down the line of choreography- so 'winging it each night' and loving it a lot more than hating it that’s for sure!!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Amazing end to Scottish tour....

... they say the best way to appreciate your own country is to leave it. well- it's true!

On my last night in Edinburgh before coming back to Cairo, 3 wonderful things happened.

I went to the nature reserve at Aberlady, to watch the sunset, not knowing til I got there that lots of twitchers were there too- to see, and photograph the annual migration of geese! It was amazing to see V after V, thousands upon thousands of geese fly in to nest, at Sunset, after feeding all day- some flying in from as far as Iceland. Seemingly, they are only there for about a month each year- so to unexpectantly catch this amazing sight made me feel overwhelmed! It was cold, very, and i got a crookin my neck... but the sight of those squadrons of brids (far more than in any hitchcock film!) coming into the sunset above me will always stay in my mind.

Then I walked down to potobello beach - to say fairwell to the sea before my flight home (to Cairo that is!!!) and the sea was much further out than normal so there was huge expanses of sand in front of me and no clouds at all and the stars were soooo bright and so numerous again that my neck was in that same position for quite some time. I really don't remember them ever looking that amazing.

Then, for no apparent reason, or intended audience, 2 men on the beach started to lit firework after firework- a lovely show which went on for over half an hour..............

So , in all an amazing night, celebrating the wonders of Scotlands nature- the clean air, the birds, the sunsets, the stars, the beach and then fireworks to round it all off. All things which if I had been living my normal life in Scotland and not doing 'something special' to end my month there, I would have missed out on totally!!!! Wish I had photos of it all to show you!!!

So.................... This , along with the 1st hours of my arrival in Cairo, make up for and help console me, somewhat, for the horrors of the 1st day!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1st day in Cairo..........

.............. not so good.

in fact- it had me walking along the street sobbing loudly by the end of it!

Whilst visiting a friend today, her bowab's son (caretaker) switched off the lift while I was in it. then came to my 'aid', he opened the door with his key- and eventually moved out the way when i refused to jump into his arms. then he touched my arm and I gave him a row and told him not to..... but all this was just an excuse to then touch my chest. I shouted and hit him and he ran away scared- but I was still shaking for a good while after it. suspect he'll be losing his job for that. I was shaken, but in control.

THEN.................... walking home this evening, 9pm, on hugely busy gamet d'owel street, a man on a bycycle just reached out one hand and grabbed one breast as i was trying to cross the road!!! I shouted after him and burst into tears then and there in a very busy part of the street. Everyone around must have seen what had happened, and certainly heard me shout and saw me cry- but NO-ONE did anything.................. I was gutted. I have never felt so repulsed and scared anywhere before. In all these years I have spent so much time in Cairo, and although the name calling can wear a girl down, and I have had the occasional bump pinch etc... to be groaped twice, in the same day- it has floored me. I really always believed if you were obviously wronged in the street like that, there were far more good people around who would help you, than bad, or frightened people who would pretend it hadn;t happened. That has blown my confidence in the 'egyptian hospitality' completely out the water.

was going to go out tonight with friends, but going to bed early now instead.................... can't face it.

God grant me the strength to pull the next one off his bike!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1st hours back in Cairo.....

............. were amazing!

It was an electrical storm- numerous, massive lightening streaks accross the desert sky (thanksfully starting just seconds after I got through passport control - ie not while plane was trying to land!)

really - what a beautiful sight. Rain to die for (ok , in scotland I complain about the rain all the time, but here in Cairo it is a blessing- washing all the pollution down from the sky so the air feels freshish for the 1st time ever!) But this is hard rain falling in warm temperatures!- It was still only 19 degrees during all this!

The only times I have seen lightening like last nights was in films- where I thought they had been exaggerated. But this was gorgeous.

The thunder wasn;t so clever though. a deep 'BANG' rather than rumble........... that woke me from my sleep probably about 3 times! I thought it was an earthquake!!!

so that was a welcome and a half back to Cairo- and of course I have been accused of bringing the weather from Scotland with me- but I have never seen weather like this! They closed almost all the bridges (cos the roads are too slippery when wet seemingly - nice bon jovi quote there!) and everyone was driving at 3 miles per hour since they knew their breaks/tyles wouldn't stand the wet! My taxi driver said he thought it was more than 8 years since they last had lightening in Egypt...... and to get rain in Oct is very strange too.................. whats happening in the world???? I have to say- it did feel a bit like armageddan!!!!

One friend suggested maybe I had organised the whole thing as some sort of publicity stunt- 'Lorna, from Scotland, returns to Cairo with a bang and a flash' sort of thing. Well, all I can say is that I wish i knew about it in advance so I could have marketed it better!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Last chance!

Well- the speed at which my workshops have been booked up this month has wowed me. Nice to be so popular, Thank you all for your support and huge apologies to those who missed out (larger venue next time i promise!!!) !!!

All Edinburgh workshops/private class slots are now fully booked...

so if you want a chance to learn from me this time round you better make a day out to Dundee part of your plans!!! there are still spaces on the workshop there and also don't forget the party night the same day- a great reason to make a day of it!

workshop- Sunday 14th Oct. 12-3pm. £25. Open level (no complete beginners please!)
Dundee international sports centre.

Party/performance- Sunday 14th Oct. Hafla Layali. 7pm- late. £12 (includes buffet, bellydancers, Bizarre and chance to boogie!)
Dexters, Castle Street, Dundee

To book your ticket for either the workshop or Halfa (or both!) email ASAP, Caroline and Nova on

also remember i am performing everynight at Morocco restaurant until sat 13th Oct so maybe see you there...

and there is the Souk at Morocco on sunday 30th sept. 2.30-7.30pm, where i will be selling lots of lovely sparkly stuff!!!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Private Classes

There has been a high level of interest in Private classes with me while I am home.... so i have 4 days at the moment where i have time slots available for a class.

Thurs 27th sept (one slot available)
Sat 29th sept (one slot avaliable)
Sat 6th Oct (all times taken)
Tues 9th oct ( 3 slots available)

if you are interested at all please contact me asap via emial to arrange.

Stuff for Sale!!!!

Roll up , Roll up for Lorna's amazing
' staying in Cairo for at least another year' Souk!!!

Sunday 30th Sept
Morocco Restaurant, Dundas St, Edinburgh.

(also Sunday 14th Oct in Dundee, details TBC)

I just couldn't bring myself to do this before now, but needs must..... so..... for the 1st time ever I have decided to sell off some of my own costumes! Most of these have been worn maybe only 2 or 3 times- ie as good as new!!!! There are bra/belt sets and dresses too!

There will also be brand new stuff too! skirt/veil sets, coin belts, cygat, sticks, jewellery etc

and on special offer i have 5 copies only of Amr Diab's brand new CD 'El Lelady' at ONLY £8 per CD.

See you at the Souk!!!

Workshops with Lorna, Edinburgh and Dundee. Sept and Oct!

Its short notice.... but I am planning on teaching a few workshops over the next 3 weeks........

Sunday 30th Sept. (Fully Booked)+
Sunday 7th Oct.(Fully Booked)
Morocco Restaurant, Dundas st. Edinburgh.

Both these 2 hr workshops will cover Moves, Music and More from Current Cairo. As the ONLY British dancer CURRENTLY performing in Cairo I plan to give you a flavour of what it is like dancing in the Captial of Bellydance ! All levels welcome- but no complete beginners please! You have heard of 'Rhanda style' or 'Fifi Style'.... well these workshops will be LORNA STYLE!!!!!

Sunday 7th Oct. (Fully Booked)
Morocco Restaurant, Dundas st. Edinburgh.

Performance skills workshop. This workshop will be designed specifically for solo performers and teachers ( ie Advanced!) . Musical interpretation and putting 'you' into the dance. How to get the applause- Every time!!!!

Each of these 3 workshops will be Number limited to max 11 people per class, so 1st come 1st served!
To Book these Edinburgh Workshops email me URGENTLY for a booking form (esp as the 1st one is THIS COMING SUNDAY!)

Sunday 14th Oct. (still spaces!!!)
Dundee international sports centre.
Mains loan, Dundee.

3 hour workshop covering Moves, Music and More from Current Cairo. As the ONLY British dancer CURRENTLY performing in Cairo I plan to give you a flavour of what it is like dancing in Egypt! We will also be covering a little on 'performance skills' and 'feeling' the music! You have heard of 'Rhanda style' or 'Fifi Style'.... well these workshops will be LORNA STYLE!!!!!

To Book this Dundee Workshop contact Caroline or Nova ASAP on

Also I will be PERFORMING in Dundee.........

Sunday 14th Oct
Hafla Layali
7pm- late
£12 (includes buffet, bellydancers, Bizarre and chance to boogie!)
Dexters, Castle Street, Dundee

Usually all female events, this one has been opened up to welcome all - so drag your hubbie/boyfriend/brother/friend along too!

book your seat ASAP by emailing Caroline and Nova on

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Come see me dance in Morocco restaurant, Edinburgh

I'll be dancing in Morocco restaurant, Edinburgh on all these dates- starting THIS WEEK....


Fri 21st- LORNA
Sat 22nd- LORNA
Wed 26th- LORNA
Thurs 27th- LORNA
Fri 28th- LORNA
Sat 29th- LORNA


Wed 3rd- LORNA
Thurs 4th- LORNA
Fri 5th- LORNA
Sat 6th- LORNA


Fri 9th- LORNA
Thurs 15th- LORNA
Fri 16th- LORNA
Sat 17th- LORNA


Guess what..........

I'll be in Edinburgh for almost a month from Thursday this week!

Things feel through here with regards working during Ramadan...

so I am coming home to Edinburgh to see everyone- perform lots in Morocco Restaurant, maybe workshops if I can get some organised and teach lots of private classes....... so 1st come, 1st served!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

hate it

I really hate being treated like a mushroom- kept completely in the dark- as if it's all got nothing to do with me, told nothing about anything thats going on... then fed bits of information when I push for it......

can't say much more about it all right now...

but lets just say Ramadan work is not progressing as I was led to believe it would.

I don't know whether to cry, laugh or kill someone.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Nice, busy day..

This morning I went to Maadi to teach my workshop- stopping on the way to buy up a few copies of the newest Amr Diab CD to sell at the class (my choroegraphy was to one of the tracks on it- and it really is a catchy cd all in- I recommend it!)

The workshop was full! 15 people. Fantastic. was very happy.... all ex pats, mainly British or American, with one Argintinian- Asmahan's sister! It was lovely to meet her and have her in my class- a lovely dancer who teaches in a studio on road nine in maadi. 3 hours was a long class- but just enough time for us to get through the entire routine I had made up and learn lots of technique in the process, without everyone passing out from exhaustion! Everyone who came says they want to do another one- so i am working out the next date- probably the end of Oct to do another one.

We had a lovely evening with many of us staying on having drinks and iftar on the balcony at Waleed and Anna louise's place- very hospitable of them both, and so nice to meet so many nice people!

My first iftar this ramadan (breaking the fast) To read more about ramadan, the religious background to it and how Cairo becomes affected by it etc you can read my entries all about it from last year- just look under the label 'Egyptian culture and customs' between end sept and mid Oct 06.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Blog connections

this evening I sat in, being interviewed by a fellow blogger for an article she wants to write about me in her own blog.

Her name is Maryam and she is a friend of a good friend and lives in Morocco. Her blog is about her life there and how she and her family adapt to life there, from life in the US. I thought maybe some of you would be interested in reading about her experiences...........

check it out

She told me the article on my life in Cairo will be in over the next few days- so keep your eyes open for that (hope she writes nice things!!!!!!!!!!) The world is sooooo small isn't it?!

Ramadan- again.

today is the 2nd day of Ramadan... so 'Ramadan Kareem' and 'kollo sena wentu tayyibeen' ie peaceful ramadan to you all and may all your year be good!

What shocked me was on wednesday night- just before ramadan starts I had almost as much hassle in the street as I had on monday night walking home. cars curb crawling, comments from everyone and stones thrown not to mention firecrackers thrown at me! The night beofre the fast. What- they had to release all the testosterone left in them or what???

Last night I thought I would experiment, so a friend and i went out to see if we could find any bars/clubs etc open on the 1st night of Ramadan. We found one bar in the whole of cairo serving alcohol, to foreigners- not to Egyptians, but you weren't allowed to dance. Egyptians were served beer- but only if they were christian and only if they agreed to drink it out a tea cup- in case anyone came in! Oh and the bar manager thought nothing of flicking through pron channels on the TV while we were there too- I'll refrain from naming the bar in case it gets closed down- but you see what I mean about contraditions! Bizarre!!!!

I really do find Ramadan the lonliest time of the year in Cairo- not enough work, no partying, salsa is cancelled, pool closes early (assuming you can find someone who will agree to go with you!) ,everyone is spending time with their families. It is the hardest time for me anyway! It's going to be a long month......................

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Street walking

Literally that is- NOT figuratively!!!

WHAT a day. I cannot believe the traffic today. The Egyptian schools went back yesterday, and Ramadan starts on a couple of days and why those 2 things should combine to make the worst traffic ever I don't know- but they did. I was due to teach in Golds Gym, Giza at 5pm. I left house just after 4.30pm- usually plenty time to grab a cab and get there- I stood on the street for ages without any taxi wanting to take me where I had to go.......They slow down- you shout your destination- and then they wiggle a finger at you and drive off! I tell you it is the most disheartening thing in the whole world!!!

Anyway- I ended up walking............. WALKING.......... to the gym. Over an hours walk- in the heat- not one taxi would take me. I even begged one- explaining how far I had walked etc etc. I don't understand why, when the traffic is standstill like that they seem to prefer to be sitting in an empty taxi, not earning money rather than have you in the back but getting some money out of you!!!!! I, of course, arrived 40mins late, so my class had been cancelled (I had been calling in my progress the whole way), I had blisters all over my feet and felt like crying. Thankfully everyone was very sympathetic.

From there I had to go down town. The journey- that normally would take MAX 20 mins- not even that- took over an hour and half (mainly cos my taxi driver didn't know his way around the one way system in the town centre at all (they don't have to sit 'the knowledge' here unfortunately!!!) That particular driver asked me why I didn't take the metro- since it would have been much quicker and when I explained it was because I didn't want to walk in the street to and from the metro he said ah- but that is easy- just wear the heejab and no one will bother you!!!!!!!! As if that is even true. GRrrr.

THEN- leaving my meeting downtown I asked about 15 taxis to take me home- NONE would- until I agreed to pay one more than double the normal fare.

Then tonight- walking home from a friend's house, she lives close by, I couldn't get a taxi- so I though- 10 min walk, main road, well lit- no problem............... WOW- BIG PROBLEM!!!! I have never seen curb crawling like it. Very scary in some ways but so pathetic I couldn't really be scared that much, until 2 cars followed me into my side street, calling out all sorts of things all the way- at which point I jumped into an open shop and chatted with the owners there for a while until they eventually drove off. Bless the wee old delivery man even offered to walk me to my door- but I couldn't say yes to that just in case that was asking for trouble too!!!!!!!! ok- my fault for looking so damn sexy (!!!) and walking alone at night perhaps.........but how sad and warped are those men that they don't realise how desperate they seem ( and are).

GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR it's on days like these I really wish I had the guts to drive in this mad country- or could afford my own driver with AC'd car anyway!!!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Performing in Edinburgh- November 07

Just because I know a few of you may be interested in coming along to watch me dance- my nights I am due to perform this year in Morocco restaurant, Dundas street , Edinburgh are as follows;

Friday 9th Nov
Thurs 15th Nov
Fri 16h Nov
Sat 17th Nov

Call 0131 652 3764 to book.

I aim to be teaching workshops in Edinburgh on sat 17th and sun 18th Nov too- but dont as yet have a venue- so will let you know more when i do!

Not sure what my work commitments are liekly to be here in cairo over Christmas and New Year- so there is a good chance this will be the only chance to see me perform this year- unless you come to Cairo of course!

Performing Bellydance in Birmingham

I'll be teaching in Birmingham on sat 10th and sun 11th Nov this year- but also performing at the following event-

Charity Belly Dancing Party
See some dancers perform- Have a go, no experience necessary
Bring friends and some food or drink towards a shared supper

Saturday 10th November 7:00-10:00
Methodist Church, 1654 Bristol Rd South, B45 9TY

All welcome - £5 (limited seats)
Contact Nicola: 0121 680 5329 (Evenings only – or leave a message) for info on charity night or workshops...

Proceeds to Solihull Leisure Opportunities – supporting people with learning difficulties to pursue leisure activities

Monthly Bellydance Workshops in Cairo with Lorna

Starting with basic beginners level and working up from there...something for everyone! I aim to make hese workshops will be informative, fairly energetic and fun. Open to all ages, shapes, sizes and abilities. Ladies only.

The studio is lovely with natural light and mirrors and views over Maadi. Spaces are limited so early booking is recommended.

1st workshop

Date: Saturday 15th Sept 07
Time: 1-4pm
Cost: 150le if booked in advance. 200le on the door.

Venue: Studio in the Sky, top floor, building 5, road 215, Maadi.
to book contact Anna Louise or Shams on or 010 150 0902 or check out their new website

ps- please bring a scarf to tie round your hips. We dance barefoot. oh- and remember to bring your sense of humour with you!!!!! see you there!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Rhanda and lunch time show!

Last night, straight from work, I went to see Rhanda perform at the Marriot again. She didn't start til after 2.30am!!!! was after 5am by time I got home. Worth it though. Didn't have my camera, so sorry- no pics this time. But she has lost weight- I guess all the dancing she has been doing this summer- and was looking strong- if a little distracted somehow. Maybe because she had to start her show an hour later than she was supposed to! Still inspirational!

After she danced Caroline (dancer from australia who lives and works here) and I got up to dance with the band who were on after Rhanda- it was fun. The manager joked he should emply her and I to do a duet- so we let him know we did have the required papers in case he was serious about that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So, after teaching, and performing all night I still wanted to be up dancing- it really is addictive!

just as well I love it- today was hellish. I was in the street, with my girl, Yasmeen, about to get a taxi to go look at some costumes (seemingly she knows somewhere good but much cheaper than I usually get- will keep you posted if i ever get there!!!) and my singer calls me wanting me to be at the boat to perform in half an hours time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not enough time to get the band there- so bring CD. now that was the problem (apart from having to rush home, pack costumes, grab make up, etc I then had to find CD's which worked- only to discover computer playing up and not playing CD's for me so can't check what music I have- sooooooooooooo frustrating!!!)

Anyway- Yasmeen and I get there late (of course traffic hellish so journey alone takes half an hour!) have have to go on the launch to the pharoah which is already half way through its sail (launch is small power boat- going very fast through Nile to work- felt great!!!!) anyway- manageress tells me- on stage now- no time for make up or anything- so there was me- barefaced, dancing one song upstairs and 2 downstairs- totally rushed, for a boat load of British tourists feeling very embarressed cos the set was so short and the music not ideal.................. anyway- they all loved it, and was for sure the quickest I have ever worked! An interesting experience, but hopefully they will give me a little notice next time!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

My life since Fifi..........

Work has been up and down recently. With 5 dancers working the boats (and only 2 can work any one night) that means there is more time Off than On. Not good financially- or from a fitness perspective either. Plus I have changed my drummer- so learning about the new one is challenging and fun.

On wed night I did the best performance so far of my life. It was the table solo (pretty much the 1st with this new guy) and the audience was really lively and cheering and clapping and shouting throughout my whole set (in a good way!). So when it came to the solo they were already on their feet ( a few literally!) .

I had one part in the table solo, where i did a one hip shimmy- and suddenly the room went dead- completely silent- all these Egyptians and Arabs who had been cheering and shouting etc etc suddenly -nothing. I put in my head Fifi and kept the shimmy- not altering it, not trying to do anything fancy, not even looking at people- looking at my hip that was shaking ........... and held that silence for ages until I suddenly went into hip drops and the audience went crazy again. I swear- I have never had that sort of feeling in my life before - ever! I felt like the most powerful woman on the planet. Amazing. Thanks Fifi for the inspiration!

Another part I enjoyed was when i do chonks down into a crouching position- which usually goes faily fast- but the new drummer follwos me, rather than the other way around, so I was able to play my audience much more effectivly and take my time and half way they started to applaud so I did the hand signal to them to wait (lissa) ie there is still more just wait, and they all laughed with me and voiced what my hand signal had meant etc etc and when i got to the bottom I rested my chin on my hands- a couple started to tentitively clap and i gave them the all clear and they went crazy again.................. wow.............!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I really felt Like I was doing what I should be doing in my life, and in the dance.

One woman who had been there that night, came back to the boat on friday night and spoke to Otti who was dancing that night and the girl who helps dress me, saying she felt my body was '100% sharqi'- ie I was truely an oriental dancer. I felt so chuffed to hear that- although to be honest, the feeling I got from the audience was enough for me!

I danced again last night- and again had a good crowd... not the same... but fun and challenging and the show went down really well- I find I am 'finding' new moves (or maybe old ones that I had forgotten) because of my new drummer...............

life is good- I am having so much fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Fifi Abdou

This week I went to the theatre to see a show in which Fifi Abdou was the star.

It was a 4 hour long production called 'Rawaiya' and was held in the 'musr el a'yn' in the area of Manial. The theatre is a lovely place- where all the seats are on the bank of the Nile and the stage is actually floating on the Nile...... so insect repelant is a must!

The story of the play was as follows- dancer Rawaiya (fifi) owns theatre/circus where they pay an old man protection money so nothing happens to it. They get fed up of this and throw him out and refuse to pay- so he arranges for the places to be burnt down. Fifi is distraught and a rich friend (who is in love with her) offers to help her raise the money to rebuild by taking her on a dancing tour around the world. She becomes famous- returns to cairo and rebuilds the theatre and has the old man who burned it down arrested.

The acting is interesting- I have never seen an Egyptian play before and I would say the word pantomine describes it better than a play. when the 'star' actors come onto stage the audience applaud and the acting stops so they can take a bow, then they carry on. If something happens in audience- they comment on it and include it in the show... eg when I was there a cat ran across the stage so they made all kinds of jokes about that. (yes- a cat really did run accross the stage- zig zag style- very amusing!)

anyway- for me there were 2 parts in the whole thing that I liked. one was a shouting swearing scene between fifi and the henchman of the old man. It was so funny- because it is a family show- and there were lots of kids in the audience- they couldn't actually swear- but what they did was overact miming swearing - so if you could lip read you would know exactly what they were saying............ it was as though they were dubbing themselves- very amusing!

the second thing I liked was of course the dance scene where you got to see Fifi doing her thing with a full, large, orchestra. She danced a few different styles but of course the one she was best at- and where she looked most comfortable was when she got on the galabeya and shimmyed her was through song after song, baladi style. I counted about 4 different moves in all- but considering she is not physiclaly as she used to be- she still had the presence and power of charater to have me open jawed at those! I was less than arms width away from her when she came froward to take her bow and she winked at me... all a bit surreal really. To hold the audience with dance the way she still can is my ambition for when i get to her age!

Great Book

part of the reason I haven't written here for over a week is because I have been engrossed in a great book.

'Nine parts of Desire' (The hidden world of Islamic women) by Geraldine Brooks

The author is an australian journalist who has access to and contact with some very interesting groups of women over a very interesting time period- Iran at the death of khomeini, Iraq, Palestine, Cairo, Jordan (ear to the Queen Nour). In reading this book I felt i had an education into middle eastern politics as well as into these womens lives. Some of it is scary- some of it enlightening. All very easy to read. The particularly interesting parts for me were where there was debate as to what the prophet meant when he said such and such- and how different groups of people have interpreted the Koran in many different ways.................. There is even a chapter about the bellydances of cairo taking the veil..........So for understanding more what fundamentalism menas and were it comes from to challenging stereotypes re women veiling its worth a read!

The only down side I felt was that as it was published in 1994- so much of the world has changed since then and i wish she had a book which talks about the period from then til now- that would be even more interesting!!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Sleeping in the heat

ok- so tell me- does anyone have any answers........


if you sleep under a fan at night you 'catch' a cold- a cold can be a common cold- or a 'cold' in your stomach- go figure.

if you sleep in AC- you get really ill, and dehydrated (plus it is expensive and really noisy)

if you sleep without anything you sweat so much you wake up drowning , ok so not literally- but not far off (remember its often hotter than 20degrees here at night!)

so tell me- what is a girl to do???????????

I have been in bed for days now with a horrible chest infection (and bad diahhorea) both of which, if I listen to Egyptian folklore, I got because I slept under a fan. Somehow I can't believe that- but really don't know now what to do for the best!!!

But- on an up note- I actually bite the bullet after a year and a half here and phoned a dentist for an appointment- have been too scared too up til now- but needs must- so that story to follow!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

When i am performing until end August

I am on the Nile Pharoah 19th, 20th, 21st and 28th August.

Golden Pharoah 29th August.

Nile Pharoah sails 8.45pm and 11.30pm
Golden Pharoah sails 7.45pm and 10.45pm

probably some other dates in between too- but these will probably be confirmed on a day to day basis, unfortunatly!!! (I need more work!!!!!) Hoping these new photos will help increase the number of wedding bookings etc etc- keep your fingers crossed for me. I know it takes time for your name to get known , but 6 days off in a row (beacuse there are 5 dancers working there) makes me feel so lazy- it's hard getting back into work again after that!!!

sound levels...

I am being frustrated every night by the authorites! The Egyptian ministry of Interior now have boats on the Nile with sound measuring equipement who go alongside the cruise boats and close down any businesses who go over the allowed levels. I know of one boat already which has been closed due to this!

This means that the managers on the boats where I work at the Pharoah, are incrediably paranoid all the time and are forever asking my band to lower the volume. This makes it very difficult to get the atomsphere going when I am dancing and frustrates my musicians no end. But what can we do?

The system was set up because some of the boats are nightclubs- with the volumes of music you would associate with that, rather than places like us with 'normal' levels.... but its affecting us all. Grr.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

last, but not least.......

Black costume pics....

stick pics..............

This was the part of the shoot where he shouted at me..................... seemingly I kept doing lots of good poses , but then changed them everytime he moved- I thought I was doing good... but he was moving around in order to catch that perfect shot- so was rather annoyed at me! ah well- I am a dancer- I am supposed to move, rather than a model!!!

the magazine shots...........

ok- so not actually for a magazine- but from the style of them they look like thats what they are supposed to be for!!!

This last one was the photographers favourite from the shoot........

Friday, August 17, 2007

Lilac 'Eman Zaki' Costume photos...

even at 9am the sun was scorching and blinding- but like the results!!!

tried not to add them all- but finding it hard narrowing down the good ones....!!! there is lots more to come!