Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Bellydance for Christmas- workshop 8th dec.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 010 150 0902 or check out their new website http://www.egy-fdc.com/
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 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
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
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
Workshop with Zeina. 23/11/07
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
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 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
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…..
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 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italians_in_Egypt)
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
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..... http://dontstopthepop.blogspot.com/2007/08/milk-honey-didi.html
Monday, November 26, 2007
Nile Group Closing party , sunday 25th Nov 07
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.
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
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!
Egyptian dance holiday in Siwa, Marsa Matrouh and Cairo
with Sara Farouk and Emad El Rashidi
10 – 18 May 2008
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 : email@example.com
For more information contact Sara: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, November 15, 2007
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
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
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.
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
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
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 http://touregypt.net/zoo_at_giza.htm
However, here's some other peoples views and info re the zoo.... http://www.egy.com/landmarks/97-06-12.shtml and http://egypt2005.mindsay.com/egyptian_thanksgiving_a_zoo.mws (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... http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/1999/433/feature.htm
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!
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.