Tuesday, July 22, 2008

teaching, performing, low life and fish. !!

Life is busy just now... but good.

I have a guest from Scotland staying and taking lessons with me which is fun and keeps me busy in the day- and of course- work has picked up now since its the 'arab' season , which means I am dancing til either 1am or 3 am each night.

I have had a few really good shows recently too- where I have felt the audiences have been totally with me, the women especially - even the ones dressed totally in black so i can just make out from their eyes that they are smiling at me and even winking sometimes!!!!

Had my 1st case of intentionally NOT being invited to something ( a friends wedding) simply BECAUSE i am a bellydancer. Not suitable as a guest! Not as upset as I thought I would be from the act of prejudice- maybe I have lived in Egypt long enough- and met too many of the 'dancers' so I understand why this stereotype of 'the bad woman' exists. Unfortunatly the scene here really can be low- often the people involved ( at every level from dancer, to drummer, to managers to agents etc etc ) as also involved in 'other stuff' ; drugs, prostitution etc. So for the average person in the street to assume all dancers are the same, is an understandable misconception. Understandable but equally frustrating when really nothing could be further from the truth!!!! ( I know lots LOTS of 'straight' 'good' dancers, mainly foreign, who are here and in this job simply because, like me, they LOVE dance and cannot live without it!)

oh- didn't write yet about my wonderful weekend in Sharm el sheik the other week.......... the most romantic, relaxing 4 days i have spent so far in Egypt. I faced my fear and learned to snorkle- well not totally - still couldn't do it alone- scared of the fish- how silly is that?! but it really is amazing ( if I can get past the sound of my own breath underwater, which sounds like a soundtrack to a scary movie!) all those colours and different types of fish. Sharm was busy- mad nightlife with bellydancers (mostly male) in most of the restaurants and people everywhere in the streets. best memories- sitting on the beach in bikini, watching the sun go down and also sitting in a restaurant which was on a pontoon over the water, drinking rose wine, then looking down to see lots of amazing fish beneath me in the sea all light up by the restaurant lights! Photos to follow asap!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Morocco Restaurant CLOSED

The end of an Era in Scottish bellydance performing.....

Morocco Restaurant, Dundas st, Edinburgh is as of tuesday 15th July , officially CLOSED.

This is EXTREMELY sad, and very unexpected news for me and the whole of the Bellydance community in Scotland.

The restaurant gave up to twenty dancers the opportunity to perform on a regular basis in a safe, respectful environment. Most of the top dancers in Scotland have performed there at one point of another and it had held various dance shows, halfas, and fringe shows.

I would personally like to thank all the dancers who have performed so wonderfully there, and also those customers who have supported dancers there over the 6 years we have been in business.

I am personally gutted. I opened that restaurant, with Caroline Danso, back in the beginning and I have been supplying dancers there all these years. It was a place where experienced dancers could show off their talents and new, up and coming, dancers could strengthen their performance skills. I feel really sad that there is no longer a venue that can do this for our dance community and sad the good work done there can no longer continue.

wishing everyone all the best in all future ventures... lets hope this will be the start of an even better era for dance performance in Scotland, somehow!

On a selfish note- I am really going to miss having a place to perform for all my firends and students everytime I come home from Cairo......... so if anyone wants to organise hafla's , performances etc etc I would jump at a chance to dance for you all again!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

summer in Cairo

well - it really is summer here in Cairo. How can you tell......?

- Its hot- around 40 deg most days.

- The streets are busy - esp in mohandiseen, the area I live. since all the arabs have arrived for their 2 month holiday.

- The horse boys are on my street corner- I now have 3 horses and 4 donkeys standing at the end of my street, with boys trying to rent them out to the Arabs for treks round the streets. the horses are lovely- the boys/men with them- not so!

- At work there are a lot more Arabs in the audience than 'westerners' ( who aviod the heat!). This makes for interesting dynamics at work. some nights are fantastic- to be able to turn around a dis-interested audience into one which complains when you finish sooner than they want is a wonderful feeling! Of course- with the highs there are also lows... some people don't realise when you bow at the end of a dance they are supposed to clap. I swear I had a night last week where I finished my dance and not one single person clapped. I was in shock and nearly walked straight off the stage! they did come round by the end of the night- thanksfully- but that start was the most horrific thing that can happen to any performer!

- Did I mention its hot? I have taken to bringing my Laptop and sitting in a cafe near my house so I have access to their AC !!!!!!!! Also stops me getting too lonely..

so its summer!

I have changed my structure for getting ready for work too. It used to take half an hour to get hair and face done and costumes together to get out the door.

Now it takes 2 hours!- half an hour to do my hair (dont ask- involves curlers- very glamourous!!!!!!) and then I stretch for just under an hour with nice music on to relax and inspire me, then make up on, costumes in bag and out the door. I hope I can keep this up - I am really feeling a difference in my dance now I am being strict about stretching. we'll see........ its only been 2 nights so far........