Wednesday, April 29, 2009


well- work has been interesting , as always, then last few days.

Sunday I ended up performing on both boats... doing one show on the Golden Pharoah, then taking the launch boat, with all my band (007 style- bobbing about in the dark on the Nile with the police boats coming by every so often to check why we are there!), to the Nile Pharoah to do a show there, then dock, and run over to Golden again to do 2 shows. It was fun... or at least- it would have been had I not had a spliting headache due to toothache!!!!!!!!! Fastest night ever.

Monday night a couple of my friends came to see me...which is always nice... but I have never had such a flat audience. They were watching, and interested and smiling- but hardly anyone clapped! Was really hard as a performer to keep going when the energy in the room was so low- had to work hard to keep myself motivated! Thankfully there were a couple of guys there from Scotland.... and they were appreciative- especially once they know i was a Scot too! The look of suprise on their faces when i said where I was from was fantastic!!! My friends comment was that i was dancing even more 'Egyptian' than usual. In a good way!

Tuesday night, last night, I was in pain!!!! The skin between my toes on Both feet split- at the same time- on the 1st spin on my 1st dance.... OUCH ! I am professional, and I can dance through pain.... but forgive me if you were at that show and the smile seemed a little less enthusiastic than usual!!! I went home straight after to soak them and apply savlon (thank god I brought some with me from UK!) . Its my own fault. I guess having so much time off while I was in Uk made me forget that i really have to make an effort to look after my feet when i am dancing bare foot night after night on fairly rough wooden floors.... lesson learned!!!!

I was teaching today, making up a choreography to 'Asena', for an Egyptian student who is hoping to perform in 2 weeks time. She is lovely and inspires me to come up with new things for her. I love choreographing for others- I just hate it for myself!!!!!!!!!!!!

I guess I better go stretch...... something else I forget I really should be doing everyday!!! Tonight I have a different group of friends coming to see me....... looking forward to it- hope the feet hold together!!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Photos from JoY

One of my friends, Violet Shears, from Scotland took these pics at the JoY festival in Yorkshire at the start of this month.

The 1st one I think really expresses feeling..........
the 2nd one- demonstrates why shorts under a costume are essential!!!

Photos From London

While I was in London teaching and performing, I was lucky enough to have there a fabulous photographer, Maani to record some of it.

If you are in London and need professional dance shots taken- I REALLY recommend him! He was friendly, fun and unobtrusive! The photos speak from themselves.

Paperwork and Performance.

Yesterday i performing on 3 sails. The 1st one was a entire group from Britain, all over 60. They were on a month long cruise- it sounded amazing. What a sweet audience too.
The next show I had fun with the various kids ( some Egyptian, some foreign) and in particular I completely changed my drum solo. I warned the tabla player to stick with me because i was going to do new things... and he did. He was a star. I really enjoyed it too. Afterwards, the musicans wanted to know where the new ideas had come from- who I had seen doing these things... They just couldn't believe I had made it up myself, They were sure I'd taken someones idea from the festival or something! I think that is a good sign.... I think....hmmmm
Last sail was mainly arabs... and they took a long time to warm up... but eventually just as I was finishing the show they came to life... I dream of a venue where I can do an entire show 45min-1hr, instead of being limited by the boats sailing schedule to 2xsets of 15mins each!

Today I had to go to the Mogamma. Even though I am legally allowed to work here in Cairo, each time I leave the country my papers have to be renewed, and they take my passport away from me for the duration of my stay each time. For some reason, when they give me back my passport it doesn't say I have been here legally all this time- so each time I go tot the airport at the end of my trip i have to go off to the police office and pay a fine. It actaully works out as the smae price, but is so embarrassing at the airport- so today I went to extend the tourist visa before they take my passport away!!!!

As I left the Mogamma ( the government offices) I saw 7 Phillipeno ladies walking in... nothing unusal, except that they were all handcuffed together and escorted by numerous police. I guess thats what happens if you outstay your welcome??????? Felt for them.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Back from the Beach....

Ah... that was nice.

3 days of sunshine and lying about doing very little, chatting, eating, partying, making new friends and laughing a lot.

Stayed in a 'camp' this time.... called the Green Valley Hotel. It was cheap (only 40le for a single room) and very central- right on the beach. It was basic and the palm trees were annoying because the brushed against the ceilings at night and woke you up.... but other than that- fabulous view of both the sea and the mountains.... what more could you ask for at that price really?

As for partying- there is only 2 places really at night time. Tuta has closed down (for sale) so that only leaves Rush and Tree. We went to Rush on the friday and they had conga player accompanying the house music, and then a fire dancer too. Tree on saturday was much quieter- but the music was more to my taste ( mostly r&b/ hip hop) so we kept the dancefloor busy all night! A lot of fun. Amazing watching the sharks circling and gathering though!!!

The bus journey is the worst part of a weekend in Dahab... 9.5 hours on a bus. The way there was ok- they ran 2 arabic films and that was great for me- trying to pick out the words i actually understood! The way back we all tried to sleep, but it was cold on the bus. I really feel for unsuspecting tourists who get off the bus in Cairo though. The taxi drivers are waiting to pounce on you the second you get off the bus and they charge huge prices... the tourist police who stand by the entrance to the station not much better- persuading you that these prices are fair, when they are not (esp at 6 am when there is no traffic at all on the road anyway!!!) Would not like to have been in that situation without any arabic or without our Egyptian friend to help us through!!!

We'll see what my work rota has in store for me this summer- but hopefully it'll involve a few long weekends here and there- occasional time out, in the sunshine, is just what a girl needs to cope with the day to day pressures of life in Cairo!!!

back to work now- 3 sails today. looking fwd to it.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

now THATS more like it!

ok- Last night I was paid a compliment that really felt like a compliment!

The tannoura, Sayed Amar, who was performing last night in between my sets said to me (translated) that he was ' always very happy when I was working with him because i put the audience in a good mood' he said 'sometimes with other dancers its as though the audience is all asleep and he has the job to wake them up, but after they have seen me they are all happy and ready to party!'

how sweet was that? The way he said it- I really felt appreciated .... Nice. Especially nice when its from your work colleague who sees dancing every day for however many years he's been doing his turn ( excuse the pun!!! :-) )

Off to Dahab in a happy mood.... soak up some sun and looking forward to performing back on the Nile again on monday night!

( ps- in case some people reading this don't know- Tannoura is the Egyptian name for a 'Whirling Dervish' )

It's all in the eye of the beholder!

What can I say- the perfect example of a major difference between UK and Egypt......

on meeting today a very good Egyptian friend ( female) her opening words were (translated);

'oh Lorna, you got fat.. you look very sweet- like a baby with a round fat face'


well.......... I know she meant nothing but good... but can you imagine how I felt????

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Balcony blogging

Thanks to a wonderful friend , Dave, my wireless internet is no working again- so I am blogging from the sunshine on my balcony!!!

I had a group of dancers from Australia come to see my show last night. Performing for dancers always adds that bit extra pressure- but also a huge extra dollop of fun... they were lovely and joined me on the dancefloor too.

My performance dates over next 2 weeks in April are;

Nile Pharoah-sat 25th, sun 26th, mon 27th and tues 28th
Golden Pharoah- wed 15th, mon 20th, wed 29th and thurs 30th.

Hoping to get away to the beach this weekend.... so excited at the prospect!

One of the things I have missed about UK so far- people telling you the truth rather than what they think you want to hear. I went to a shop, they said I'd be seen within a few minutes, then they changed it to half and hour, then it was actually one hour 10 mins later I was seen. If they had told me from the start it would be an hour I could have made use of the time to eat lunch or something... grrr.

However- then other things happen too... good things. Like when I went to the shop to get some passport photos and because i wasn't able to collect til the next day it turned out cheaper and then, when I went to collect them, they had made 3 full size prints for me too- just as a present. These nice surprises seldom happen in UK!!!

ups and downs. thankfully more ups than downs at the moment!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Best of both worlds! Nile group opening Gala

Yesterdays blog I mentioned that I was sad to be missing the opening of the Nile group festival... well... fortunatly for me- work finished by 12pm... so i was able to make it along to the opening from then til 3am!!!

I arrived too late to catch Nancy. Seemingly she did some lovely tableaux of saaidi and melaya etc and had fantastic backing dancers with her and stunning costumes. I missed it all.

I also unfortunalty missed the majority of Asmahan's show... caught the end though... a saaidi number with lilac galabeya then an entrance with wings wearing a red and silver galabeya with the wings attached to the back of the outfit which ripped open at the front to show a tiny mini skirt bedla in bright blue for the drum solo. I dont know how her neck can take all that hair flinging... it makes my neck ache to watch!!!

Next up there was the Hassan Hassan folklorique show, who normally perform in the Ramsis Hilton, and are great fun. The show has lots of humour and skill in it and is well worth a visit to the ramsis hilton to see it if you are in Cairo! Saaidi to die for... and performance skills that outrun all others.

Then there was the famous saaidi singer, Hegazy Metkal. He had a huge entourage with him and they got everyone up dancing. Fabulous. The way music should be... so powerful you can feel it not just hear it! I managed to get a wee dance with Asmahan- she is so generous with her energy and praise... A star who makes others feel good- the way it should be!

Leila brought the evening to a close with her show. In costumes by Aida Nour she danced 3 sets. Although I love the backing dancers, it was a nice change to see an entire show that didn't have any. My favourite piece she did was a cheeky number were she took the mic and sang bits of it! The 'teachers table' loved her even more for that and were jumping about and cheering. Fun entertainment watching her and them!!!

so............ not bad eh- when i thought I was going to miss the night altogether. So performing on the golden pharoah... 2 shows... with my band.... and then watching all this fantastic entertainment, surrounded by friends and fellow dancers. My life here really does have the best of both worlds!!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Good to be back

The sun is shining.

It's up to 35 deg during the way but doesn't go below 20 at night.

It really is the way to live!!!!!!!!

Work is great too. I have worked each night since I got back ( and will be performing on the Nile Pharoah tonight 13th, tues 14th and wed 15th this week too).

I knew when I was in UK that I was missing my band... but oh my god... it SOOOOO good to be dancing to live music again. I feel alive! All the staff were really lovely too, all saying how much they missed me etc etc. all good. I had people complimenting my dance that hadn't before too- I think maybe because I put some of the 'vintage' technique that I was teaching in the Joy festival... it reminds people of the great golden days of the dance!

Only down side of working is that I'll miss the opening gala of the Nile group festival which is today... ah well- to be honest- I'd rather be doing that watching anyway!!!!!!!

Off to costume shop now.... happy.

Monday, April 06, 2009

JoY was a joy!

I have just come back from the Jewel of Yorkshire Bellydance festival in a lovely wee place called Saltaire near Leeds.

It was Fabulous. What a lovely , friendly, relaxed but still ultra-professional weekender.

I taught 4 workshops ( all of which had been sold out for ages.... very flattering!) and they went very well. My favourite was my 'Performance Punch' one- where we basically explored the physicology of performance and how to get your head round it. Bringing out the best in what people already had!
I loved teaching again, I learn so much from it- especially my 'golden oldies revisited and revived' where I was looking at the dance styes of the old greats such as samia and soheir and fifi etc etc and compared the technique and style with todays modern style. Modern versus vintage we called it. It was an interesting experience for me to really study the technique from these old greats- usually when I look at their films I just soak in the feeling... but I feel I have learned a lot just comparing now to then technically too.

The performance night at the fesitval was awesome....

what can I say... Lulu from Brazil blew everyone away- it was hard to even breath while she was dancing! Khaled was fun and technically fantastic as always. Fereshteh really impressed me with a very relaxed fun stick dance. I saw my teacher Sara Farouk perform for the 1st time ever... emotions ouzing out of her. Bollywood/ Bhangra ( not sure of the defination of each) by a dancer from switzerland was totally engaging and entertaining. A fun reggaton/belly fusion by the leeds girls had me desperate to join in. Oh- just too much good stuff to mention really............ inspirational.

Joy is held every April and October... a weekend WELL worth the trip in you can be in the UK at those times ( wish I could every year!)

Only a few more days now before I head back to Cairo. It's going to be hard to leave here. As always.