Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Educating myself....

I tried to be good- honest I did.

i had booked a private class... and the teachers car broke down on the way here....

then I decided to stretch- and managed just over an hour before I discovered my wireless internet connection was actually working in the studio. Damn facebook and my low willpower!

My day today in photo form..... (oh and yes- my excuse for doing so little involves the tissues and the Olbas Oil you can see here!!!)

I have however, on the up side, managed a lot of reading today- currently I am reading a book I bought 2 years ago and have been putting off and putting off because I thought it looked so 'heavy'. Something I felt I 'should' read rather than something I wanted to which you can understand when i say its name; 'Journey of the Jihadist- Inside Muslim Militancy'.

However.... i have become quite involved in it and recommend it for anyone trying to understand world politics today especially in relation to Jihad and Islam. It written by a Lebanese Christian, Fawaz a.Gerges ... and you might think it would therefore be very biased against Islam- however... I have found it hugely educational and interesting and I have learned positive things about Islam from it as well as some very frightening things about Islamists and Jihadists (and also I know the difference now too!!!!).

I didn't know for instance that the majority of Osama bin Ladan's followers in Afghanistan were from Egypt. Or that the main support for Jihad began in Egypt in the time of Sadat. It's worth the read......... just give it a little effort in the very beginning.

oh- and I learned that if you read something interesting while you stretch you can hold a position much deeper for much longer!!!

I also learned today that if I stand still on my left leg only for any length of time it hurts like hell!!! All my balance and control is in my right leg!!!! More stork standing for me from now on.

I have a movie night in tonight- plan on watching the film 'the dancer and the tabla player'. Will give you my thoughts on it tomorrow!!!!

Private dance classes in Cairo

If you haven't already had the pleasure, let me introduce you to Amani Zaki;

(not to be confused with Eman Zaki - the talented dancer, turned talented costume designer who is now thankfully beginning to teach also and was a big hit with her workshop in Ahlan we Sahlan festival this summer)

Amani is just wonderful. She used to be a star dancer in Cairo, dancing in all the top hotels including The Marriot, Semiramis Intercontinental and Mena House.

She unfortunately stopped performing about 6 years ago, but thankfully has taken up teaching. She works closely with Raqia Hassan and was teaching at her intensive training course this winter.

I have been lucky enough to have had a few private classes from her recently and love her. An elegant, fun, intellegent, articulate person and teacher. She understands what makes a good dancer and thankfully doesn't feel the need to have to teach choreography ( which I hate since I would never ever perform someone elses routine so feel it wastes my time having to learn one! I know there are many benefits of this sort of teaching- it just doens't do it at all for me!!!). She does however have lots of choreographies she is happy to teach for those who like that sort of thing!! We have been doing some technique, lots of musical interpretation and mainly arms ( when she dances she's like a butterfly- I often feel like an elephant- although thankfully my audiences seldom seem to think that too- own worst enemy me!)

Anyway- for those thinking of having some private dance classes in Cairo........

obviously there is ME !!
I teach from home, in Mohandiseen, in my lovely studio- oh- and I have to boast here- i am very proud because an Egyptian woman I have been teaching recently won 1st prize in a dance competition held by her gym- well done Halla!

and then of course there is my good friend, Sara Farouk (fabulous at explaining feel, baladi, Saaidi and all things stage work)

Ahmed Raafat is a great teacher if you want folklorique techinique especially- and a wiz with a stick. Fun, and a mine of information.

and add to that recommendation list Amani too- especially for anything Sharqi- if you too want to learn to float like a butterfly!

Sara, Amani and Ahmed all also teach from my studio in Mohandiseen- so nice and handy for you!

Why not come stay with me for a week in Cairo and have a selection of lessons from us all?!!!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Animals and children........

I just found this dead on my living room floor. Seemingly it flew inside a couple of days ago.

In arabic it is called Gharada. My labisa was saying that there have been times here when the sky was so full of them that it was black and you couldn't see anything else!!!

It's thankfully my 1st time to see one and I am glad it was dead!! I worked out from what she said that it was some sort of locust or grasshopper, although looks more like a stick insect (but do they fly?)- but when I look in google- I can't find out what it is exactly!!! Any ideas?

This week at work has been child friendly. Everyone has wanted me to hold, cuddle, kiss or dance with their precious one. It's been fun actually. Apart from last night when I had to do my entire 2nd set, including drum solo with an under 2 year old circling me round and round and imitating my every move. cute- but dangerous.
It gave an extra dimension to the drum solo thats for sure! it's one thing to not know what move I am going to do next, or what the drummer is going to play next - but another altogether doing all that, and performing for an audience whilst watching where your arms and feet and hips are going- just in case you knock out a child! I managed it- although i suspect at least half the applause was for the wee one!!!!!!!!!!
Talking of wee ones................. Kitten is now 3 weeks old...
and beginning to play..........
It's co-ordination is not quite right yet- so its funny to watch the 'hunting' face and then the sprawl onto the belly that usually follows!!!!!!


Monday, July 06, 2009

Birthday Bliss!

I spent 4 days last week in Sharm with some of my friends. The hotel (Delta Sharm) has 6 swimming pools and was beautifully laid out. Days by pool, evenings wandering shops and restuarant in naama bay and old market. wonderful!
Photo of my pals in the pool; On the afternoon of my birthday the girls had bought me an ice cream cake and we ate that with champagne in the sunshine after a day by the pool. What more could a girl ask for?

well- except that one of my friends got very sick later that night... and ended up sampling the local hotel clinic, which blew us all away- VERY well equiped and well run with the latest technologies and even a lab on site to do blood testing etc etc. Couldn't have been better really. She ended up getting 3 drip bags, a ton of meds and care that made her feel comfortable and better. Unfortunalty it wasn't cheap- 2500le !!! Thankfully she did have good medical insurance!!! Unfortuantely she still felt unwell enough to continue the rest of her holiday and flew home directly from Sharm. That was the worst bit about the trip!

so....... if you are in sharm and have medical insurance go to delta sharm resort- if you dont have insurance go to sharm hospital which is also fairly new and seemingly very good, as well as a LOT cheaper!!!!

I came back to Cairo on thursday (with a 2 hour delay on flight- grrr) and hit the ground running. Work EVERY day....... which is great. I have had some lovely audiences and been working on some new songs with my band too so it's all good. On saturday I had a photo shoot with Amera el Kattan (of pharonics costumes) so I couldn't perform the lunch time sail - but my riend Marte covered for me and seemingly it went really well! Well done Marte!!!

The photo shoot was fantastic. I was there with my friend Zsofia and we were the only 2 girls there to model who were not Russian! Was strange being surrounded by all these girls and not understanding what was going on! We modelled LOTS of costumes- and as soon as the shots have been put onto Amera's website I'll let you know ( or maybe you can let me know- since I cannot access the website from within egypt- a measure added to prevent other designers copying ideas!!!) .

There were 3 photographers AND a video camera. I have no idea what its all going to look like- but it was a lot of fun! The new saaidi and melaya costumes especially were stunning and a lot of fun- I'll be going this week to put my order in!!!! Not sure why almost EVERY costume I had to model was chiffon. I am NOT a chiffon fan and therefore wafting this full skirt about wasn't my thing at all... however posing with the sword was a lot more fun!!!

Oh- and I went to a wedding on saturday night with a friend at the Semi-Ramis Intercontinental. I got there after work expecting to have missed a great deal- but by 12.45 the bride and groom had only just entered the ballroom and Hakim had just started his set! The dancefloor was packed- but hardly anyone other then the bride and groom actually danced! How could you NOT dance to Hakim singing live???? I didn't but only becuase I didn't want to attract attention away from the happy couple!!!!

Then came Dina... stunning. She looked the best i have ever seen her and she was fantastic with both pleasing the crowd and with crowd management.... one wee girl ran accross the dancefloor mid Dina performance and almost got a slap (not intentionally!!!). Her entrance was seriously lacking in dance moves but packed with energy and attitude. She did a lovely baladi which actually had people standing and watching quietly- drawn in for a change rather than just trying to grab her attention! She did her job very well... and the only problem was the guest contunally trying to crowd the floor, which meant she couldn't move and no one else could see. Frustrating! I thnaked her afterwards for a lovely performance and she was fairly chatty... doubt I would have been after an hour of fighting of people! One wee boy was totally chuffed with himself as he handed her a flower from the side of the the stage and she rewarded him with the biggest smile ever. He walked about with his chest puffed up high all night after that!

I assumed Dina was the final act, but no- then came the Moroccan singer Ganet. She was very sweet. With a lovely voice. Not the same crowd control or stage presence as Dina, but then she is probably half her age and experience!!

It was a fabulous night- I left at 4am when Ganet was still singing... couldn't keep my eyes open any longer!!!

So its been a busy week. Sharm, work work work, modelling. wedding.... and of course wee 13 day old kitten (we still dont have a name for it!!!) has finally opened his/her eyes last week and is now developing a huge thirst, an inquisitive personality and demanding lots of attention. Marte is a fabulous mum1 and I try to do the mum2 duties as best i can! This is him/her at what we think was 4 days old!! (cotton bud for scale!!!!)

Love my life.