Monday, August 31, 2009

Edinburgh fringe reviews- through the eyes of a bellydancer!

I have tried to get out to a few fringe shows in the Edinburgh fringe festival this past week .I LOVE Edinburgh in August!- mad people everywhere, arts high on everyones adgendas, people dressed up in the streets, more shows than you can ever ever see!!!

Unfortunatly I didn't get to as many dance shows as I would have liked... and there wasn't anything bellydance ish at all... but I feel I have learnt things for my own shows none the less.

Havana Rumba's show last night was high impact power, skilled, fun, sexy, colourful and the best thing... the 'looks' at the end of each move and song. These beautiful sexy girls (and guys) would just stand and give a 'look' into the audience........... it was strong stuff- and inspiring! Did I mention it was sexy?!!! oh to be able to 'look' the way the cubans can.. that utter confidence- which borders on arrogance... oh and the Brazilians were pretty damn good at that too- the Capeoria knights show proved that with gusto! oh to be able to get a fraction of that confidence on stage... I am a seasoned performer, and no one who has seen me (especially live) would say i look shy or nervous on stage- but compared to the Latinos??? no- I can learn a lot, we all can!!!

oh- and the other thing to remember from the Cuban and Brazilian shows... they obviously LOVE what they do.... it oozes from every pore! The passion and fun and emotion is there all the time, even in the final performance in a long run. This is a compliment i get a lot too- 'you obviously love what you do'. I think this is really the key for me in being a good performer. actually- the key to being a good anything in life... even if you are say a waitress, or work a til.... if you enjoy your work, you will get more enjoyment from it- but also improves the lives of everyone who deals with you. The girl working the til at Dirlton Castle yesterday when I went there yesterday with my mum was so happy and cheery and very excited about telling you what a wonderful castle it was, and all the fabulous feactures you could find, even down to the squirrels in the trees!- that I found myself looking at the entire experience in a far more positive light than i might have otherwise!!

I saw a fabulous childrens storytelling performance (by Toto tales) which was very well acted, cleverly written understandable african folk tales, humorous, and original. The 2 girls performing inspired me with regards changing mood on stage (both from the script and the acting of the characters themselves). Far too many bellydancers just spend the entire dance with a huge smile on their face.....which may well be very pretty- and work well in photographs but can often become boring, or feel false...... whereas to be able to change character, and mood, and focus throughout the show adds interest and suspense. When you see an amazing dancer- you often find yourself watching her face more than any other part of her body! For an audience to be able to see how a dancer feels differently within different sections of the music helps them expereince the music more throughly too!

The production of 'the prime of miss jean brodie' was exceptionally done... again there was the confidence and complete commitment to the role. Sometimes, i have seen dancers (and have been guilty of this in the past too) of looking like they are seeking approval on stage. Like they NEED the audience to like them in order to be able to dance well. The 'Egyptian' attitute really is about 'knowing' you are fantastic at what you do and not needing that reassurance from the audience. I am still so British in some ways- to have an arabic audience make eye contact and keep it, for a loooong time can still be uncomfortable.. and this is a bridge I have to cross to become better at what i do.

'The Virginia Monologues' was a performance by a 65 year old woman (Virginia Ironside- was journalist and agony aunt) all about what is good about growing old. She was just herself on stage- no airs and graces... happy to voice her weaknesses as well as put forward her strengths. In the end you just felt a rush of warmth towards her... to be able to inspire that feeling in people watching me dance would be mindblowing. To be able to be that open , honest, giving in dance..... even if the audience don't seem on your side... its a valuable lesson. That and accepting the body as it gets older, not that I am 'old' by any stretch of the imagination, but there is a 'shelf life' in all performing dancers, just like there is for models, sportspeople etc. You have to really feel good about what you have, in order to be able to put yourself forward in that confident manner the Cubans, Brazilians and Egyptians seem to be able to without any effort or embarresment. Maybe this is just a British thing? !!!


..........lessons in performing bellydance from actors, dancers, musicians, shopkeepers and storytellers!
There are lessons to be learned all around - you just have to be open to having teachers from all walks of life I guess!

But then there are also us bellydance teachers too!!! (there are still some places on my Edinburgh workshops this coming saturday- roll up roll up :-) !!!) You can also come and see if I manage to perfect 'the look' during my performance in the Halfa on friday night 8pm the Voodoo rooms Edinburgh! (also Remember money from every hafla ticket sale will go towards the Just because charity- come along and help us help women in Egypt!)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I'm in UK for the whole month of Ramadan.
Its only been 5 days so far, but already I have a list...
2 in fact...

Things I currently miss in Egypt;

1) all my friends there- you know who you are!

2) my lovely huge flat there

3) dancing on the Nile Pharoah with my band

4) sleeping as late as I like- staying with parents for now... so not much chance for a long lie!

5) the sunshine- probably should have been number 1 here (although was sunny today)

6) going out partying to all hours- roll on the weekend

7) being able to just do things at the drop of a hat- no planning!

8) jumping into taxi's ( cheaply!)

9) lying by a pool on the odd occasion when i dont have work the same night

Things I have realised I missed about Edinburgh when I was in Cairo;

1) my family and friends- you know who you are

2) my car- ah the freedom- and blasting favourite tunes with window wide open driving in the sunshine... nothing beats it!

3) walking unhasseled by men down the street- no cries of 'gamda', mozza' or habibi' as I go about my own business!

4) public transport- buses can be so good, and cheap!

5) Edinburgh Fringe Festival - spent today walking along high street watching street performers and tourists from all over the world- and feeling sort of like one of them!

6) Cider -enough said

7) being able to walk up to a complete stranger and ask a question without fearing the questions he'll ask you in return. Was particularly impressed with the information officers on Princes street this afternoon- a fantastic service- Thanks guys!

8) shopping

9) dressing the way you want..... I had a revelation the other day when i realised i didn't have to layer my clothing just becuase my top didn't quite meet my jeans- its ok here to show a little bit of belly in the street! I felt I was being so Risque !!

So thats how my trip home so far is panning out......... Mostly good. But I do feel more and more that Cairo is 'home'. (maybe after more time out with friends etc that will change!)

excited about all my UK workshops and shows coming up;

Edinburgh especially (since it's 1st!).

Hope to see lots of friendly faces at the Edinburgh halfa on 4th sept at the Voodoo rooms . If you're coming- it's best to get your ticket in advance cos its a small venue and I wouldn't want you to miss out!!!-

contact to book your Edinburgh halfa and /or workshop tickets!

Off to bed early now... 11pm.... thats when i usually think about going out in Cairo, actually no- usually I am still at work at this time... before I go out!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ramadan Return to Rain

No big surprise there I guess. When I landed in Scotland on thursday afternoon it was, you guessed it- raining... and although there has been some breaks of sun occasionally, it has rained every day. It can really get you down. Amazing how sun lifts my mood so much. The weather is the number 2 reason I am in Cairo actually!!!!

I am aching to get to bed, its been a long few days....but taking the chance to write while I gte the chance to be online!

Yesterday I spent the entire day sifting though all my belongings to find all the costumes, cds etc etc I could cope with parting with in order to sell in my souk.

Today I spent the day drinking tea and chatting with old friends while people browsed through my things and tried on and bought my costumes....

I have to admit- there was a couple of times when i saw someone in my costume and said ( in my head- no no no- you cant have it- it's MINE !!!) Thankfully my brain won over emotion- andi managed to part with a few. Do other dancers have this problem? I LOVE my costumes.... I hardly ever sell them on, this is a 1st for me. and its hard. i actually shed a tear yesterday putting some of them into the cases!!! Costumes I have worn remind me of times and places and shows and emotions..... so hard to part with. Thankfully lots that I sold today went to dancers who are friends- and it will be a joy to see them dancing in them!

There are however 5 suitacases worth of things left over- yes you read that right- 5 suitcases!!!!!!!!!!! 2 of which a just cabaret costumes!!!!!!!! some new, some used (by me!)!!!!!

1 case is full of bellydance CDs which I am selling at 3 for £10........

Remember 10% of all sales is going to the charity 'just because' so I will count up at the end of the month and let you know!!!!!!!!!!!

I will have 'Lorna's clearance sale souk' out to sell at the hafla in The Voodoo rooms in Edinburgh on 4th sept (tickets for which need to be bought asap to confirm your place as its not a big venue so dont assume you can buy on the door!!!! See previous blog re hafla for booking email address!!) There are still some places left on the workshops on the 5th too.

I believe the places are going fast for the Dundee workshops on 19th and 20th Sept............

And of course there is always London on 13th - workshop and show.... I'll bring some costumes with me there- if there are any left!!!

Today is the first day of Ramadan.... RAMADAN KAREEM to everyone!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Lorna's Hafla and Workshops in Edinburgh Sept 09!

I'm going to be dancing for my home crowd! SO excited about it! here's the 'flyer' Elspeth has put together for it all........ hope to see you there...

in Edinburgh
4th & 5th September 2009

Friday 4th September , 8pm
The Voodoo Rooms, 19a West Register Street, Edinburgh (2 minutes walk from Waverley Station)
Your only chance to see the fabulous Lorna of Cairo perform in Scotland this year. Also featuring some brilliant Scottish talent.
All tickets £10 (includes a £2 donation to Just Because...)

Saturday 5th September
Edinburgh's Telford College, 350 West Granton Road, in the fantastic purpose-built dance studios.
12.15 - 2.15 Lorna's Cairo Moves
Learn some of Lorna's top technique and combinations.
2.45 - 4.45 Moving to the Music
Work with Lorna on your interpretation of Egyptian music and how to Respond to the music like Egyptians do.
Each Workshop £20
Both workshops are open level - not suitable for absolute beginners.

How to book
Places are allocated on a first come, first served basis.
  • By Cheque: Fill in the order form and send it, with a cheque to Elspeth Alexandra, 32 Claremont Road, Edinburgh EH6 7NH
For more information contact Elspeth at

About Lorna

Before Lorna left native Edinburgh to become a professional belly dancer in Cairo, she was teaching 27 hours of belly dance classes each week, across Scotland. A hugely successful teacher and performer for almost a decade, Lorna enjoyed Edinburgh fringe sucesses and was resident dancer at Morocco Walima restaurant. Lorna is now the first Scottish dancer to work professionally in Cairo.She has been performing in Cairo for the last three years and is currently a star of the Pharaoh Nile cruisers. Lorna records her adventures in a captivating blog that has a worldwide following,

"As a performer, Lorna epitomises the cheeky sassiness of modern Cairo, and is a very giving and lively entertainer. As a teacher and as an individual, Lorna is witty, engaging, highly knowledgeable and passionate about sharing her knowledge gained from first-hand experience."

Just Because...

Just Because... is a registered charity aiming to raise funds and promote awareness, prevention and early detection of breast cancer for women in Egypt.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Lorna's belly room clearance sale- Edinburgh

Next weekend...................... ie this coming Saturday 22nd Aug!!! I'll be at Elspeths house (Edinburgh) surrounded by bellydance goodies for sale.

whats for sale? ........ costumes ( new and some of my used ones) coin belts, cd's, you name it- It'll be there.... and so will I, and Elspeth - and hopefully so will you too!!!!.

It's a attempt to clear out some of the things that have been sitting waiting in Scotland for me to come 'home' from Cairo and I have accepted now that my stay in Cairo isn't really a short one (considering I came here for only 6 months, over 3.5 years ago!!!) so I am trying to lighten the load a little (and make a few pennies hopefully in the process!)

10% of all sale profit will be going to the charity 'Just Because'.

It will be good to catch up with everyone over a cup of tea too.......

Saturday 22nd August

Lorna's Souk

1-6pm or 8-9pm
(break to allow for kiddies bedtimes- so please don't come during that break!!!)

Elspeth's front room, (red door and bell does work!),
32 Claremont Road
(near Leith Links)
Edinburgh, EH6

see you on saturday!

workshop and halfa in Edinburgh info coming soon!!!!!

(for those of you not able to get to Edinburgh... IF there is anything left after saturday then I hope to bring a few selected items around my various workshops in UK this ramadan!)

Lorna in London- Workshops and Performance Sept 2009!

I loved being in London last time- and am looking forward to seeing everyone again. The Saqarah girls did such a lovely job of organising it - that they are doing it again!

Lorna's London Workshops;

Saturday 12th September 2009

11-1pm - Stars of the Golden Era

2-4pm - Modern Cairo style

Both being held at Dance Attic in Fulham (nearest tube = Fulham Broadway on District line)

For more information and to book please check out.

You'll also get all the info you need about my Performance in London on the same evening, from the Saqarah website.

It's all go.......

well- the main news is that Tux is gone to his new mummy. Thankfully (with the aid of facebook and good friends passing on the link!) we managed to find a teacher in Maadi who had been looking for a kitten to play with her kitten when she was out at work during the day. So little Tux has a big sister 'Mumkin' now and is seemingly VERY happy. We are very relieved to have found him such a perfect home ( although my house is now clean and too quiet without him scarpering around).

What else? oh- my computer 'went' this week ( fixed now- obviously- since I am writing this!) and had to take it to 'compu me' in Lebanon square and they fixed it in a couple of hours and reinstalled windows etc etc for only 110le and were wonderful. I am no longer scared of computer problems knowing that they are a short taxi drive away! Although maybe I shouldn't speak too soon!!!!

Count down is on til I go to UK for a month, this week in fact. My next blog will be details of my grand tour.... so far workshops are confirmed in London, Edinburgh and Dundee! so more to come shortly on those!!!!

The bizarre thing with Ramadan moving forward 2 weeks every year is that it makes the years seen to go by faster and faster....... or is that just what happens as you get older anyway?!!!

I plan to be selling a lot of my costumes and cds and various related bellydance items this ramadan in Edinburgh- so if you feel like sparkly things... I'll add info of how and where you get to see what I have got. It's all gotta go.

so there you go............. it's all go !!!!!!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Searching for a home in Cairo for 6 weeks old kitten!

Forgive me if you are a facebook friend and have read this already............. or am repeating myself from previous blog entries!!!!

just really want to find our baby a good home in Cairo as soon as possible!

My kitten needs a new home!!!!
can you help?

he is 6 weeks old today.
very playful and affectionate. VERY playful in fact!

Tux is fit and healthy. He eating solid foods now (no longer on his very cute baby bottle) and is happy using a litter tray.

We call him Tux (on account of his markings making him look like he is dressed for dinner in his bowtie and tails) but we have only been using the name for a week so that can probably be changed if you wanted.

I dont want him to leave.... but I have no choice. Both I and my flatmate travel for ramadan and as much as I love him... I am allergic to cats- so he cannot remain a permenant feature in my flat! I never would have chosen to have a kitten at all- but when I found him on the street , only 3 days old, with his eyes still closed and no mummy nearby, being played with (as if he was an aeroplane) by a child who figured he could just keep him in a box filled with water..... i know he wouldn't live to see day 4 if we didn't take him in.

Mummy Marte and Daddy Lorna love their baby- and you will too..........

please someone find a loving home for him??? (with kids would be great since he loves to play so much- and he enjoys a cuddle in front of the TV too!!!)

Please forward this to anyone in Cairo you think would be interested- we need to have him settled in before Ramadan when he'll be homeless!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

flashy lights.... and takers for Tux?

something new at work last night.....

they have put up a backdrop of flashing fairy lights to my stage!

It's a bit weird.... fun, and shiny-and am sure will create an interesting backdrop for photos... but I feel also it cheapens the place slightly? After all- its a 5 star venue on the Nile- does it really need fairy lights???

will try to get a pic on thursday if I can!!!

what can I say? I hardly write these days cos I have had non-stop visitors and non-stop work!

Which ironically means there is probably more to write about- but never time or energy to write!!!

Tha past weeks are full of work stories like the arab guys who were in with their 2 wives wearing higab- except that one of the women was 100% a man- and knew I knew it from the embarressed look in his eyes!!!! or like another arab table with their women in higab who - when I got close enough to have my photo taken with them, showed me quite clearly that they have nothing on underneath their higab other than bright yellow sexy underwear!!! What can I say??? (when i say arab here I mean men and women from the gulf area, rather than Egyptians, who rarely class themselves as 'arab')

It's the season........ been working til 3am most nights... which is manageable (from a 7pm start) unless you have a) lunch time sails as well or b) house guests who you have to/want to entertain!!! or of course c) a cold!

All the weird eating times ( yes- ever stranger than usual) and strange sleeping times (ditto) and hot weather has meant my immune system really is stuggling and I have had a horrible cold for over a week now. At least i faired better than Leila who was in bed with flu for a week...poor thing- glad she is better now!...... of course- I then had to cover her nights on the boat too.... thank god I love my work!

The most upsetting news though is that i MUST find a new permenant home for kitten (its a boy- and we sort of call him Tux on account of him looking like he is wearing a dinner jacket and bow-tie!!!), so please- if anyone reading this wants a totally adorable, friendly, fun, healthy 6 WEEK OLD today black and white kitten......... or knows anyone who might.......

he is homeless from the start of Ramadan otherwise!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He is now litter trained and eats normal cat food- so much easier than the tiny bottle fed thing we have raised. Mummy Marte and Daddy Lorna (on account of I take full credit for having a lovely cat, and cuddle and play with him occasionally- but Marte does almost all the work!!!!) are very sad to have to see him go- so a good home is essential!!!!! (His 'brother' lion also needs a new home!!!)

I have an unexpected night off work... i was suppossed to be working the Nile Pharoah tonight but since it came back from dry dock, it still isn't working.... so potentially a night off tomorrow too unless things change!!!

I'm off out to see a band perform instead tonight.......... leaving Marte home with baby!!!