Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Lorna does Luxor

I am back in Cairo now, after spending 3 fabulous days with a lovely group of women from all over Europe. The festival was run by Sara Farouk and Kay Taylor and was just perfect! The 3 main teachers for the week were myself, Khazafy and Eman Zaki.

 I also performed, with the orchestra they provided. I was given 3 hours on arrival the 1st day to rehearse- we only needed 2 hours to put together over an hours set! What a group of totally professional artists. It was bliss working with them. I also felt a real mutual respect between me and the musicians, possibly since the orchestra leader , Ahmed Mahrous (violin player) has spent many years in France and therefore doesn't have the usual Egyptian attitudes towards women and in particular bellydancers. I think the show I did on sunday night was possibly my best dancing to date. I am hoping that people have filmed parts of it at least (if you have; PLEASE add it to youtube- i want to know if it looks half as good as it felt!!!).

 I did a set in my 'Egyptian flag' costume, manmore than one person thought it was red, white and blue. I guess if you are not used the the Egyptian flag that makes more sense (since most of the people at the festival were British)- but still... i have looked again and it is DEFINITELY black, not blue! I figured the big Eagle necklace would have given the game away- but obviously not...

I was really sad to leave, the musicians, the new friends, the beautiful venue (5 star hotel with lovely large pool!), all of it in fact. There was a really nice balance of classes, talks, performances and chilling.... it felt like my idea of a perfect holiday- and I was working!!!

My first evening i joined the group outing to see the sound and light show at Karnak temple... you walk through the temple as it goes on... it was fabulous. Enjoyed it much more than the one at the Pyramids, although parts of it were just as corny!

I have to take my hat off to Sara and Kay- (and Sherif!!!) - you guys did a great job. Everything ran smoothly and the wonderful friendly atmosphere was largely down to the way you handled everything beautifully. well done.

Back to Cairo and awaiting a new house guest.... i have a packed home for the next 3 months... it's going to be lovely to be surrounded by all these dancers from all over the world! I've also been inspired to go on a search for more new music to dance to.... so i have been exploring my itunes all day today and discovered that I know an awful lot more Oum Kalsoum music than i know the names of!

Friday, September 24, 2010

organic choreographing and rocks

I really don't know what to write about, but feel i should write cos I haven't for ages and ages.............!

I have a day off. I feel like I haven't once stopped since long before Ramadan started... and its been over for 2 weeks now! I like working the lunch time sails, when its bus loads of tourists who get to see me as part of there 'total egyptian experience' after the pyramids and before the museam usually! It just gets difficult when you have 4 sails one day, then 3 the next etc etc (so thats anything between 1-8 shows in a day, varies per day!) Not complaining. Love the work... just that my body has stiffened up beyond belief. today, the 1st day off in ages has been spent in bed... and online... trying to catch up physically and mentally!!!!

anyway- enough moaning.

Cairo- crazy cairo- yes I still love it. Its strange to be away from my family when i know I could help them through difficult times... and seeing all my friends in UK again throughout Ramadan just reinforced how much i miss them.... but here is home. I just wish i could work out if i felt confident enough to buy a property here. Renting is stressful... and limiting. There is so much I'd love to do... but feel i couldn't in someone else's house - like building extra wardrobes before you get any other ideas!!!! I have totally run out of space for my own clothes- and thats before you even consider the 2 wardrobes of costumes!!! i need a 'sex in the city' style wardrobe!!!

Oh- and I am finally performing to my new entrance dance... it's still at the organic choreographing stage... ie I perform it every day.... up to 8 times in a day!!!....... but it changes everytime, unless i find something and think that really worked and then that gets added everytime... until i have partically choreographed it! I love working on a song like that, because it gives me new fresh ideas for interpretation and moves... and I can test them as I go along with the audiences reactions.... it's getting to the stage when i need to get it videod soon though so i can see if things look as good as they feel, or not!!!

I just realised that I haven't added the pics from the ramaden revellry tour.... heres a few pics from Northern Ireland- i was teaching in Dublin then we drove up to belfast and had a day in the North... and went to the giants causeway...

 Massive thanks to Adele and Nicola for being fabulous tour guides and showing me their windy countryside ( it reminded me a lot of Scotland!!!). I enjoyed the place and the company! Already looking forward to my next Belfast visit!

I'll get together some of the workshops pics from around the UK and add them in another blog soon! who knows... maybe some pics of my upcoming trip to Luxor to teach and perform at the Farha festival there.

Monday, September 13, 2010

review of one of my workshops

Here's a review of a recent workshop I taught in Edinburgh... an intense workshop which ended in a spontantious group hug!!!

Back into the swing of things...

So here I am back in Cairo... and you know what.... it really does feel like home!
As much as I love seeing my UK friends and family, driving my car, feeling comfortable doing stuff , like opening a bank account etc ... Cairo, and this flat I have lived in now for nearly 4 years, is home.

I’ve been back nearly 2 days, and not done a lot really, other than catch up with friends, do numerous loads of washing (glamorous huh), get house cleaned of a month’s build up of Cairo dust (which would be equivalent to about 6 months if not more back in Edinburgh!) That’s ‘get house cleaned- not clean house.... see how well I have slotted back into ‘normality’! oh and get eyebrows done and bag packed for work... that i have to tell you is no mean feat.

I guess it runs alongside the idea of what a woman keeps in her handbag... but, just so you can begin to understand why my work suitcase is heavy before i even enter any of the 4-5 costumes i usually take to work each night here’s a list of what I just put in there.....

- Melaya- in case I feel the urge to dance Iskandirani style
- Abaya- for covering up in between shows
- Towel- its hot work!
- Spare underwear -flesh colour of course for wearing under costumes
- Hairpiece
- Brush
- Hairspray
- Hair clips
- 2 Shebika’s ie body stockings –for wearing if the police ever come to check!
- Safety pins- of numerous sizes
- Cotton wool and make-up remover- for mistakes and running mascara!
- Facewipes- for feet after
- Deodorant
- Perfume- gets sprayed on every time i leave that changing room!!
- Body lotion -a bit of a sheen hides a multitude of sins!
- Accessories – lots of various bits of jewellery to match every possible costume
- Ibuprofen- in case I have to dance through back ache, headache, muscle ache etc
- Sewing kit- for last minute and emergency ‘make it fit and stay on’ moments.
- Scissors
- Tweezers
- Emery board
- False eyelashes and glue
- Make-up bag- that’s another massive list in itself!
- Book- in case there is time sitting about between shows
- Diary and pen- to take note of an ever changing rota

Hopefully that’s it... since that’s all i have in there at the moment! Most of it just lives in there... so I don’t have to remember it all everyday.

I am really excited about my first day back tomorrow. I missed dancing with my band, although I did get more live music to perform to in UK this time compared to previous visits, which did help to make things feel a bit more realistic for me there!

So, off to paint the nails before bed... have a nagging feeling i have forgotten to pack something important (yes I did put the costumes in there too!). I suspect however, that the thing i haven’t packed and am feeling i should is the CD to perform too..... and yippee , I don’t have to!!! Love dancing in Cairo.