Sunday, October 31, 2010

dance for mental fitness....

some fabulous news... if it is true... that dancing frequently drasticaly lowers the risk of dementia by up to 76% !!!

I intend to dance forever... so hopefully I'll not totally lose either my body or my brain! Thats the plan anyway! Inshallah!!!

... and what is even better, they recommend forms of dance where you have to make quick, on the spot decisions... so my beloved habit of improvising, rather than choreographing... is staying!

will maybe try to make a little more time for salsa and clubbing too.... all in the name of health!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Freshest film...

This clip was only recorded last week! (Thanks Manda for bringing it to my attention!)

This is the first i have seen my new entrance dance on film.. and already i am picking it apart... hmm roll on monday- i am going to be doing some new things in there i think!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

a week at home...

This past week has been very strange for me. I am used to my Cairo life being packed with too many things to do... and this week has been the opposite.

We have too many dancers working at the pharoah boats just now... so with 5 dancers ( Me, Outi, Maya, Mona and Magda) that means we each only get 12-13 nights work a MONTH. Which is NOT enough to live on. hmmm. not great. Thankfully usually when this happens i can suppliment things by teaching (which I have done a little of this week) and renting out my spare rooms ( although this week was an empty house week too). Why do we have so many dancers?... business. If the boat emplys numerous dancers... if one of us were to be sick, travel or throw a diva tantrum, then they still have enough dancers to work. It makes business sense, I know. It's just hard when there isn't much work outside of the boat. Although its tough I shouldn't complain. i have also had times over the last 4 years when there were only 2 dancers working on the pharoahs which meant work EVERY night... and that is even tougher, especially if you get injured!

so i have had 5 days without 'work'...(with some assumptions!)

Day 1 without work was great...i caught up with 3 close girlfriends and had lovely quality time. Including an interesting and informative stretching session with a girl trained in ballet. She got me almost into the splits!!! was so impressed with myself! (this assumes that for a dancer stetching isn't 'work'?)

Day 2 was THE productive day. i had over 200 outstanding emails, some from as far back as early 2009!!!! I managed to get that list in one day down to less than 10. Also did a costume shop visit (always good, although often expensive!). The evening was spent as the day started... emails... (this assumes emails, mainly about dance from dancers, isn't work?)

Day 3 and spending the majority of the time at home alone is beginning to get to me. I get depressed if left to my own devices for too long, I think its about having too much time to think! Anyway... I was moping about then said to myself- STOP, snap out of it... how can i make myself happy again....? so i went to my studio and put my 'happy mood' playlist on the ipod up to full volume and washed dishes, scrubbed kitchen cupboards, emptied the through everything into it cupboards in the living room and sorted things out for throwing out etc etc  i even made a to do list and ticked some things off! It is amazing the power of happy music (mine includes Mr Boombastic!). I decided that i should keep up this energy level and went into the studio with a view to doing some stretches and thought- why not do an arabic lesson at the same time... THAT was my big mistake. I was lying on my mat, doing a glut stretch, listening to the michael thomas arabic course... and my knee hit the floor! I had fallen asleep mid stretch!!!!!! oops my energy had stopped. I planned to go out salsa dancing... but then i ordered Pizza... and that put an end to any form of movement as the evenings activety, so i slumped in front of the TV, which people who know me know is NOT a good sign! (this assumes stretching, arabic study and sorting bellydance photo cd's from music cd's isn't work?)

Day 4 i had a reason to get up... a class to teach. Yippee! I enjoyed it so much i continued for about an hour in the studio choreographing a dance for her next class! Then I tried to debug my plants on the balcony. They have mealyworm. Or at least thats the closest thing i could find online that looks like them. Internet said to dab them with rubbing alcohol and they would fall off. So i put some whiskey in a spray bottle and blasted them. ( it didn't in the end work, but it was a very bizarre experience, some from my country would say sacreligious!). Oh and I got a long outstanding job done. I have bought many lamps in my time here. i love them! But the wiring is not exactly what you would call safe, or often effective! So I gave 2 lamps to the bowab so he could take them somewhere to fix.. and within a couple of hours they were back with me- working. hurrah- success- tick off that list! Go out dancing... i could have... i had invites... but no- i sat in front of the TV, again. (this assumes teaching and making my spare rooms presentable to dancers who want to rent them isnt work?)

Day 5 my prayers were answered in the form of work. I was called into the Nile Maxim to cover a lunchtime sail. It was fun, despite having a new tabal and singer... i just loved being back doing what i am here to do!Plus , on the Maxim the program is different so i got to do almost a full hours show, rather than just 2x 15min sets as is usual on the pharoah. That was great. I felt awful though when i got an old man up to dance, cos he was dancing about by his table anyway.. he took the stick off me, and proceeded to try and dance... except he was really old and not steady on his feet and in trying to impress/imitate me he landed on the floor. It must have really hurt becuase the stage there is marble, not wood and it is hard enough on the soles of my feet, so i can only imagine what landing full onto it must have felt like. Anyway, there were no broken bones and he was still smiling at the show by the end of the sail. Thank god! (this assumes work that isn't my contracted work , isn;t work?)

Then- wow- paragraph 2- this was a busy day! I asked the bowab about a small glass top table, because i needed new glass for it. Within an hour a boy had come to measure it, phoned in to his boss with sizes and got price quote, gone, collected 'made to measure' glass, with bevelled edges, and returned it to me. all within an hour. In a country where it can take days to do easy things, somethings that you would think should take longer just happen. i can't believe i had been putting it off for years- literally! The glass broke in an interesting manner. The coffee table was beside a window. usually the shutter is left closed. The cleaner left it open. The sun shone through the window, magnifying as it did so, the beam of light hit the glass topped table and the until then perfect glass, cracked. One long wavy line of a crack that made a heck of a noise as it grew! So now, that shutter stays shut! That was nearly 4 years ago!

para 3- life is beginning to look up! - friends came over. A girl from Ireland and her Egyptian 'husband'. They are travelling  to hers for christmas and we spent a while going over the extensive list of everything you need to supply the British embassy with in order to get a visa. What a nightmare! With a UK passport i have to admit I have always taken it completely for granted that you want to travel, you buy your ticket, and you go. Often just buying a visa on arrival, if you need one at all! For egyptians to travel, especially to UK or USA, the requirements are massive, even with a letter of invitation! Oh and then we went out to eat mandy. No- not a person !!! Mandy is a yemen dish with basmati rice and sultanas toped with the meat of your choice, we had very fatty lamb- I will try chicken next time. Very tasty too- and the shop is walking distance from my place. Although the poor man in the shop got into an awful tiz when i wanted to take the number for deliveries finally admitting that no one in the shop could speak english so he was worried how could they take my order? when i told him not to worry it would be ok, in arabic, his relief and surprised smile were evident!

a good day.

Day 6 is today and I have all sorts of exciting things lined up for tonight and plans made with people i can't let down, so finally i will be 'doing something' with my time 'off work! The day started earlier than I would have liked since my cleaner insists on starting her day at 8am. Usually this involves me opening the door with my eyes still closed, then going straight back to bed and waking only to pay her before she leaves. Bliss. Today i had to play the ogre and go round the house with her pointing out all the things she hadn't been doing right, or at all, and that took 20 mins. It's a job i knew I had to doo for weeks, lets be accurate, months, but i could never bring myself to tell a grown woman how to clean a glass, or a window. so I had been ignoring the probelm and hoping she would improve on her own. In fact, she got worse, sloppier and sloppier. It seems that unless you are tough, and that means delivering a warning with not hit of smile or even what a brit would consider manners, is the only thing that works. I hate it.

So now i am wide awake, have done my emials, and this blog and its not even 10am. Hmm- how to fill my day.....?

- i will go and see a circus performance (by someone who contacted me through my blog- ie work)
- then interview and my life here as a foreign dancer (ie work)
- then watch a film a friend bellydancing (ie work)
- then go out to some cabaret bars to watch lots of dancers (ie work)

amazing how little of my life isn't 'work'.... but also how much 'work' i love!!!!!!!!  I'd just like to make the point. Most 'normal' jobs you leave behind you when you leave your office, shop whatever. Your work seldom consumes EVERYTHING in your life.

When you are an artist, and in particular when you are self employed and have to promote yourself, then 'work' never stops. You don't want it to stop. It becomes you. Without bellydance my whole world would be completely different. I hope I never have to know just how different.

My 'boring' , 'work-free' week... hope it's been interesting for you!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

food and drink in Cairo

Sayeda Studio: Glimpses of Egypt II. - Food and drinks: "You cannot miss the amazing juices, the most delicious fruits and vegetables once in Egypt, and of course the spices and meals egyptians mak..."

If you are hungry and not near food you should not look at the photos in this blog entry by Zsofia, a dear friend of mine, who used to live here in cairo..... if you like to tease yourself- go on- look!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lorna Gow at Saqarah 14 August 2010 Part 4

Me dancing serit el hob... a favourite Om Kalthoum song, unfortunalty a short verison of it... since it was my favourite thing of the whole performance. followed by a tabla solo with medhat... who did well considering since we haven't ever worked together before! This was my favourite set of the night... and since its a bit longer than the other clips takes longer to view... but I think its the best of the 4. Thanks to the Saqarah girls for putting this online for me.

Lorna Gow at Saqarah 14 August 2010 Part 3

The bulk of this video i didn't have a clue about- the band knew a different version of it than me.... but my favourite bit is near the end... when i start playing about with the tabla a little... a tiny but fun tabla solo.

Blogging from sharm...

3 days with no work on the boat... so why not jump a bus up to Sharm el Sheik and chill out by a pool? The bus is less than 100lle each way and can take anything between 5 and a half hours to 8 hours to arrive. Unfortunately on this occasion it took closer to 8.

That’s what i have been doing - and its fabulous. Reading, listening to music, watching videos of dancers such as samia gamal, mona el said and zizi Mustapha that I’d downloaded from youtube in anticipation of doing some dance research by the pool! Have also really enjoyed stretching in the pool... it feels like I can take most stretches that bit further when the water is supporting me.... or maybe that is because i am stretching when i am relaxed... rather than waiting until something hurts and then stretching to try and fix it!!

What i really didn’t expect to be doing is ... wait for it.... ice skating.

YES... ICE-SKATING in Egypt!!! In Soho Square, Sharm. It cost 90le each, and you can stay as long as you like.

I can honestly say it’s probably over 15 years since i last put my feet into a pair of those uncomfortable boots and gave myself the challenge of staying upright, made even more urgent since i was dressed to go out clubbing. That is to say- if I had fallen, the tan I’d been working on during the day would have been removed completely!! The adrenadline rush was stronger than a sharm cocktail and kept me warm despite the chilly temperature of the arena. When I was there, the only other person on the ice was a tiny Russian girl who was doing full one legged spins, jumps etc etc.... as if I didn’t feel stupid enough in my clubbing gear nervously sliding my way around the edge. But, after a while i was hands free and almost in the middle too. No spins for me though- not intentional ones anyway! It was great fun. Facing the fear and doing it anyway! So if you are going out in sharm for a night out, i recommend packing a pair of socks in your handbag and hitting the ice (not literally!), and i strongly recommend doing it before you go to the bars and before all the little Russian girls show you up!!!!

If skating is a bit too much for you... then the other thing I did that night was 10 pin bowling. Also in soho square. It’s 40le per player per game. And again the socks in the handbag were useful since you have to wear the shoes they provide! My first throw was great... then my tendonitis in my shoulder reminded me it was there and my game went downhill rapidly from then on. That is my excuse anyway, and I’m sticking to it!! A great night!

In fact, I can’t rave about soho square enough... they have lots of lovely fountains (and a dancing one- lights and water moving to music- its great!) and statues and bars and shops and cafes and an outdoor show complete with a bellydancer and tannoura. It’s all new, and not cheap, but it is a different sharm experience than wandering around Naama bay, especially if you spend it trying to keep your pins upright and then trying to make sure the other pins don’t stay upright, as I did!!!

That is all for this blog since i am typing by the pool and the sun is moving round to my area, which would make the screen to difficult to read. Yes of course i could move out of the sun, and yes of course i am only writing this to make you jealous sitting reading my blog from your office chair or wherever you happen to be just now!!!

Lorna Gow at Saqarah 14 August 2010 Part 2

The oud takasim here was completely improvised, by that i mean that I didn't even know they were going to put it into the set!!! I enjoyed it though!

Lorna Gow at Saqarah 14 August 2010 Part 1

Here's some new recently uploaded videos of my show in London in Ramadan....

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Belly Dance in Nile Cruise, Egypt

Yet another vidoe of my old entrance dance..... and yet another Eman Zaki costume!

me in my 'magnoona' costume!!

Edella alla keyfek. Love this song... adn love dancing it in this costume - another fun Eman Zaki creation! I only just found this clip today... didn't know it was up there- wonder how many other vidoe's of me are online that I don't know about!!!!

My 1st dance at Saqarah, Aug 2010

I just love this costume by Eman Zaki. It's so fun!

My second dance at Saqarah, Aug 2010

MyThis was complete improvisation... since they (the band) seemed to know a completely different version of the song than i did!

My drum solo at Saqarah, Aug 2010

Thanks to Rana for putting these video's on youtube!!! It was a fun night and I enjoyed dancing with the Nile band- although it was my 1st time!