Monday, February 21, 2011

Lorna performing and teaching in Edinburgh March 2011

I have my passport now... thankfully the Mogamma (goverment offices) opened in time to retrieve it before I fly bada bokra (day after tomorrow).

so my time in Edinburgh will be sorting out my flat... seeing family and friends... and dancing (of course!).

Private classes- contact me on emial to book yours asap! Evening and weekend slots available at the moment but not for long! (bellylorna

Performance night- Thursday 3rd March, Eh15 (Jewel & Esk College) 3 course dinner plus 3 wonderful dancers (myself included hehe) and a fabulous tabla player. will be a great night. to book contact;

Workshops- Saturday 5th March,

The Club, Jewel & Esk College, Edinburgh.
Both workshops open level - there will be something for everyone, but please, no complete beginners.
12.00 - 2.15: Multiple Moves to one piece of music
Always feel like you do the same moves over and over? Never again after this workshop!

2.45 - 5.00: Lorna Style - get that Egyptian feeling

Each workshop costs £25, or book both for £45.
To book, please send cheques made payable to LORNA GOW DANCE to Elspeth Alexandra at 32 Claremont Road, Edinburgh EH6 7NH. For enquiries and questions, please contact
So- thats my 'holiday' plans...... hope to see you and dance with you over the coming weeks!!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Back to work...

I was so excited yesterday when i got a call to say I would be working tonight. Yippee- Life is switched back on!

So I danced my entrance piece.. and then Enta Omri (for me the ultimate romantic song) wearing the pink heart costume from Pharonics. Then i wore my egyptian flag costume and danced on to a collection of we love Egypt songs... The audience went nuts- in a good way. The staff were all singing along and clapping... and guests ALL wanted their photo taken with me .. it was a really nice vibe. Finally i felt I was in my place in this country. I have been feeling a little strange the last few weeks. Supporting the protesters... and never wanting to, but always aware that if things got really bad i was the lucky one who could fly out, whereas the Egyptian people would have to stay no matter what. Tonight, singing the song, dancing the song and giving my love of dance and Egypt to my audience, i felt my feet on the ground ( OK we were on the boat- but you know what i mean!!!) I even got my technician to film it... but he didn't know you couldn't turn the camera on its side- so not sure if I'll be able to use the film at all...

Then the bubble was burst. After i finished the sail, all the while guests asking where i was from and congratulating me etc.. i was told that someone had complained and that i wasn't allowed to wear that costume or dance those songs again. I was gutted. Seemed that one man in the audience, his brother had been injured in the revolution and he found it offensive that someone should bellydance on that music (ya helwa baladi). I feel for him, and all the families of people who were injured or killed in the revolution- that goes without saying. I am in awe of them actually for being prepared to fight so hard for their country. However, i think this is wrong and i intend to put my point across to the management, because i feel that one mans opinion should not determine my set. If he doesn't like bellydance (and lets face it if he's saying that then he probably doesn't approve of bellydance full stop) then why on a cruise with dancing? If he is so upset about his brother, why out for a cruise instead of being with him? and the biggest question... if this really is a new Democratic Egypt- does not then the Majority rule??? The majoirty LOVED it.

anyway- thats tomorrows battle. I'll keep you posted.

The best bit about the whole thing- I danced tonight, on the Nile... Lorna is BACK and Egypt is recovering!!!

Thank god.

Recent newspaper clippings...

So I have been interviewed by Scottish Sun and Sunday Post. So far only Sunday post and Scottish
Herald have published ( and the Herald didn't even speak to me??!)


Sunday Post- (click on photo to make it readable!)

Sunday post did say they were doing another feature on me yesterday- but it didn't go in... ah well.... I was A-list for a little while !!! (Come on Sun... where's your article or is Egypt 'old' news now?  )

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Egypts revolution from my balcony... but not in my words...

... as written up by Dominique, a house guest (Canadian but lives in Holland) who stayed with  me throughout the majority of the 18 days. I am only sad she wasn't here with me to see the end and party with me! Since she has written up out joint experiences through these days so well... please please read her blog... since through her eyes you'll see what both she and I, and many others went through during this time!

 here's an extract;

Inside , the smell of ordinary Egyptian cooking fills the air, a fragrant symbol of Egypt’s simple people and extraordinary hospitality.

Outside the smoke rising on the eve of an extraordinary Egyptian revolution reminding us of Egypt’s complicated politics and ordinary people’s frustrations.

There is never smoke without a fire .

“ Mafeesh mushkilla “ “ No problem “

You will not hear on the streets today from the mouths of the normally extremely polite cairenes .

There is a problem and people want to be heard .

CNN announces that the police has been asked to withdraw from the streets .. From our vantage point on the balcony of our building on a quiet street in Mohandiseen street we still hear the sound of the crowd. Gunshots have subsided.

Mubarak has now appeared on TV and as his speech finishes we hear the crowd almost instantly roaring its disapproval. The volume is up again.

To read on- and Dominique did a wonderful job writing every day as things progressed to you get a good sense of the progression of it all... plus many photos.... some of which got us into some trouble!!!.... check her blog...

Friday, February 11, 2011


the party will go on all night no doubt here in Egypt... its an amazing sight. I've been speaking with friends who went down to tahrir and are just full of the love there. This photo is from Egypts Daily News. sums it up really.....

all round Egypt now people who are not out celebrating the 1st time the country is to have democracy in 8000 years... are at home wondering how it will actually work. It's so hard for people to imagine how it could and might and will (inshallah) be... they have never experienced this before! Many are worried about the army. They have never had to govern and guide people before and the fear of some is that they may be heavy handed.

however, most people are leaving tomorrow, til tomorrow. When asked about what next they just answer- now the people will decide...

Even the news reporter on local Nile TV just now can't keep the big grin off her face as she announces what is going on around Egypt now...

party on Egypt- you've earned it!

The sounds of gunfire...

I was on msn to a friend and writing an email (to a journalist in UK actually) when all the gunshot started...

at 1st i wrote 'I can hear gunfire... the people are not happy'...

 then my computer started going crazy with incoming emails....
checking facebook- he's gone.... no surely? running to the computer.... he's resigned..... its real!!!
Mubarak has left. The people won.

The streets of Mohandiseen (the area I live) is resounding with gunfire... from shotguns to machine guns!!!. But thank god they are celebrating... not out to harm! So much for this being a 'pro-mubarak area' thats not what the street sounds i am hearing say at all!!!!

Everyone keeps calling or writing and saying 'go party'.... i wish I could... i already cried when i hear the speech saying he resigned.... but I am home alone.... and not brave enough to risk the streets alone. It would just be horrific to have this much love and pride in the Egyptian people and be groped in the street or something.... or worse to feel so overwhelmed that the people had finally been heard... and then get shot in celebratory fire.... nope- i am a coward- i'm staying in.....

I can't believe it has finally happened... and i have no idea what this will mean for the future of Egypt- but surely it cant be worse... ?!! I can only imagine how proud people in Tahrir now must feel... they took a huge risk, they gambled their lives , maybe unfortunaly lost theirs... but that risk has paid off for the majority, they were listened too, their demands were met. God be with those who died in this 2 week revolution......... if they hadn't stood their ground none of this would have happened..... RIP.

I only pray that this newly found voice of Egypt can now be wise and continue to be strong in what are going to be interesting and trying times ahead......

Mabrook ya Masr!

Coming home from home...


Edinburgh is my home... and Cairo is my home. I love them both and have many things and people that i love in both places.

Very soon I'l be returning to UK for a holiday... it was planned a long time ago and was only intended to be a couple of weeks... but considering the current Cairo climate workwise (ie cufew every night means my work is closed indefinatly) I will be extending my stay. Not because i dont want to be in Cairo- but becuase I do...!! The main reason is that i need to earn some money! Somehow I have to be able to continue to pay rent in Cairo, mortgage in Edinburgh and eat (not to mention pay for the latest Eman Zaki creations!!!).

This is where you guys come in-

-calling all UK dancers.... I am home from 23rd feb (maybe earlier passport depending- ie i need to get one- mine is stuck in Cairos goverment offices!!) and as yet haven't booked my return flight.... but guessing around 15th march....maybe later Cairo politics depending....

 So i am planning a big Edinburgh show on the 3rd March (details below) and also workshops on 5th and 6th of March in Edinburgh and in Fife.

However, if you would like me to teach a workshop in your area end feb/ beginning of march please do get in touch!!!

I also plan to be teaching private classes over those weeks form my home in Portobello, Edinburgh... will send out a message re dates times to anyone who emials interest to me (bellylorna

Hope to see you all on the 3rd! Very excited to have 2 fabulous dancers also performing alongside, Dawn (of Scottish and Australian fame) and Eshta from London (of Saqarah fame!). Also the fantastic Rhythmic Ginger is warming up his rolls to keep up with my shimmys!!!! I will also be talking about my life in Cairo here over the years and specifically now over the last few weeks- living the revolution! I recommend booking your tickets NOW!!!

From Edinburgh to Cairo and back again:
An Evening of Bellydance featuring Lorna of Cairo

Location- EH15, Edinburgh (!/pages/Eh15-Restaurant-Bar/118547788218604 )

As part of the Middle Eastern Peace and Spirituality Festival 2011, an evening of food, drink, bellydance and cultural understanding.
Lorna has been working as a Bellydancer in Cairo since 1996. Join us for beautiful performances, and over dinner we'll be discussing Lorna's experiences of life in Egypt and how dance reflects the culture and traditions there.

Tickets £32 includes 3-course meal. Please send cheques, payable to E Alexandra, to 32 Claremont Road, Edinburgh EH6 7NH.
Contact Elspeth SwishandHips on 07748 183171 or
facebook event page:!/event.php?eid=185487681474401

Photos by the amazing Michèle Dillon

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mubarak to hand over power?

I just got a call from my singer to turn on the news...because he knows i am really worried about Egypt current economic situation and he wanted to tell me that all is going to be well and we will be working soon....

what inspired this hope from my band that we will be back working the Nile before too long?

... it seems there will be an announcement tonight to the people by Mubarak, to announce his handing over power to his vice president. His is in a meeting with Omar Soliman seemingly as I type this according to Nile TV.

I can barely dare to hope. I am so excited for the people if Egypt. So downtrodden for so long. All their lives in fact. The idea that if you want something enough and stand up for your rights then you will actually be listened to is a new idea to the people and can only mean progress. It is something I have always taken for granted in my own life. In UK we are in the envious position politically that it is rarely a matter of life or death which party is in power, just a matter of quality of life. Here in Egypt those my political eyes have really been opened... and I feel lucky i have never had to personally fight for basic human rights the way some have been fighting over the past few weeks. In faact, on a personal note... just to be able to type the Current (but maybe not for long) presidents name on my blog shows how Egypt has changed already. Before now i have always been too scared to write anything polical knowing that bloggers have been imprisoned wihtin recent years just for writing their views. Now i write without that fear. Too many people are proving in Tahrir Square that they also share them.

On the local news now they talk of the people in Port Said protesting and burning things by the police station there, because no one can afford to buy a flat... and 2500 apartments have just been made available to the people. Their demands are being met.

Currently also many new laws are being drawn up including laws that will mean that the parliment will be able to oust future presidents if the people demand or if they don't stick to their job remit, so that the current situation will never recurr.

It's an exciting night............

I wonder what will be the response from the people in Tahrir square when the announcement is made.....


I wonder what will happen to Mubaraks $70 billion?

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Tourists please come.... The sun is out...

the sky is blue,

and there are only a few clouds, and there are also still protesters in Tahrir square.

Some people are saying ' but its only the muslim brotherhood that are there now'... others, people i know, who have been there in the last couple of days say 'no... its everyone, doctors, lawyers, you name it'. i wouldn't know- i promised the people who worry about me that I would stay out of danger... so that means I am still avoiding tahrir......

although I did go to Khan el Khalili yesterday. The traffic there and back, with so many roads blocked off, was horrific, but once there it was so quiet.. and the vast majority of the shops were open. The really sad bit for me was seeing all the gold shops, open, but with not one gram of gold in the windows. It was all stolen that 1st friday.... and no customers.....

The only other foreigners we saw in the Khan, were a turkish film crew who interviewed me. Unfortunatly, non PR efficient Lorna managed to mourn the loss of the tourists without plugging the fact that i was a bellydancer here!!!

As we walked through the market, all i could hear was
 'Zaboon, Zaboon, fe Zaboon!'
customers, customers- there are customers!.... could taste the hope in their voices. While the recent events have no doubt made a very important, and neccesary impact on Egyptian politics, they have unfortunatly also made a massive negative impact on tourism. Most hotels now are completely empty. I spoke to a manager of the el hussain hotel in the khan who was telling me how his guests were saying 'no no, we'll stay...' but when the khan was raided and they heard gunshots, they packed and left the next day. Understandable... but probably more upsetting to local businesses than the looting in the first place. The police are back protecting the streets and things have really quietened down. 80% of Egypts income is from Tourism. Sharm and Luxor have been totally unaffected by the 'revolution' and are praying for visitors.... Now is probably the best time to go to Luxor if you want to see the temples without hoards of people in front of them, getting into your photos!!!

If you love Egypt and like me are impressed by the peoples strength in expressing their need  and right for a voice.... then please do what you can for those same people now... and book your holiday for this year..... i admit i wouldn't recommend this week,.... since we still have a curfew in place and Cairo really is a fabulous place to be at night.... but as soon as that becomes all clear again... come! Please.

Our jobs depend on you....

......and I have 3 spare rooms to rent out to any dancers wanting to come!!! even through the worst of the last 2 weeks, i have had dancers, from all over the world, staying with me in my house and we have managed to do a lot of private classes here in my studio... and I have had 4 other teachers come to the house to teach my guests too. For anyone want to do intensive dance training... there is nothing better than an imposed curfew that means your teacher can't leave the house!!!!

Funnily enough- with my last house guest leaving today...despite everything,  everyone of them said what a memorable, and enjoyable holiday they had had.....and that they would be back.... despite being indoors the majority of the time through a revolution! The friendships made through these events are friendships which will last.....Cairo still charms even in its most volitile moments...

Friday, February 04, 2011

Egyptian flag

facebook profile pages these days...... 

peaceful protests

Very pleased to be watching the images on TV of tahrir square today- what a massive difference from wednesday! I am with the rest of the world praying for a continued peaceful day.............

many people are asking me if I am coming home? NO.... not yet... I am due to return to UK on 23rd Feb anyway on holiday.... and since i have not felt my personal safety threatened, I am staying home for now. I currently have a house full of guests too- so we are keeping each other entertained and well fed. Thank you to all the lovely messages i have been getting since the internet came back up 2 days ago...please don't worry if you wrote and i haven't sent a personal reply yet... we have limited computers in the house and everyone wants online... i have to take my turn!

I'm looking forward to performing in Edinburgh on the 3rd March too. I also be talking a little there about my expereinces here, ( including ones i can't write about online) during this monumental political time in Egypt. To buy tickets or for more information contact Elspeth on and you can chekc out the facebook events page on!/event.php?eid=185487681474401

I am safe, well, staying home almost all the time and very far from Tahrir Square, where the majority of the violence has been. Occasionally I have even been able to dance... although often i have been too concerned for the fate of those protesting to be able to be in the right frame of mind for dance.

Heres hoping for more dance days in the near future!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

news from the ground... well... from the balcony....

i still haven't written up the last days........

and from my balcony you can hear the sounds of cheers and chants in support of Mubarak. It's loud. However, I am not near Tahrir....

.....and currently Egypt is more under stress than it has been all week.

Right now as I type, there are two seperate groups of people in medan tahrir... for and against mubarak... and they are fighting each other. The military have pulled back rather than fight their own people (ie both sides!).

I am very scared for the people fighting for their rights and their lives, right now, and over the next few days....

many people who originally protested for a govermental change last friday are now happy with Mubarak's speech last night... saying we've made our mark, change will come.... but others, especially families and friends of those who died in the protests... feel its not enough. There is also a massive fear that the people who have spoken out against Mubarak and who's faces have been captured by TV cameras, who's names have been lifted from facebook etc... the fear is that they will be punished somehow...... as they always have over the past 28years...

I hope the internet will stay up... and I will try to tell my experiences of it all as and when I can.

Tonight... we will be staying home, the curfew has been relax a little today- yesterday we had to be home by 2pm... today it is 5pm. And I have a couple of friends staying over, in addition to my four house guests, in order to celebrate the Chinese New Year... which is tonight... (since we have 3 chinese dancers in the house!)...

..... lets hope and pray that the fighting breaking out now, calms quickly..... with as few casualties as possible.

Internet access resumes in Cairo.

I have a house full of people ... and we just found up the internet is back up... and instead of chatting we are all sitting typing!!! Internet access was cut from friday 28th until today 2nd while Egypt has been exploring new grounds politically.

I will write up more stories of the last few days soon..... and photos to follow soon too....

In the meantime thank you for the support- i know I have been in the thoughts of many friends and readers around the world this last week.... and what a week!

Revolution in Cairo. My previously unpublished blog from friday 28th jan...

By the time I can publish this I am sure it will all be old news, but basically I need to write as a form of therapy for myself!

I have stayed at home most of today, ‘Friday of wrath’ as they are naming it on CNN.

I thought I would spend a lovely day dancing with my house guests here from Holland and China... keeping myself and them far from the riots and protests and potential dangers.

But the Chinese decided they wanted to risk and have a wander round the area, since it was their 1st day in Egypt. I warned them the areas to avoid and they left. From then on, Dominique (Holland) and I sat wondering what was happening and eventually decided to go for a look too.

We just walked to Medan Mustapha Mahmud and saw very little (this was about 1.30pm), then up Syria street. Walking into Berts Cafe we discovered they had al Aljazeera on and we sat to see the news. Then we realised the sounds of protests were coming from outside, not form the TV. It was a very small group of about 10 young men- shouting for freedom for Egypt. Obviously marching towards the town centre and trying to gather a crowd with them as they went.

When we got home (all safe and sound) we switched on CNN and began to realised the full extent of what was going on downtown. Then I discovered that I was still able to make landline calls, although unfortunately I know now only one landline number in Cairo. It’s shown me how much I rely on internet and mobile phone to contact everyone I know!

So, via a friend in Sharm I was able to pass on messages to my family that I was safe and avoiding the volatile areas.

Just now from my balcony I can smell and see smoke- I don’t know what is on fire, but I suspect it is something in the main street of gameat al-dowal al-arabiya.

I can also hear many gunshots.

I don’t know from who and if they are live shots or not, and since the internet is down then there is no news coverage from my area at all... and my bowab quite rightly refused to let me go to the main street to see. That makes it sound like I intended to- I didn’t! I went downstairs to ask him if he had heard what was happening two streets down from us. He said there were demonstrators and police and shots fired and that is was very dangerous, but that even he hadn’t gone there to look... and he thought this might last up to a week.

Watching CNN is my only link to the outside world just now... I will post this as soon as internet comes up again..... whenever that will be.

On a dance note- I have NO IDEA if the Nile group dance festival will go ahead from Monday as was planned. I have 4 house guests will me who were planning on attending and we have no idea what will happen.... so we might be dancing at home for a few days! I also have no idea if my boat, the Pharaohs will be working or not. From the TV footage today they were NOT working today- since the whole of the Nile seemed to have been covered by tear gas for most of the day. I guess tomorrow is another day... and we will just have to sit and wait and see. We did buy in enough food to survive a few days if need be!

How do I feel now? Well- my nails are bitten to the quick. I feel extreme sympathy for the protesters. I really hope it does somehow end in a fairer society. But from hour to hour things seem to change so it is so hard to guess. Especially when Mubarak hasn’t spoken to the press or people yet.

The people of Egypt just want basic human rights. I hope they get them....... without too many casualties in the process!