Sunday, June 05, 2011

Performances Performances

Yesterdays blog was intended to be something completely different... about positive experiences i have had here in Cairo recently... I am not really sure where the 'men' issue came from ... well- thats a lie isnt' it (stopping herself writing!).... obviously it is all around me and constant therefore had to spill out somehow! This blog really is my therapy at times! So now I'll write the blog that was intended for yesterday.....

On Friday night I attended Linda Cleary's 'Up on the Roof' open mic night at Darb 1718. It's a monthly event and this was the second month i had been able to attend. Darb has been very impressively proactive and used the money they have made from donations from the event towards making the venue bigger and better- there is now more roof on on the roof.... and yet again was packed to overflowing!

The acts included some I had seen before, and some new artists. One of my favourites of the night was a young girl who had written a poem to her 'baby girl'. All about what this unborn baby's life would potentially hold in store for her. What that baby girl's brown eyes would see. It was very interesting and beautifully written. In fact, I'd love to read it.

It was interesting to watch artists develop their performance. There was one comedian who i had seen perform at the open mic night held at The Pharoahs and he performed the same set, but much improved. There is something special about witnessing that .. like watching a work in progress... seeing what was kept, what was cut... I liked. The next open mic at The Pharoahs is June 7th. 7-10pm. Their facebook page is!/event.php?eid=188691417847114

A favourite of the open mics nights (and indeed the organiser of the one at Pharoahs) is Habib. His poetry and rapping is alway professional and entertaining.. but on friday he did some freestyling too and i loved it. It was like the performance volume and tempo had been turned up high. I hope he does more of that at future events. Improvisation for me is always so impressive whatever art form it takes.

The strangest thing throughout the night was trying to focus on acts... while the Adhan (call to prayer) was loudly calling from a nearby mosque. It's a performers and organisers nightmare i would imagine! When you hear the Adhan you are supposed to switch off all noise that could interfere with people hearing it... so usually people will mute the TV or radio when they hear it. Taxi drivers usually switch off their music or instantly change the radio station so you can hear yet another version of it being called at the same time. My heart went out to the girl reading her poem when it called... you could see her internal struggle- the show must go on... or do i stop and wait... or what, what should i do? It wouldn't have been as much of an issue if we'd been inside... but on the roof it was loud and clear. Mind you- the car horns and other city noises dont stop to make way for the art either. Hmmm, An interesting dilemma that events organisers in most countries in the world don't have to take into consideration! Indeed... Since the time of the sail of  The Pharoahs boats (where I work) is fixed... I guess there are often times while i will be performing through the Ahdan, but we can't hear it on the boat so I have never had to consider this issue before.

I enjoyed my performance on the Golden Pharoah last night. It was interesting for me to see the influence the Randa course i did last week, has had on my dancing already. I never want to dance like someone else, and although Randa has always been an inspiration for me i often get the comment- yes but you make her moves your own. Which is all i can hope to do really with any of the dance, since its all been learnt from someone! On stage,  I felt my sharp moves were sharper, stronger. Also there was more big use of space both in movement and in my own body shapes. I had more confidence facing the audience and saying - This is Me. I enjoyed it. (don't think my Tabal did... he had got 'used' to me and was having to work hard to keep up!). Glad i am working fro the next 3 nights to explore these changes more and looking forward to dancing for a group of friends who are coming to the show tonight!

And must give this a mention... My friend Ellie is going to be performing on tuesday night at Villa 55, Maadi! (

So far, thankfully for her, it seems it is easier as a foreigner to break into the singing world here than it is to be a dancer. Although why i am surprised by that I don't know since i can't imagine anything that would be harder (I'll never forget that first year for me in Cairo!). I am really happy for her and fingers crossed this is that start of a fabulous career for her in Cairo.

I wonder if there are any other UK artists currently, regularly performing in Cairo...?  I think we might be the only 2 ?!

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