Friday, March 09, 2012

rebel with a shimmy

It is amazing the things that have hit me as different about being in UK compared to Cairo.

Obviously there is the fast pace of life, which i wrote about in my previous blog entry.

and then there is the freedom to be able to dance in public... without fear... if you want to.

speaking to people you dont know.... having a joke with the man in the shop without fear of it leading to a difficult situation.

today on the train i was writing up some notes for my bellydance workshops in Manchester tomorrow and Glasgow on sunday, and I tried at 1st to hide the writing form the man sitting next to me. Until i realised i didnt have to. Same goes when i then watched from youtube clips on my ipod... It felt like i was really rebelling and being naughty!!! That is how much Cairo has got under my skin!!!

I love living in Egypt. I love dancing in Egypt.

But I have always hated the social stigma attached to dance which means i can't be totally honest to people about what i do. Strangers are told i teach when they ask my occupation!

I guess, if i ever move back to UK (not that i am planning it in the near future!!Inshallah!) then the ability to hold my head up high and be proud of the life I live again and not be judged negatively for it will be the silver lining to the cloud of leaving Cairo! Hopefully that day is a long way away!

In the meantime, i am going to shimmy myself silly tonight at the Taste of Cairo night in Manchester. I don't know if they are ready for me or not.... i am feeling in a bit of a crazy mood!!

I'm off to dance and spread some of that crazy rebellious joy!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Hailstones and Hurry!

I am sitting here in Scotland writing this as the hailstones beat against the window. It’s very strange since the sun is shining at the same time. It took me quite by surprise! I am ok with it as long as it dries up by the time I have to head out of here to go and see a cuban band performing tonight. I have a hard life!

Just now it is also a fairly busy life! I have a list as long as my arm of things that need doing... some fairly urgently; like planning the workshop content for the 4 workshops this weekend in Manchester and in Glasgow and getting the papers together for my 2 month late tax return!

You want something done- ask a busy person. I seem to achieve so much when i am most time pushed. A lot of my life in Cairo I am working on gas mark 2, say... and of course 6 when i am on stage. Here in UK I feel often like the pot is bubbling over and the gas won’t turn off. Some of that is due to the fact that i have a limited time here to see everyone and do everything,  before i head back to Egypt. Some of it I think is just the way people live in the UK. There is a lot of pressure on achieving all you can achieve. Have the perfect home, job, family, looks, social life- oh and do that all at the same time- there is no room for any signs of ‘weakness’!!!

No wonder stress related illness is so huge. In Egypt there is massive poverty, and traffic and pollution certainly can stress people out too, even before you begin to discuss the political issues over the last year. However, people there seem to have more time, or make more time, to rest and see their friends and family in . For all the many things that I could pick out as problematic in that society, I have to say that we in the west, certainly in Britain, could learn a few things about prioritising people.

It is the same in dance. It is very, very easy to get caught up in politics of it all, the techniques and ‘execution’ of the dance but sometimes this unfortunately takes priority over emotion and interaction with the people you are dancing for. It is worth remembering that dance is a form of entertainment!

Bellydance, in my opinion, should be about your feelings and interpretation of the music and when performing, about how you put that information across to your audience. Don’t lose sight of the people element of dance. When you tackle dance as a project (and I am not suggesting that discipline and hard work don’t make you a better dancer, they definitely do!) but there is always a risk that you forget why you are dancing- because you love it. It makes you happy!!!

Take some lessons from Egyptians (and I don’t just mean in learning the latest step patterns) .... put your love into your dance and spread that love to the people you care about. That includes your audience!!!  Spread the happiness!!!

These are the places I intend to spread some of my happiness (as it were...) over the next two weeks here in the UK.....

Manchester- Friday 9th - performance,   Saturday 10th- 2 workshops.

 (contact Tracey for info and booking  )

Glasgow- Sunday 11th NADA AGM. 2 workshops and a talk

(contact Sarah  )

Edinburgh- Tuesday 13th Performance (only a few places left- to book and for more info contact Elspeth  )

Edinburgh – Saturday 17th- workshops (to book contact Elspeth  )

Dance and be happy!