Friday, July 26, 2013

Where is home?

The answer is of course, home is where the heart is. 

The problem with that is that I must therefore have multiple homes! I am sitting on train leaving Edinburgh. I have a salad and glass of wine from marks and spencers in front of me. The sun is shining. I am comfortable on the train the train to Derby (via Newcastle) is, so far, on time. My family are all there, in Edinburgh,  and I have friends who are so dear to me there that whenever we meet, even if it has literally been 5 years since we last chatted,  feel like we saw each other the week before. These are the friends that are like family. I am so lucky to have such a big family/friendfamily! 

I wish I could have seen everyone I care about in Edinburgh during my short visit but it just wasn't possible. What was amazing was having some quality time with my sister and nephew. A 2 day trip that I just know will become a regular event and be just what memories are made of. To watch him learn how to play draughts, tie his shoe laces, and skim stones across the surface of the loch. I feel so lucky to be part of it all. I just wish I could be more often. Mind you, nothing stopping us sending emails to each other I guess... He is 7 and a half now after all! 

So, I'm on the train, heading towards Derby to teach two workshops there tomorrow. 'How to dance with an Egyptian accent' and 'Lorna's cairo style'. I am sitting here wondering what it is that makes my dance Cairo style, or indeed how Cairo has changed my style. The only Brit to be currently working in Cairo as a dancer and the 1st ever Scot. 

Cairo hasn't changed my dance, it has changed me, and that in turn has changed how I dance.

One of the wonderful things about Egyptian culture is the importance of people. Friends call you daily, just to see how you are and say hi.  A phone call beats a text and a visit, no matter how short, beats a call, and a meal together tops everything. It's all about people. About the interaction. About caring.

I feel hellishly guilty that I didn't have the time to see everyone I wanted to see in Edinburgh, but I really loved the exchanges I had. A few friends said, you know , when your time is pressured, we understand, and you don't have to see us.. Which I know is their way of stressing me out less, but the thing is , in that way, I really have become Egyptian. I want to see everyone. I want to spend quality time and touch base. I want to jump past the pleasantries and get deep into the heart felt issues of life. To connect fully. To evaluate the changes, and what has remained the same, in my life and in my friends ( and families) lives. 

When I started to learn dance, I took to it very quickly because I was one of the lucky ones that picked up quick. My body could watch and copy and it felt good. I always tried hard so my audience would be impressed with my moves, with my dance, with my body and the way it could move. 

Now its different. now it is about who i am, not what i have or what it can do. When I dance now, I am aware that what I am doing is, 'this is me, the good stuff, and the bad, and I am offering it all up to you, my audience in hope that you will 'get' me', interact with me, maybe even show me a bit of you too ( not literally!!!!) 

When I watch dancers more and more I look at their faces when they dance. Trying to get inside their head, how they think and how they feel. It's not just about how they move and what steps they know or tricks they can do. Those things are not important. Not to me anyway. 

I think this is exactly what I love about Bellydance. The 'realness'' and honesty. When I see that in a dancer, I feel drawn to watch more and more. 

So how has Cairo changed me? I think it has made me more aware of who 'I' actually am, and given me the freedom to be me on stage. So for those coming to my 'Lorna cairo style' workshops over the next 2 weekend in Derby, Oxford and Pencoed, you have been warned. Yes I will bombard you with technique, move after move in fact, But I will also be looking for you to explore 'you' in the dance! There- you have been warned! See YOU there! 

So, where is home? Home is inside you.... In every place where you have people, who care and that you love and wherever you are free to dance. That's home for me. I am looking forward to teaching at 'home' tomorrow in Derby, and then 'home' in Oxford and 'home' in Pencoed, not to mention 'home' in London for all those private classes I have lined up, and as for Cairo , my actual home, ... I just pray it's in one piece for me to dance there too, very soon...! 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Traveling North, and back in time!

Yesterday was a looong but varied day. I had to get up at 5.30 to get a train and tube to Kings cross then then catch my 8am train up to Hartlepool. I have never taught n Hartlepool before and to be perfectly honest wasn't sure where it even was til I looked on the map for it! Just 40 minutes drive from Newcastle is the answer, on the coast. 

Vanessa, my workshop host for the day met me at the train station and took me to the venue which was a huge space, perfect for a saidi workshop! There wasn't mirrors but to be honest sometimes I find the atmosphere of a class is better without mirrors. People focus on the music and feeling there own bodies move more, rather than looking at what they look like. Mirrors always make for better technical dancers, but no mirrors often makes for more natural 'real' dancers, I find. Obviously a mix of the two is the preferred option! 

A lot of the girls in the workshop had come through from Newcastle for the day and I t was lovely to see a few familiar faces and meet some new ones too. The level of dance was very high and I had to adapt some of the things I had thought to teach to stretch the students further. Thank god I don't actually teach to a strict lesson plan or choreography, otherwise that would have floored me! 

We had fun and I am looking forward to seeing many of the girls again when I go back to teach in Newcastle the week before JoY festival in October this year. 

The show at night was an intimate affair, on a boat to make it feel home from home for me. A lovely venue and a more than lovely audience. I had a pleasant surprise to find that a friend who is not involved in the dance world ( yes I do have a few of those!) and who lives in Newcastle has come through with her husband to see the show too. It is amazing when you meet someone from the 'past' and the years all just melt away isn't it?! 

At the night, before I danced I gave a talk about life in Cairo, which could last the entire night in itself, but always seems to focus on politics. I still have to pinch myself when I find myself getting passionate about Egypt's politics, before living there I would have been the first to change the subject if people started Talking about governments. Now it is me initiating the conversation! Egypt has changed me. Living in a different country, especially one going through the changes Egypt has in the last 3 years,  has made me question all. The things I took for granted. Little things; police and traffic wardens on the streets, religious beliefs being a private personal thing, people taking responsibility for their own actions, people having control over what happens in their own lives, the BBC news being unbiased by any political agenda. I don't think I even thought about or questioned these things before. I guess I was naive. When I gave my talk last night, and talked about mainly politics, I realized that I take for granted to a degree the glam and glitter of life as a bellydancer, and the excitement of life as an expat in Cairo. What I think about and focus on more than anything is Egypt's situation and future. Not even just as it affects me, but overall. If someone was to ask me if I had any interests or hobbies other than dance I would have to answer Egyptian politics. Now there is something I never would have imagined in my life! Funny how things turn out isn't it?

I went back to Newcastle with my friend after the show rather than staying of in Hartlepool, and. We talked til 2am. "Remember 'so and so' -  they have 2 kids now, oh and 'so and so' got married, and remember when we went to Mambo club, and cavendish and century 2000 and then bought kebabs on the walk home in bare feet because our shoes where killing us from dancing all night?". 

It was an evening of thinking about the past and how life was. I feel like a different person now, and yet, not. ( I still often end up eating a kebab at the end of a long night dancing!).  My life could have gone in a multitude of different ways, and despite some of the more challenging events, not least living in Cairo through two, yes two, revolutions, I really am glad to be who I am doing what I do. 

I guess that is all any of us can ask for. Regrets, I have a few. Everyone does. Usually things I didn't do rather than things I did. But everything that has happened has made me who I am. For better or worse. 

How many cliches can I write in one paragraph? Seemingly a lot! 

I need to stop all this thinking, I'm beginning to sound like an 80 year old! (aye... when I were a lass...!)  
 Anyway, thanks for reading this far and sorry that this has been a bit of a brain dump. I'm on the train heading to Edinburgh to have a week of seeing family and friends and more reminders of how life used to be and comparing it to how it is now. What I can never, ever imagine though is how it will be in the future. I can never even put into words how I would like it to be or what would be my dream life. I am too busy just being in the now. Which I believe is the 'best' place to be,  but somehow doesn't stop me worrying about everything either!

Being in the now is how I teach and how I dance too. 

It might not always be perfect, in fact it might never be 'perfect', but it is always honest. Over sensitive, over emotional, constantly aiming to connect with others, me.

Thankfully, some people seem to like that.

Who are you when you dance? 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Summer scorcher

I had just about finished a huge blog entry on my iPad, sitting in Richmond park, London in the sun. However, the pad overheated and deleted everything I had done. 

So the long and short of it is....

It's HOT.

And I am not in Cairo. 

It is an amazing feeling to be able to sit in a park. Dressed for the weather, and not get a shred of hassle.

Almost as amazing as watching the deer wander around me. 

Last weekends workshops in Kent and Cambridge went really well. I enjoyed them. I had some really positive feedback too. The one I liked best, was that my workshops do for dance what charity is supposed to do for poverty;

You know the saying "it is better to teach a man to fish than to give him a fish"? Well, my philosophy in teaching dance is all about empowering a dancer to be able to interpret the music herself and put her own dance together. Not to rely on someone else's choreography or steps. It was so wonderful to hear that one of my students used exactly this expression to describe my teaching style. I was chuffed to bits. it meant my message was getting across! It is a little foolish of me perhaps- teaching students how to do it all without relying on a teacher. To have her own style and not imitating her teacher. I guess if i continue with this I could eventually put myself out of a job! I just know that by then, I will surrounded by fabulous dancers who can entertain me! Bring it on. 

Tomorrow I am heading up to Hartlepool to do some more 'enabling'. I am looking forward to it. A new city for me to teach in and meet new people in. The venue I will be performing in is a boat, so it will be home from home from the Pharaohs in Cairo! 

Then I'm off to Edinburgh, the homelands, to do a week of family and friends catch up which I am already panicking about now because I am sure I won't get the time to see everyone I want to! 

Then it's down to Derby and Oxford. 

A busy 10 days ahead.....

But great..

Before I lie back and snooze in the sunshine I have to add that one of the most beautiful things I have done this week has been 3 sessions of skill swops. 

This week I have had a massage (thanks Sophie Ball), an Iraqi dance lesson (thanks Shahla) and a yoga lesson (thanks Hannah), all in return for a private class each. It has felt such a lovely way to do business. Ok, so I don't have the actual money coming in... But I receive a lot in its place and it made for a very positive, caring, sharing atmosphere for the whole week. I've gone a bit hippy haven't I? It's true though... I enjoyed teaching those classes so much. A very different vibe! Of course, I am always grateful for the cash paying students too. I have to be able to top up my Oyster card somehow! Now- I wonder what I should ask the universe next for in return for a private class..... Ok 'asking the universe' for stuff is too new agey for me. I'll rewrite that .... 

I wonder what I should next write on Facebook that would like in return for a private class! 

That's more real! Any ideas? Open to suggestions..... (Keep it clean!!!) :-) 

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Lorna's UK Summer tour 2013 (and heads up for next autumn and spring too!!)

It has come round to that time of year again. Ramadan will be starting next week, and therefore all Bellydance in Cairo will be stopping for the month. The perfect time of year therefore for an extended trip back 'home' to UK!

Except that this trip I won't actually be 'home' very often (if you consider home as being in Edinburgh, Scotland where my family and friends are) but I will be largely based in London. This is because I will be performing and teaching workshops throughout England and Wales. Some of these are already fully booked, but there are still places on a few too.... here's my dates for your information... !

Quick summary;
Friday 12th July – Kent show
Saturday 13th July – Kent workshops
Saturday 13th July – Cambridge show
Sunday 14th July – Cambridge workshops
Saturday 20th July – Hartlepool workshops and show
Saturday 27th July – Derby workshops
Sunday 28th July – Oxford workshops
Saturday 3rd August – Pencoed workshops and show
Various dates between 10th July – 5th Aug – London private classes

(You may want to scroll down to the bottom of this blog entry to discover UK dates for autumn 2013 and spring 2014 too!!!)

More details for each of summer dates;

KENT  - Friday 12th July
Set Meal and Performance with Lorna. £21 per head
Seale Restaurant 78 High Street Chatham Kent ME4 4DS.
Meal will include Meze Starter, Choice of Lamb or Chicken Brochetter with salad & rice . Baklava or Ice cream plus coffee of tea. Vegetarian option Aubergine Mousakka or Imambayildi (Aubergine dishes) refer to Seale Website for description. Unfortunately we cannot include drink this time !!!
There is plenty of parking (pay parking) 2 mins from the restaurant in Medway Street
Lorna will dance and also give a small talk about the situation for dancers in Egypt just now in these interesting times!

ALSO KENT- Saturday 13th July
2 Workshops
Sorry- it seems the Kent dinner and workhops are both fully booked. If you would like to be on a waiting list, or know about future Kent dance event please contact Ann on or Or Tel 07763549255

Saturday 13th July - Performance at Emma's farewell Hafla
Sunday 14th July - workshops 
For complete details and to book please go to website

HARTLEPOOL -Saturday 20th July
Horsley Buildings, Darlington Street, Headland, Hartlepool, TS24 0QL
12-2.00pm Musical Interpretation with emphasis on arms & upper body not just hips!!
2.30-4.30pm Swing your Saidi stick with style!!

Both Workshops are Intermediate Level. Workshop price £23each,  there is also a Discount price for both workshops £40

ALSO- Saturday 20th July - An evening with Lorna of Cairo 
Wingfield Castle Boat at Maritime Experience (& there's ample parking)
6-9pm, Tickets are £17 and includes a Buffet :)
a dance performance and also a talk about life in Cairo now as a bellydancer. 
to book tickets for workshops and/or performance please contact Vanessa on

DERBY -Saturday 27th July
659-661 London Road, AlvastonDE24 8UQ Derby
Workshop 1- 11am-1pm- Lorna's Cairo Style
Workshop 2- 1.30-3.30pm - Egyptian Accents
Price for one workshop - £28.
To book send chq payable to D Green to the studio address above.
Or visit to pay on line.

OXFORD -Sunday 28th July
Pegasus Theatre, Magdalen Road, Oxford
workshop1-  1-3pm Lornas Cairo Modern Style
workshop2- 3.30-5.30pm Organic dance - How to move between moves to create a seamless performance
Book workshops online at 

WALES (PENCOED) - Saturday 3rd August,
Pencoed Miners Welfare Hall, Pencoed, Bridgend, UK CF35 5P
Workshop 1: 1pm - 3pm  Technique- Lorna’s Cairo style; Adapting your steps to fit different music styles
Workshop 2: 3.30pm - 5.30pm  The different ‘Baladi’ Styles with focus on musical interpretation and putting emotion into your dance.

Both workshops have been designed to complement others that have been hosted in the area, so they should prove a really valuable addition to your current knowledge.
Single Workshop £25, both workshops £48

ALSO on Saturday 3rd August - HOT HOT HOT Charity Hafla with Lorna of Cairo;
(same venue as workshops)

Lorna OfCairo features, and the lovely Mehira  amongst other beautiful and talented ladies!! Grab your dance slots asap!   AND! we may even have a fire performer!  ..and if he's not too shy .. The Little Daemon, Gary "Kung"
Arabic disco featuring DJ Poopdog, who proved very popular with his "Jewels" in previous years

There will be a variety of fabulous stalls, including Hipsynch Bazaar! and Everything Egyptian! 
Tickets  £10, and £11 on the door. 1 free ticket for group leaders, for groups of 6 or more

The main charity we are supporting this year is the National Autistic Society, Bridgend and District branch. Raffle procedes will go to the Bettws Boys and Girls Club. And maybe even "Stroke" the box will be let out!!

Pencoed is just off the M4, between Cardiff and Swansea. The venue has comfortable changing facilites and high ceilings, so no issues with wings!

To book workshops and/or halfa tickets please contact - or book via website:

LONDON - No London workhop this time around however I am offering Private classes at very reasonable rates! email me if you are interested. The dates I may be available on are as follows. (Generally daytime is best- but occasional evenings from these dates could be made available too... ) If my last trips to London were anything to go by these dates get booked up fast- so if you are interested please contact me asap to ensure you don’t miss out!

Thurs 11th July
Tues 16th July
Wed 17th July
Thurs 18th July
Fri 19th July
Mon 29th  July
Tues 30th July
Wed 31st July
Thurs 1st Aug
Fri 2nd Aug

 So check those dates in your London diary and see if any of them are any good for you and let me know!

And thats all for now folks with the Ramadan tour... looking forward to seeing you over the Summer.
I will be back in Cairo by 7th August, so if I don’t see you in UK in the summer perhaps I will see you there!

Failing that – I will be back in the UK in October too!

Newcastle 5th/6th Oct 2013
JoY festival 11th-13th Oct 2013

Details of Newcastle weekend will follow in a separate blog entry nearer the time and JoY website is

..... if that is not enough.... the next dates I have booked up for UK in Spring are in March 2014 where I will be teaching in Battle, East Sussex at BOTH these weekends!

Shimmy by the Sea festival - 21st- 24th March 2014
Shimmy by the Sea festival - 28th- 31st March 2014

... and that is more than enough for now! 

see you soon! x

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Update from Cairo

Hello friends... Just a wee blog to let everyone know that despite the way it looks on your tv screen, Cairo is almost running as usual... Away from the protest areas at least. I am safe at home and avoiding these areas!! Last night I saw Ellie singing and Camelia dancing on the Nile Maxim. So despite being directly opposite the clashes by maspero and October bridge which are no doubt on international tv, bellydancing was going on just across the water. It was very surreal! The show must go on !!! 

I'm frustrated cos I have so much to do before I travel to uk on Tuesday. Of course i am also worried for the future of my chosen country and for the people being hurt and killed because they are staying up for the Egypt they want. We just have to wait and see. Huge demos are scheduled agin for tomorrow. Anything can happen. 

A couple of videos for you if you want to understand what is going on in Egypt a little bit better...  I love these and think they hit the nail on the head in a way not many foreign news agencies have been able to! Enjoy. 

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

A Coup or not a coup. That is the question...!

So today at 4.30, the army deadline that they gave to Morsi to 'ship up or ship off' was met. Morsi made it very clear he had no intention of leaving of his own choice. Seems he feels it is preferable to die than to lose face or risk ruining the reputation of the Muslim Brotherhood. He says he is protecting 'democracy' but with millions in the streets screaming at him to leave it seems democracy has gone wrong...

He disappointed many people by refusing to make concessions or to step down.. They see him as being more committed to the brotherhood than to Egypt.

The army have now stepped into Cairo streets. There are tanks all around. 

Until announcements are actually made by the army and opposition leaders, hopefully today, we will not actually know if this is an actual military coup or not, but most think not.  Most feel that the people spoke and when Morsi showed he wasn't going to listen, so the army showed that they did.

I am home with my friend Ellie, writing songs about the situation and passing the time. Making our feelings heard without actually going into the streets, which are not safe right now for women especially foreign women. The song Ellie (of London) put on YouTube yesterday 'ar7al ya Morsi' has gone viral within the last 24 hours - it's seems she hit a cord with the Egyptian people! Yalla ya Ellie!

Her 'ar7al Ya Morsi' link is

and breaking... her newest song- just being pubished NOW on youtube-


So it's a night at home for us this evening. Avoiding the streets and hoping things pan out without any more blood shed. Which seems unlikely, but one can always hope. 

Wishing all the best for Egypt and its people, for us all... seemingly the army will make a statement after an hour- so perhaps all will be clearer then!


ok- so before the hour was up the announcement was made.............. NOT a coup- but a restart. new constitution to be made up, new elections- democracy will rule... but done right this time with a public that is more politically aware and parties who actually know how the game Should be played. I am optimistic. And those that know me well know that is not my character!

so happy and relieved and proud of the country. You fought, you won, it got taken over, you fought again and you won again!!! It restores my faith in humanity and all those fairy tales you hear as a child- that good will always win over bad.........

the streets outside my door are ablaze with fireworks.......... people are celebrating- a peaceful revolution- AGAIN. 2 within 3 years- is that not a record???

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Performing through a(nother) revolution!

Last night I performed on the Nile Pharoah boat. I had seriously thought that the sail would be cancelled due to the continuing huge protests across the country- but no, enough people had booked, so the show would go on! 

My audience were part Egyptian, part Arab tourists and 3 other tables of 'western' tourists ( Italian, Australian and another table that was perhaps french but I didn't speak to them so am not sure!!!) 

Said audience was on fire. They were cheering loudly and clapping before I even got to the stage. I couldn't have done a bad show if I tried! The long table of Egyptians by the stage were mainly female, all wearing higab and were literally screaming at times during my show. Ironically, especially when I did anything a little more sexy within my dance than the usual. They were young and full of fire and fun. Like women the world over.  I am glad they were there. When was speaking to the Australian couple after they were commenting how it had opened their eyes to the complexities of the culture that encourages women to cover up yet at the same time hugely enjoys watching Bellydance. I love seeing people's minds open up; When they understand that everything is not black and white as usually reported but has more shades of grey than could never been written about. 

The boat had two decks of customers. The top deck however was a wedding who had chosen not to have a Bellydance show. Bellydance being 'haram' (religiously forbidden) in their eyes. Well, the world would be boring if everyone was the same, and I try to take such information on board without taking it personally, but when one of the ladies from the wedding wanted to use my changing room to pray in, while I was getting ready to perform , wellI am sorry, no. I did politely tell her it wasn't possible, that she could go upstairs perhaps. I am 'haram'? yet it's ok for you to pray next to me while I change? I don't think so! Have principles by all means, but stick to them!!! 

Anyway, back to the show. I love dancing in front of people who know what the dance is about... At me point during my tabla solo the Egyptian girls started to sing Nancy Agram's song lyrics, 'Bose Bose Bose' so I stopped dancing looked at them as if I was addressing an errant classroom and asked 'morse, morsi, morse.....'? As innocently as possible. The entire place erupted in laughs and applause. Next during the same solo, I overheard someone in the crowd comparing me favorably to fifi abdo which inspired me to do her famous 'opa' chest lift move.... Again- the crowd went nuts. I felt ten feet tall. 

After I finished my show the 'western band' performed, although almost 100% Egyptian songs. The last song was 'habibi ya masr' and again the guests and the staff went nuts. The cutest image was a tiny boy, under 2 years ago wandering around the feet of the singer waving his Egyptian flag wildly. I have to admit swelling with pride towards my chosen homeland. The strength and determinations overall good humor of the Egyptian people make life here a dream come true. Not always an easy life and never predictable, but always rewarding (emotionally that is!!) 

Thank you Egypt. I feel grateful I have lived here nearly 8 years now and am so included in your celebrations and joy. I wish you well, always.