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My friend Elspeth has written up an excellent summary of the many, many bellydance events that are coming up next month in and around Edinburgh – go have a read if you’ve not seen it already:

http://swishandhips.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/november-fun.html

Ever since I’ve started my most recent academic studies, I’ve had a drastically reduced amount of time available for my various non-study related things (work, dance, socialising, etc). As part of that I gave up bellydance teaching, I have seen my friends a lot less and have not really had the time to keep the Edinburgh Bellydance Calendar up to date. Given that it’s a bit of a ghost site, I’ve removed the link for it from my blog and website now, as the more sharp-eyed of you may have noticed.

Proving that nature abhors a vacuum, the wonderfully enthusiastic (and generally wonderful) Pheonyx Dance created a facebook group and now a new website, Bellydancing Buddies, and a new online google calendar, as a repository for information about what bellydance classes and events are on throughout Scotland. I fully encourage you to get your classes and events listed there.

Well done Pheonyx, and thank you!

Edinburgh has a great many Egyptian or Egyptian-esque bellydance teachers; next weekend we will be treated to something a bit different, a bit special… Artemis Mourat, a world expert on Turkish bellydance, is coming to town.  She’ll be teaching three workshops, and there’ll be a hafla – see the flier below for more details, and also see the events on Facebook.

You may have read Tamsyn’s blog post (that had a lot of input from Artemis) about  Turkish and Egyptian dance – if not I recommend it.  I also recommend having a look at the clips below – they’re both of Artemis dancing, the first is from her DVD, the 2nd is a recent performance from Tribal Fest (and watch right to the end – she finishes with something very impressive!)

 

 

I do a spot of graphic design, from time to time.  Here’s my latest, a promotional poster for the Leith Festival Hafla:

 

I’m gutted I can’t be there (an inescapable, long-standing commitment…) but I hope that YOU can all be there, and that you take lots of pictures and video clips so I can enjoy it afterwards!

As I mentioned earlier, we were spoilt for choice on International Bellydance Day.  Habiba Dance went to the hafla in Glasgow and has a few, lovely pictures of some of the performers, as well as a video of her own performance up on her blog.  I went to the Leith hafla (which raised £100 for Shakti) camera in hand, and was thoroughly entertained. Despite the event being cut short Martina managed to squeeze all the performers in.

And beyond? Well next month we have two haflas to look forward to in Edinburgh/East Lothian:

– A Bit of Cairo on Duke Street: Leith Bellydancers Hafla on Tuesday 14 June, 7.30pm-10.30pm, at  The Parlour Bar, Duke Street, Leith.  This is running as part of the Leith Festival and has… free entry!  

The annual Musselburgh Hafla on Thursday 30 June, 7.30pm – 11pm, at the Musselburgh Rugby Club, Stoneyhill Farm Road, Musselburgh.  Tickets for this will be £5 with the proceeds going to charity.

Elspeth SwishandHips is organising both events – if you’d like to perform do get in touch with her: swishandhips at hotmail.co.uk

Now I did say I had brought my camera to the Leith International Bellydance Day hafla… Here are just a few pictures from the night to give you a taste.

Below is the lovely Constantina (who we won’t have here for much longer – we found out at the hafla that she’ll be moving back to Greece shortly!)

The elegant and polished Natalie!

And the hhhhorrible Elspeth – topping off the show with a Sha’abi piece:

This Saturday, May 14th, is the 5th annual World Bellydance Day, an event conceived of by Lydia Tzigane in 2007. It encourages charitable events worldwide, on the 2nd Saturday in May, that act as a reminder that belly dance can be a family-friendly* art form.

In Central Scotland we have two charity haflas on that date – one in Leith in part support of Shakti Women’s Aid (organised by Martina) and one in Glasgow in support of the Marine Conservation Society (organised by Sarasvati Tribal).

The Leith event is from 19:30 – 23:00 at South Leith Parish Church Halls (6 Henderson Street, Edinburgh, Scotland, EH6 6BS). The theme is International with performers

encouraged to represent a country with music, colours and costuming. There may even be a live band and stalls.

To purchase tickets in advance send cheques to Martina Kyriazi at 79 Hawk Brae Livingston EH54 6GF, £10 for non-dancers and £5 for dancers. Ticket price includes some nibbles and soft drinks and a BYOB charge. The facebook event can be found at: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=192060964164082

The Glasgow event is from 7.30pm at La Bodega, Dance With Attitude (1120 South Street, Glasgow G14 0AP). The theme is Marine with all styles are welcome and encouraged. There will be a prize raffle (proceeds to MCS).

To purchase tickets in advance you can pay using Paypal or cheques – more info at http://www.sarasvatitribal.co.uk/mcs.htm (tickets cost £7 and all profits will be going to help MCS continue their work protecting our seas, shores and wildlife). The facebook event can be found at http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=202545746441029

There’s been a bit of disappointment about these events clashing, particularly because they both look fantastic. To help prevent this sort of thing happening in future I’ve created a Bellydance Scotland public Google Calendar to track bellydance events (but not classes) – I don’t plan to keep this updated all by myself; I think it would work better as a communal activity (and I don’t have the time to do it all myself). To that end I’m looking for anyone who wants to contribute to this by adding your events or events in your area to get in touch with me so I can add you as editors of this Calendar. I’d also encourage you all to look at, and use, the Bellydance Scotland Facebook Group.

So, whatever you choose to do this Saturday I hope you have a good World Bellydance Day – in Central Scotland, at least, you’re spoiled for choice!

(* I feel a blog post brewing about this issue…)

I’m pretty excited about the up and coming workshops and hafla with Samantha Emanuel (was Hasthorpe), the only British member of the Bellydance SuperStars.  AND I just learned that one slot has opened up for the masterclass that she’s teaching – so if you’re interested you’d better be quick off the mark – http://www.bordersarabicdance.org/

Here’s Sam in action – enjoy!

As some of you may know American tribal-fusion performer Sherri Wheatley will be visiting Peebles and Glasgow teaching workshops and performing at hafla’s in both venues. Borders Arabic Dance is hosting the first of three workshops (“Combos and Transitions”) next Thursday (July 22nd) afternoon and that evening there will be a hafla with a wide variety of performers. Saravati Tribal are playing host to workshops two and three (“Layering Fundamentals” and “Polished Performance”) in Glasgow on Saturday and Sunday (July 24th & 25th) with their hafla on Saturday evening. Visit the links for more info and to book.

From what I understand a big part of the reason we’re getting to have Sherri over is thanks to Tigerlily who met her on a bellydance trip to South Africa. Well done Tigerlily, and thanks to the lovely ladies of Borders Arabic Dance and Saravati for getting these workshops and haflas together!

Something I noticed in the promotional material for these events is that Sherri also goes by the title “Cherchez La Femme”. This is a French expression literally translated as “look for/seek out the woman” and is typically used as a way of saying that the root of most problems involving a (straight) man is a woman. I’m not clear on how this connects with Sherri’s dance persona, maybe it’s more about the cadence of the phrase than it’s meaning, or perhaps it’s a modern reclaiming of the expression (I’ve noticed that there’s a feminist salon in Melbourne, Australia with this title). If I find out I’ll let you know – and if you know please share!

AND if you’d like to see Sherri perform before the hafla’s, well, that’s what YouTube is for 🙂 Enjoy:

As some of you might have noticed I was in the paper this weekend, this time in the Scotsman Magazine on Saturday. I only found out about it when a friend told me! I had been asked for a picture a while ago by the lovely people at Out of the Blue for something that might appear in the Scotsman, but that was the last I’d heard about it. I gave them one of the fantastic pictures Kaleidoscope Studios took of me and it ended up being used in an article about interesting fitness classes at the newly renovated Out of the Blue. The ironic thing about this is, of course, that I’ve now taken a break from teaching at that venue!

That said, even though the info isn’t quite right, I am at least still teaching some bellydance classes. The current term at the Yoga Room finishes on June 9th (next Wed) and the next term (and my last term teaching for a while!) begins June 30th, preceded by a beginner’s workshop on Sunday June 20th. Online booking is open! (I’ve just realised my new term starts the day before the Musselburgh Hafla – which I’ll be dancing at! See the Facebook event page for more information on this charity hafla.)

This happens to be the second time I’ve been in a paper doing bellydance stuff. This time, although I wasn’t attributed, I like the picture much better 🙂

I performed at a hafla for the first time ever at the very same hafla that I helped organise, also for the first time ever.  I certainly don’t do things by halves…

Performing for other bellydancers was, in my head, far scarier than performing for a more general audience.  They’ll know if you make a mistake for a start!  They know all the moves, so impressing them is harder! But, as I’ve found with a lot of things in life, the reality wasn’t much like the fantasy at all.  Perhaps because many of the crowd know how hard it can be to perform they are more understanding than a regular audience.  Perhaps because they love the dance already they are more receptive to its performance. It certainly helps that they know to make noise and show appreciation.

So, despite pulling my quad part way through my performance and messing up that bit (I was slowly sinking down whilst doing vertical 8’s with my hips), I feel really good about it.  It went well and many people have since given me a lot of positive feedback.  Even the singer & songwriter of the music I performed to, Karine Polwart, approves 🙂

Below I’ve included some photos of the performance and a video of it as well.

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