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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…)

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Edinburgh has an impressive array of bellydance teachers and performers.  We’ve got less than half the population of Glasgow yet manage to support at least twice as many classes (probably more from what I can gather) and our own high street bellydance shop (Hilary’s Bazaar, see my previous post for more info).  We can claim a former teacher, Lorna Gow, who now makes her living in Cairo working as a bellydancer (if you’re interested, her blog gives an fascinating insight into her life and experiences over there). We have an annual bellydance competition, the Pyramid Awards, that draws challengers from far and wide. I think it’s fair to say we’re punching above our weight.

I’m gonna take a moment here to run through the teachers & classes I know about (and if I miss you out please let me know and I’ll happily add you in!).

  • Caroline Evans – Beginners, Improvers & Intermediates at Dancebase
  • Fereshteh – Classes to start in Jan 2010 but as yet no details.
  • Fiona Grossart – “Mature Movers” bellydance classes, also at Dancebase
  • Susanna aka Habiba Dance – Traditional Egyptian Dance, periodic classes and workshops at the Salisbury Centre
  • Lorne McCall – Intermediates & Advanced classes. Raqs Sharki style at Dance for All.
  • Lesley Skeates/Susan Tonner – Beginners and Intermediate American Tribal Style classes at Drummond High School.  You can find class details is in the pdf booklet here, but not on the website for some reason (thanks to Jane for this info!).
  • Hilary Thacker – Beginners & Intermediates classes . Classic Egyptian style in the Forest Cafe, South Leith Parish Church & the Glasite Meeting house.  She also teaches frame drumming workshops.
  • University of Edinburgh African & Arabic Society – the teachers change from year to year but they offer Beginners & Improvers classes as well as various workshops.
  • There are some bellydance classes on the City of Edinburgh Council ‘Adult Education’ programme for 2010, as well as a couple of workshops, though I don’t know who the teachers are.
  • And, of course, yours truly 🙂

I have and do wonder why bellydance is so much more popular here than in Glasgow.  There are socio-economic differences between Glasgow and Edinburgh – Edinburgh has more wealth, less crime and longer average life expectancy than Glasgow, while Glasgow is more “trendy” (more shops, clubs etc).  Maybe it’s just as simple as you need money to pay for classes… maybe it’s to do with mindsets, with folk in Edinburgh being more willing to get into the holistic/wellness activities that bellydance falls under, maybe there’s something else I’m missing.

Whatever it is, I’m glad to be a part of the rich scene that we have here in Edinburgh.

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