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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:

After a little bit of stress about where we would perform (NOT the cobbles!) and worry about whether or not the weather would hold, things turned out marvellously! Nice paving stones for the dancers to perform on and nice sunny weather (though there was a bit of wind). I wasn’t ‘together’ enough to remember to bring my camera, but Susanna of Habiba Dance has very kindly allowed me to use her (beautiful) pictures from the event.

There were some technical difficulties right at the start of the event, which plagued the beginning of the youth choir, but got ironed out and the kids sung their hearts out. It was very cute. Following them were Susan Tonner’s ‘Twisted Tails’ tribal group:

(Picture courtesy of Susanne, Habiba Dance)

There were loads of them, all beautifully and lushly dressed, all co-ordinated. What I love about tribal is its strength and dignity and this performance had that in spades. Well done ladies!

Next up was a band described as “Samba Fusion” – it comprised of bagpipes, electric guitarists, singers and young people playing drums. Really interesting sounds, and I was particularly happy when they put out a version of a Proclaimers song (I have a soft spot for the Proclaimers, what can I say?). Following them were another band, fronted by the cousin of one of my students (such a small world!). They were raising money for LGBT Youth Scotland, and man that singer could wail! He had a brilliant voice and the rest of the band were equally talented. My attention started to dwindle however, not because of any lack of talent from these guys, but because my girls were up next…

They performed beautifully – I was so proud; their first public performance! Susanna captured them below just after they’d finished all together with Elspeth’s class – you can see some of the performers still in their final pose. Although the theme colours of the event were red, I had my girls in blue to differentiate them from Elspeth’s dancers. They made their tassel/fringe belts themselves and either made or customised their own tops too. What talented ladies they are, in many fields!

(Picture courtesy of Susanne, Habiba Dance)

Next up were Hilary Thacker’s students, performing a veil dance. The wind had picked up by this point, but they managed admirably, veils held for much of the time in a ‘backwards butterfly’ position which coped well with the wind. The tie-dye silk looks really nice fluttering in the breeze. Following on their heels were local troupe Zahirah, who’d managed to put a choreography together despite not actually being able to practice together (the wonders of modern technology!) and despite injury. Last on were the Helwa Hurdies, dancing their lovely flamenco-inspired piece. It’s one I’ve seen before but I was happy to see it again, it was beautiful and strong and a great note to end the bellydancing on. And here’s some footage Elspeth took of the dancing:

After the Hurdies performed the balloons were released. Check out the expression on the kids faces:

(Picture courtesy of Susanne, Habiba Dance)

It was a great night, lots of community spirit (in spite of one bothersome/attention seeking kid) and lots of local talent!

…and you know, I think the next time I’ll be seeing live bellydance performances will be at the Mussleburgh Hafla, July 1st. Hope you can make it too!

It seems like we’re entering hafla season! Thursday just past was the Edinburgh University’s hafla and now Caroline Rose tells me that she’ll be having a hafla in the Pleasance Cabaret Bar on Feb 27th – which, I think, would be a fabulous end to a day of workshops thatI’m throwing as part of Festival of the Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace (there are more details and the ability to book my workshops on my website and there is, of course, info on the Edinburgh Bellydance Calendar – see links at the top of the blog page).  I’ll add more details to this on Caroline’s hafla when I have them.

[EDIT 2/2/10: I’ve heard on the grapevine that Caroline might be shifting the date of this hafla to March. Will update when I know more.]

AND… the weekend after that there’s a hafla at the Inchture Hotel in Perthshire on March 6th.  There’s event details on facebook here and a facebook group for the hafla here and it has it’s own website here!  This hafla raises money for Talking2Minds  (http://www.talking2minds.co.uk) a charity that works with people who have Post Traumatic Stress disorder.  Tickets cost £8.

And for your viewing pleasure here are some videos from the University hafla last week:

Habiba Dance

Hannah

Tigerlily

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