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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 don’t know about you, but I’m really looking forward to the Shimmy by the Shore event this Sunday… and I’ve got some wonderful old school music to perform to that’s getting me excited! I love the spontaneity of Elspeth’s plans for this event – turn up with your music, and dance if you want to. Fantastic!

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!

…and what a treat you have in store for you – not one bellydance performance, not two bellydance performances but a whole heap of them!

After a local choir kicks things off at the “Red Leith” event at 7.30pm you will be entertained by the ‘Twisted Tails’ tribal bellydance group. THEN after some upbeat Samba fusion and more music some of the other Leith Bellydancers will be up to entertain you around about 9pm. Students from Elsepth’s and my own class will be performing together, students of Hilary Thacker will be dancing as will local group Zahirah, and of course veteran performers, the Helwa Hurdies!

So come along and make some noise for the Leith Bellydancers! Friday, 7.30pm, Malmaison at the Shore – be there or be square 😉

Come along to the piazza outside Malmaison at The Shore next Friday (June 11th) for the “Red Leith” event which kicks off the Leith Festival. There will be a whole bunch of community performances, including a few by Leith Bellydancers. Students from Elsepth’s and my own class will be performing, as will other local bellydancers. And… it’s all free – so come along for a couple of hours and be entertained!

And if you’re not sure where Malmaison is, here’s some help courtesy of Google Maps (‘A’ marks the spot).

See you there!

EDIT:  This event’s gotten a mention in the Evening News!

The annual Leith Festival will run from the 11th to the 20th of June.

The brochure for all the events in the festival was launched on Tuesday and I was there, with an outfit and choreography created to fit their themes of ‘red’, ‘edgy’ and ‘alternative’. With that in mind I performed a gothic/tribal inspired piece with spooky choral music followed by Emily Autumn in a red & black costume.

It was a very mixed crowd with a wide range of ages and backgrounds. I was hopeful – but in no way certain – that they would get behind such an alternative performance. But they did! And I was even asked later if I’d had ribs removed 🙂

I missed the live music and magic show, but did manage to catch a bit of the banter of the comedian, Susan Morrison (who was hilarious in regular conversation too, and a really, really lovely person). Proving what a small world this is, the DJ turned out to be the step-son of a friend of mine and the festival volunteer press officer is a colleague!

…And if you’re free next Thursday (May 13th) there’s a ‘Vintage Fashion Show’ fundraiser for the Leith Festival at Ocean Terminal. Tickets are £5/£10 (normal/access all areas). There will be fashions from Vi Nouveau, We Love Pumpkin, Kinloch Anderson and a variety of charity shops. There’s also going to be upcycled & recycled arts and crafts stalls and live music.

And finally (and totally off topic) if you’re in the UK, eligible, and haven’t done so already please remember to go vote today.

Looking after yourself is incredibly important in general but particularly in professional endeavours where you give a lot of yourself (teaching, counselling, dancing are the three that I am most familiar with).  It’s important to remember, if this doesn’t come naturally to you (as it is with me) that if you don’t take care of yourself you will be of much less use to others – be you helping, teaching or entertaining them.  Even outside of professional endeavours I find that I am typically more tolerant, kind to others and fun to be around when I have been kind to myself.

And in this vein I class regular massage as part of my self-care.  It provides both a form of physical therapy for my body and another kind of ‘therapy’ for me.  I would urge you to try massage, if you haven’t already.  There are many different types with a back, neck and shoulder massage being an excellent type of massage to try out.

I tend to opt for full body massages when I get the chance, which is just what I did today.  A new beauty spa called Inner (city) Sanctum has opened up on Leith Walk.  I like supporting local business where practical and really wanted a massage, so I decided to give it a try.  I was not disappointed. Read the rest of this entry »

Having been a graphic & web designer is incredibly handy when it comes to making the various promotional things that are important for my bellydance teaching and performing.  I design and maintain my own website and I make my own posters, fliers and booklets.  And today, for the 1st time, I’ve made pretty vouchers for my beginners’ workshop on Jan 17th!

I’ve been meaning to make these up for a couple of weeks now (in case you’re wondering, the idea behind having vouchers is to make it nicer for those people who are buying them as gifts for their friends, relatives, etc) but this is the first time I’ve had the time to both physically design them and have the creative “mind-space” to do so. Hurrah!

I also updated my website, stripping out the 2009 class & workshop details and adding in a link to this blog.  I also removed my much beloved front-page swirl because, pretty as it was, it obscured some of the important links there.  Goodbye swirl, hello clear design!

Now I think I’ll go have a well earned break and investigate the Out of the Blue Xmas Arts Market.  It’s on today and Sat & Sunday next weekend, 11am-7pm for only 80p entrance fee!

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