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I taught five hours of workshops on Saturday as part of the Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace festival. I held them in the McDonald Road Library, a venue I’d never used before, but it was pretty nice. The floor was carpeted which wouldn’t be ideal for everything, but for what we were doing it was fine – a Mums & Daughter’s bellydance taster lesson and two Zaar workshops that I entitled “Wellness and Energy Through Ancient Rhythm and Movements!”

I had a really good time! The last time I did a big workshop day I was completely exhausted afterwards, so I was a little concerned that I’d be feeling the same way after this, which wasn’t ideal as I’d planned to go out for a family dinner afterwards… but I wasn’t! As I left the library after packing up from the last workshop I was buzzing, full of energy and positivity. The time went so quickly – the Mums & Daughter’s one especially – it was like I blinked and half the lesson had gone by.

One of my intermediate students explained to me that our perception of time is linked to our serotonin levels, hence explaining that time really does seem to speed up when we’re having fun!

I’ve led a Zaar workshop before, and I used feedback both from the myself and the participants to help me develop the format. I’m much happier and more confident about how I run it now. One of the changes I made was to allow for more input from the participants, which opened up a wealth of knowledge and experience in both sessions on Saturday. It was fascinating for me to hear from the others there and (I hope) interesting and possibly enlightening for the other ‘students’ to hear from one another.

Another change I made for this workshop day was to leave out a journal for people to leave any written comments they felt moved to share. Verbal feedback is wonderful and something I really appreciate, but my memory isn’t perfect and over time much of what’s said to me fades. Having things written down is so helpful in combating that issue for me. Happily the feedback left written for me was all positive, which apart from making me feel validated in the changes I made also motivates me to organise more workshops. So… watch this space!

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As part of the festival of Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace that Neill Walker is organising in Edinburgh, there are a few events coming up that will feature live bellydancers.

The first is a concert, on this Saturday (Feb 6th), is a fund-raiser for the festival.  It costs £12/£10 (concessions) and is on in the Roxy Art House, doors at 6pm.  Full details, including where to get tickets can be found here.  Performing at this are local bellydancers, Constantina and Sheikha.

Here’s the most recent clip of Constantina’s dancing I can find (I can’t find any for Sheikha):

The next event is a ‘Safa’ which is a Turkish word meaning “party / entertainment / pleasure”. This one is on on Wednesday the 24th of February at Empires Cafe on 24 St Mary’s Street.  The dancers aren’t named as of yet, there’s more information about the event here (though you need to scroll down).

After this is a concert by (the only) local Turkish band, Joombush/Cümbüş on Sunday the 28th of February.  It costs £10/£8 (concessions) and is on at the St. Bride’s Centre on Dalry Road. More details can be found on the facebook event listing here.  Performing at this are local bellydancers Kardelen, Tigerlily and the group Paravana (comprised of Raquel Alvarez and Jeanette Hunter).  Aside from Tigerlily’s video’s (and I’ve already posted some of those in earlier blog posts here and here) I can’t find any of Kardelen or Paravana.  I can’t find any public photos of them either.

You can find details of all these events in the Edinburgh Bellydance Calendar and if you know of any other local live bellydancing performance events please tell me and I’ll add them in!

So it seems today has been my motivated day (which I’m sure has nothing at all to do with distracting myself from my boy’s absence…).

I did a bunch of domestic chores earlier, visited family and then came home and fixed my website (some of my paypal buttons and my links weren’t working properly!), added in info about & the ability to book the workshops I’m running as part of the MESP festival.  I’m also working on the facebook event pages for the 3 workshops.  The Zaar one is up already!

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