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The wonderful Sarasvati Tribal hosted workshops with Onça O’Leary, so you may already be familiar with her.  Onça is looking for funding and writes, “Please, help our Work Be Seen! Visibility is an essential element of resistance in the War against Women. Offering a stage and a classroom to the dancers, musicians, and circus folk we work with gives them a Voice for social change, hilarity, satire, and rebellious joy. An Uncensored Voice & Unhindered Vision can free the world.”

The money would go towards purchasing an eco-friendly, professional, portable lighting system.  If you want to read more about this fundraising campaign, and possibly help fund it you can read more on Indiegogo (Indiegogo seems to be similar to Kickstarter, except that even if the funding goal isn’t raised the campaign can keep the contributions that were offered)

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The Scottish Bellydance community is active! Between now and October we have…

Some of the Bellydance Superstars & local dancers performing on May 24th in Club Bellydance

Mardi Love performing and teaching September 15th & 16th

Aaaand Carolena Nericcio and Megha Gavin performing and teaching as Tribal Pura October 5-7th!

Click the pictures for more details & booking info.

Thank you to the organisers of all these events – thank you for working so hard to bring these wonderful events to Scotland.  You’re awesome!

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…)

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:

I’ve just finished making up an edited piece of music for a private performance I’ve got coming up.  I’m not, nor ever have been, a DJ, but I got pushed into figuring out how to make little edits to songs due to one I wanted to dance to a while ago that started just too abruptly, with a set of drum beats that I really wanted to ‘hit’.  There was no way I could ever manage that because I’d never know exactly when they would start – there was no lead in at all on the track and the thought of trying to figure out exactly when the DJ pressed ‘play’ was plainly ludicrous!

So I had a hunt around the internet and found Audacity, a free piece of software that you can use to edit music.  It had excellent reviews on CNET (always a good port of call to check out any software you’re thinking of getting!).  It took a bit of fiddling about with before I could do what I wanted to (which was copy a few introductory drum beats from another piece of music and paste them into the start of the track I wanted) but once I figured out what to do it was not that much harder than copying & pasting in something like Word – select the bits of the music you want, press ‘copy’, select where you want them to go and them press ‘paste’.  The hard bit (for me) was getting exactly the bit I wanted to copy, finding the exactly right start and end point of the selection.  The other thing that took an age for me to figure out is that the program won’t do anything useful like copy or paste while the pause button is clicked – you have to press stop (STOP!) for it to behave.

The bit, however that nearly made my brain explode was that I couldn’t save it as an MP3 file (or any other easily played digital music file).  I just about freaked having spent all that time learning the package and tweaking my intro to be just the way I wanted it.

Internet to the rescue!  I had to do a bit of fiddling about with another package but once that was done I could save the edited piece of music as an MP3 (well, they call it ‘exporting to MP3’ but it’s the same thing).

It’s not something I do a lot, but it’s so handy to be able to do it when I need/want to; I thoroughly recommend teaching yourself if you have the time.  I know Laura Monteith of Sarasvati Tribal recommends this sort of thing (for the very same reasons that I taught myself to do it!) too.  So that makes two of us – it must be a good idea 🙂

There are no tribal fusion teachers running regular classes in Edinburgh to the best of my knowledge.  Happily, though, Laura Monteith of Sarasvati Tribal runs tribal fusion workshops for the University of Edinburgh’s African & Arabic Dance Society.  Here’s a pic of Laura, and a pic of her troupe (which, incidentally, Tigerlily is a member of):

You can find the schedule of these workshops in the Edinburgh Bellydance Calendar.  They are split into a beginners session, 12noon til 1pm and then an intermediates session from 1-3pm.  Read the rest of this entry »

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