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The Hafla for Haiti was a lot of fun and best of all has raised, so far, £845 for Children in Need’s work in Haiti! Well done to Irene Hogg for organising it, Revolution Bar for hosting it and all the performers and audience members for coming along!

There was bellydance of all different types – Raqs Sharqi, Modern Egyptian, Classic Egyptian, Tribal and Tribal Fusion. There was also burlesque (two strip-tease artists), a poledancer, a flamenco dancer, a salsa couple and a couple of comedy bellydance/burlesque acts. It was really great to have such variety.

Here’s a clip from the night of Elspeth’s stick dance (very sassy!)

Also, it seems we’re not the only place to have this idea. Chattanooga – my home away from home – had a benefit night called ‘To Haiti With Love’ on Saturday. Like the Edinburgh event this had a broad variety of performers including musicians, poets and bellydancers with the lovely Mirabai troupe performing. Go bellydancers!

In other news… We’re having a hafla for Lorna of Cairo! Put the date in your diary – Thursday 18th March, 7-10pm, Teviot Underground at Bristo Square. Tickets are £8 in advance or £10 on the door. You can buy tickets in advance from myself, Elspeth or Caroline (of Bellydancingdivas).

In addition to the more local talent, Lorna will be dancing for us. Lorna is a local girl who moved to Cairo several years ago and now makes her living as a bellydancer over there. Here’s a short clip of one of her recent performances:

I’m looking forward to seeing loads of you at this, and if you’re interested in performing give me (or Elspeth or Caroline) a shout.

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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