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Next week the wonderfully talented Bobby Beakbane will be co-hosting a Zar workshop at Summerhall Arts Complex.  There’s full information on the Zar into the winter: Dance for expression, healing and fun! Facebook event page, extract below:


Date & Time: Thursday, 15 November 2012, 19:00 until 21:00

Venue: Summerhall Arts complex

Cost: £14 / £10 concession (nibbles and wine included).

To book: email robertadmp @ gmail dot com or message Roberta on Facebook.

“Kick start the gloomy days with a Zar ritual dance accompanies by live musicians.These experiential workshops explore the cultural roots, context and the ritual of the Zar ceremony. This workshop will use led and free dance and be accompanied by musicians, it is open to women of all ages, ethnicities, orientations and dancing backgrounds.

“Facilitated by Roberta Beakbane and Ali Giles. Roberta is a dance movement therapist and tribal fusion belly dance performer and teacher currently based in Edinburgh. She has spent the last three years living in Korea and traveling extensively to learn about the cultural roots and expression of various dance forms.
“Ali is a holistic therapist and healthcare professional with a long standing interest in the connection between body and mind and its relationship with health, wellbeing and the disease process.

“A little about Zar.

“Rather than being a dance style, Zar is a trance ritual that predates Islam and is still performed in many Middle Eastern and North African countries with the sole purpose of healing.
“The zar used a distinct rhythm and movement involves hair tossing and swaying and is often described as providing a means to release emotion. Now Zar is often used for performance and incorporated into Arabic dance.”


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As some of you might have noticed I was in the paper this weekend, this time in the Scotsman Magazine on Saturday. I only found out about it when a friend told me! I had been asked for a picture a while ago by the lovely people at Out of the Blue for something that might appear in the Scotsman, but that was the last I’d heard about it. I gave them one of the fantastic pictures Kaleidoscope Studios took of me and it ended up being used in an article about interesting fitness classes at the newly renovated Out of the Blue. The ironic thing about this is, of course, that I’ve now taken a break from teaching at that venue!

That said, even though the info isn’t quite right, I am at least still teaching some bellydance classes. The current term at the Yoga Room finishes on June 9th (next Wed) and the next term (and my last term teaching for a while!) begins June 30th, preceded by a beginner’s workshop on Sunday June 20th. Online booking is open! (I’ve just realised my new term starts the day before the Musselburgh Hafla – which I’ll be dancing at! See the Facebook event page for more information on this charity hafla.)

This happens to be the second time I’ve been in a paper doing bellydance stuff. This time, although I wasn’t attributed, I like the picture much better 🙂

Hello lovely readers,

Over the summer I will be continuing my Wednesday evening classes at The Yoga Room (beginners from 7.30pm, intermediates from 8.30pm). Both sets of classes cost £40 (£36 concession) for an 8 week block (June 30th – Aug 25th, not Aug 4th).

As usual I’ve got paypal set up so you can go to my site to book classes and/or workshops there. And if you don’t fancy paypal cheques, bank transfer and cash are all fine. There’s more details about payment on the website.

And just so you’re aware this will be the last term of regular classes that I’ll be teaching for a while. My counselling training will be stepping up it’s intensity in September and I’ve had the increased time commitment required highlighted to me on a number of occasions, as well as the emotional drain it will be. So I’ve decided to take a step back from teaching bellydance once Uni starts back. Some of my current students suggested a night out to mark the end this era and I think that’s a smashing idea!

I don’t plan on dropping out of the community, I will still be at haflas, hopefully attending workshops as a student and maybe running one or two myself as time permits. And the classes at the Yoga Room should continue – I’ll put up more information about that as I have it.

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 »

I’ll be teaching two sets of classes on Wednesday evenings at The Yoga Room: Beginners from 7.30pm and Intermediates from 8.30pm. My Thursday evening beginners classes at Out Of The Blue will continue at 7.30pm. All classes cost £36 (£32 concession) for an 8 week block (Jan 20th/21st – Mar 17th/18th, skipping Feb 24th/25th). I’ve decided that since I’m running 2 sets of beginners’ classes, for those who are super keen they can buy both sets of classes for £65 (£60). How nice am I? J

AND to kick off the term I’ve got a beginners workshop running on the Sunday before, Sunday 17th January 2010, from 11am-1pm at Out Of The Blue. Workshop costs £10 (£9).

Like last term I’ve got paypal set up so you can go to my site to book all classes and/or workshops there. And if you don’t fancy paypal cheques, bank transfer and cash are all fine.

Due to a chat I had with one of the students from my Thursday night beginners’ class, who also happens to be a community education worker, last night I ended up teaching a bellydance workshop at a Girl’s Club event at the Citadel Youth Centre down in Leith. If you haven’t seen the Centre before is a gorgeous building (that I’ve somehow managed to miss up until now):

((c) Copyright Peter Stubbs – )

That’s one thing about being a performer and travelling teacher – I’m certainly seeing a lot more of Edinburgh and Scotland than I would otherwise!

They were having a night where the girls clubs of various community centres came together and the centre put on various activities, including mine. The event was running from 7-9pm and we’d agreed for me to be there from 7.30-8.30pm. While I was setting up the staff rustled up some of the girls, many of whom reluctantly agreed to watch and see if they fancied it. I gave a short performance to ‘Beautiful Liar’ by Beyonce featuring Shakira as I thought that might be a bit easier for the girls to relate to than something Arabic. For those interested here’s the Beautiful Liar video on YouTube:

Four of the girls actually left during the performance and another two left once I’d finished. I didn’t feel insulted or annoyed, I just a bit sad that they weren’t comfortable enough to stay.

Two of the staff stayed the whole time and for the rest of the session girls came and went, typically staying no more than 10 minutes before leaving again. At times it was quite funny – groups of the girls would peer through the window into the room where we were dancing and occasionally build up the courage to come in. Some would stay and join in, but several came in, looked uncomfortable and left again.

I became really aware of how uncomfortable with their bodies almost all of them were – which in hindsight is unsurprising, given their ages (12-16) they are going through that horribly difficult period of growth and change. There were also several groups of girls brought together for the evening that hadn’t met before so I imagine there was some weirdness about strange girls being around and not wanting to look stupid in front of people they didn’t know.

After the workshop I was shown around the Centre and very kindly given some apple juice (as well as being offered food that they were serving up to everyone at the party). They had a couple of framed pieces of work the girls’ group had done a few years ago on the “‘Pants to Violence Against Women and Girls” project which had the girls decorate panties with this theme in mind. Some of the pants had pictures, or splashes of colour, a few had messages such as “stop hittin us” and “dinny rape drunk women” (“dinny” is Scots for “don’t”).

I felt privileged to have the opportunity to participate with the good work they’re doing at Citadel and the other Youth Centres and pleased that some of the girls felt able to participate, even if it was only for a short time. Perhaps in future they’ll come back to bellydance and hopefully, whether they do or not, they will find a route as they grow up to feeling good about their bodies and themselves. For me, that has to be one of the biggest benefits of bellydance.

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