turns out we are a bit rubbish at blogging really……

seeing as it has been more than a year since we last posted!

so it is about time I wrote an update – and shared some excitement.

Gothla bookings open tomorrow – wooooooohooooooo!

It really is exciting this year – not only are we looking forward to taking workshops with some truly awesome teachers from around the world (Morgana, Sam Riggs, Belladonna….) but this year we are teaching our own workshop there, too. So we are both excited and a little bit nervous.

If you want to go see what all the fuss is about: http://www.gothla.co.uk

I will leave it that for tonight, hopefully more updates to follow soon!

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Cabaret Arabia report

It was a fab evening, really good fun!

Our Veil dance (Esmerim) went down well and I think it is reasonable to say that Bom Bom brought the house down, the reaction was certainly pretty noisy.

There was a good variety of performers – I particularly enjoyed Glennis Larum’s oriental solo as she interacted with the audience really well and was obviously enjoying herself. Dancer’s Bizarre are always a treat to watch, great costumes and attitude. Then there was San’at Mahmudova performing Uzbekistani dance, something I hadn’t seen before, in a beautiful costume. Egyptia and friends finished the show with their unstoppable debke.

As well as the show, there was great food (made by Nawarra’s Mum), a second hand souk where I think pretty much everyone found a bargain, henna painting and the Party –  once the show was done there was plenty of time for everyone to get up and dance, with debke (and conga) breaking out regularly, a bit of hair swinging Khaleegy and lots of arabic pop. We were exhausted, but in a good way, by the time we headed back home.

It looks like we will be heading back to Leeds in a couple of weeks, as Nawarra has asked us to join them again for a hafla with Khaled Mahmoud on 8th March.

Getting it together

We spent a bit of time at this week’s rehearsal polishing up our two pieces for Cabaret Arabia this Saturday. We are going to dance ‘Esmerim’ and ‘BomBom’. 

Esmerim is a Said Mrad techno piece with a good beat and a nice tune, the dance is a classic style veil dance. This was a new piece for the troupe last summer (I say new, it was re-worked from a class dance we did a few years ago with some nice formation changes) but we didn’t get the chance to perform it as often as we would have liked as our early summer outdoor gigs were quite breezy and that is *not* a good thing when dancing with a veil! 

So we thought it would be nice to give it another outing and we also felt that the Cabaret Arabia crowd would appreciate something with a quite classic feel to it.

BomBom was a hit for Sam & the Womp in 2012 and is a piece of music that just cries out to be danced to. It has proved very popular whenever we dance it and we danced it pretty much everywhere in 2013 – we are taking it to Cabaret Arabia so they can enjoy it too. In fact we don’t see any reason to stop dancing it any time soon, so expect to see it again at a gig near you during 2014!

Then we spent some time working on our new piece – we are loving it for the music and the ideas are flowing well, although this week we hit a few technical difficulties. Because we are playing with a new and different idea there are some things that will take a little working out so its probably going to take us a couple of weeks of trial and error to get the whole thing sorted – and its going to be a lot of fun too.

Excitement!

Not only do we have Cabaret Arabia coming up on 1st February, but Bella Shimmy have now announced a hafla in March and Halima Sagira is holding one in May, lots of opportunity for a good shimmy! We will put details of these events on our news page soon.

The other reason that we are excited is that we spent a good deal of our practice session this week working on a new dance and its coming along nicely. We are using a piece of music by Oojami and an unusual take on a traditional prop to create a dance that we think the summer festival crowd will enjoy.

Choreography is hard work – we want our dances to be dances, not carefully counted exercises (4 to the right, 4 to the left, now do something different….), we want to let the music suggest the moves and go with that flow. That way we enjoy dancing, ejoyment and great music bring energy to the dance and make it fun to watch, too. Sometimes we look for a theme or idea for the dance, sometimes we just find a piece of music that makes us want to move, but it all has to be translated into a choreography, what moves to do and when. And it has to fit together in a good way. Some parts will almost write themselves and then there will be the parts where you are just stuck for ideas. It helps to be able to bring the work-in-progress to the troupe and get input from other people. Sometimes you have to try out sections of a dance with a group, you can’t try out formations by yourself!

At the end of all this it is very satisfying when a dance is complete and ready to go, especially when the rest of the group like it. Then it’s time to move from Inspiration to perspiration and practise, practise, practise!

Cabaret Arabia – Saturday 1st February 2014

We have an upcoming gig – we are returning to Cabaret Arabia in February. We danced at this event around this time last year, I think. Currently deciding what dances we will do so we can polish them up in rehearsal. Its nice to have a gig coming up soon,although it has also been good to have a break!

The event is hosted by Nawarra in Leeds and will feature a variety of performances from groups such as Egyptia, Spiral Dancer, Mehira’s Jewels and Dancers Bizarre,as well as Boomshanka and a host of soloists too.

There will be a second hand souk, mint tea and light Moroccan buffet, henna artists and arabic DJ for extra boogying opportunity.

The event is a fundraiser for the ‘Debra UK’ charity.

Venue: Holy Name Church Hall .52 Otley Old Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS16 6HW
Date & time: 1st of Feb 2014. 7-11pm Doors open at 6.30pm…
No Licensed Bar– pls bring your own Drinks
Tickets are on sale now: £10 in advance.. £13 on the Door
To book.. e mail nawarradancer@yahoo.co.uk

Whats happening?

Shaking off the festive indulgence and getting back to business, we start rehearsing again this week and working on new material for this year.

Cis’s class is also starting back this Thursday (9th January), check the ‘About’page for details, why not come along?