October 23, 2009

Gypsy Caravan Collective Soul

I’ve just spent a fabulous 3 days on the Collective Soul Level 1 course with the amazing Paulette Rees-Denis founder of Gypsy Caravan, and hosted by Steffi Colbert of Barefoot Bellydance in Aylesbury, where I met 5 other ladies on the course too - Sharon and Kay (Kalitribe), Sandra (Tribal Hussy), Chris (Four Hundred Roses), and Sarah (Phoenix) where we talked about our backgrounds and individual paths which led us to this dance style, the history of tribal bellydance, the community spirit, the connection we felt within our own troupes, and where we see ourselves in the future with dance. We then danced, learnt new steps, zilled different patterns, and listened to drum rhythms and learnt to identify them all with Paulette’s instruction, corrections, praise, encouragement, energy and humour. We lunched together, laughed, wined, dined and studied together for the final days testing. We all passed and not only did I gain my prized certificate, I also gained a better understanding, an even bigger passion for this dance, a great feeling of well-being, a connection and a feeling of belonging, and a deep caring for my fellow dancers whom I felt I’d been dancing with for a very long time.

report by Kay White

Picture L-R Sharon, Kay W, Paulette, Kay I, Sandra and Sarah with Chris taking the picture

October 11, 2009

Against Breast Cancer

Oh the sun does shine yet again!!! What another glorious, sunny autum day it was when we were invited by Against Breast Cancer to participate in the Abingdon Splash of Pink Day which took place on the Market Place, with many shops supporting this wonderful cause by dressing their windows with shades of pink decorations and balloons. Along with the Abingdon Traditional Morris Dancers and Janice Day singing and reading from her book, we danced a variety of our choreographed dances and also our completely improvised tribal style too, along with Piotr playing djembe and Jen on the shakers. Then ... a first for Ashnah - oh my goodness, did someone dropped her stick!!!!! Oooh, but we pretended we hadn't noticed and carried on (in giggles).

Donations for Against Breast Cancer

Ashnah video

Bellydance Congress

Congress 09 … It’s over and I’m back to my reality .. but how sweet it was while it lasted!!! Back to back workshops for the duration, the opportunity for endless shopping, shows galore and of course burning the floor (Abdel Kader Saadoun & Band were absolutely sizzling). This 2 yearly gathering of top bellydancers, teachers and rising stars from all 4 corners of the world was this time round graced and lead by the legendary (drum rolls please) the one, the only, the inimitable Madame Fifi Abdou - this woman God bless her could teach us westerners a thing or two or three about Diva-esque behaviour but who cares? She’s earned her stripes, has written the book so I’m certainly not going to argue - long may she reign. For the first time, I had the opportunity to see Sadie dance, and on that particular night, she was just ahead of Randa Kamel. The differing styles triggered a whole discussion on the range and direction of bellydancing, from the American locking to the more fluid, original and emotive Arabic style. Khaled Mahmoud was on form and performed the best I’d seen him dance in a long time, Anasma (pictured right) took my breath away - I hadn’t had the pleasure before and she was simply mesmerising. So many headlining dancers, so many groups and a greater tribal presence as well - I cannot possibly name them all, but every single solitary one contributed in such a unique way to an absolutely memorable event......
Report by Rita