This is an outline into my reasons for establishing Planet Egypt and the framework for this dates back to 2002 or thereabouts
Oriental Dance, in all its forms
has now become incredibly popular in the UK. Unfortunately,
the stereotype of "Belly Dancer", still persists although
there are now many amazing dancers who are inspiring a new generation
Equally there have been many innovations with the dance too!
The only place to see good dancers seems to be in expensive
clubs, many of which have been steadily closing over the last 5-10 years, or at far flung haflas and occasional theatre productions.
Theatre productions cost more than £1,000 to stage-even
when dancers are contributing their time for free-including
rehearsals.So there are huge risks to theatre productions.
I felt that there was a demand to see good dancers, at affordable
prices, and for more dancers to have performance opportunities.
I also felt that if dancers from different communities participated
it could help create a bigger, more united dance community.
As I had been performing and working closely with Vashti and Yvette Cowles for a few years, it seemed the perfect time
to initiate these ideas as we all had trained in different
disciplines but had the same aims and ideologies. I had also been working in the Arab Community with Live Bands at monthly Banquets and parties. So I knew I could draw upon Arab and British audiences.
Planet Egypt was founded
in 2003 and our first aim was to host regular showcases in
an Arabic night club (Sahara Nights). We hosted these monthly
events for over two and a half years and built up a following
of up to 300 people, of diverse backgrounds, some of whom
had never been exposed to this dance before. We even had
a sizable Arabic following who greatly enhance the audience
Having presented free shows for almost three years we then decided that if we were to continue we could no longer ask people to support us for free. Without people giving up their time for free we would never have been able to experience the successes or the levels of awareness that we have achieved.
So we moved to Darbucka where we were based for over 6 years
There is a synopsis of this period with images on our Team pages here
We charged affordable admission (£10) and were able to pay professionals and all the people who help out.
There are so many styles to this dance, and our audience
was certainly better informed as to the variety of disciplines
that one can pursue. Many teachers and musicians were also
regular supporters of our events
Some participants travelled
a long way to contribute, they are not all London based, and
we have featured quite a few International Artists, who continue
to inspire us.
We have been incredibly successful and are very grateful
for the support that we have received.
We aim to continue
to nurture fledgling dancers, to showcase the best Professionals that we can find, to record our events on DVDs, to create archives and records for the future and to continue with our remit. And where possible to create other platforms to develop and explore this art....
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