Live music night 2013 with Singer Mike Starr more info :
When I first started learning this dance there were very few performance opportunities unless you marketed yourself "around", and the tradition I came from (Hilal) had very exacting requirements. It was also a very modest tradition. That is not to say it was devoid of appeal or beauty. Quite the opposite. Suraya was an enchanting and mesmerising performer. But we covered up (ie did not display our bodies) and put The Dance before the dancer.
Below are examples of the costuming used or reccommended at the time
Hilal influenced costume for Sharqi (red)
And black and white picture is an Hilal influenced Baladi costume (Tilli)
You had to wait until you were told you were "ready". to perform. So we were not overtly encouraged to perform. Though we did work with performance elements as part of class.
At that time few platforms were available, save the annual organized Theatre show/Class platform- unless you were tempted to try working in the "clubs". That we intuited was a big "no no".
As time passed I understood the reason why there was reticence about encouraging students to perform, particularly if they were not ready. And my relationship with Suraya had always been very strong and supportive. So it was never much of an issue for me.
In time musicians would approach me and also Suraya would give my contact details to people who made enquries about performers. So I learned to perform in two different contexts. The in-School platform and the Arabic scene. And they were both very different indeed. Worlds apart., polar opposites.
I learned all the requisite skills to dance but the time devoted to learning to perform was minimal in comparison. I never forgot that.
I have performed at major London venues such as The Hackney Empire, The Bloomsbury Theatre and Alexandra Palace , and toured East Anglian theatres as part of Arts Council funding with Cassia.
Cassia existed in the 1990s as a Touring Dance Company funded to present theatre shows, and also to provide tuition in secondary schools from London to Grantham and East
I worked extensively on the Arabic party and wedding scene. One connection was most fruitful-Said Louisi who organized parties every month, sometimes more regularly, with live music. It was this experience that made me realise I could do the same with the UK Dance community-so Planet Egypt was borne through this association
Information about my work in the Arab Communities can be found on the Community page
Gradually my costumes begin to change as a result of more awareness and provision in the community by vendors such as The Shimmy Shop
Playlists of my performances- a number of which are with live music can be found here
The Arabic Scene
I worked extensively with notable musicians in the 1990s and beyond, some of whom are sadly no longer with us (RIP Aziz Chaabdis, Ibrahim Minyawi, Sheikh Taha , Maher Khairy) on the Private Party and Arabic Wedding scene. This is covered here
Image of Anne with The Baladi Blues Band 2012 with much loved Sheikh Taha on accordion. This was sponsored by NADA
After my performances would end I would head immediately to my favourite haunts : Abo Hamad in Queensway, and Cave de Roi in Mayfair. I chose to work on the Party scene more than the Club scene. This was influenced by many factors: not least my training and my long term relationship. I have always maintained the contact with my musician friends from those days and they have seen me in good stead.
I love learning about Arabic Culture, it is an important part of my work. My twin speaks fluent arabic (fussha) too and this has reaped dividends for party invites!
Major UK Events
Major UK Events that I have performed at are listed below.
Do check out the links to discover new places for you to enjoy good quality productions...
Brighton Orient , Majma, , Jewel of Yorkshire, Fantasia, BAMBA and Midlands Arabic Dance Extravaganza, ,
Bellydance Trophies, Belly Dance Mania, and of course The Raqs Sharqi Society , Oxford Bellydance Bonanza and Balliamo
And also these festivals which appear to not have active links;
Raqs Brittania, Pink in Nottingham, and Azhara Day of Dance
NADA - sponsored a workshop and an evening performance in Nottingham with the talented Midlands dancers curated by Janet Rose.
I have performed many times with live music for the Raqs Sharqi Society
And worked with Guy Schalom and the Baladi Blues band on a number of occasions both teaching and performing with NADA ,Raqs Sharqi Society and also with Lisa McKain in Birmingham
I also enjoy dancing as part of my work with Planet Egypt -specifically dedicated only to Live Music
I intend to continue providing Live Arabic music events ...
Was THE performance venue on the London monthly events calendar and provided many opportunities over the years. I chose the performers very carefully. I have a good eye for my business and what suits the model.
We had a very successful formula for many reasons.
My experience with Planet Egypt came in very useful when I was invited to Judge dance competitions
Bellydance Trophies, was an outstanding and very popular landmark on the National UK scene. It enhanced the profile of the dance considerably and established a rigorous and thorough training format . It also promoted the fostering of a relationship between student and teacher which was another seminal contribution.
I presided as a Judge at Fantasia the UK's longest established Festival in 2011 -image below
Also at Nabila Sabha's wonderful festival in Berlin along with Guy Schalom and Katerina Shereen
My teaching practice includes preparing my students for performances.
We have in class performances by my students and invite guest dancers to join and inspire us occasionally. We also have class parties and outings to London events.
My students ar encouraged to perform or at least consider it (even if in the distant future). It was for this reason I created Planet Egypt.
I have taught award winning dancers
I was chosen as a mentor to work with by quite a few of the candidates for Bellydance Trophies, one of whom was Maelle who ended up winning the first season in 2012
I have plans..... and will announce them soon. Thank you for your patience.......
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