Sunday, 28 October 2007

Jewel of Yorkshire Part Two

The hafla on Saturday night was really good. Somebody said there were too many acts, but I kind of liked that. It was more of a 'watching' hafla though, it was in the main hall with the chair laid out in rows, and one act was on straight after another, with a couple of breaks. There was a dancing room upstair with a DJ but not many people went up there, even on the breaks. I think it was a little too spread out for that. The people dancing were really good though, especially Seetha (wow! I could go on about her for ever), Djamila and Khaled. Asmahan was dancing as well, as the 'star' of the show - she was very good, definitely more cairo style than the rest. I'd better explain why I liked Seetha so much - she did an AMAZING dance with Isis wings - my new prop of choice, my jaw was just on the floor, and I wanted so much to grab her and get her to tell me all she knows about dancing. She also did a cheeky dance with two giant burlesque type fans which everyone I spoke to loved. That dance had finished and all I could think was 'who on earth is going to follow that?!' And the answer - probably the only person who possibly could - Khaled. He came on from the back, totally unexpected, and proceeded to dance among the seated audience, on chairs, getting someone else to dance from the audience as well - he's definitely the best audience-worker I've seen in the world of belly dance. Fantastic! Oh, there was another dancer I'd never seen before too - Artemisia - she was also fantastic, and great - she did a veil dance that was very atmospheric and floaty and made me wish I could do more than swish a veil from side to side. :)

My Sunday classes included Romany Gypsy with Raheesha - I learned a lot about putting emotion into the dance, and storytelling, and I was very inspired with the moves she taught us too.

The I had a class with Djamila - Surprising Effects and Movements, which was hard, but also inspiring and informative. There were a couple of moves I just could not get into my head for a while, but she taught us a lot of interesting combinations, and they're definitely worth practicing.

Then I had a class with Seetha - 1001 steps and drops. I'd been looking forward to this all day after seeing her at the hafla the day before, and she didn't disappoint. She taught us hip drop and step combinations, and we drilled them. Some of them were really hard, but she was very good at getting us to go over them and telling us if we were doing something wrong. She was very good at looking through the whole class, and showing us all the moves from different positions so we could all see.

I came away from the weekend totally inspired - and with a new costume and Isis wings! I learned so much from all the teachers I had, and I'm definitely going back next year. In fact I'm saving now so I can buy even more costumes and stuff.

Next - a post with pics and links, since I don't have time to get them all looked up and uploaded just now. And then I'll get back to knitting, I promise! :)

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Jewel of Yorkshire - part 1

Wow! I had a great weekend! I learnt so much, my head is just buzzing with dance inspiration.

We headed off on the Friday night - it took about 8 hours to get there. That was including stopping off for a meal, and getting lost in Bradford. Apparantly the people I was going with get lost every year, and I can see why. It's really easy to turn off into the city centre, and once you do, it's really hard to get back out again.

On the Saturday, I had 3 classes. One 2 hour class on Pharonic dancing (it was supposed to be taken by Seetha, but she got held up in Amsterdam, so Djamila took the class. We did a short routine, with lots of pharonic type moves in it, and I'd definitely be interested in doing this type of dance again. During the class, I was thinking the routine would look nice with candles. Djamila said she normally performs it with a candle tray balanced on her head, but I think it would look nice with tea lights held in the hands as well, because the hands are very straight in pharonic dance (think Walk Like An Egyptian).

Then I did a class in hip movements to drum solos. To be honest, I think this one was a bit basic for me as regards the moves, but the teacher did give me some advice that my hip movements are too soft for drum solos, and I should sharpen them a bit. I hadn't really even thought of that before, so I'll have to get to work sharpening my hip movements. I get a bit scared that if I try to sharpen them, then the technique will just disappear, and it'll just be me throwing my hips about all over the place! But thinking about it, I can see she was right. It's fine when I'm doing a softer, slower dance, but I definitely need to work on those hips for faster dances!

Then I did a class on Isis wings. I'd been looking forward to this for ages! I can't really describe Isis wings that well - they tie round your neck, and there's the two wingy parts that hang down, with a stick in each end to hold onto and manipulate them. You'd probably be better lookng them up on google if you want to know what they're like. Anyway, this class was just a basic introduction to Isis wings, and I was really doing it to see if I liked them before I bought a set. And I did like them (and bought some)! I've got a song planned already, I just need to book time in the local hall to practice cos my ceilings are too low!

So I was finished my classes by about 2 o'clock. I did some shopping at the souk in the main hall. When I went I honestly didn't mean to spend much money. I'd saved up just in case though, and of course I ended up spending most of it. I bought a new costume, Isis wings, some DVDs and some CDs. I'll try put pics up later. I just want to get this up first since it has been nearly a week since I went.

Next post - the hafla at night, and my Sunday classes.

Friday, 12 October 2007

Off to Yorkshire!

Yay! It's finally here! I'm off to Jewel of Yorkshire today! An entire weekend of nothing but bellydance, whee!

I've got 6 workshops booked, three on each day, eek! Most of them are only about an hour long though, so I should be able to manage :)

In case you can't tell, I'm really excited about going. :) See you when I get back!

Friday, 5 October 2007

Hello . . .

Oops, I've been kind of neglecting this blog lately. I've been caught up in Ravelry, that's why. Adding projects, books, joining groups. I knew it would eat up time, but it's been eating up a lot! But I'm not wanting to drop this blog, I like to ramble on too much!

Here's a pic of my bf's sweater I mentioned a couple of posts ago. Finished, after a whole year! He really seems to like it, which I must admit I was a bit surprised about. He wears it a lot, and when his brother came round, he made a point of saying, "Look at my Sweater, Amanda made this for me." I was so chuffed! And the feeling I got when I saw him wearing it the first time! Who knows, if it goes on like this, I may become less of a selfish knitter, and start making more things for other people. Actually, he pretty much demanded another one, so that's in progress. I'm 3/4 of the way up one sleeve. (I'm doing the sleeves first, so I'll know if I've got enough yarn, and if I don't then they can be altered somehow)

Dancing is a bit disrupted just now, it's the October mid-term holiday for the classes, so some classes are on this week, some are off, some are off next week, and others are off the week after. I go to classes in 3 different districts, and they can't all have their holidays at the same time, can they? Oh well.

Oh, and it's only a week now till I go to Jewel of Yorkshire, for a whole weekend of belly dance. I'm so excited. This is my first one, and I'm really looking forward to it.