Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Jewel of Yorkshire 2008

Wow! The weekend at Jewel of Yorkshire was amazing! For those who don't know, it's a weekend of bellydance workshops, shopping and performances in Saltaire, Yorkshire. There are always tons of teachers and workshops to choose from and the souk (market-place thingy) is wonderful. Lots and lots of sparkles, enough so that I got sparkle overload at one point and had to go sit down before my brain exploded!

I chose to do 4 workshops this year - 2 with Raqia Hassan (famous Egyptian dancer), 1 with Ozgen Ozgec and 1 with Anne Kingston. That last one was billed as belly burlesque with 2 veils, but apparantly that information was wrong, it was one veil connected round the neck (much like Isis Wings really). I was a bit diappointed, but I learned a few interesting moves from it, but I think they'll apply more to my Isis Wing dancing.

Raqia is amazing!!!! She's so talented and lovely (she has the nicest smile BTW, it just lights up her whole face). I learned so much from just those 2 workshops. I had been a bit hesitant to book them since I had never seen her before (or even heard of her) but she was highly recommended, so I took the opportunity, and I'm glad I did. I'm only sorry I didn't book more workshops with her. She taught choreographies, but she said herself she was more interested in teaching the moves and technique. She broke the moves right down, explained where they had come from, what dancers she watched and how she got her inspiration, everything in fact. I took notes and learned a whole bunch of new moves and variations on moves. I need to drill them all now so they stay in my brain. She's very inspiring. She took the time to correct and help individuals in the class as well. She was watching us all very closely and gave us instruction, but she did it so nicely! It wasn't like "You're doing it wrong" It was more "Just move this way, and you'll get it". If any dancers out there get the chance to learn from her, take it!!!

The workshop with Ozgen was also fantastic. I'd seen him on youtube (even linked his video lol) and he makes it look so easy and effortless. But there is so much in his dance! It's very tightly choreographed, and the moves change all the time for interest. That makes it hard to learn in a way, but he broke everything right down, even though it was a masterclass, and probably a lot of teachers wouldn't have taken the time to do that. Again, he explained things clearly and took the time to make sure we had the moves. His performances at the evening hafla were amazing! He's such a dynamic performer, with tons of energy and well, it was just fantastic. I wrote on my review sheet that they should definitely get him back next year, cos he's great!

I'm thinking about going next year in April. Usually the group of us that travel down just go to the October one, but there are a bunch of fab teachers booked for the April one next year, so I'll have to start saving my pennies! (Lorna Gow, Sara Farouk, and Maria D'Silva just for starters! And I've still to look up/learn about some of the other teachers who I'm sure will turn out to be fab too!)

This post is getting a bit long so I'll have to write another post with photos of all the shinies and sparklies I bought at this year's one. :D

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