Thursday, January 31, 2008

Workshops…… Edinburgh, Dundee, Glasgow and Cairo.

The Edinburgh workshops are filling up pretty quick- so if you are interested in coming to a workshop with me in Edinburgh this Feb, then email me now!!!

Sat 23rd- Fancy Footwork- 4 spaces left
Sun 24th- Learn a Choreography- FULLY BOOKED
Sun 24th- Alchemy of dance- FULLY BOOKED

As far as I know there are still a few spaces left in the following workshops;

Dundee- Sat 1st March (contact )
Glasgow- Sun 2nd March (contact )

(NB- at this moment in time- this is my only planned trip for workshops to UK before Sept 08)

Also- the workshop I taught here in Cairo on sat 26th Jan went so well that we are doing another one before I return to Edinburgh… next Cairo date;

Sat 16th Feb. 12-3pm. Digla, Maadi, Cairo.
( to book place contact Annalouise on )

Something else. My Cairo moment of yesterday-

A whole day without internet… why? Because of my computer – no (but I wasted hours in case it was!!!), because my internet provider no…. seemingly it was because- the cable which brings the internet access from Asia to the whole of Egypt, under the ocean, had a fault in it- somewhere. Arghhh. This happens fairly often- since the cable is obviously a fairly long one. The only other option for Egypt would be to get it from Europe- but that costs too much!

hehe- just found the news link- imagine someone dropping a ships anchor onto a cable, in fact- imagine laying the cable in a place that could possibly happen!... seemingly just off alexandra, egypt.... I am so surprised... NOT! anyway- if you dont get emails from me in a while heres why...

I currently pay 125le per month for my broadband internet connection in my house- ie about £12. which is fine by UK standards- but not so great on an Egyptian wage!

We are back in action, just- but you cannot believe how slow it is… feels like back in the days when internet 1st arrived! I hadn't realised how much I depend on this. It's become my lifeline! Scary to be so dependant on something you can't control.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Beauty from within

The following is written by a student, and friend of mine, Sara.

After she sent it to me i felt all warm and happy inside- so I figured that you too would appreciate reading it. (she did give me permission to paste it in!) you'll enjoy it especially if you have ever thought about taking up bellydancing and are not sure whether it is for you or not.......

Sara Lepine's 'the Art of Bellydance';

I've developed a serious passion for bellydance. It HAS always been on my "to do" list and is one of those fantasies I indulge in after every inspiring performance I witness. Well, it just so happens that Edinburgh has a relatively rich Bellydance community and I've been blessed to work with some outstanding dance intructors, all of whom are brilliant performers in their own right. So I have had ample opportunity to indulge myself and am currently making every effort to get the most out of my time here. To that end I now dance {quasi} professionally, at a lovely Moroccan restaurant, and attend multiple classes, workshops and performances limited only by my restricted student budget.

It's been well worth the effort.....not that I've become a spectacular dancer by any stretch of the imagination....but because the art itself has such a positive influence on so much of my life and I've seen the same in others.

I've found a wonderful network of friends through bellydance, and have seldom seen a community that offers such a warm supportive female environment.

It's also a fantastic workout, and as shown by dancers more dedicated than myself produces phenomenal muscle tone.

Add on to this the opportunity to shop for gorgeous yet totally impractical clothing and you've reached the stereotypical feminine ideal.

Yet what I love most about bellydance is very simple. Bellydance makes everyone beautiful. All women, of all ages, and of all shapes are nearly instantly transformed into these beautiful, sensual creatures through the art of dance.

A little of it's the clothes with that little added sparkle. But, it's mostly the way it makes you feel and the way you express that feeling through your dance. It's graceful, a little mysterious, sensual and fully enjoyable. It makes you feel beautiful and this feeling unconsciously changes the way you carry yourself and present yourself to your audience.

It's very much a "Look at me because I know I'm worth looking at." kind of feeling. And when you see a dancer that's connected to that feeling, she's actually glowing. She simply radiates self confidance and her pure enjoyment in the music and the dance will convince her audience that she's one of the most beautiful things they've ever seen.

I saw one performance where the dancer was heavily pregnant. Her abdominal moves were beyond impressive, with exquisite muscle control. And she was radiant.

I saw a much older lady, somewhat plump and quite scantily clad, dance with such force of personality and humour that you couldn't help but laugh and watch carefully for every nuance of expression, lest you miss the slightest detail.

I've even seen an older man doing a Saidi performance with a group of ladies. His face was simply shining with joy. You couldn't help but think it was wonderful and smile right back at him.

So this is what you feel when you dance. The joy, the power of the music, the true inner beauty shining through in a way everyone watching can see.

It's like you've taken something precious from inside yourself and are wearing it on the outside. Or maybe it's more like the superficial physical appearance melts away and you finally see what lies underneath.

And the best part is the more you learn to show that part of yourself, the less readily it sinks into the facade you've always shown the world. And more and more you become the beautiful creature you finally let out.

Thank you Sara- I couldn't have put it better myself....... This really is the answer to that often asked question 'Why do you bellydance' ?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Robert Burns night- in Cairo!

On friday night I went round to my friends Ruth and Mohammend's place to help celebrate the birthday of the great Scottish Poet, Robert Burns.....

They have a LOVELY flat (in which they rent out room as a bed and breakfast.....)

and Mohammed even donned his tartan trous for the occasion........

In fact- most people had some tartan on of some discription-
from a kilt...........

to a scarf...........

to a fleece.........

or even just a ribbon............

some people really went the whole hog.... well- I guess he did have the job off addressing the lassies- so it was only right! Check out the shoes! Ruth modelled the lovely new 'gold tartan' sash............. with interesting footwear too..........

and I got to wear my lovely new shoes and bag.... both bought in Cairo this week!!!!!!!!!! Was so chuffed with them... everyone kept asking if I had had the shoes specially made!!!!!!!

We danced that great traditional burns night dance of 'balancing the 'caber' on yer heed'...............

and of course...........we ate lots of haggis........... after talking to it- as you do- well- we do in Scotland... but then we'll address anything if it means a drink after!!!!!!!!!!!

oh- and did I mention my shoes and bag..................................?!!!

Egyptian Blogs

I recently received an email from the guy who writes this blog............. and I then sat for about 2 hours going through it!

some really fun and interesting photos and stories- political and not.

really worth a browse sometime if you fancy a wee read!

plus- if you are interested in the topic of male bellydancers he has written all about that too!

Saturday, January 26, 2008


I woke up this morning to the sound of my alarm, the guys shouting to collect any old stuff, the lift going up and down, people shouting in the street below, a baby crying in one of the flats opposite and cats and dogs joining in everything.

Oh- and I almost forgot- the sound of heavy rain battering onto the air conditioning unit- which is right by my bed.......... (the streets were totally flooded out today!)

I only heard the alarm. Really. The rest you get so damn used to that you filter it out. And of course you wonder why you brain can't retain the information it usually did, or why you are tired all the time...... its busy filtering....

And my street is a fairly quite one................ very actually.

2 of my friends back home sent me the link to this news report re noise pollution in Cairo- its not a pleasant read for someone living here!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not so sure about the damage of noise really being the thing we in Cairo should worry so much about........ not when I had a discussion with a taxi driver this morning INSISTING that he could see the road in front better without the window wipers working (in torrential rain of the ilk I have NEVER seen before in Cairo!!!). I could't see a thing. Scary- much more so than the occasional headache from the noise!!!!!!!!!!!

its all relative I guess!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Lunch cruise

Danced on the Nile Pharoah today on a lunch sail. there just before 12. the coaches full of tired hungry tourists who have been herded around the pyramids all morning arrive around 2.30pm and the whole sail (including me performing on both decks) is over within an hour. Usually lasts 2 hours - but I guess this way it cuts down on any overlap on the tour guides timetable for whatever they have to run off to do next.

These coach loads all look a bit stunned. They are trying to eat, and suddenly without warning there is a bellydancer up there, so they want to eat, watch, talk, rest , photograph everything all at the same time.... then i try and get them up to dance with me either they go 'f**k it, why not' or they just disappear into their chairs hoping I don't spot them!

I would say the boats are a must for any tourist..... and I guess if you are doing a whistle stop tour of Cairo then why not- nile cruise, lunch, dancer, tannoura and band all in an hour............... but somehow I feel the evening cruises are better value for money!!! I certainly prefer working them! plus its really weird having to put on full stage make-up at 11am!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Bellydancers Blogs from around the world!

Since I have been doing this blogging thing for a whilenow, I have come to the conclusion that I can't be the only blogging bellydancer in the world.

I am not talking about blogs which have a mention or 2 of bellydance in them- actually real live dancers who actually write about what they are up to- not just publicise stuff for sale- be it workshops, performances or costumes etc etc (ok I know I do other these things too- but you know what I mean!!!!!!!!!!!)

….. so after an hour or so (ok, call it 3 or more!) sitting surfing, I have come up with some other bellydancing blogs for your blogging delight…………. In no particular order (well- apart from the 1st one of course!!!!) ………… – me!!! – great, well written and fun and informative! – Not updated recently- but a few interesting thought on what bellydance is about and how it should be taught……. – a feisty character with some good advice! Very enjoyable read. – a regular and interesting blogger on all matters dance and learning bellydance. – interesting if you too have started bellydance lessons recently- she seems very good at practicing…. And I LOVE the idea of practicing in the dark!!!!!! – this one has a list of how to do it- for beginner bellydancers….. and tips on music and costumes.. - a UK based site with some interesting blog entries including 'choosing a dancing name'! – This one kind of takes the fun out of surfing for bellydance blogs- but gets you where you want to be very quickly! A whole listing of LOTS of bellydancing blogs (knew someone had to have got there before me!) - and easy step by step in case you are inspired after reading all this to make up your own blog too!

Oh- and I came across these on my blog search- some websites of the other dancers who work at the same place as me- interesting how their experiences echo mine !!! – from Portugal. – from Finland.

This blog list is of course by no means exclusive and please don’t feel offended if I haven't mentioned yours- just tell me about it and I'll add it on!

I am all for scratching backs…. And if people fancy linking my blog onto theirs in return for the mention, although not compulsory of course- I'd be deeply grateful!!!

Blogging Bellydancers Unite!!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


its only been 10 days since I set up the blog so you can get all my new blog entries directly into your inbox and already i have 55 people signed up to that. Thanks guys!!!!!!!!

going this afternoon to see how Eman is getting on with my new cossies I ordered......... Trying to get a few together for when i come home to Scotland at end of Feb for my show there on the 24th!

and a note on something completely different- Cairo is SOOOOOOOOO dirty!

hehe- I said something along the lines of that to a friend and he said- 'what... don't you have dirt in Scotland?'

'Hardly, and anyway- it doesn't compare............'

The roads here are tarmaced to a degree- well- the main ones anyway....... but there are no drains....... so if it rains the water has nowhere to go. As for the dirt tracks- well- you can imagine...

Everyone here throws ALL rubbish on the ground. Really- on the street or in the Nile. I was so shocked when I 1st saw that and gave my musicians a row for doing it and they all just laughed at me.

So- when it rains- all the decomposed rubbish material which has gathered into a marinade all across the surface of the roads (and pavements- if you can call them something so grand) just turns into a mush. Much like the slush in Scotland which has all the grit and mud in it. But here you know what it is- not just sand and salt and snow- its rotten fruit, veg, papers and other stuff I would care not to think about- but lets just say there are a fair few donkeys and dogs and cats around too...........

And thats just the dirt in the street.

The dirt in the air is something else again. Sometimes when they are burning the rubbish in the fields you can taste it and the air feels heavy with it. deisel fumes helping to trap it and keep it close enough to the ground and therefore to you to breathe! Nice huh! Textured air.

And when they are not burning the rubbish... then there is always the sand particules in the air which mean that you may well clean your floor- surfaces etc in the morning- but by night you can draw a line with your finger through it! As for in April and May, when it is time for the hamiseen winds to blow from the deserts, well- thats the same problem but in extreme!

Oh- and then there is the water. The water in Cairo is safe to drink.

Well- that is assuming your intestines can handle the toxic levels of chlorine and whatever other chemicals they put into it to kill the bugs. It is so strong that you can smell swimming pools when you turn on the hot AND the ceramic on your bath corodes within a very short time if you have a dripping tap! it looks horrible- even after scrubbing and scrubbing with bleach it never quite looks clean!!! I haven't even seen plastic baths here- i guess they aren't too good an idea! Anyway- trying to find out who i can get to come and repaint my bath so all my guests dont think its me who is a dirty so and so!!!!!!!!!!!

so- do we have dirt in Scotland? YES of course- but compared to here- NO WAY!!!!

The people however- generally- I am not talking about the ones who live in the streets etc, but the average person- VERY clean! numerous showers each day is the norm......... guess thats what comes from living in a hot , dirty city- you have to be able to escape it somehow!!!!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Excited about Workshops

Love this bit- putting together a series of workshops and getting excited about what i am going to teach.!!! I do love performing- but I miss all the teaching I used to do too- from nearly 25 classes every week down to occasional workshops here and there! All workshopsdetails have been added to prior blogs (if you are interested please contact relevent email address in blogs entitled 'Lorna returns to Scotland' 12.1.08.) - but have added them here just to bring your attention to them in case you dont scroll down !........

Looking forward to teaching again...............

Cairo - sat 26th Jan. 12- 3pm.

Edinburgh- Sat 23rd Feb. Complete beginners FREE CLASS! 10.30-11.30
Mixed level footwork plus. 12-3pm

Edinburgh - Sun 24th Feb. Learn a choreography. 11-1pm
Alchemy of dance. 1.30-3.30pm

Dundee- Sat 1st March. Advanced/intermediates. 1-2pm
Improvers/Beginners. 2-4pm

Glasgow- Sun 2nd March. Improvers/Beginners. Time TBC
Advanced/intermediates. Times TBC

Bookings have started- get yours in now!!!!

How to make bad days better?

ok- so as performers, we all have good and bad days.......

yesterday wasn't my best ever- full of the flu, feeling low (you know- those days when you question the whole point of being) and it had been raining all day (I know that means nothing to those in UK, and my sympathies to you, but for me here I hate it even more than i did at home!!!!) anyway- I went to work, to find out that they have taken me off the rota for next 3 days (not good for the self esteem - even though it wasn't against me but you know how you take these things when you are low anyway!) and generally feel horrible- and then discover in the audience friends who are dancers (ie peer pressure to perform well).


well- i survived it- but only really danced well on first 2 songs I did (I felt) and those were only cos I was damned if these dancers were going to see me dance badly!!! After, when I spoke to them, they said no i hadn't looked like I had a cold on stage (which just goes to show I can act quite well when i have to) but then NO COMMENT re my dancing! Why is that? Did they hate it so much they couldn't bare to tell me te truth or lie to me, or did they think I was so wonderful but I knew that anyway so they didn't need to tell me? Grrr- I hate not knowing. I know I was brought up being told- 'if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all' but surely there must have been SOMETHING nice about my show- even if it was just my costumes?!!!!!

so- please - audience......... if you see a dancer perform, even if you don't like it, PLEASE dig deep to find SOMETHING good. Don't lie- not asking anyone to do that.... but don't act like they havn't done anything either- thats just not nice. Art is only art if it creates a response in its audeince- If I feel my dance has made no impact whatsoever there is nothing more demoralising!!!!!

Anyway- you can tell from the whole tone of this blog that I am still full of the cold, it is still raining and cold, and I am stil in a feeling sorry for myself mood!!!!!

So- How to perform when you feel like that?

- Pretend everything is good- the more you smile the more you feel like smiling. ACT!

- choose your favourite music and costumes- if everything around you is good then it will all be much better. Nice perfume helps too!

- Remind yourself that this is work- and you are getting paid to entertain- its not an exercise in making you feel good- you have a duty to your audence! (Thankfully I only have to fall back on this attitude very seldom- and even then, after a few mins of dance, the music usually lifts my mood!)

- Call on friends- thank god I have people around me who love me and admire what i do- at times like last night I have a wee moan to them and they remind me that I am good and to pick my chin up!

- This is advice for others that I don't take myself (but maybe should think about) If you choreograph your dance then even if you feel rubbish at least the technique will carry you through. Usually the other things above are enough to get me out my funk but last night I almost wished for a choreography to help me through!

- Waterproof mascara- for changing room before and after! sometimes the act only lasts as long as the performance does!

- Music- I said it before but for me it really is the most important. Last night my 1st 2 dances were strong- but I felt myself crumble on the 3 rd because it was one I don't dance to very often and don't feel so confident in. I should have chosen something different! Of course- I am my own worst critic and i am kinda hoping that what I felt as crumbling the audience just saw as not quite as enthusiastic as the others! The musicians said 'it all looked good- but did I have a cold?'- so thats all they noticed!

- oh, and another tip given to me by Caroline (dancer from Australia who has worked here for years) When it all gets too much- remember there are people out there who would pratically kill to get the opportunity to do what you are doing- even for a day. Dancing on the Nile, living 'the Dream'- dont forget it!!!!

If anyone has other tips for pulling yourself together emotionally or physically when you have to, I'd love to hear them!!

(and yes- have already tried the glass of wine and the bar of chocolate!)

oh well- as Karen sang- 'rainy days and mondays...........................'

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Music at home and audiences!

hehe- I am happy. I went today to the computer mall on Gamet dowal street, Mohandiseen, near me, and bought myself a surround sound system for my laptop.

AT LAST i can enjoy listening to my music while I write my blog! Really pleased too- because I went online to compare the price with the same thing at home in UK (they have a slightly different model- bu almost identical) and it costs between twice and three times the amount in the UK. Now- for the price of an adapter plug- that is more than worthwhile!

Now the only question is why the heck didn't I invest sooner???????????? I can attach it too my Ipod too- FAB!

On a different topic- Its just an opinion formed by experience here in Cairo but really- why audiences seem to reflect nationality trends?

Americans are usually fun loving and appreciative and up for a laugh. Japanese film EVERYTHNG and also are prepared to get up and have a laugh on stage. Italians and Spanish seem to look down their nose at you the whole time and you have no idea whether they are enjoying it or not. Australians I would have thought to be very like the Americans - but so far have found them to be very British- clapping politely at the end but not really participating in anything else. (I dont mean just not getting up to dance- i also mean refusing to smile throughout!!!!) Indian audiences either pretend you aren't there completely - OR start dancing and dont even give you a chance to perform!

How's that for a bunch of generalisations!!!!!!!!!!!! (obviously there are exceptions- but with lots of tourists in town just now I keep seeing a pattern!!!)

oh- and Egyptians- hmmmm.... they either LOVE it and are totally with you - or the opposite - in which case i am not sure why they come to a boat where they know part of the show involves a bellydancer in the first place if they dont approve!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Inside and out

I am trying to be good.

One of the hardest things about the dance scene in Cairo is how perfect you are supposed to be. I guess thats why so many dancers get surgery of one sort or another. Botox is everywhere (and seemingly much cheaper than in the UK) not to mention boob jobs, tummy tucks etc etc........Cairo is the only place in the world where I have had straight men comment on a nice manicure!!!!!!!!!

so last night I decided that I should maybe be making a little more effort. I put hot oil in my hair overnight, lathered pints of moisturising cream all over my body- foot cream, hand cream, you name it, and about 4 coats of moisturiser on my face.....(so sexy- glad I was sleeping alone!!!!), then a dark green face pack when i woke up....(thank god the water wasn't cut today!!!) Now, all of this so far is a big deal to me, I am generally so lazy about such things, although I know maybe to some of you reading this that it is your normal nightly regime!

Then I went to get my nails done (manicure and pedicure) and of course to get the hairs ripped out my eyebrows with bits of thread- its amazing the way they do it- all they need is a long piece of thread, their teeth and nimble fingers...... oh and a bit of sadism thrown in. (Fingers, Toes and Face defuzz all cost 60le- ie less than £6!)

I wont even talk here about the practise of Helowa (pronounced like 'Hell ow a' quite appropriatly!) which involves having a lump of sticky suger substance , a bit like toffee, pressed firmly into your skin then ripped off, with a fraction of the hairs in it that you want removed from said area- so the process has to be repeated over and over again on the same place. ouch. Mind you- unlike wax at least its a cold something place on sore skin rather than hot stuff.... and also- when it gets on yours clothes or nails etc etc it just washes away with water- very easy. Oops- I said I wasn't going to talk about that and I just did. Anyway- a full body 'sweet' (haha nothing sweet about it I tell you) will cost about 90le- a heck of a lot cheaper than a leg wax at home!

All thats left is to get my roots done (dying dark blond to dark brown- the opposite of what I have tried to achieve most of my life until i came to Cairo!!!)But that will have to wait a couple of days!

Then for the inside- I bought tonight (went shopping at 11pm because I realised I had run out of oinions!!!) for 50le (ie for under £5 ) the following;

1kg onions
1kg bananas
1kg apples
1kg oranges
1kg brown rice
1kg couscous

I thought that was a pretty good price considering what you might pay for the same in UK....and all the fruit and veg are local, and in season.......... yummy.

and cooked up lots of good, healthy, veggie food. moroccan aubergine. curried peppers. broccoli and sweetcorn and the rice. Ate a good portion of it too. The rest is in the fridge for tomorrow. I Have still got another big bottle of water to drink before bed too.

So hopefully- assuming I washed all the veg well enough (gave myself horrible food poisening once before from not washing aubergine properly!) then I will feel, and look, the picture of health and vitality by morning............

so the question is this- does all this good behaviour make me any better looking as a bellydancer or indeed make up for the 2 bars of chocolate, the macdonalds and the bacardi that I have also consumed today? ( not to mention the fact that ALL I ate yesterday was cheese and tomato sandwiches and banana sandwiches, oh and chocolate...) ?!!!!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

london bellydancers

I was in Eman Zaki's costume shop tonight and I met 2 lovely girls who are dancers in London. This inspired me to go online and check out the London scene, and I found this fantastic site for london bellydancers.

I get asked about teachers and performers in london all the time and here is lots of info all together -nice and easy. I am sure there are a lot of names missing though..... I spotted for instance that shahla's name wasn't there yet (a fabulous dancer who performs Iraqi dance like you wouldn't believe!)

Oh and you lucky Londoners- Azzia (of Canada) is coming to do workshops in your town- she was in Edinburgh last weekend and from my friends and students there who went, and who are stil aching from it and raving about it, this is one event you CANNOT miss out on! She sounds like a fantastic teacher...... go!

at a flick of a switch....

see- everything here just changes at the drop of a hat (or flick of a switch) . I really do feel like I am on an emotional rollercoaster.....

yesterday, without having seen me dance, and for no reason, a manager cut my days on the boat to next to nothing (not enough to live) and since then I have been in tears and stressed about how to live and why they did that, what to do now, etc etc...................

Now, today all change again and now on this next schedule from tomorrow til end Jan (16th- 31st), I am working EVERY SINGLE NIGHT! so from nothing to everything, all from a phone call.

So if you want to see me dance over the next 2 weeks- come to the Nile Pharoah boat, Cairo!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Proving your worth

I know I shouldn't be worried but everyone has a right to get nervous...

My general manager has NEVER seen me dance- even though I have worked there for nearly a year. So he is coming to see me either tonight or tomorrow night and that will determine whether I get more or less nights per week performing! So- I know I can dance. But what if he doesn't take to me for some reason? Whats the worst that can happen?...........hmmm, they can end my contract I guess (thats already happened with one of the girls- naming no names untl it is official) ......... ok- that hasn't made me any less nervous.

Why is it, that no matter how good you become at something (and I KNOW i am a damn good dancer) that you always doubt yourself??? I am just too Scottish in some ways! (you know- 'who does she think she is... the queen mother?!' and 'dinnie get ahead of yersel' and all those lovely scottish phrases we have to bring people down)

Or maybe its just being in Cairo- where there are sooooo many other factors which seem to be given more weight than your dancing skill (eg chest size, age, who you 'know', etc etc)

Anyway - I am going to dance my socks off tonight (hopefully I will actually remember to remove said socks before I get on the stage though!!!!) and hope you all keep your fingers crossed for me!

oh- and thanks guys- blog subscription not even been available for 24 hours yet and I have 25 subscribers already! (which means you guys should be getting this straight into your email inbox- hope it works!!!)

ok- update.......... i am now home from work (where I DID dance my socks off- I was great! Really- people were up dance with me, audience were singing along with the songs, an all-round fantastic atmosphere!!) BUT of course no-one came to see me (well- the audience was there- but not the manager) so all that stress for nothing. As for coming tomorrow- No work tomorrow- boat is cancelled for the day. So where do I stand now? exactly where I was before. Oh- and the girl I was told wasn't working anymore is still on the rota, which is great for her I guess....

- so really I should just wipe this entire blog entry since it has been such a waste of time- and effort- but I'll leave it- so you can see how things change at the drop of a hat here in Cairo and nothing NOTHING ever goes to plan! since I have started to dance for a living I have NEVER wished for a 9-5pm job again as much as I do at this moment!

scrap that- It has to be dance. Nothing else is worth all this stress!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

updating blog

I know a lot of readers out there are checking out my blog on a regular basis- so i have added something to make it easier for you guys. To get all my latest news- as soon as its posted- If you click on 'subscribe to my blog' you will receive all new entrys direct into your email inbox!

also- there is a search box at the top of the page now so you can find whatever it is you want to know about at an easy click of a button!

if anyone else has suggestions as to how to improve my blog I am open to them (assuming I can get past my technology phobia and actually apply them!!!)

Cooking curry in Cairo...

One of the wonderful things about food shopping for me in UK, was going to the reduced aisle and choosing my meal for the night from there- that way I would have the decision made for me what i was going to have and so add an element of surprise to my day! It also meant i bought expensive things which otherwise i wouldn't have allowed myself and tried new things!

Here in Cairo I do the same. Except that here it is- what do they have?, and is it in season? Not something we have to worry about in tesco's where everything is there almost all year round. I cannot here in Cairo decide 'i want '_____', today'- because often they wait and restock the shelves only once something has sold out completely!

Oh- and the other thing is that the veggies (and fruit) they sell by the kilo.....Also- no little vaccumed pack chopped and diced veggies in cling film........

I discovered today that a kilo of broccoli is a LOT of broccoli!!!!!

so what to do with it all ???? here is where I have to thank my good friend Surgah- she taught me how to cook curry.... ok, well not exactly, but she should me a simple one and lectured me on not being afraid to try. As my mum will vouch, and it hasn't improved much since then,- I normally lived on take aways and pasta, so for me- cooking a curry is a big deal! anyway- it was fabulous!!! (if I say so myself!!! I even check a receipe online AFTER i had eaten it to see what I 'should' have done and I had guessed it right!!!! ah the little life victories!!!) Anyway- its a wonderful change from egyptian food, pizza and pasta!

Now........ what to do with all that aubergine..............................?!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

April in Cairo

The Nile Group Festival is being held this year 14th-21st April 2008. Its a fantastic event for dancers from all over the world to get a chance to learn from Egyptian teachers and is held at the Pyramisa hotel in Dokki. I really enjoy it and recommend it. for full details see their website.

I will be in Cairo before these dates- and up til the 24th april.... then for the rest of the summer too..........

so if anyone wants to come over for a week before (or few days before and after) the festival to stay with me I have 2 rooms to rent (one twin , one double)! It works out cheaper than staying in the hotel, although obviously the hotel means you just fall out of bed and into the classes, and I cant promise a breakfast comparable to that in the hotel.... but you dont necesarily get the 'full' cairo experience staying in a hotel. If you are staying with me I am more than happy to help organise tours of the Sights of Cairo too, as well as help set up appointments with the costume designers, etc etc........

I could also do some workshops and private classes with you to get you up to speed before the workshops............... just a thought, in case anyone is interested....

This is something I am happy to offer any dancer at any time of the year........ (no men though- sorry!)

Lorna returns to Scotland....

For all of you in Scotland who read to this find out what I am up to- I hope you have space in your diaries for the end of Feb and start of March. I'm coming back- ok- not for good... but for 10 days... and I'll be busy doing lots of dance stuff!

Fri 22nd Feb- Performing at Morocco restaurant

Sat 23rd Feb- Workshops EDINBURGH.
Venue: McDonald Road Library, 2 McDonald Road, Edinburgh.

Complete beginners FREE hour!!!! 10.30-11.30am- no booking required- just turn up. Open to all ages. Women only.

Mixed Level Workshop (no complete beginners please)- 12-3pm. Fancy footwork- making the most of your dance space, music and audience! £25.

To receive your booking form please email me on asap.

Sat 23rd Feb-Performing at Morocco restaurant

Sun 24th Feb- Workshops EDINBURGH.
Venue: Morocco restaurant, Dundas St, Edinburgh. Numbers strictly limited!

Learn a Lorna choreography- mixed level. 11-1pm

Alchemy of Dance. Exploring nature and make Gold! Mixed level. 1.30-3.30pm

To receive your booking form please email me on asap.

+ Bellydance Banquet show at night- tickets limited and available from Khalid at Morocco restaurant from 16th feb. Get yours quick- this WILL sell out! (part of Middle Eastern Peace and Spirituality Festival)

Mon 25th, Tues 26th, Thurs 28th + Fri 29th- Private classes taught from home- email asap to book day and time. evening slots available but limited.

Thurs 28th, Fri 29th Feb and Sat 1st March- Performing at Morocco restaurant

Sat 1st March- Workshop DUNDEE. Venue: Olympia Studio.
Intermediate/Advanced 1-2pm.
Improvers/Beginners (no complete beginners please) 2-4pm.
For full details and to book please contact Nova and Caroline on

Sun 2nd March- Workshop GLASGOW. Venue- TBA
Improvers/Beginners (no Complete beginners please) 2 hrs- Time TBA

Intermediate/Adavnced- 2hs- Time TBA
For full details and to Book please contact Joanie on or Suraya on

So hopefully see you at some point through this time!

Classes in Cairo for Bellydance

sorry to repeat this blog for those of you NOT in Cairo who wish they were..........

but for those of you who are and fancy having a class with me then;

Workshop with Lorna Sat 26th Jan 08.

Starting with basic beginners level and working up from there...something for everyone! I aim to make these workshops will be informative, fairly energetic and fun.
Open to all ages, shapes, sizes and abilities. Ladies only.
The studio is lovely with natural light and mirrors and views over Maadi. Spaces are limited so early booking is recommended.

Date: Saturday 26th Jan '08
Time: 12-3pm
Cost: 150le if booked in advance. 200le on the door.
Venue: Studio in the Sky, top floor, building 5, road 215, Maadi.

to book contact Anna Louise or Shams on or 010 150 0902 or check out their new website

please bring a scarf to tie round your hips. We dance barefoot. oh- and remember to bring your sense of humour with you!!!!! see you there!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Cinema in Cairo

All the films in all the cinemas have a showing at midnight.......

isn't that wonderful?!!!! ok- maybe not if you live in UK and have a 9-5pm job... but here- when you might not finish wirk til then, like me- it means I can still go to the cinema! I did a google and found this fab website too which has all the listings of whats on, in which cinema, all over the middle east!!!!!!!!

Thats- me off to the cinema now- bye!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Passport Photos

Egyptian beaucracy LOVES passport photos....... EVERYTHING seems to have to have a photo attached...

here you dont just pop into your local train station and sit in a little box... no- here you go into kodak shop, or fugi or wherever and go upstairs where they have their own photo studio and a man bobs around you tilting your head this way and that to take the shot. It then goes on computer and you get your choice between 4 shots which are printed off then and there and you walk out within 15 mins with your 8 shots for 10 le (less than £1.)

Its a fantastic system. Had to laugh today though when I went- half way through the 'shoot' the photographer indicated to me that my hair was really a mess and i should brush it before he went any further........ can you imagine that happening at home???!!!

my only mistake was only getting the 8. thats not going to last long in this country!!!

and no- I am NOT going to show you the outcome !!!!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Suraya at the Sheraton

well- if rumours are right it might be one of the last times I see Suraya at the sheraton- seemingly they have shut down, or refurbishing , or something.... so not sure what will happen next- will keep you posted when i know.

The girls and I went to see her perform before new year- I thought you guys might appreciate the pics Michele took in order to see the cossies!!!!

City of the Dead

One of the many things I did with the girls when they were here to visit was to go to the cemetary to have a look around and to visit the family i have known there for many years now.....

those of you who have every been on an organised holiday with me will recognise the granny in the shots............. now she lives in the same place (her husband has moved away with the younger wife to set up home elsewhere and left her with her 2 sons and their wives and children)

Michele managed to capture some fabulous images which tell you a lot about their lives...

You should have seen our faces when the mother encourgaed the wee girl to dance, then opened the drawer and handed her this knife to dance with!!!!!!!!!!!!! talk about cultural differences!!!! can you imagine that happening in Uk???!!!

their kitchen consists of that one burner you see in the background of that last shot. They have nothing.... there are 4 adults and 2 children (and maybe more I dont know about) who stay in this one room, that has 2 double beds in it. And yet despite this... they have a great mobile phone- which has all the latest tunes on it, which held high as you dance makes do as a sound system...............

despite having nothing there is always room for dancing, a smile and love.....

2008 so far....

It's been a good year so far... which is why its already the 6th jan and this is my first entry in the blog this year!!!!

New Year was interesting...................... Michele, Clair and Cathrine came to the Nile Pharoah to see me dance. I preformed downstairs- then had 20 mins over the bells when I could sit with them and see in 08 together before changing to perform my next set. this was the order of events to brin in new year....

1- the bells- ( a recording of big ben- which rang for at least 18 times.....)

2- the music- faint sounds of the birthday song being played as the bells counted down..

3- 00:00- Happy Birthday song played at full blast?????!!!!

4- the manager gets me up to dance with him- and all the staff surround us and clap and sing... then one boy who danced really well joins us.

5- Another manager refuses to dance- so the entire staff grab him ( a large strong serious type of a man) and together they give him the 'dumps' throwing him up into the air over and over, with his nose just barely missing the ceiling!

and to top the lot- santa- yes santa in the full red suit and bizarre scary mask, on hogmany, doing a conga line (yes- a conga line) through the restaurant with all the staff members on tow..................

oh- and then cathrine had to leave the boat early to go catch her flight... so a speed boat collected her from the boat- very james bondish!!!!!

oh- and I danced a bit too.................

and a bit more.....
and then again..............

so, how did you see in 2008? was it as crazy as that???????????

Since then I have had a couple of days work, and spent some time with Michele before she too went back to Scotland, and now trying to catch up on the 'normal' stuff of seeing friends here, sorting photos and catching up with the blog!

oh- and Found a lovely Indian restaurant last night- just walking distance from my house- great food and reasonable prices.... just off Sharia Lebnan. very nice.