Monday, March 31, 2008

Please help..........

calling any techie people out there who might be able to help me on this.

I just received a comment from a teacher who was checking my website and it turns out somebody has stolen it!
Somehow 'they' have attached my website name to link to a porn site- so


Even though I still own and have paid for that domain name I had no pages saved under it yet- the blog is enough for me just now- but I was waiting to get to get round it....................

now I really don't know what to do or who to complain too..........................

very upset and angry!!!!

any help please???????

( this bit added in June!- ps all websites now safe to use!!!!!!!!!!!! the hackers have been ousted!!!)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Catch up.....

Last night I was at Yasmina's house cos Kay Taylor had a group over and they had a party there. They had a few shows too- Nubian, saaidi (stick) and Iskandraya (melaya). One girl from Kays' group is a teacher in Belguim and I just loved the way she moved. Somehow she really reminded me of myself. Calmer ( a good thing!) , and maybe less cheeky.... but the same body shape and the same snakyness. hypnotic!

It was fun, and the band were there- love when there is live music and you can dance , not just perform. Am really excited about work tonight becuase I managed to persuade my manager (well- I have decided he is more like an agent than a manager) anyway- persuaded him to get me this other table player that I really like and got him..... so REALLY looking forward to doing my tabla solo ( or 'faddi' as they call it here) .....

On thursday night I was at work, but the whole boat had been chartered out for a wedding... so ALL the guests were downstairs and the buffet upstairs. There just seemed to be TONS of people. They call all these occasions weddings- but actually it was an engagement party, and the 'bride to be' had her birthday on the same day... a fun night. But loooooong! They had the dreaded wedding video camera's too- so it was REALLY hot with these strong white lights on you the whole time, and you have to keep an eye out to check the camera is trying to get a view up your skirt and then project it on the wall!!!!!!!!!!! Bizarre performing, but at the same time being able to watch yourself dance on a huge TV screen on the wall!!!

And of course just when I was getting into the end of my saaidi number disaster had to strike- one of my bra staps burst! Thankfully everything remained covered.... but I had to do a very rushed finali which left me rather deflated. it's amazing how important the ending is. I went to the cinema to see 'cloverfield' last week and enjoyed the film, but because the ending was very weak it ruined the whole experience for me. I hope the people in my audience weren't as disappointed with my ending, as I was with the film!!!!!


what else has happened? oh yes- Weather. It got up to 40 deg for about a week- forgot how oppressive that can feel! but now it has really cooled down again, only 25deg today ( and yes- I do put all that there to remind people at home how lucky I am!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and the Khamaseen or the '50-day wind' is on its way (about a month of volitile weather, winds and sandstorms.....) FUN! In Scotland you get used to grey skies most of the time. However, this time of year in Cairo we get used to orange skies!!!

Oh, I am so excited......... by the end of today I will have bright coloured curtains up on my balcony to shade my wondows from the sun, and me sunbathing from my neighbours! Also my dance studio will have full wall mirrors on 2 walls, and my bath will have been repainted. It feels good!

Looking forward to some of my friends coming over to stay in a couple of weeks... should eb a lot of fun.

I rent out rooms- so if you fancy sunbathing on my balcony, dancing in my studio, and seeing Cairo and the dancers here ................. then let me know!!!!!!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Costumers in Cairo, and moulids and stuff!

Just realised for all the talking i do (ok- well writing actually) here about my new costumes etc etc _ I rarely give the costume designers themselves a plug..... and they deserve it.... so here goes...

If you want to see Eman Zaki designs and contact her , or her sister Hoda directly , their website is and the emial is there- not too hard to remember!

For Amera el Kattan (aka Pharonics )- harder to track down online- so I'll come back to this one!!! I have a phone number for her- but as yet no website or email- I think that is to protect the people who sell her costumes on, mainly in the states....... I'll research it- or at least get an email for you if possible!!!

For Oriental Moon

For Aida Nour costumes you can arrange to go see her, or check out which festivals she is teaching, and selling costumes at through her website. or email

For Raqia Hassan costumes I have not bought one of these yet- but the pictures look good!

So- there are lots of others............. and I often find some nice items from Mahmoud and Yasser in Khan el Khalili too...............

Today was 37 degrees. Very hot and sticky. I can hardly believe it. Was cold really not that long ago at all. Not a complaint- just a comment!

Having some work done in my flat over the next 2 weeks- mirrors getting put up in my 'spare' room to turn it into a proper studio for the private classes i get here at home and curtain rails put up on the balcony to shelter my huge livingroom windows from the afternoon sun, and so that I get some privicy to be able to sit out there and sunbathe without causing a riot amoung my neighbours!

I must mention mothers day. It was on friday here.... and a pretty huge event. People were saying congratualtions to me even- when i asked why- I was told becuase its a celebration day for all women- when I persisted and said- No its a day for all 'mothers' they argued no, no, for all women! weird. Anyway- well OTT, like valentines day... and when I said to a friend- we won't be able to get a seat in any restaurant today- he asked why- mothers seemingly dont get taken out for their meal- they still have to cook for the extended family on 'their' day! of course.........

It was also the Moulid Al-Nabi , the Prophets birthday, last week- which meant huge dolls and big boxes of sweets on sale everywhere. If for some reason you should be interested in making a moulid doll out of sugar, i found this bizarre with indepth info about it!!!

To read a really great review of another moulid celebration- check out this journalists experience of moulid el-hussain last year...

oh- and Happy Easter everyone.... my 2nd Easter in a row without a chocolate egg- does that mean i have to be a grown up now??????? I don't want toooooo :-( !!!!!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

pics of me!

Michele Dillon took these pics of me last time I was home (was hoping for more pics to show of the cossies- but hopefully they will follow!!!!!!) They were taking in the changing room- so pretty damn good for non studip shots I think!!!

Michele is a lovely dancer who performs mainly in various restaurants in Glasgow and also a wonderful photographer with recent success in her debut exhibition- an upcoming star!!! You can see some of her work on her website

Messages from home

A website and newsletter i haven't ever mentioned on my blog is worth a look.

The Bellydance club newsletter keeps me up to date with reviews of workshops and performances, books, cd's and lots more all over UK and is based in fife, Scotland. Run by an enterprising and enthusiastic bellydancer, Annette McCann, she sends out your newsletter direct to your email inbox, once a month and it never fails to entertain!!!

To find out more and to register for your newsletter (for only £10 per year!!!) click the following

Also if you are a teacher based in Scotland- its a great place to advertise your classes (didn't notice any mentioned in Edinburgh yet!!!!!!) and if you are a student interested in starting out its a good place to search for more info!

I love it when I know whats going on at home, even when I am over here in Cairo! Mind you- sometimes I hear of events going on over there and I half wish I was there to attend!!!!!!!!!!!

instead I'm here........ biding my time, waiting for more dates to perform- a struggle just now since one of the boats is out of action- so there REALLY isn't enough work for all 4 of us right now..............very stressful........... roll on summer!

quote of the day 'the Dalai Lama treated me really badly' ( yes -a friend actually said this to me today. I live in a bizarre wonderful world!!!)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

never boring..............

one of my favourite phrases to use to describe Cairo is 'it's never boring!'. here's what happened yesterday, in a fairly uneventful day, just to give you an idea.

  • I signed the contract for yet another year working on the pharoah. It is all written in arabic and they laughed when i asked what it said!
  • To write my name, on something I couldn't read- i had to sit about and wait for over an hour and a half!
  • While sitting waiting, the police came to move us on (was sitting with 'my boy' on a bench on the corniche beside work) not really sure why this was acceptable behaviour on thier part- surely people can sit on a public bench for as long as they like?
  • I met the general manager of the boat, for the 1st time, even though I have worked there for a year.
  • I froze to bits eating my KFC lunch- since the sun has come out in Cairo some people seem to think that means it's acceptable to have the AC on in restaurants etc at 16 degrees. When i complained , the cleaner took the remote control out his pocket and changed it by a degree (I'm sure it got even colder!)
  • The irony of going to get pampered, ie getting nails done, which also means have the hairs on your face ripped out with threads.............. ouch!
  • My 1st show of the night, on the sunset sail (which leaves after sunset???) was to 4 tables. I felt like I was back in Edinburgh! However, still managed to get them up dancing and got a party atmosphere going so was happy until...........
  • I did one dance, turned round and when I looked- every single one of them was looking out the window- not a soul looking at me. Grrrr. well- what could I do? I could stop, or walk off, or pretend they were watching, but i decided that what I really wanted to do was dance for me- so me and the tabla player just went a bit mad- it was fantastic! I didn't look at the people once- just at the tabla and floor and me.... danced my heart out... then he pointed out I should look at the people and not one of them wasn't looking at me!!!!! A fab show considering how little the audience was!
  • between that sail and the next I finished my book, which had been a present from a good friend. Its called 'Chicago' and its by Alaa Al Aswany. Wonderful- read it in 2 days. All about medical students from Egypt who go to study in Chicago and all the cultural differences they discover. Tells a lot about human nature, and about Egypt life! I really recommend it!
  • had a fight with my singer as to why, yet again, even with all this work i had in one night (3 sails), my fanoon weren't there with me....... (the 2 men who dance with sticks with me in the saaidi section of the show). He makes more profit out of me if he doesn't have to pay them you see..... so often they are 'busy' and can't come! Grrr
  • Another fun tabla solo- totally improvised, since this was a drummer I have only worked with twice before. Think he was enjoying himself as much as I was!!!
  • going up to a guest and asking 'where are you from?' to get the reply 'Scotland'. His face when I said I was from Edinburgh, was a picture!!!! so funny!
  • my friend Amanda came to see me dance, and brought a friend from London and her Aunt, who's Egyptian. It was really fun chatting in arabic with her aunt after the show, and I always love when i have friends to see me- it brings out the best in me (thats what comes from being a show off I guess!!!!!)
  • I managed to get smiles and laughter out of an Italian tour group! Usually they are the hardest audiences to please- but these people were lovely!
  • while dancing I overheard a woman say to her husband- 'she pulls some faces!' i instantly replied , mid dance, 'thanks very much' ! after, when I thought more about it, I realised that wasn't a phrase you would really find outside of Scotland, and yes- they were from Glasgow! I just LOVE seeing the range of emotions that flood over a persons face when they have been watching the 'egyptian dancer' and suddenly realise that I am from their own country!!!
  • Was told that although we don't wear them at all in Cairo anymore- I should ALWAYS had a shebka (a body stocking) in my bag when i work, in case the musanifat (police, sort of) come to check if I am decent or not! when no one told me this a year ago I don't know!!
  • Last show (4th) of the night was nearly all Egyptians in audience. The atmosphere was wonderful, I felt amazing- they were all singing along with the music and very appreciative. Can honestly say I felt like I could really dance last night, which, for me, is saying something!
  • The most amazing things of the whole day was probably the fact that i laughed and joked with the taxi driver on the way home, and he didnt' take that as a sign to be slimy with me!!!!!

So, that was my day. See what I mean. An average day. I didnt' find it boring- if you have got this far with reading it then hopefully you didnt' either!!!!

Oh- and if you still are checking this on the blog- why not get my posts sent direct to your email inbox- you just need to click on the link, it's easy!!! I have readers all around the world now- it's really exciting for me!

Monday, March 10, 2008

more costumes..

no pics this time though........

I have been rather naughty the last 2 days.
I bought all those new costumes before I went to Scotland (which I am still waiting for the pics so I can put them up here!!!) so I don't 'need 'costumes right now. BUT I went to see Amera el Kattan (of Pharonics costumes) yesterday- as I wanted to order one costume- and really had to restrain myslef from ordering more than the 2 I did!!!! so excited. Never had a yellow costume before- won't have it for a while yet either- but its in the making......................

Then today- I went to see Eman Zaki, pay off my debts to her........ and just commented in passing that I had never seen any of her sister Hoda's designs. Well that was just the WRONG thing to say wasn't it?!!! within 5 mins I had ordered one from her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


trying NOT to think what the last 2 days just cost me!!!

just have to say - last night Sara came to see me dance with a couple of people over from UK, a dancer and her son, and I was really scared, cos I felt like I would never be able to get the energy going to make it a good show. But its amazing where the energy can come from at times........seeing your teacher smile like that is a bit like being a kid and making your mum smile!

Saw an accident on the way to work last night. A huge old tree had fallen on top of cars on the main road on the way to work. It wasn't windy or stormy or anything. It just fell. Not sure how many cars were crushed underneath it- a few. There but for the grace of God............

Oh and another wee thing. I was chatting with my labeesa (dresser) and she was saying the thing she liked , or one of the things she liked, about foreign dancers as opposed to Egyptian dancers was that foreigners dressed decently off stage, ie long skirts or jeans, long sleeved tops etc etc whereas some Egyptian girls show off more cleavage and leg on the way to and from work as they do on stage. I thought it showed an interesting example of how 'we' see the dance differently from local girls. Work is work- but off stage is something else. I am sure there are exceptions to that.....

but then I was chatting with Joana (dancer from portugal) today, and she was telling me about a conversation she had recently with a couple of Egyptian men, who, after they had been talking about history and religion and such things for a while asked 'are you SURE you're a dancer? dancers don't talk about things like this. You are really well educated' so maybe that sums up yet another difference between us and them! We foreign dancer have come here because we have CHOSEN to be dancers. Often Egyptian girls do it cos they think they will make good money that way and they can't see any other way of doing that.

all very interesting..... and helps towards trying to understand why this art form , which I love and respect, comes under such heavy critisism within Egyptian society.

Sunday, March 09, 2008


You know- I've been thinking about it. I think the reason I felt so strong that 1st night back to work here in Cairo was largely due to the massive positive response I received when I was in Scotland. Both in the workshops and in response to my performances. I'd like to blow my own trumpet a little and quote some of an email I received from a student of mine, it really made me feel amazing…

Dear Lorna, You'll be hearing so much of this I am sure! Always seeing you dance has been a source of inspiration and amazement. Each jaw dropping performance has always swept every other dancer from my mind. When you returned to Scotland before, it seemed impossible but somehow you had brought more to your dance, showing us so much emotion and moves that had me doing that " but HOW did she DO that!!!?" face.
This time you did something else amazing. At Morocco you utterly became the music to a point that it seemed impossible to separate the two. You became greater in stature, making yourself immense in the space. The observer in my dance head was trying to question " how does Lorna do that?" but you were just so at one with the music you were it that it was not possible to step back from your performance and look at pieces of it. WOW!
You explained lots of this at your workshop which seemed to be over in minutes. It was a delight to see you dance in Scotland again. Wishing you huge success in Cairo, you are already a huge success! All the best ……… V.

Isn't that lovely? Her email made me sooo proud I instantly sent it to my teacher Sara so she could be proud of me too!!!! The line that really got to me was ' You became greater in stature, making yourself immense in the space.' It got to me because that was the long term aim for me……… not just to be a dancer- but to be a real performer…… and that’s what this line suggests I, at least on this particular night, achieved! I am really grateful that this girl was able to put in writing the way she felt…. And that she even thought about doing it! Quite often when you become good at something, or are the teacher (or both!) people stop praising you. They assume you already know!

Perfect example is when you go to a hafla in UK, EVERYONE will praise the beginners (as they should do since its hard to get up there when you are just starting out!) but few will say anything to the professional- maybe you get a 'great – as always' or something- a comment meant to praise, but actually makes you feel you haven't achieved anything any better than you did before. If you are always good- why put in the effort? Good dancers often have low self esteem too- don't forget to let them know WHAT was good!

Oh- and while I am talking about my time in Scotland- can I just say how much I loved teaching in Dundee and Glasgow again- what NICE NICE people!!! I had forgotten just how welcoming you guys are! Looking forward to coming back to see you in September hopefully when I am in the country for a month (inshallah!!!)

So you can appreciate what I mean- look at these smiley faces from my Glasgow workshop!............... (we all look a bit sweaty and exhausted- but some of us had just done 4 hours dancing!!!!)

I am sad to leave Edinburgh, to leave my family and friends behind. This trip was so chaotic I didn't even get to see most of my family…….. so hopefully when I return end of April (for a week) I can make it a 100% social trip and catch up with everyone (or maybe 98%- for sure I perform at least once at Morocco!!!)

I'm NOT sad to leave that horrible weather! In Cairo the sun is shining- I am out in daytime in a t-shirt (or equivalent) and sleeping with just a sheet- no electric blanket or hot water bottle!!!!

Scotland is the most beautiful country in the world- except for its weather!!!!!!!!!


A few people have commented on the photo of me in my new costume in the last blog!) . It’s by a new designer here in Cairo, they are called 'Oriental Moon in Cairo' and are based in Nasr City, Cairo. They are just starting out really- but have some nice and funky ideas.

You can see some shots of me modelling some of their costumes at their website . There are more pics under the 'malika collection' too…………….

I even get a mention in their 'friends' page! I'm looking forward to their new collection so I can go pose in lots of lovely costumes again for a day!!!! Quite like this type of modelling work!!!!

Here's a taste of their funky cossies!!!!!..................

Friday, March 07, 2008

Performing in Cairo- back to work!

So much to write about I don't know where to start……

Back in Cairo now. Its really, really sunny and warm! Amazing what sunshine can do to your mood! and amazing the difference 2 weeks can make!

Was working last night- on my 1st night back. WONDERFUL!!!!! I very rarely am happy with a performance, being such a perfectionist when it comes to my own work. I really felt wonderful last night though. I guess back to sunshine, and friends, and mainly- my band! Oh the joy of dancing to a live band after 2 weeks working with cds. I really can't describe the pleasure! I felt on top of the world in my new costumes, working with my band behind me- inspiring me, supporting me and very happy to see me. The whole joy of being here and living the dream was reinforced with all 3 performances I did last night!!!

It helped that amongst really nice, mixed, friendly audiences, there were a couple of dancers from Leeds there- smiley faces right in the front, singing along with the music and urging me to do well. I am hoping pride doesn't come before fall in this case- cos I felt so damn proud to be up there, the Scot in Egypt- doing a good job and loving it!

Before I left to go to Scotland, I had a night on the boat where I really didn't feel so confident. I felt it really hard to connect with the audience and it was probably all to do with the way I was feeling about travelling etc but I just wasn't in it at all. One table helped make it a really enjoyable night for me though. They were attentive and smiley- which always helps to a performer! When I did the photos with them (part of the job to go round everyone and have professional pics taken) I realised they weren't speaking English- so I kinda mimed that I wanted the 2 young girls to join me on the dance floor. They did- and were lovely. Really attentive and very good followers! To be honest- I was on stage thinking- I guess work-wise I should be performing for the rest of the audience more and not just enjoying myself with these two. But I decided I needed to have fun too.

The funny thing was – I received a lovely email from the family a few days later………. Turns out that they were Scottish too!!!!! They hadn't realised I was Scot, assuming I was Egyptian. When they discovered where I was from (not sure how) they searched me down on the internet and emailed me to say thanks for making the night so special for their nieces from France (hence me not hearing English!!!) and that they felt very proud as fellow Scots, of my achievements! The girls had been so inspired they had a private class later in the week and are seemingly still speaking about it! The family sent some pics too- Here's us having fun!

I love my job.....................!

If you are reading this and want to join in the fun- and are in cairo over next week or so- I am performing on the following dates;

Nile Pharoah- 7th, 8th, 9th and 12th March

Golden Pharoah- is having a refurbish/ motor overhall or whatever you call it- so not running for next week or so!

hopefully see you here!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

coming soon.......

.... to cairo - fly back 'home' tomorrow!

Have been running about in Edinburgh, well, across Scotland actually, for over a week- hence no blog entries... but once i get a chance to sit and type it all expect to read up about the following..

-how my workshops and performances in Scotland went... with some student reviews...
-dancing for Scots on board the Pharoah...
-New costume designer in Cairo......
-My new costumes- with pics!!! (anyone reading this who took good photos on the night of the bellydance banquet- please send any nice pics you have of me..... !!!!!)
-how it feels leaving Edinburgh....
-anyone interested in renting a flat in Edinburgh?!!........
-best and worst bits about returning to Cairo......

well..... there are prob lots more topics i want to cover, once i start writing I get inspired and just go for it. But you get my jist- lots of blogging to come in the very near future. Bet you are all soooo excited now!!! I guess this is a bit like a blog trailer then.....

1st I have a last day of organising and seeing family and spending time with my lovely wee nephew Sam, who turned 2 last week... so cute!!!