Thursday, December 31, 2009

First and last!

This is my first blog with my new laptop... which i have only managed to set up and get online with now! The last one survived three and a half years of Cairo heat and dust- i think that is pretty impressive! Inshallah this one lasts at least as long!!!!

This is also my last blog of 2009.

What a year.

It's been a year of personal challenges never mind the day to day Cairo challenges. But a good strong support system of fabulous friends has kept everything going along quite nicely thank you and I am feeling good as i head into the year of the Tiger, 2010 !

The last year has seen me become stronger and more confidence in work, 3 years now I have been working at the Pharoah boats on the Nile. I AM a bellydancer on the Nile!! (sometimes even now it still feels like a game of dressing up or lets pretend!!!). I have my papers and contract for another year... and my dancing is improving daily.... just as my understanding of Egyptian language, culture and music increases too. I am getting more work abroad teaching workshops and performing... and lots more people are coming to me here in Cairo to either take private classes or stay with me in my 'bellydance' hotel ( ie my spare rooms which I rent out to dancers!!!). Things are good. Thank God and long may it last!!!!

So what are my dreams and resolutions for 2010?

- to do more. I am one of those dancers who is very lucky to be able to perform well without a lot of practise (assuming you don't include daily performances as practise which of course it is- just as teaching 25 classes per week when i was in Scotland was practise too!!!!). In 2010 I am going to make more effort to push my dance to greater heights and do more study, lessons and practise! That includes more stretching- which has unfortunalty fallen by the wayside as of late!

-to improve my arabic. It's ok at the moment- and I get by and can usually make myself understood and understand most of what is said to me- but i am sadly lacking in grammer and has a specialised, limited vocabulary and i feel after 4 years living in a country i really should be more fluent than i am! Lessons start this weekend!!!

-to get my music organised and onto this new laptop! I've not had music on my computer for a year now, and its been a hard year because of it! I need to get better aquainted with my music collection!

Actually thats it............ if I can manage those 3 things i will be a much better person and dancer I am sure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I've written them down here so that you guys out there who read this (and thank you for all your support through the years!!) can help remind me of my resolutions and pull me up on them should I fall by the wayside!

I wish you all, all the very best in 2010 and hope it brings out the Tiger in you too!

Feel free to comment with your new years resolutions too....................!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009



What a week!!! Christmas is a wonderful time to head back to Scotland, because lots of people are home so its easy to meet up with everyone… unless of course the snow is so bad that its not safe to drive anywhere and you end up sitting home a lot…. Which is unfortunately, what happened most of the time! It didn’t help that my mobile phone refused to receive and send text messages…… amazing how much I rely on technology!

Despite the weather, which I am REALLY not used to, there were some special moments in the week. Thank you to those who made my time special- you all know who you are!

I managed to buy a new laptop, the idea being that the webcam will help me stay in better contact with my friends and family, and that now I have NO excuse not to organise my music properly! As a dancer it is really shocking how unorganised my music collection is- the number of songs listed as ‘track 1’, no artist, track or album name etc is scary. My resolution in 2010 is to get that sorted!!!! At this moment I am sitting in the comfy seats at Amsterdam airport have a play on said laptop just now during my 5hour wait for my Cairo connection!. Feels like the first time I have sat down all week!

Looking forward to New Year and all the fun that will be dashing between venues to perform (although of course the main event is the Nile Pharoah!)

I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas- and in case things get hectic when I land back in Cairo and I don’t get a chance to write again this year- I wish you all the very best in 2010. I hope it is a wonderful year for you all and that you get, and take, the chance to realise your dreams.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


It's cccccccccccold in Scotland!!!

I am home visiting everyone for Christmas. i only have a weeks holiday so i am saving it for friends and family only. Workshops and performances will have to wait until March when I am next back in the UK (watch the blog for info re when and where those events will be, as soon as all confirmed!)

Weather forecast here in Edinburgh tomorrow is high of -1deg c and low of -4 !!!
Cairo is to be high of 17 and low of 11.

and people ask me why I like to live in Cairo????? !!! Hmmm... well- THAT has got to be high on my list of reasons!!!!!

It is good to be back to visit friends and family though... although plans somewhat fell apart today , partly because i am snowed in!!!! Was a very strange experience, after all this time living in Africa, to be here, hunting for something to put under the car wheels to stop them spinning on the snow and get my car out of the gutter where it was stuck! Last time in my life I had a similar problem was in a jeep that got stuck in the sand in the sahara and we had to get bits of cardboard to place under the wheels!!!!!

I'm looking forward to performing at New Year on the Nile Pharoah again this year......... wonder if santa will be bringing in the 'bells' with a conga line as he did last year. Bizarre!!!! Whatever happens it will be fun because i have a big group of friends who are coming to the boat to say goodbye to 2009 with me!

Oh, and I will endeavour to write more if I can before the New Year! Friends have commented on the fact that I haven't been writing much as of late. If it's any consolation... I see a pattern. When i am both busier and more content within my life, I blog less. Blogging is a bit like my own self help therapy! So if you are a regular follower of my blog and get concerned about the reduction of blog entries at any period... please see it as a good thing and be happy for me!!!!!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas.... enjoy it to the max!

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I love my life!

After work last night I went to perform at a friends husbands birthday party. It was a fantastic night and very strange performing in 'normal' clothes. The venue doesn't have a license for entertainment- so I couldn't have my band with me... and I couldn't wear a proper dance costume either! So I wore the shiniest tightest dress i could find in my wardrobe instead! Was still very strange not dancing in costume!

The performance went really well with everyone joining in to dance too! Then, later, I was nearly in tears when one woman (Egyptian) said that if Samia Gamal and I were working together in the same era, then Samia would resign because I am so elegant!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Considering Samia is still one of my biggest inspirations then even taken with a bucket of salt, that is a fabulous compliment!

What was lovely was that the bar staff, mostly Sudanese I presume, were all dancing away behind the bar and a couple of them would be able to give some of the more famous Egyptian male dancers a run for their money!

It was a lovely venue too... the Garden City Club. Never been there before- its a private members club... but very nice!!! A great place for a party!

Looking forward to having my house party this week too. A friend is coming to Cairo to live. That's 2 of my friends from uk to move here within the last 6 months!! The Egyptian goverment should give me money for the aid I give Egypts economy!!!!! Anyway- I decided to throw a welcome party for her! It's going to be great.

Then I fly the next morning to Scotland to spend Christmas with the family! I heard its snowing today in edinburgh................ Brrrrrrrr.... i don't think my body is ready for that kinda cold! Cairo weather suits me MUCH better... although even now its a little chilly!

Must go look out my tinsel......................... :-)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


I've not been writing for ... wow... over 2 weeks... I think that's maybe my biggest gap between blog entries yet!

Why? many reasons I guess. I spent Eid working (the festival where they kill a sheep or cow on the doorstep) and then went up to Sharm for 4 days to lie by the pool and read. I LOVED it.

I am not a all......... I constantly love having people around me, or am online or on the phone because I usually get really depressed if I am on my own for any length of time. So it was a big surprise to me to actually enjoy the solitude. Just me, my ipod and 3 books in the sunshine....... pure bliss! So I am wondering why suddenly the peace was a blessing to me... maybe the noise and chaos that is my life in Cairo just suddenly became too much and my brain needed downtime? Maybe I am beginning to 'grow up' and not 'need' other people around me to know what I think and how I feel (about time huh!). Or Maybe I am just happier in my life. More content. Maybe.

Work is certainly going well......... I LOVE performing... and am beginning to be more confident on stage too. More able to do less. It really is the key to better dancing- less dancing!!!!!! That only comes with time and confidence though too. I've served my time! I'm just 3 months short of 4 years here in Cairo . 4 YEARS !!! I can't believe it. I can safely admit that my life is in Egypt now........... and I can't imagine living in Scotland again- not for a while anyway- i figure I'll perform here in Cairo as long as I can continue to get work permits and as long as people actually want to watch me dance while they eat their dinner......... then...well... then who knows... the world is my oyster..... not that I am really sure what that phrase means! I know I will always want to dance, whether it's teaching , or performing, or both.

Anyway- this is all a bit deep and personal for my 1st blog back after a while - so on a lighter note...

....right now I am typing this from the bathroom.... why? because 'they' have sprayed my stairwell with bug-killing stuff which is seeping under my door. Did always wonder why I never had a bug issue ever in this place- now I know! The whole flat is noxious and giving me a headache. So I have put some very hot water into the bath with lots of Olbas Oil and am writing this entry from my homemade sauna!!!! It's bliss to be able to breathe... although not so sure how good the steam will be for my laptop!!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lorna in Luxor

Just in case it hasn't come to your attention yet................... I'm going to be one of the headlining teachers at the Farha tour festival in Luxor 22nd-29th Sept 2010.

Me and Eman Zaki and Kazafy- not a bad line up frankly!!!! I am really excited about working alongside with these fabulous dancers!

Book now............ see you there!!!!!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Last night many grown men cried in the streets when Egypt lost in the football to Algeria.

I wasn't too happy about it either! I had a fabulous dance planned. White saaidi galabeya with red bra and head scarf and back the Egyptian flag.... I entered on a saaidi song we then played a 'Masr' song (all about wonderful Egypt and how much we love her!) then into the saaidi again. It was a show designed to enter the spirit of the night................. and the band were great, and the costume looked great..

BUT just as I was dancing towards the stage to start it all.... you know what happened......... Algeria scored!

No matter what I did, the show was completely flat and no-one even had to tell me what had happened- I knew from the faces of the band, the staff, the customers... everyone was as low as they could be and I couldn't have possibly had worse timing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I had been so proud of myself too, doing something new and different and fun within my show like that. How frustrating! !

Wat surprised me was that when Algeria got their goal... everyone acted instantly as though all was lost... but there was still over half an hour to play. My theory is that its not over til its over....... but EVERYONE around me had faces tripping them instantly. It's one thing to accept your fate and yet another to give up too soon. I am guessing if the players had the same attitude as everyone around me did then that might the the real reason why my streets home from work were not full of screaming celebrating fans last night!

Also - another thought, by an Egyptian friend, was that if people could get as excited about politics as they do about football, blocking the streets and practically bringing the entire city to a standstill, then maybe things would be very different in Egyptian government!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Nile group festival Opening show last night!

It was PACKED!
I've never seen that many people before at any of the Gala Dinners at the Nile Group festival (Pyramisa hotel, Dokki).

The sound system was the best yet... but unfortunately the lighting wasn't so great- so i will apologise in advance of writing about these dancers and costumes, that there are no photos. Anyone reading this who has pics of the event- please feel free to forward them to me to include!

Nancy (Egyptian was 1st up). She has put on a little weight since last time, and it suited her. She was relaxed, bubbly, cute. She had a lot of lovely moves in there... and some facial expressions and arm movements which reminded me of Suraya. But I guess both of them were taught by Raqia Hassan in the beginning. The first costume was very glittery, disco ball inspired bra belt with black chiffon skirt. The chiffon is unusual to see in 'modern' Egyptian dance, and nice. The last costume though was not so flattering. I guess it was 'Egypt' inspired since it was red white and black and she danced to a song all about 'Egypt' in it! Unfortunately it didn't flatter her figure the way previous costumes had. Last night was the nicest I have seen Nancy dance.

Tito's show was next, starting with a pharonic dance with everyone (all his 'backing' dancers) dressed in gold and blue. Was visually eye catching.... and I guess works well for tourists in sharm.... but didn't really inspire most of the dancers I talked to about it last night! However, Tito on his own, in both his stick dance and his tabla solo, was on FIRE ! VERY VERY good. Best i have seen him. Slightly more technique than usual... but mainly what was impressive was a phenomenal stage presence that had even me weak at the knees at times. Well done that man! Sometimes when male dancers perform it is spoiled for me because they look like they are trying to be women.... when Tito danced these 2 dances he was 100% masculine.

Camelia blew everyone away! She started in a relaxed way... but that lasted all of maybe one minute before she was up to full speed and high high energy. Even taking her hair and spinning it round helicopter style half way through the 1st dance! LOTS and LOTS and crazy hair flinging in all of her show. Especially of course in the Khleegy which had lots of new things in it- and a lot of jumpy steps from Iraq too! My favourite dance as usual from her was the Shamadan (the candleabra on the head!) maybe because she does, by neccesity have to, calm down slightly in it! Her gold/balck costume she wore for the shamadan dance was my favourite costume of the night too. LOVELY ! The thing about Camelia for me , is that her crazy energy is the thing that is equally the best and worst thing about it! You cannot help but smile the entire time she is dancing....... but I would love to see how she would tackle an omm khalsoum or baladi takisim or something!

Liza was last on the bill and incredibly relaxed after both Tito and Camelia. Her final show was the most different thing with a stunning assuit dress and tribal style headdress and belt with metal and pom poms! The dance had sections of haggala, saaidi, baladi, nubian you name it- it was all there. Her drum solo at the end was using a duff to hit various parts of her body with. I spoke to people who thought she was their favourite show of the night. I felt she got better as the show proceeded and I enjoyed the last song, and costume, very much!

Of course, when i got home at 3.30am... i thought- great - an early night... but then sat up for 2 hours discussing the entire show with the 2 dancers ( Norwegian and American) who are staying with me just now!

Great day today- Teaching a private, receiving a private and then going to see a show. How bellydance a day can you get?!!!!! Life is good.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Drunk on football!

so... there is a football match on tonight. Egypt v's Algeria. and don't we know it.........

Cairo has gone crazy.

Everywhere is covered with the Egypt red white and black. Flags, hats, hooters, you name it have been sold at the roadside for 3 days now. Most cars have been sporting their flags since yesterday. It was hard to believe last night coming home from work that the match hadn't already been played and won by the partying that was going on in the streets! The shouting and cheering and horn honking went on in gamet dowel street til 3am! All this- for a qualifying match? I dread to think what the streets will be like tonight if we win!!!

Seemingly it is a fairly big deal since Algeria and Egypt have always been at war when it comes to football. I heard that in Algeria a cartoon of Egypt and Algeria was published with Egypt as the bride and Algeria as the groom. What that symbolises I wouldn't like to say! Advertisierng ads have been cashing in on it too, with one restaurant's poster having an image of 2 men, one in an Egypt shirt and one in Algerian, sitting in front of a table full of wonderful, tasty looking food. The slogan being that not even these 2 would disagree on how good our food tastes!

I plan to walk to work tonight..... even the taxi drivers are getting out of town. The taxi driver that brought me home from work last night was telling me how he as going early this morning to Alexandria today, since there was no point in working as all the roads would all be at a standstill! He also described the people already celebrating as 'drunk'. He didn't mean literally that they had been drinking alcohol, but that the frenzied atmosphere was as if they were, and I agreed! As long as that frenzy stays positive then all will be well. The worry is if the crowd turns... it could be nasty. I've arranged for a friend to collect me from work tonight as I really don't fancy trying to make it home alone!

Whatever you do today, if you are in Cairo, don't wear green!!!

Performing experiences of the last week or so....

Last night I felt i danced well. This doesn't happen very often... i think it has something to do with being a bit of a perfectionist! It was mainly because I danced to a song I haven't for a long time and I was able to completely lose myself in it... Alf leila we leila. I love this music and had forgotten quite how much until i was dancing last night and realised, at one point in my dance, that i had totally forgotten there was an audience watching me! Because it started on a high like that the rest of the show went really well too. The audience was totally with me. One woman asked the management for my number because she wants me to dance at her daughters wedding. Guess i know what song to perform to if that wedding happens!

A few nights ago I had, on the same sail, the worst and best of audiences. The boat had been chartered by a company IBSE. Now, I don't know what that actually stands for, but by the sour attitude of the 1st deck i performed to it could well mean IBS Egypt! All Egyptians, but distant and acting as though i didn't exist. Even though I wasn't dancing fairly well I thought!!! Of course, i was then dreading the 2nd deck, since it was the same company ... however... there were about 4 guys in that group who were incrediably enthusiastic- and it lifted the entire experience for us all, performers and audience. I was dancing my heart out and they were shouting out the names of famous dancers i reminded them of when i did certain moves. In one song i was Soheir Zaki, Fifi AND Dina....... seemingly !!! At one point in my show (during my tabla solo) I actually had to raise a finger to my mouth and tell them to shuush ('iskut' in arabic!) because their praise was louder than the drum! They obediently did as they were told, then as soon as i did the slightest move after that, they erupted into shouts of appreciation yet again!!!!! I have never felt so powerful, or appreciated, I tell you! It was a wonderful night. Thankfully the good audience was 2nd not 1st- so I left the night with a good feeling about myself, my dance and the whole world!!!!!!!

As part of my show, if there are a lot of tourists in the audience, I often get some of them up to dance with me. I try to be encouraging and get them to do moves they can manage. I don't go out my way to embarass anyone as I have seen in some shows ( in Turkey- not in Egypt). In one show last week there was a young Japanese girl sitting at one of the front tables and she had been watching intently throughout, when I tried to get her up she was too shy, but her big sister (I presume- maybe wrongly) agreed to get up too to keep her company. It didn't take long to find out why! They were amazing!!!!!!! Both of them followed every single move I did- and I threw in some difficult ones when I saw how well they were coping. This little girl who was maybe 8 or 9 years old, was doing beautiful hip drops and shimmys and you name it, her sister too! I strongly suspect that wasn't the 1st time either of them had bellydanced! In the past when i was going to watch shows here in Egypt, I always used to wonder how a dancer felt when she pulled me from the audience, unsuspecting that I was a professional dancer, only to be surprised that she couldn't 'embarass' me or use me to make her look even better. Now I know. And I have to say- I LOVED it !!! It was so wonderful to relax and dance with these girls and watch the amazed expressions on the faces of the Egyptians in particular. Well done those girls!

Belt up!

Flying back from a few days break in Sharm last week,on Egypt Air, my friend Nick and I were horrified by what we saw. All the adults were being checked to make sure they were wearing their seltbelts, but there were children, not only not belted in for take off or landing.... but standing up in the aisle and being passed between family members throughoutit all!!!

I tapped the woman in front of me on the shoulder and helpfully, i thought, advised her that her child (under 3 years old) should also have a belt on and she replied that she had asked and been told it wasn't neccesary! Indeed the air stewards were walking past the child, who was standing up, and not making any comment. We were dumbstruck!

Trying to understand it we came up with a few theories as to why this attitude was so different in Egypt than in UK. (remembering that this is a country where you see entire families, babies included on the back of a moped with no helmets and no safety precautions at all)

1- Egypt air maybe just doesn't have child belts on that particular flight... so in order to cover this failing they say it's not neccesary?

2- Inshallah laws- ie if its God's will that the child will live or die then who are we to question or do anything about it? although that doesn't explain why the adults were carefully belted in?

3- We are on a plane, and truth is that if it's likely to crash- they none of us will survive anyway whether belted in or not? So rules are broken , cos they are deemed silly anyway?

4- Egyptian children often get their own way in every situation..... and no-one likes to be belted in... so their freedom on the flight is more important than potential safety hazard? anything so the child doesn't cry?

5- If a child dies it's not important cos you can always have another one? (I KNOW this can't be the case the way children are treasured here!)

6- The child didn't pay a seperate ticket therefore isn't entitled to the same safety?

7- Maybe its all just over protection and no-one really needs a belt but we are all belted in because of silly, over cautious laws impossed, probably by the west, on all airlines and since deemed silly (a bit like traffic lights in Cairo) then promptly ignored wherever possible (indeed the mother herself wasn't belted in for landing and no-one said anything to her)!

8-.........??????? any rational reason??? if you have any other ideas I would love to hear them........

I had been hoping to persuade my sister sometime while she is holidaying in Sharm to fly to Cairo to see how and where I live, but if my nephew has to fly without a selt belt... I think I'll tell her not to until he's old enough to be in his own seat with its own belt!!!!!!

Otherwise, I quite like Egypt Air.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Salsa in Egypt

I really am getting excited about the salsa congress here in Cairo, starting THIS friday- can hardly believe it!

For 3 days the TOP salsa teachers and dancers will be doing their thing at the Sofitel Gizerah hotel in Zamalek.

I'll be teaching and performing too ( Bellydance!!!- my salsa is ok- but nowhere close to these amazing teachers- although I doubt i'll be off the dancefloor once during the party nights!)

There is something for everyone... and people don't need to have a partner already to come. There are day passes, party passes, weekend passes etc etc. I have managed to get a few of my non dancer friends to sign up for the beginners course cos it sounds like the perfect way to learn to dance... in fact- Amanda ( the organiser of this amazing event) has written this for beginners....

Welcome to Salsa! :o) The full schedule, including Beginners' workshops is lsted at the top of the group wall. Beginners can attend everything, and you have your own special area of the main dance floor full of friendly people who are ...learning too.

Right now the full congress Beginners' ticket is only 500le - including 14 hours of beginners workshops with the world's top international teachers, and 30 hours of parties/shows/afterparties and a pool party. It all takes place in one of Cairo's premium 5-star hotels, The Sofitel Gezirah.

You do not need a partner, and right now numbers of men & women beginners are equal - please book now, as we might have to stop selling tickets later to balance the numbers of beginner guys and girls.

Please send me a PM to arrange to get your ticket/s - ahlan, ahlan, ahlan to Egypt's friendly Salsa community! :o)

So if anyone reading this in Egypt fancies trying out salsa- THIS is the time to do it! If anyone from abroad fancies it too- why not? Fly on over ( I have 3 friends staying with me from UK who are coming over just for it!)

Check out the website for more info and to see the amazing line up of teachers and to book!

Another video of me discovered on youtube!

Here's a video of me dancing on the Nile Pharoah boat in Cairo earlier this year... (thanks Sara for pointing it out to me- and Aleya for filming and posting it!)

It was really strange watching it from this angle! Give me an idea what my tabla player has to watch every night! You really can learn a LOT for video about what is good, and not in your own dance. i REALLY MUST record myself more often for improvement purposes!!!!! Although some things look better than I thought they would have!

Very Very busy these days- Lots of work and lots of visitors- especially in the coming week for the Egypt Salsa congress starting on the 30th!

If you are in Cairo this weekend- THIS is the place to be................

Thursday, October 15, 2009


what a couple of days I have had.

Yesterday- a bunch of flowers arrived at my door, with a card, but no name. I had NO idea who they might be from. Next day I got a text from someone i had met once, a friend of a friend, asking if I had thought about him the day before. The truth is i hadn't thought about him once since I met him- why would I ?It's not as though we had been chatting over the week or anything- I hadn't heard anything from him after we met at all, which was fine by me! Anyway- turns out he had eavesdropped while I was on the phone and caught my address... and then a week later decided to send me flowers....... creepy. I told him that my 'husband' was furious. That should send him running- i hope!

Then tonight.... i was in a taxi home from meeting friends for a meal, and a guy in the car next to us draws up alongside my taxi and shout 'hey bellydancer... I know you!' ...... then (unknown to me) proceeds to follow my taxi. My driver, bless him, noticed and drove like a maniac trying to lose him and only told me we were being followed when he hadn't succeeded in losing him. Then with my permission ( it was a white taxi and the meter was running!) He then started to turn into all the side streets he could, speeding up and turning again when we were out of sight and managed to lose the creep. Thankfully another friend was out and about close by and I had him deliver me there, just in case , rather than to home. Very greatful to that driver... if he hadn't been as observant as he was, who know what might have happened? (This is the way a lot of the prostitution happens in Cairo , seemingly... guys and girls make eye contact from car to car in certain areas of town and then someone will switch cars or follow the other to a 'meeting' place- yuck!)

They say things come in threes- i sincerely hope not...... 2 weirdos in 2 days is more than enough for me thanks!

Very excited about all my new costumes. 2 new saaidi ones from Amera el Kattan.... should be ready next week, and another 2 new ones from Eman Zaki, coming soon ( I hope!) . I realised just before ramadan that some of my costumes i have been performing in for nearly 3 years... so have been strict and managed to sell off at least 6 - so now I figure I HAVE to replace them all...... well it is legitimate work expenditure!!!

Of to bed to dream of car chases around the back streets of mohandiseen!!!!!!!!!..................

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

sleep deprived...

all I can say is thank god I don't have to get up early in the morning!

i went to bed with my foot on ice, then slept about oh, less than an hour ago........... only to be awaken by something biting me in a place I'd rather not mention- lets just say these bites will hurt when I sit down! Arms and legs too- bitten to bits. I am hoping to god its just mosquitoes and not something that has come off the blanket (unused all summer) that I was raising my foot on!

so now ( at 4.35am) i am wide awake, covered in stinky repellant, trying to sleep on my sofa while the spray I have smothered my bedroom with, settles enough for me to sleep in there again....

and then starts the call to prayer.......... and all the cats in the neighbourhood, and we have a LOT of cats round here, decide that they too want to join in the morning sing song..........

they however have more staying power than the chap in the mosque and are still at it.............

i love Cairo I love Cairo I love Cairo........................

Monday, October 12, 2009

Singing Duck

I'm not sure if Cairo has had this effect on me- or if because my brain is rubbish that Cairo suits me... but I have the worst memory out of anyone I know!

I start one thing, then get distracted onto another and forget all about the 1st thing. To that end i have 'killed' 3 kettles since I have been in Cairo... they boil away forgotten until they burn out! So- I now have a beautiful kettle you sit on the gas which looks like a duck, and when it boils makes a loud sound which is not dissimilar to bagpipes starting up!!!!!!!! You fairly run to the kitchen when it boils I'll tell you! No more forgotten cups of tea for me!!!

Last night i went out with a friend to a lovely new place ( well, new for me!) Its the Nile Zamalek Hotel on sharia el maahad el swiesri, and on the roof they have a terrace which serves wine and beer and sheesha and the most stunning thai food, and the best bit is that there is a lovely view over the Nile. It was a little windy last night, so got a bit cold- but I am looking forward to going there for a sunshine lunch one day when i am off work!!!

My challenge tonight will be dancing with a swollen ankle. Was wearing high heels last night and walked between 2 cars and didn't see the big hole I was stepping into - thankfully didn't fall... but woke up to discover my ankle is rather swollen. Nothing broken- i can still wiggle it etc so fingers crossed there is only one show tonight( with lots of ibuprofen!!!!)

Sunday, October 11, 2009


why or why don't journalists do the one simple thing I suggest to them in interview?

Nafoura magazine ( has just used a photo of me as their cover girl and written a 3 page article about me. There are LOTS of mistakes though.......... which if I had been given a chance to read it before the published I could have easily remedied!

-i was NOT born in Inverness, but in Edinburgh, then lived In inverness til I was 10.
-my teacher in Cairo was Raqia Hassan not someone called 'hassam'?
-i wish I had a female singer, as well as the male one I have- but I dont ( and don't know WHERE that came from!)
-i do other stuff in my workshops- not just the one thing mentioned!
-i love Rhanda Kamel and have no idea who Ramda is!
-oh and do tell- why would you even ask me if I would ever return to live in ENGLAND- since I have never ever lived there in the 1st place???

Other than that, I think I caught everything there, it wasn't a bad article.... although doesn't say too much about my life now- just how I got into it! But then I guess my blog tells all about my life now. Some nice photos- and a horrible one of me being interviewed!!!

anyway- check it out- there are some other interesting articles in there too!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

More pix of Edinburgh hafla

ok... some photos of ME this time.... hehe... Thanks again Violet for the great shots!

Here's me getting all emotional- for a change! fact it was hard to choose which photo cos I seem to screw my face up a lot while I am dancing... this seems to work really well when being filmed or watched- but it NOT good at photo time!

This is my fav pic....... energy, joy, power and a bit cheeky too.

Then there is a pic thats not so flattering of me.... but has to be added cos its got my good friend Elsepth, who organised my workshops and hafla, in it and we both look so happy (and a bit crazy)! And no- I haven't a clue what I am saying here!!!

Oh and something completely different. A good friend, and lovely dancer from London, Eshta has recently moved to Goa to become a professional dancer over there. In 'BellyLorna tradition' she is writing a blog about her experiences there..... if you are interested check out Its an interesting read!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Photos from Edinburgh hafla 5th sept 09

I might be back in Cairo now- but only just getting a chance to go through some of the photos people took at the Edinburgh hafla and there are some corkers! Here's a selection of pics that are not me , for a change! all taken by the fantastically talented Violet Shears!

Here's Natalie- an elegant graceful dancer I am glad to say is both a friend and student. She had me speechless because her dancing was so beautiful that night!

Jenny used to be in the African dance group I used to perform with a long time ago, Afridonia. Great energy and joy!

Tigerlily is only young... but had phenomenal stage presence, energy, skill and humour. Loved her.

Simone and Suzie did a fab duet and I loved the interplay between the 2...

Caroline's dance was filled with emotion and power. Stunning.

'mad' Margaret did a fabulous 'Mustafa Kamel' to Tarkan's kiss kiss song! She is some kinda wonderful!!!! If you are ever down- Margaret is THE one to cheer you up again!

Monday, October 05, 2009

balcony and boring night....

I just spent a LOVELY couple of hours on my neighbours balcony eating my dinner and chatting. I love having them just across the street!

The bizarre thing was when they asked how was work tonight I said oh boring- nothing special....... then I started to talk about my night- and realised it was anything but!

1st- I got in a taxi... and he got us nearly there... and asked permission to ask me a question... he asked ' are you the 'star' on the pharoah boat', when i smiled and said yes.. he got all excited cos he had seen me there before and thought my dancing was wonderful and where did I learn etc etc etc... in the end- he didn't want to accept any fare for the taxi ride!!!!!!! I got recognised!!!! so chuffed!

2nd- I was sitting about after my one show tonight chatting with the dresser and the tannoura and we were all laughing and joking... and then I realised- i was chatting and laughing and joking 'in arabic' ! And they were laughing at my jokes, not because I said something wrongly or in a funny way!

So although nothing untowards happened on stage... or no friends were in the audience... it was far from being a 'boring! night! Amazing what can become normal until you stop and think about it!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

October in Cairo

Its 36 deg C here in Cairo today......... in October. Just thought I would comment!

I've had lots of work this week... and a little going out too!

Salsa at the Hard Rock Cafe on a wed was packed last week... a really good night ( esp since ladies get in free!!!) It was a white night (hence everyone in white!!! but I wasn't planning to go cos i didn't think i would be able to get away from work so early!!!)

Thursday night was quite an experience after work I went to Africana club on sharia Haram.... i had an AMAZING time. But then I do have a bit of a passion for R&B and hip hop and all that sort of music... so I just boogied the night away ( its open til 5.30am!).

Work was great on friday night (despite a dodgy stomach!) since my friends came in a big group to see me dance and I just LOVE dancing for people i know! 4 eventful shows....

The 1st sail i had a guy there with a group who had read my blog so i met him in person which was a bit strange, but nice, and they were a lovely group and one of them danced with me too.

Upstairs we had one of the football teams who are in town just now... an African country ( I didn't ask from where cos i didn't realise til after that they were a team!!!) anyway the world under 20's football competition is being held here in Cairo just now- and they were a fabulous audience- lots of 'ooohs' and 'ahhs' and 'wows' when I did certain moves!!! was very rewarding as a performer!!!

My friends who came to the 2nd sail enjoyed the show too and gave me lovely feedback.The main comments being surprise, many of them are Egyptians and they did NOT expect a foreigner to dance as well!!! Here's a photo of some of us!

and then there was a wedding on the last show where all the old hyjabbed ladies were clucking over me which is always a great feeling and people got up and danced. a good night

I was shattered after and we went out to Mojitos (on top of what is now called the Nile hotel) and is a 200le min charge!!Its a lovely view- but a heck of a lot to pay if you are not planning on drinking alcohol!!!

last night something REALLY strange happened to me...... I finished work really early (10pm) and then i turned down invites to go out!!!!! ( for those who know me they know this in itself is worthy of note!!) and then I came home and did 4 hours of housework!!!!!!!including an hour of ironing !!!!!!!! I have NO IDEA what pocessed me. Maybe because I haven't really been home alone for over a year now (what with the renting out my spare rooms going so well) But for some bizarre reason the bleaching of my dishcloths took top priority!!!!!!!! I felt like I was being driven (even had to disinfect the doors and buttons on my lift!!!!). Its the sort of behaviour you expect from a woman about to give birth- and believe me- that's NOT the case here!!!!! strange.

anyway- just to get back into 'normal' mode again- before work, i'm off to get my nails done... 'dahling' :-)

Friday, September 25, 2009

stick throwing and basket passing!

Stick dancing can be a dangerous business!!!

tonight i did my show and during the saaidi number I do as I often do with tourists and I held out the stick towards an saudi guy so that he might get up and dance a little too - he took the stick with one hand, so i assumed that meant he was happy to dance..... then threw it hard, with 2 hands, directly at me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank god I jumped back quick enough and wasn't hit by it ( I use a heavy wooden asaya- not a light flimsy one!!!)

I was shocked and stunned by his behaviour (drunk and showing off to his friends, who at least had the decency to look embarrassed on his behalf!). I finished off my show fairly rapidly after that...... who wants to dance for people who throw things at you?!!!

Thank god the rest of the night had gone well up to that point, despite my singer being ill and not being able to make it to the 1st sail of the night. hmmm...well, the audience was good at least- oh and i was playing with some lovely circle and camel combinations layered with shimmys too- that was fun and very Raqia Hassan Style- she always was a great one for interesting combinations!

what else was I going to write? oh yes- FABULOUS news.......

........ a friend from Scotland has managed to persuade her husband that they really should move from Scotland and live in Cairo- and they have been staying in my flat throughout ramadan while he was job hunting and flat hunting etc etc ... He got a job- And they got a fantastic flat- in the building directly opposite mine, on my street! Am so happy i am going to have a real neighbour. Not had that really since I was a child!!!! We've been joking about linking the 2 balconies with rope so we can send a basket across with whatever either of us should need- Egyptian stylie !!!! Have another friend moving over here within the next few months too- wonder if I can persuade her to get a flat in this street too?!!!!!!! 'Lorna- bringing the whole UK to mohandiseen'- I should get a discount on my rent, or something!

oh and on a deeper level...... started reading a little book called 'women in Islam' by Dr. Sherif adbel azeem. It's a discussion of how women are treated within Quran in comparison to both the Torah and the Bible. Very interesting so far.... jews and christians believe it was eve that persuaded adam to bite that apple and in so doing she doomed the world for ever...and especially womens place within it.... the Quran gives them both EQUAL blame... saying the devil tempted 'them' and 'they' bite the apple etc etc .... interesting- and something I didn't know before today......... i'll report back more when i've read more- its a tiny book- but big ideas- so giving time for them to sink in!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Back 'home'

At what point does the place you have gone away to live become home? this point I guess! previous trips to UK people have always asked- 'so when are you going back to Cairo' or 'when are you coming back home again? (to UK) '. This time- EVERYONE said, seemingly without thinking, because most people picked themselves up on it immediately after saying it... ' when are you going home? (meaning Cairo)'. I guess 3 and a half years does count as 'home' now.

So- I'm home.

eventually landed in Cairo after a 2 hour wait on Heathrow runway ( I had fallen asleep as soon as I got on the plane and woke after an hour excited to see we had landed already and I had slept the whole way to Cairo , only to discover there was some sort of problem with the plane, always reassuring, and that we had never taken off- was incredably disappointed as you can imagine!). Oh and BMI charged me 15 pounds for every kg i was over the 20kg limit. What good is 20kg to anyone ( KLM lets you take 2x 23kg bags plus hand luggage on the plane!!!) So my ticket cost 105 pounds more than it should have and they then wanted me to BUY my cup of tea on the plane- to hell with that! Wish to god my return flight with them at christmas wasn't already booked!!!!!!!!!!! Certainly won't chose that airline again!

Anyway, RELAX (speaking to myself there!).

Was working last night. Wore my new costumes from Eman; a fabulous black pharonic style one, my gold and turquoise one i wore in UK this trip, and a Mauve velvet one with purple flowers on it. All very chic! Was good to be back, although my body always struggles on my 1st day back after a holiday- i give it a month break and then expect it to do everything it was doing before- yes there were some strong complaints from some muscles! Lovely audiences though.... and I put some new stuff into my tabla solo that surprised me too. i LOVE my job!

Suppose I better go and unpack that 105 pounds worth of suitcase now!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Video of Lorna at Saqarah 12 September 2009

This is me dancing in London last weekend to 'Enta Omri'- possibly my favorite piece of music in the whole world!

I hope you enjoy it half as much as I enjoy dancing to it!!!

Thanks Caitlin for filming it and for posting it! ( I especially love the bit where my head gets cut off because you've been folowing whats been going on in my hips!!!!)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Voodoo rooms Edinburgh hafla

.....since putting up the photos from London- the Edinburgh photographers have started suppling their pics of our hafla up here now too from the weekend before!

This one I love because my hair looks great in it!!! ....

here's another fabulous shot by my friend Violet Shears .... she's a talented photographer!

And a little Scotland 'v' Egypt story. I had a cup of tea this morning with my mother is a teashop (cafe) in Edinburgh. The shop was called 'Loopy Lornas' .... guess why we decided we had to try it out!!!! Anyway- the point is this - it was fairly busy... and ALL the customers were women. Not one man there AT ALL. Now, western readers, you might say 'so what?' However.... In Egypt... it is very rare to see ANY women in a cafe- it's ALL men !!! Just another observation about our vastly different cultures ( oh- and I went to dentist this morning- she's a woman- thats also rare in Egypt- female dentists I mean- not women- there are a lot of women in Egypot although granted you don't see a lot of them out and about!!!!!) .

Oh and another thing- I LOVE charity shops!!!! THAT is another thing about UK I miss when I am in Egypt! I bought lots of lovely things today for very little and feel good about the spending cos it all goes to worthy causes!!!

Saqarah Performance night

Just to continue the London theme........ on the saturday night, after the workshops, there was a performance night (hafla!). There were lots of lovely dancers from all over, there and I danced twice.
Maani ( took some fabulous shots of me on stage... so i thought I'd let you enjoy seeing 2 of my new Eman Costumes!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


On sunday a group of about 15 of us dressed up in our bellydance costumes and went down to the South Bank in London and had a wee dance. We had 3 drummers (very good) joined us too and you should have seen the crowd that gathered! Dancing in my shoes made me feel like Suraya... but now looking at the photo of said shoes i realise hers are still much much higher!!!

People were lovely and appreciative and some even joined in... one guy using his jacket like a veil, another 2 Egyptian men joined me from the audience and used their umbrella's as sticks while we did some saaidi together!!! Thankfully the rain stayed away too! Oh and for those of you reading this in Egypt- yes it is possible to do this sort of thing in UK without ANY abuse... no names being called out, no one trying to touch, no rude comments. All there was was just appreciation for dance and everyone having fun. The way it should be!!!

It was such a lovely thing to do- for NO reason. we weren't promoting anything or anyone or busking ... we were just having fun.

It reminded me of my many fringe festival show years... wandering about Edinburgh in full bellydance costume, handing out flyers. That and dancing along Princes st with 40 other dancers as part of the fringe cavalcade. In fact- South Bank really reminded me of Edinburgh at festival time. I loved it!!!

Unfortunatly, we didn't have a performers permit for the drummers - so the security guards moved us on after about half and hour- and the crowd all 'boo-d' because we were being stopped!!!! It was a great feeling. We had gathered so many people to watch us that the whole route was blocked! We were all buzzing when we went for some refreshments, in the National Theatre afterwards!
A great day out- dance for the sake of fun!
(Photo Credit: Kristina West)

London Workshops

This weekend I taught 2 workshop in London in a little dance studio called Dance Attic. I had some girls there who had attended previous workshops in London- and some who were checking me out for the 1st time.

In the 'Vintage v Modern' workshop we talked about the simlarities and differences between the golden era dancers like Samia Gamal and Naima Akef compared with maodern cairo dancers like Randa Kamel and Dina. I love teaching that one- i feel that even I learn something everytime (!) and the feedback was great- lots of people said they had things that they suddenly now understood that they hadn't before- that ideas 'clicked'.

In 'Cairo moves' we talked about sooo many things- from musical interpretation to improvisation to adapting the moves you already know to nubian and saaidi! I loved it... and think they did too!!!

I love teaching.

Thanks to all who attended and made it such a joy for me!
Looking forward to next time ( sorry not sure when that will be yet in London- will post it here as soon as we know!!!- but Dundee this coming weekend!!!)

(Photo Credit; Kristina West)

London Success

It was an amazing weekend in London!

I'll write more tomorrow about it all- but in the meantime I wanted to share this photo with you all- it sums up how much fun i had!!!

(photo credit: Dave Wilcox)

Sunday, September 06, 2009


Thank god for Adam!

I was dreading my workshops yesterday .. having had my crisis of confidence from the night before... but then I got to the workshops yesterday and a scottish tabla player, Adam, turned up to drum for me and suddenly with the rhythm reawakened all I love in the dance and I taught, if I say so myself, a couple of REALLY good workshops! We took only a few different basic move combos tbut then explored LOTS of different ways to adapt or change emphasis within them to suit different moods or music. I had so much fun and felt really creatively inspired! (my hamstrings were cramping by later on that night though due to some randa moves I had been teaching- must remember to stretch better in London!!!) The feedback was fantastic and the really test for how well it went was that everyone felt the time just rushed past far too quickly!!!

One of the girls who had been in the workshop was performing that night in a restaurant in Glasgow and she sent me a message saying how much her dancing had been inspired by what we had done and that everyone loved her. So happy!

See- I moan about my failures on this blog- but also about the successes too!!!!

Next on the hit list- London- I am SO going to KNOW my music inside out by then!!!!!!!!!!! Can't wait! Really looking forward to teaching too- I forget how much I love it.!!

Saturday, September 05, 2009



I really should practise what I preach!

I always say that improvisation wins hands down over choreography... but ONLY if you know your music inside out.

I messed up tonight, in my eyes at least. The thing was- I just couldn't face dancing to song I use in Cairo but dancing them with CD instead of my band... so I chose 2 songs i didn't know... one I heard for 1st time on thursday night and the other (a tabla solo) I heard for 1st time this morning!!!!!!!!

I do not recommend it.!!! KNOW your music!

I was lucky- it was a fabulous crowd and in my home town.. but my nerves got the better of me.... i was a shaky leaf for most of my show (mind you- seemingly, I managed to hide it well, so people tell me- so tonight at least, I was a better actress than a dancer!) In fact- I felt I only relaxed when i got the audience to clap out rhythms for me at the end and danced to that- see how addicted to live music I am now- even if its only handclapping it's way better than CD !!!!

You should never do THIS either- hanging your dirty washing out in public as it were....... Again ; Do as I say , not as I do!

i always tell students- that even if they hated their own show that if someone compliments them just smile and say thank you... even if you don't agree with their verdict!

however- its always good to learn........ even if from other's mistakes!

KNOW your music inside out before you perform to it!!!

That being said......... The halfa was a huge success. We were full to bursting- not enough seats for everyone (Thanks guys to being so understanding those of you who ended up sitting on the floor!).

The venue is STUNNING! a lovely stage ( unfortunatly with carpet- but also with full lighting rig and proper sounds system). I strongly recoemmend Voodoo Rooms as a venue for anyone holding any sort of party/show in Edinburgh!

Lots of money was raised for the 'Just Because' charity (although how much exactly i am not sure until all the ticket sales, raffle money and souk sales have been counted!!!)

If any one took photos tonight- let me see!!!! If anyone filmed my dance if THINK i want to see that too! In fact I came up with a good idea. there is always a quandry about whether to allow people to video or not. My conclusion tonight was to say- feel free to film a dancer perform- but only if you are prepared to give her a copy of it too!

Awaiting videos............!!!!

Thanks to EVERYONE who made tonight one of the best hafla people had been to in ages (at least thats what was being said within my earshot!!!!)

Tomorrow- Workshops and the surprise for those who have booked already- there's a live drummer ( as opposed to a dead one?!? ) coming to help us out in the workshops!!!

How do I feel? Happy to have seen so many old friends. Sad i felt I didn't give them my best, although they got everything I had to give at that time... relieved some of them still really enjoyed my dance..... and severely told off (by myself). Lesson learned.

ok- now I have just re-read all that and need to find the positive before I can sleep.

  • Within only a couple of weeks we sold enough tickets to fill a fun halfa to overflowing
  • We raised a lot of money for charity
  • Everyone seemed to have fun
  • i saw lots of fabulous dancers- some of whom I haven't ever seen perform before and some I haven't seen for a while! Scotland has talent!
  • Live drumming during the evening kept my soul awake.
  • I saw lots and lots of friends

Hmmmm- ok- it was a good night- but I need to find more positives about me, where is the Cairo Diva- I need to find her................

  • My new costumes looked and felt great and stayed on (Thanks Eman Zaki!)
  • I got enough applause at the end to be able to get them to clap out rhythms!
  • A drummer in the audience said he was kicking himself because he didn't get his tabla out at that point in the show and take the opportunity to play for me
  • I did shimmys on the raised stage that people, who were sitting on the floor in front of the stage could feel through the floorboards!!!
  • Some people actually thought my new hair piece was real.... credit is due here to my hairdresser today- and to me for still having the bravery to flip my hair back during my 1st show (pussycat dolls style- aka Asmahan style!!!)
  • I did my make-up well, considering I left my false lashes in Cairo
  • I LOOKED confident, in control and in time with the music- despite how I felt
  • I LOOKED like I was having fun and totally relaxed. ( and in the very end I did!)
  • I combated my nerves and won ( although it took time) . One friend said I really did look like a 'star'- it's great to have good friends!!!
OK- so maybe I wasn't so bad....... most of these things take some degree of skill..... OK- I forgive myself- but I will PREPARE next time ( even if its just to KNOW my music better!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Night night all. You'll be relieved to know I have finished my blog therapy now! Thank you for sticking with me by reading all the way through to this point!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

wow!!!!!!!!!!! LOVE my new photos!!!

I modelled in a photoshoot for Amera el Kattan recently to help her advertise her latest 'Elite' pharonics costume collection 2009/10.

The website has just published the pics...........

I LOVE them..... I didn't even recognise myself at 1st!!! I think I somehow need to get a copy of some of these!!!!!!!

My good friend Zsofia was modelling that day too and looks fab!

enjoy the shots- and the stunning costumes at the pic gallery in

There is lovely shots of me posing with a sword...
and playing with balloons too!!!!!
oh it was fun!

God bless the photographers!!!!!!!!!!!! (And Amera!)

Monday, August 31, 2009

Edinburgh fringe reviews- through the eyes of a bellydancer!

I have tried to get out to a few fringe shows in the Edinburgh fringe festival this past week .I LOVE Edinburgh in August!- mad people everywhere, arts high on everyones adgendas, people dressed up in the streets, more shows than you can ever ever see!!!

Unfortunatly I didn't get to as many dance shows as I would have liked... and there wasn't anything bellydance ish at all... but I feel I have learnt things for my own shows none the less.

Havana Rumba's show last night was high impact power, skilled, fun, sexy, colourful and the best thing... the 'looks' at the end of each move and song. These beautiful sexy girls (and guys) would just stand and give a 'look' into the audience........... it was strong stuff- and inspiring! Did I mention it was sexy?!!! oh to be able to 'look' the way the cubans can.. that utter confidence- which borders on arrogance... oh and the Brazilians were pretty damn good at that too- the Capeoria knights show proved that with gusto! oh to be able to get a fraction of that confidence on stage... I am a seasoned performer, and no one who has seen me (especially live) would say i look shy or nervous on stage- but compared to the Latinos??? no- I can learn a lot, we all can!!!

oh- and the other thing to remember from the Cuban and Brazilian shows... they obviously LOVE what they do.... it oozes from every pore! The passion and fun and emotion is there all the time, even in the final performance in a long run. This is a compliment i get a lot too- 'you obviously love what you do'. I think this is really the key for me in being a good performer. actually- the key to being a good anything in life... even if you are say a waitress, or work a til.... if you enjoy your work, you will get more enjoyment from it- but also improves the lives of everyone who deals with you. The girl working the til at Dirlton Castle yesterday when I went there yesterday with my mum was so happy and cheery and very excited about telling you what a wonderful castle it was, and all the fabulous feactures you could find, even down to the squirrels in the trees!- that I found myself looking at the entire experience in a far more positive light than i might have otherwise!!

I saw a fabulous childrens storytelling performance (by Toto tales) which was very well acted, cleverly written understandable african folk tales, humorous, and original. The 2 girls performing inspired me with regards changing mood on stage (both from the script and the acting of the characters themselves). Far too many bellydancers just spend the entire dance with a huge smile on their face.....which may well be very pretty- and work well in photographs but can often become boring, or feel false...... whereas to be able to change character, and mood, and focus throughout the show adds interest and suspense. When you see an amazing dancer- you often find yourself watching her face more than any other part of her body! For an audience to be able to see how a dancer feels differently within different sections of the music helps them expereince the music more throughly too!

The production of 'the prime of miss jean brodie' was exceptionally done... again there was the confidence and complete commitment to the role. Sometimes, i have seen dancers (and have been guilty of this in the past too) of looking like they are seeking approval on stage. Like they NEED the audience to like them in order to be able to dance well. The 'Egyptian' attitute really is about 'knowing' you are fantastic at what you do and not needing that reassurance from the audience. I am still so British in some ways- to have an arabic audience make eye contact and keep it, for a loooong time can still be uncomfortable.. and this is a bridge I have to cross to become better at what i do.

'The Virginia Monologues' was a performance by a 65 year old woman (Virginia Ironside- was journalist and agony aunt) all about what is good about growing old. She was just herself on stage- no airs and graces... happy to voice her weaknesses as well as put forward her strengths. In the end you just felt a rush of warmth towards her... to be able to inspire that feeling in people watching me dance would be mindblowing. To be able to be that open , honest, giving in dance..... even if the audience don't seem on your side... its a valuable lesson. That and accepting the body as it gets older, not that I am 'old' by any stretch of the imagination, but there is a 'shelf life' in all performing dancers, just like there is for models, sportspeople etc. You have to really feel good about what you have, in order to be able to put yourself forward in that confident manner the Cubans, Brazilians and Egyptians seem to be able to without any effort or embarresment. Maybe this is just a British thing? !!!


..........lessons in performing bellydance from actors, dancers, musicians, shopkeepers and storytellers!
There are lessons to be learned all around - you just have to be open to having teachers from all walks of life I guess!

But then there are also us bellydance teachers too!!! (there are still some places on my Edinburgh workshops this coming saturday- roll up roll up :-) !!!) You can also come and see if I manage to perfect 'the look' during my performance in the Halfa on friday night 8pm the Voodoo rooms Edinburgh! (also Remember money from every hafla ticket sale will go towards the Just because charity- come along and help us help women in Egypt!)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I'm in UK for the whole month of Ramadan.
Its only been 5 days so far, but already I have a list...
2 in fact...

Things I currently miss in Egypt;

1) all my friends there- you know who you are!

2) my lovely huge flat there

3) dancing on the Nile Pharoah with my band

4) sleeping as late as I like- staying with parents for now... so not much chance for a long lie!

5) the sunshine- probably should have been number 1 here (although was sunny today)

6) going out partying to all hours- roll on the weekend

7) being able to just do things at the drop of a hat- no planning!

8) jumping into taxi's ( cheaply!)

9) lying by a pool on the odd occasion when i dont have work the same night

Things I have realised I missed about Edinburgh when I was in Cairo;

1) my family and friends- you know who you are

2) my car- ah the freedom- and blasting favourite tunes with window wide open driving in the sunshine... nothing beats it!

3) walking unhasseled by men down the street- no cries of 'gamda', mozza' or habibi' as I go about my own business!

4) public transport- buses can be so good, and cheap!

5) Edinburgh Fringe Festival - spent today walking along high street watching street performers and tourists from all over the world- and feeling sort of like one of them!

6) Cider -enough said

7) being able to walk up to a complete stranger and ask a question without fearing the questions he'll ask you in return. Was particularly impressed with the information officers on Princes street this afternoon- a fantastic service- Thanks guys!

8) shopping

9) dressing the way you want..... I had a revelation the other day when i realised i didn't have to layer my clothing just becuase my top didn't quite meet my jeans- its ok here to show a little bit of belly in the street! I felt I was being so Risque !!

So thats how my trip home so far is panning out......... Mostly good. But I do feel more and more that Cairo is 'home'. (maybe after more time out with friends etc that will change!)

excited about all my UK workshops and shows coming up;

Edinburgh especially (since it's 1st!).

Hope to see lots of friendly faces at the Edinburgh halfa on 4th sept at the Voodoo rooms . If you're coming- it's best to get your ticket in advance cos its a small venue and I wouldn't want you to miss out!!!-

contact to book your Edinburgh halfa and /or workshop tickets!

Off to bed early now... 11pm.... thats when i usually think about going out in Cairo, actually no- usually I am still at work at this time... before I go out!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ramadan Return to Rain

No big surprise there I guess. When I landed in Scotland on thursday afternoon it was, you guessed it- raining... and although there has been some breaks of sun occasionally, it has rained every day. It can really get you down. Amazing how sun lifts my mood so much. The weather is the number 2 reason I am in Cairo actually!!!!

I am aching to get to bed, its been a long few days....but taking the chance to write while I gte the chance to be online!

Yesterday I spent the entire day sifting though all my belongings to find all the costumes, cds etc etc I could cope with parting with in order to sell in my souk.

Today I spent the day drinking tea and chatting with old friends while people browsed through my things and tried on and bought my costumes....

I have to admit- there was a couple of times when i saw someone in my costume and said ( in my head- no no no- you cant have it- it's MINE !!!) Thankfully my brain won over emotion- andi managed to part with a few. Do other dancers have this problem? I LOVE my costumes.... I hardly ever sell them on, this is a 1st for me. and its hard. i actually shed a tear yesterday putting some of them into the cases!!! Costumes I have worn remind me of times and places and shows and emotions..... so hard to part with. Thankfully lots that I sold today went to dancers who are friends- and it will be a joy to see them dancing in them!

There are however 5 suitacases worth of things left over- yes you read that right- 5 suitcases!!!!!!!!!!! 2 of which a just cabaret costumes!!!!!!!! some new, some used (by me!)!!!!!

1 case is full of bellydance CDs which I am selling at 3 for £10........

Remember 10% of all sales is going to the charity 'just because' so I will count up at the end of the month and let you know!!!!!!!!!!!

I will have 'Lorna's clearance sale souk' out to sell at the hafla in The Voodoo rooms in Edinburgh on 4th sept (tickets for which need to be bought asap to confirm your place as its not a big venue so dont assume you can buy on the door!!!! See previous blog re hafla for booking email address!!) There are still some places left on the workshops on the 5th too.

I believe the places are going fast for the Dundee workshops on 19th and 20th Sept............

And of course there is always London on 13th - workshop and show.... I'll bring some costumes with me there- if there are any left!!!

Today is the first day of Ramadan.... RAMADAN KAREEM to everyone!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Lorna's Hafla and Workshops in Edinburgh Sept 09!

I'm going to be dancing for my home crowd! SO excited about it! here's the 'flyer' Elspeth has put together for it all........ hope to see you there...

in Edinburgh
4th & 5th September 2009

Friday 4th September , 8pm
The Voodoo Rooms, 19a West Register Street, Edinburgh (2 minutes walk from Waverley Station)
Your only chance to see the fabulous Lorna of Cairo perform in Scotland this year. Also featuring some brilliant Scottish talent.
All tickets £10 (includes a £2 donation to Just Because...)

Saturday 5th September
Edinburgh's Telford College, 350 West Granton Road, in the fantastic purpose-built dance studios.
12.15 - 2.15 Lorna's Cairo Moves
Learn some of Lorna's top technique and combinations.
2.45 - 4.45 Moving to the Music
Work with Lorna on your interpretation of Egyptian music and how to Respond to the music like Egyptians do.
Each Workshop £20
Both workshops are open level - not suitable for absolute beginners.

How to book
Places are allocated on a first come, first served basis.
  • By Cheque: Fill in the order form and send it, with a cheque to Elspeth Alexandra, 32 Claremont Road, Edinburgh EH6 7NH
For more information contact Elspeth at

About Lorna

Before Lorna left native Edinburgh to become a professional belly dancer in Cairo, she was teaching 27 hours of belly dance classes each week, across Scotland. A hugely successful teacher and performer for almost a decade, Lorna enjoyed Edinburgh fringe sucesses and was resident dancer at Morocco Walima restaurant. Lorna is now the first Scottish dancer to work professionally in Cairo.She has been performing in Cairo for the last three years and is currently a star of the Pharaoh Nile cruisers. Lorna records her adventures in a captivating blog that has a worldwide following,

"As a performer, Lorna epitomises the cheeky sassiness of modern Cairo, and is a very giving and lively entertainer. As a teacher and as an individual, Lorna is witty, engaging, highly knowledgeable and passionate about sharing her knowledge gained from first-hand experience."

Just Because...

Just Because... is a registered charity aiming to raise funds and promote awareness, prevention and early detection of breast cancer for women in Egypt.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Lorna's belly room clearance sale- Edinburgh

Next weekend...................... ie this coming Saturday 22nd Aug!!! I'll be at Elspeths house (Edinburgh) surrounded by bellydance goodies for sale.

whats for sale? ........ costumes ( new and some of my used ones) coin belts, cd's, you name it- It'll be there.... and so will I, and Elspeth - and hopefully so will you too!!!!.

It's a attempt to clear out some of the things that have been sitting waiting in Scotland for me to come 'home' from Cairo and I have accepted now that my stay in Cairo isn't really a short one (considering I came here for only 6 months, over 3.5 years ago!!!) so I am trying to lighten the load a little (and make a few pennies hopefully in the process!)

10% of all sale profit will be going to the charity 'Just Because'.

It will be good to catch up with everyone over a cup of tea too.......

Saturday 22nd August

Lorna's Souk

1-6pm or 8-9pm
(break to allow for kiddies bedtimes- so please don't come during that break!!!)

Elspeth's front room, (red door and bell does work!),
32 Claremont Road
(near Leith Links)
Edinburgh, EH6

see you on saturday!

workshop and halfa in Edinburgh info coming soon!!!!!

(for those of you not able to get to Edinburgh... IF there is anything left after saturday then I hope to bring a few selected items around my various workshops in UK this ramadan!)

Lorna in London- Workshops and Performance Sept 2009!

I loved being in London last time- and am looking forward to seeing everyone again. The Saqarah girls did such a lovely job of organising it - that they are doing it again!

Lorna's London Workshops;

Saturday 12th September 2009

11-1pm - Stars of the Golden Era

2-4pm - Modern Cairo style

Both being held at Dance Attic in Fulham (nearest tube = Fulham Broadway on District line)

For more information and to book please check out.

You'll also get all the info you need about my Performance in London on the same evening, from the Saqarah website.

It's all go.......

well- the main news is that Tux is gone to his new mummy. Thankfully (with the aid of facebook and good friends passing on the link!) we managed to find a teacher in Maadi who had been looking for a kitten to play with her kitten when she was out at work during the day. So little Tux has a big sister 'Mumkin' now and is seemingly VERY happy. We are very relieved to have found him such a perfect home ( although my house is now clean and too quiet without him scarpering around).

What else? oh- my computer 'went' this week ( fixed now- obviously- since I am writing this!) and had to take it to 'compu me' in Lebanon square and they fixed it in a couple of hours and reinstalled windows etc etc for only 110le and were wonderful. I am no longer scared of computer problems knowing that they are a short taxi drive away! Although maybe I shouldn't speak too soon!!!!

Count down is on til I go to UK for a month, this week in fact. My next blog will be details of my grand tour.... so far workshops are confirmed in London, Edinburgh and Dundee! so more to come shortly on those!!!!

The bizarre thing with Ramadan moving forward 2 weeks every year is that it makes the years seen to go by faster and faster....... or is that just what happens as you get older anyway?!!!

I plan to be selling a lot of my costumes and cds and various related bellydance items this ramadan in Edinburgh- so if you feel like sparkly things... I'll add info of how and where you get to see what I have got. It's all gotta go.

so there you go............. it's all go !!!!!!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Searching for a home in Cairo for 6 weeks old kitten!

Forgive me if you are a facebook friend and have read this already............. or am repeating myself from previous blog entries!!!!

just really want to find our baby a good home in Cairo as soon as possible!

My kitten needs a new home!!!!
can you help?

he is 6 weeks old today.
very playful and affectionate. VERY playful in fact!

Tux is fit and healthy. He eating solid foods now (no longer on his very cute baby bottle) and is happy using a litter tray.

We call him Tux (on account of his markings making him look like he is dressed for dinner in his bowtie and tails) but we have only been using the name for a week so that can probably be changed if you wanted.

I dont want him to leave.... but I have no choice. Both I and my flatmate travel for ramadan and as much as I love him... I am allergic to cats- so he cannot remain a permenant feature in my flat! I never would have chosen to have a kitten at all- but when I found him on the street , only 3 days old, with his eyes still closed and no mummy nearby, being played with (as if he was an aeroplane) by a child who figured he could just keep him in a box filled with water..... i know he wouldn't live to see day 4 if we didn't take him in.

Mummy Marte and Daddy Lorna love their baby- and you will too..........

please someone find a loving home for him??? (with kids would be great since he loves to play so much- and he enjoys a cuddle in front of the TV too!!!)

Please forward this to anyone in Cairo you think would be interested- we need to have him settled in before Ramadan when he'll be homeless!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

flashy lights.... and takers for Tux?

something new at work last night.....

they have put up a backdrop of flashing fairy lights to my stage!

It's a bit weird.... fun, and shiny-and am sure will create an interesting backdrop for photos... but I feel also it cheapens the place slightly? After all- its a 5 star venue on the Nile- does it really need fairy lights???

will try to get a pic on thursday if I can!!!

what can I say? I hardly write these days cos I have had non-stop visitors and non-stop work!

Which ironically means there is probably more to write about- but never time or energy to write!!!

Tha past weeks are full of work stories like the arab guys who were in with their 2 wives wearing higab- except that one of the women was 100% a man- and knew I knew it from the embarressed look in his eyes!!!! or like another arab table with their women in higab who - when I got close enough to have my photo taken with them, showed me quite clearly that they have nothing on underneath their higab other than bright yellow sexy underwear!!! What can I say??? (when i say arab here I mean men and women from the gulf area, rather than Egyptians, who rarely class themselves as 'arab')

It's the season........ been working til 3am most nights... which is manageable (from a 7pm start) unless you have a) lunch time sails as well or b) house guests who you have to/want to entertain!!! or of course c) a cold!

All the weird eating times ( yes- ever stranger than usual) and strange sleeping times (ditto) and hot weather has meant my immune system really is stuggling and I have had a horrible cold for over a week now. At least i faired better than Leila who was in bed with flu for a week...poor thing- glad she is better now!...... of course- I then had to cover her nights on the boat too.... thank god I love my work!

The most upsetting news though is that i MUST find a new permenant home for kitten (its a boy- and we sort of call him Tux on account of him looking like he is wearing a dinner jacket and bow-tie!!!), so please- if anyone reading this wants a totally adorable, friendly, fun, healthy 6 WEEK OLD today black and white kitten......... or knows anyone who might.......

he is homeless from the start of Ramadan otherwise!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He is now litter trained and eats normal cat food- so much easier than the tiny bottle fed thing we have raised. Mummy Marte and Daddy Lorna (on account of I take full credit for having a lovely cat, and cuddle and play with him occasionally- but Marte does almost all the work!!!!) are very sad to have to see him go- so a good home is essential!!!!! (His 'brother' lion also needs a new home!!!)

I have an unexpected night off work... i was suppossed to be working the Nile Pharoah tonight but since it came back from dry dock, it still isn't working.... so potentially a night off tomorrow too unless things change!!!

I'm off out to see a band perform instead tonight.......... leaving Marte home with baby!!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Educating myself....

I tried to be good- honest I did.

i had booked a private class... and the teachers car broke down on the way here....

then I decided to stretch- and managed just over an hour before I discovered my wireless internet connection was actually working in the studio. Damn facebook and my low willpower!

My day today in photo form..... (oh and yes- my excuse for doing so little involves the tissues and the Olbas Oil you can see here!!!)

I have however, on the up side, managed a lot of reading today- currently I am reading a book I bought 2 years ago and have been putting off and putting off because I thought it looked so 'heavy'. Something I felt I 'should' read rather than something I wanted to which you can understand when i say its name; 'Journey of the Jihadist- Inside Muslim Militancy'.

However.... i have become quite involved in it and recommend it for anyone trying to understand world politics today especially in relation to Jihad and Islam. It written by a Lebanese Christian, Fawaz a.Gerges ... and you might think it would therefore be very biased against Islam- however... I have found it hugely educational and interesting and I have learned positive things about Islam from it as well as some very frightening things about Islamists and Jihadists (and also I know the difference now too!!!!).

I didn't know for instance that the majority of Osama bin Ladan's followers in Afghanistan were from Egypt. Or that the main support for Jihad began in Egypt in the time of Sadat. It's worth the read......... just give it a little effort in the very beginning.

oh- and I learned that if you read something interesting while you stretch you can hold a position much deeper for much longer!!!

I also learned today that if I stand still on my left leg only for any length of time it hurts like hell!!! All my balance and control is in my right leg!!!! More stork standing for me from now on.

I have a movie night in tonight- plan on watching the film 'the dancer and the tabla player'. Will give you my thoughts on it tomorrow!!!!