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!)