Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Lorna Performing in Edinburgh!

Its official..................

*I'm* having a hafla........... well, the Bellydance Diva's of Scotland are throwing a Hafla in my honour- I am so chuffed!

'Lorna of Cairo Hafla' !

Date: Thursday, 18 March 2010
Time: 19:00 - 22:00

Location: Teviot Underground, Bristo Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9AJ

Tickets are £8 advance/£10 on the door. Advance tickets can be purchased from;

Shelley Skipper (,
Elspeth Alexandra ( or
Caroline Evans (

The venue requires photographic ID for everyone (no under 18s)

Back in the days when I used to teach all the Edinburgh University dance classes (Arabic and African dance society was set up to accomodate the classes i taught in fact!!!) I used to hold Hafla's here- so it will be a trip down memory lane too.......... I've been a professional dancer now for over 12 years!!!!!!!! Now THAT is scary!

Now I need to think what new costumes to wear at the hafla!!!!! Hope to see you all there...... This is my ONLY UK performance this year, until I perform in London in August!!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

and there's more....

It's just a little clip- but it gives and idea of another costume at least....

so here goes- my second youtube upload.... I'd add the one with the bride and groom- but only after i have their permission!

at least you see the Scarlet o'hara/Scottish wedding dress inspired costume that i had Eman Zaki make for me!!!!

a first...

I've never before decided to share a video clip that i have had taken of myself before today... Ever my own worst critic, I am never content with what i have done. So I have decided that this is not a healthy way to be and trying to change that!

I performed on Saturday night at a Sudanese Wedding,at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, here in Cairo. It was a fabulous event... with a very warm and welcoming crowds from Cairo, Sudan and Canada... amoungst other countries!

The zeffa started with the bagpipes- i tried to get a photo, but it didn't come out very well...

in fact the video clip i have uploaded onto youtube hasn't the best image quality either- and i will try to get that rectified if i can.... but in the meantime here you go- hot off the press- a performance not even 2 days old!

So......... considering i had never before even met those particular backing dancers, and despite my band forgetting my stick, the one thing I asked them to bring for me, and despite having a small girl with mobile in my face all the time, who I quite frankly lost my affection for throughout the course of my performance and wanted to have cross words with her parents.....

i think it looks ok......

Friday, February 19, 2010

Translations of songs

Found a blog that has a lovely translation in it..also some thoughts, poems and ideas, political and emotional from an arab man's viewpoint. check it out!

This is the translation included...

Amal Hayati by Om Kalsoum

Hope of my life
O love that has costed much;
one that does not end
O beautiful song
that my heart has heard,
and cannot be forgotten
take all of my life
but today, but today, let me live

let me aside you, leave me
in the lap of your heart
and leave me dream, leave me
and i hope my time wont wake me up!

i have never tasted passion like your passion
i have never liked my life, if it wasnt for you
i accepted my wishes, and accepted this life, and accepted love

the first time we met I gave you my heart; my heart

more than this joy i dont dream
more than what i am in, i dont ask

after my contentment with you
if my life persihes, i wont regret

and it is enough to wake up to your smile saying 'Ya Ein'
i d hear it like a song,
that says 'my love does not end'

let me aside you, leave me
in the lap of your heart
and leave me dream, leave me
and i hope my time wont wake me up!

whose love, have made all life love
whose closeness, woken my life and my heart

and you along, it is hard to blink an eye; not even for a second
it is hard to see your beauty and sweetness fade

thus i miss you, thus i long for you
longing for you, and you and you

i wish i can call you with a word that has not been called upon you, by anyone
a word that measures up to all of your love
measures up to all my yearnings
a word like you; and who is like you!?
for the like of you, have not seen another

o my love, however long my life is with you, its days would be few
for the happiness and passion in your love, could not last us long generations

your love have fulfilled my heart and thoughts
illuminated my night and make me live longer

Thursday, February 18, 2010

a busy day in the life of Lorna....

Trying to get myself organised... for a change. But have managed to get quite a lot done today. The Scottish tour workshops are confirmed...

Edinburgh 6th March, to book contact Elspeth,
Dundee 13th March, to book contact Nova,
Glasgow 21st March, to book contact Joanie,

It's going to be really good to see everyone again. Now I just have to work out some studio space for teaching some private classes................ let me know if you are interested in that or/and if you have venue ideas in Edinburgh area!!!!

I also discovered 2 video clips on youtube of myself that I didn't know existed- funnily enough, both in the same costume (my Mango pharonics one!)- but not filmed by the same person or on the same date!


AND i did a private arabic class for 2.5 hours and felt I really made progress, it's slowly coming together! A friend was very patient with me and sat answering my questions. I have decided that i want to take one verb, then go through all possible uses of it... and really get good at it... thats the plan anyway... I have a fair amount of vocabulary now.... but i put it together in a way that isn't always understood as well as I'd like!!!

AND i did some 'dance' homework... working out what moves I actually do have in my current performance repertoire, and finding that Thank God- i do have a lot more than 6 !!!! Sometimes it feels like you do the same thing over and over... but i haven't been, I dont think! Mind you- I also have some fresh inspiration now and can resurrect some moves I haven't used for a while! These things really do go in phases for me. The downside of not choreographing.... the upside is of course that you 'invent' new moves whilst improvising! I miss teaching! That is the perfect way for me to keep a handle on all my various moves!!! I even practised!!!

AND i cooked- worthy of note becuase I so rarely do that! Healthy stuff too!

AND i dyed my hair (well, a friend did that for me)... I MISS being blonde, although granted don't really want to be blonde in this country!

busy day............ and it's not even midnight yet!...... what to do now?................

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Workshops in Glasgow

Well its just been confirmed- I will be teaching in Glasgow, Scotland on Sunday 21st March. It's been a while since i taught in the west coast of Scotland and I am really looking forward to seeing everyone there again!

Lorna of Cairo- Dance workshops in Glasgow

Sunday 21st March 2010.

12-1.15 - Latest moves from Cairo

1.30 - 3.15 - Dance like an Egyptian!

venue - western baths club, cranworth st, hillhead

open level workshops - no beginners

each workshop £15 or 2 for £25

To book, contact Joannie Ward on
or call her on 0141 427 9261 or 07878 732429

I'll be advertising the Dundee workshop information very soon too!

Lorna's Scottish tour!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Ladies night in............

Last night I had a really fabulous evening.

I decided that in Scotland I have a large network of women who i care about and we all support each other and it feels good, essential. Here in Cairo I have a few close friends, and lots of woman I know to say hi to... but there never seems to be enough opportunity to either deepen those friendships or to meet new women.

so- in keeping with Egyptian culture and tradition, i decided what we needed was a Ladies night in. There was about 12 of us in the end.... and it was such a positive, enriching enviroment that i am getting excited about planning the next one already!

It is the 'thing' that Egyptian women have I guess which helps them cope in such a male dominated community... these gatherings of the women... and its not just about meeting when you don't have to have your hair covered!!!! I can see now that is the secret to the Egyptian woman's strength... other women. Not exactly an earth shattering realisation- but one thats taken 4 years before I did anything about it! So I am adopting that element of the Egyptian culture. After all- in Scotland when i was teaching so much I would literally see 400 women on a weekly basis, on top of my contact with close girlfriends. I can't believe it has taken me so long to realise that this is how to fill the massive gap in my life!

So last night me and my 'gals' sat for HOURS chatting about every topic under the sun. A marvelous mix of ages, nationalities and life experiences. Women from all walks of life, all loving the opportunity to relax and be 'themselves'.

We are fabulous!

....Girl Power!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Edinburgh Workshop 6th March 2010

I've just attached the entire flyer for this upcoming workshop so you have all the info, should you want to come, or know anyone who might be interested..... please do forward it on- please note if this is your 1st time to my blog - this is not my usual blogging style- normally I waffle a lot!!!!!! and about a lot of things!!!

Workshop with Lorna of Cairo

Open level - suitable for all belly dancers (but not complete beginners)
1pm - 3.30pm
Edinburgh's Telford College, Granton Waterfront Campus, Edinburgh


Two-and-a-half hours of pure Cairo dance, with Lorna of Cairo and drumming with Adam Reid. A fun workshop exploring ways to interpret the rhythms of Egyptian music. We will work on arms, feet, and everything in between! Although there will be the usual latest Cairo stories, the majority of the workshop will be DANCING - prepare to sweat!

About Lorna of Cairo

Before leaving her native Edinburgh to become a professional belly dancer in Cairo, Lorna 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 Festival successes 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 over three years and is currently a star of the Pharoaoh Nile Cruisers. Lorna records her adventures in a captivating blog that has a worldwide following,

"As a peformer, 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 knowledgable and passionate about sharing her knowledge gained from first-hand experience."

To book your place contact Elspeth at or send your payment by paypal to

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

more flat hunting............ and the best dance teachers around..

Blooming heck..............

well, thats the polite way to say what i really want to say anyway. today I had a day off work, which was supposed to be a day of rest and recover, however I agreed to go and view just one more flat with my friend. She is still seeking that perfect to be in place!

Downtown first... interesting characters showing us around, an old, greek looking, man with a stick, and a young higabbed girl with a wiggle in her walk. Old downtown flats are amazing- the architecture is fabulous, Italian and French inspired, and the ceilings are even higher than the ceilings i have seen in Edinburgh. Carved stone balconies and wrought iron lifts, wooden floors and fabulous carved ceilings are the order of the day. The downside, of the ones we saw today anyway, are no AC, little light, and LOTS of road traffic noise (and fumes). Romantic, but not practical.

After lots of sitting about, and waiting, we then headed to Zamalek to look at more flats... My friend thought she'd died and gone to heaven when she saw the 1st place.... wooden floors, huge windows, balconies.... just perfect really............ then of course- the price almost double her budget! Grr. It is so frustrating. You tell people EXACTLY what you want, and what you can afford,... and they show you something thats just NOT suitable. The next place was unbelieveable perfect, for the price, until we found out it didn't have enough bedrooms. Yet again the estate agent ('simsar' in arabic) hadn't listened at all.

The last place was funny (near 'nadi sid' - ie the Shooting club- which is also very near my house). There were 3 women 'cleaning' the place when we arrived. I putting cleaning in ' ' because one was asleep on the sofa , one was sitting chatting and the other was sort of cleaning.... sort of.... anyway- that flat is a possible... thank god the day wasn't totally wasted............ checking it again tomorrow in the daylight- god grant us strength!

Whats the point of this blog?............ Just to show how things are never easy here in this crazy city. Never boring either though. And that it does pay to stay tough, and to keep searching and searching for EXACTLY what you want. For my friend, its that perfect flat, for me It was a year searching for a dancing job without strings and with workpapers! Nothing is easy- but when you get what you search really hard for- its totally worth it!

I recently received the comment from a reader that she'd like to hear more about dancing.... The thing is that just day to day living here teaches me SO much about Egyptian attitudes and behaviour. I believe that until a dancer understands that, how can she hope, as a foreign dancer, to 'dance like an Egyptian' ?

What do i mean? Even the Estate agent... in all ages, shapes and sizes plays 'the game'... offering you the perfect flat, teasing you with flats out your reach, persuading you that you are his friend and he'll get you the best deal... all of that is useful on the dancefloor... Never actually promising anything, or even giving, but instead suggesting- a life of glamour,a bit of fun, a cheeky grin, an emotional response, an understanding soul. Telling your audience through your actions what they want to hear. It's all imperative in the dance... as much as a perfectly executed shimmy or hip drop or arabesque.

Even time keeping... often non Egyptian dancers (and occasionaly Egyptian ones too!) dance a little too fast. I've seen myself do it in the past, and still if I am nervous or ill or tired. We often try too hard. Egyptian attitude is so laid back that you think the dancer is going to totally ignore a certain beat in the music, and then she manages to hit it- effortlessly, almost as if it was an afterthought. This is a common approach to life here, planning your night out, after you have already left the house..., planning an appointment to view a flat, only to find you are there, but the owner still needs to be found to get the keys,whats the rush?....

The teachers of this intricate, amazing dance form are all around... in the people.

I Loved you for your Voice!

What can I say?

It's been a while since I've written a book review on my blog, but this book HAD to be written about. wow. I just finished it and want to share it with all the dancers i know! Actually, anyone interested in music and poetry will find it fascinating too, not to mention anyone who has ever been in love...............

If you have ever heard the singing of om kalthoum, if you have ever danced to her music, if you have ever seen someone dance to her music... then you must read this book. I wish i had read it years ago.

It' s called 'I Loved Your Voice' by Selim Nassib and its written as if by the poet, Ahmed Rami, who wrote 137 of the 283 songs she sang.

The book is a love story, of Rami's Love for 'his Diva' and a story of Egypt, the people and the politics, the hopes and dreams.

It talks in detail of her fued with Mohammed Abdel Wahab and of their later reconciliation. It also talks of the other great poets and composers of the time, Qsabji, Ahmed Shawqi (The Emir of Poets), Da'ud Husni and many more. Her relationships with the heads of state and the press, and the people are detialed, yet all take a back seat to her relationship with love and music. She was brought up to believe she was special, chosen by God.... and it influenced everything she did, everything she sang.

Om Kalthoum is written about in this book with such respect, reverance and admiration, almost awe, that it has really made me rethink how i could ever dance to her music! Her Compositions are by far my favourite music to dance to. Now I am pulled in 2 directions.... How can i ever hope to convey from my dance even a percentage of what each song meant to her and to her country when she sang them? on the other hand, how can i not try?

The way her concert is described in the book when she performs Enta Omri (my all time favourite song) had me literally in tears reading it. I can't even begin to imagine what it must have been like to actually be in that audience!

It's an emotional, compulsive read . 'Unputdownable' ( a word i made up as a young child and which the teachers couldn't fault me for when I used it in book reports in school!)

In fact it was so well written I'm going to check out other books by the same author, because although it was the subject matter that really enthralled me, it was the writing style that made it a pleasure to read rather than a history lesson!
I seldom read a book more than once...... no matter how much I enjoy it... but this is a book I feel I will come back to again very soon, to enjoy and to study in more depth.

The sunflowers have nothing to do with the book... but they make me feel happy... i have 2 big bunches of them in my flat..... they are so cheap to buy here and make me smile just by looking at them so i wanted to include a photo here so they can make you feel happy too!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Flat hunting in Cairo and 'Cable guy'

Despite feeling lousy with a cold i decided i needed to get out the house this morning and went round with a friend of mine who was flat hunting.

The 1st laugh was when we tried to direct a taxi downtown. The problem being... I have totally lost my voice so couldn't direct the driver, my friend doesn't have arabic so the pronunciation was slightly off and the driver was totally deaf!!!!!! To crown it all- he took one look at us 'tourists?!!!' and made the automatic assumption that we weren't saying 'Babaloq', we were actually saying 'khan el Khalili' ! Because of course where else in this city would we want to go anyway? If it hadn't been so funny I might have strangled him (joking!)

4 different estate agents, 4 flats later... nothing yet- but more to see tomorrow. It's hard looking when you know that the prices get hiked up for foreigners. Frustrating.

The other thing is that the landlords are not satisfied with demanding silly high rent prices from you- they also feel they have a right to tell you how to live your life within 'their' flat you are paying so much for. I'm not just talking no pets, no smokers here.... (of course- no one would ever DREAM of saying not to smoke- unfortunately!!!) the main one is 'no Egyptians'. One landlord didn't like his last tenents (french) because they were couples. ie settled, quiet people who got on with their own lives, but since they were unmarried he decided this wasn't right. Thats when both people in the relationship are foreigners- if one of them happens to be Egyptian- then it is a definite no-no!

Oh- and my internet is fixed!!!!!! At long last!
I have been running about chasing the internet company for weeks,
and weeks
visiting their office,
for weeks and weeks,
who eventually sent me to the phone company,
who i called and called
and had friends call on my behalf,
who sent a technician and said all was working and it wasn't,
so I went back to the phone company, who were supposed to send another technician out,
but didn't.
anyway- you get my point- it's been a drama!.....

In the end, I mentioned to the bowab that someone was supposed to come from the phone company and he said why? The local guy, who's sole job is to cycle around with telephone wire on his back and fix peoples phones easily and cheaply, comes by everyday. i only had to say! Grrrr. The things that you dont know from not having grown up in an area! Anyway- this 'cable guy' we'll call him for the sake of it, came round today and fitted a new cable for me all in less that 15 mins and everything, phone line and internet, has been hunky dory ever since! ( 'Imsick Hashaab'! 'Touch wood' ). I gave him 50le for doing the job, because he refused to quote me a price and said he'd be happy with whatever I gave him, and so he was and went off happy. That made 2 of us (3 if you include my current guest too, 4 or 5 if you include the friends I have been complaining to about it for over a month!!!!)

Nothing is easy in this city..... but nothing is boring either!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Sunshine and snow

Seemingly it has started to snow again in Scotland... however, thankfully all is sunny here in Cairo!!!!

I'm heading to Scotland in March for 3 weeks.... and hope to be teaching some workshops there..... the plan is Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee....... will keep you posted on details as soon as all is confirmed! Contact me NOW if you are in Scotland and would like to host workshops in some other city!!! The Great Scottish tour- also known as- a fabulous way for me to get to see all my friends all around the country!!!

Meanwhile, here in Cairo I have getting much joy from watering my plants of a morning. It's a really positive way to start the day. Could be doing without the cold I have, yet again (I blame air conditioning and having to work though a cold rather then rest as soon as it starts- thats been a week now- grr- getting bored drinking hot lemon!).

Waiting in for the man from the phone company to come round fix my phone line and therefore hopefully fix my internet connection. It works totally fine occasionally, like right now, but without rhyme or reason shuts down for hours at a time- especially in the evenings when other people are online too I guess. It's driving me slightly mad!

I had 4 shows with mainly American audiences yesterday- they were lovely (saga tours or something of that ilk!). My main concern just now is working out when to get my band together to rehearse my new 'emergance' or however you spell it- the entrance piece of music a dancer starts her set with. I am fed up with the one I am doing...have have been using it too long.... so fed up with it in fact that i forgot part of it yesterday my brain was so disconnected from it!!! Of course I improvised and did something completey new and different, and pretty good actually , if I say so myself, but my band were in stitches laughing at me because they could see my mind had gone completely blank!!!! hmm- new music to challenge and inspire me definitely needed! NOW !

The Nile Group Festival is on again now, they have a new one now in Feb. To be honest... Usually i get all excited about the festivals and look forward to them... but there just seems to be so many, all the same, that i am a little fed up with it. I am not saying that it won't be a fantastic festival- i am sure it will be- and I'll go in April- and for sure it will be fabulous.. but I need a break from this one. I have to say though that i am REALLY looking forward to the Farha Festival in Luxor in September, That is something completely different, in a new city, different teachers, and of course I'll be teaching and performing in it too....!

A recently was interviewed for a Russian bellydance magazine, and one of the questions asked me about my future plans........... well- stay here and keep dancing in Cairo is my answer. I feel so lucky to be here and having the life I have. I can truely say i am content for the first time really in my life. Too much in my past i have focused on the negatives, here I just find it a lot easier to focus on the positives. Yes i have bad days and good days... but overall.. i am very happy and feel blessed. Long may it last!