Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My first week of UK tour...

What a wonderful welcome back to UK.

Exeter was SO much fun!

I have to admit- that even now, after all these years teaching and performing (professionally for 16 years!) I still get a bit nervous going to a new area where people don't know me. Will they 'get me'? Will they like me? What level should I be pitching the workshops at?

Thankfully Judith, the woman that organised the weekend is a fantastic organiser and everything ran very smoothly (despite one band in the evening having to cancel on the same day due to a family bereavement; Love to you and yours Maren!).

The ladies in the workshops (which had been sold out for at least 3 weeks before the event!!!) were so attentive and responsive that I felt like I was teaching a room full of sponges, so fast was my information being soaked up! The realisation moments occurring around the room were like Christmas tree lights around the room as they were sparkling so brightly!

It was amazing spending the weekend with my good friend, and one of my first students, Hannah. A lovely dancer herself she was the one who suggested that Judith host me and seemingly they want me back every year now!

I had so many ladies telling me how much I had inspired them and changed the way they would dance that I could barely get my head out the double doors at the end of the evening show!

Some reviews from last weekend;

“I had so many eureka moments in the w/s and private class. Some really really useful feedback on my performance. Wowser moments watching Lorna perform”

Another; “I’m still mesmerised”

One woman told me that I had “changed her life”. Before the workshop she would never have gotten up at a hafla just to bop about at the end because she could never think what to do, but on the night I was in town, after the workshops she not only got up out her seat dancing, but joined the other girls in her class on stage! She was very proud of herself!”

This weekend I will be teaching in EDINBURGH on Saturday 3rd March – I believe there are a couple of spaces left... contact 

I will be performing in an exclusive Edinburgh performance on Tuesday 5th March. Please also contact Elsepth if you wish to know details and to book!

Next weekend my workshops in Wolverhampton are sold out on the 10th, However there are still spaces available in LONDON on Saturday 9th March. These are aimed at ALL levels (apart from complete beginners!) and even if you haven’t even performed yet, in fact, perhaps especially if you haven’t performed yet! these workshops will be very useful to you! For details and to book;

 That is my reporting in and PR done. It’s a beautiful sunny clear day in Scotland today even if it is a chilly 3degrees right now! I’m off for a swim before nephew’s birthday party round 2. Yesterday I went with him to his ‘party’ with his friends at Time Twisters at sighthill, Edinburgh and they did soft play and then Laser quest.

It was amazing. The whole venue was designed like ancient Egypt! I felt I had left home and come back home!!! So much fun!

My little Pharaoh, not so little now that he is 7!

(Yes that means I have been living in Cairo for 7 years now. I only went for 6 months!!!)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Lorna’s Spring UK tour 2013 - diary dates!

I am going to be back in the UK for a month and plan to be doing a series of workshops and private classes and performances while I am in the country. If you are interested in attending the workshops and/or performances please contact each of the organisers listed below. I am going to be in Exeter, Edinburgh, London, Wolverhampton and Lincoln on this tour!

If you are interested in having a private class with me, at very reasonable rates I might add... then please contact me directly on
 Last time I came to London I taught a few girls, some of whom had never had a private class before, and all the feedback I received was really lovely. So if you have never had a private bellydance class before- maybe now is the time to try! (In fact- maybe you could persuade your ‘other half’ that this would make a much appreciated valentines gift!!!)

Sat 23rd Feb – Exeter Workshops and performance.
Maximising your assets – Taking movements and showing how to make many variations on them so they suit your body shape, the audience, the music, the stage set up. This workshop will also incorporate performance skills.
Improvisation – Getting rid of that fear – This workshop will help you overcome your fear of improvisation allowing you to explore emotions and also the importance of musicality.
Contact Judith on to book places and reserve your ticket for the evening performance!

Sun 24th Feb- Private classes in Exeter-  I will be in Exeter on this day and available if anyone wants to book a private class with me email me now!

Thurs 28th Feb- Thurs 7th March – Available for Private classes in Edinburgh . Email me to book yours asap

Sat 2nd  March – Edinburgh Workshops
Workshops held at Edinburgh Studios, 21 Arthur Street Upper, Edinburgh, Scotland.

12.15-14.15 Technique - Lorna’s Cairo modern style
How we are taught technique compared with how Egyptians actually dance the moves! Learn moves to use in all styles of Egyptian music, brand new, fresh and direct from the Cairo stage. 

14.45-16.45 Putting Emotions into your Dance
The biggest criticism foreign dancers get is that their technique is good but they don't have that Egyptian 'feeling'. In this workshop we will explore what this mystical feeling is, and look at practical ways to demonstrate it within your dance.

Both workshops are for dancers of all levels, but are not suitable for absolute beginners.
Each workshop costs £25. 

Please contact Elspeth Swishandhips if you want to attend. 
Bookings are only confirmed when you’ve paid, so to book your place:
• Post a cheque made payable to Lorna Gow Dance to E. Alexandra, 32 Claremont Road, Edinburgh EH6 7NH
• Paypal to , sorry but to cover Paypal administration there’s an extra £1.50 on paypal payments – which means £26.50 per workshop or £51.50 for both.
• If you need another way to pay, please contact Elspeth 

Tues 5th March – Edinburgh Performance
Details TBC
contact  for more info

Sat 9th March – London workshops
Workshop 1
12:30-14:30 – details TBC

Workshop 2
15:30-17:30 – details TBC

The venue 
Jackson's Lane Studio 1, 269a Archway Road, London, N6 5AA
The venue is right next to Highgate Tube (Northern Line) and is just 15 minutes from Euston/Kings Cross.
See details in facebook!/events/464060796976731/?notif_t=plan_user_invited  .
 For more info and to book your workshop place please Contact Nafiseh on

Sun 10th March- Wolverhampton – Workshops and Evening performance

1230-1430 - Organic Dance Concepts – How to move between moves to create a seem-less performance. This workshop focuses on technique SOLD OUT
1500-1700 - The different Baladi styles- Baladi means my country. Dancers tend to use it to mean a specific type of music and dance style. This workshop however will explore all the different styles that an Egyptian dancer might class as ‘baladi’/ (bring a light stick with you) SOLD OUT

Exclusive Evening with Lorna at Tiffus restaurant. This is going to be a really special night. We will take over the top floor of Tiffus restaurant, enjoy a 2 course meal and be entertained by Lorna. She will talk about her life in Cairo as a dancer and then perform just for us. The numbers for this event are strictly limited. The cost is £25 however the food at Tiffus is a cut above your normal Indian food and you can take your own booze so there will be nothing extra to pay on the night. You can pay via paypal by visiting my website
Contact Karen at  to book tickets for evening meal – workshops have sold out! 

Mon 11th March- Friday 15th March - Private classes in London. Email me now to book yours!

Sat 16th March - Lincoln - Raqs Helwa - Workshops and Performance

There will be many fabulous teachers doing both workshops and performances at this fabulous festival! I am looking forward to being one of them...
11.30-1.30 -Cairo technique - Lorna brings us an unimaginable insight to the technique of oriental dancing and uses her fun and personable style to add depth and knowledge to each dancer’s repertoire
4-6pm -  Cairo Style – Lorna will teach you the tricks to make your dancing more Egyptian! Lorna will share with us the current trends in Cairo style and incorporating all the elements from the street, the countryside and the cabaret scene, show us how we can adapt our dance to be genuinely egyptian. 

Evening Performance - The evening performance will consist of 3 sections.  The first section will be a montage of some of our workshop teachers performing, second up is professional troupe The Tarab Dance Company  and finally we have our star performer LORNA of CAIRO performing a complete set from her cairo show. If you have booked a Raqs Helwa day ticket your evening ticket is INCLUDED so please do not purchase it again.  If however you wish to bring friends with you, then these tickets can be booked as EXTRA places.

For full festival info (including workshops with other teachers too) and to book, please go to

Tues 19th March- I will be back in Cairo, teaching private classes there and performing at the Pharoahs boat, Giza! see you there maybe if i miss you on this trip?!!! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A bit of Bling....

A bellydancer's favourite pastime, after dancing.... costume shopping!

Yesterday I went to see my costume designer, Eman Zaki. I have been going there for as many years as she has been making costumes and love her work. She has a workshop off Sharia Mahatta and you can see everyone, men and women, working away on all the costumes when you go. Cutting and sewing. Most of them beading! The walls are stacked high with beautiful fabrics, crystals are on every surface. It’s like Aladdin’s cave (with a bit of Cairo ‘dust’ on top). Often you bump into other Cairo dancers while you are there. Sara Farouk is there to help with all the logistics of the order and Eman weaves her magic. When you say you’d like something specific Eman takes your suggestions and makes it come alive. She was the one who made my fabulous green and Tartan costume for me that I bring out every Burns night and St Andrews!
Since I perform Saaidi in most shows I do... I needed a new saaidi costume, so I went along to see what they had.

Now I have 3 new costumes in the making! Two saaidi and one bedla.
How did that happen? I only went for one!

I am not going to tell you anything else about them... not yet... since I am getting them ready for my UK tour so I don’t want to spoil any surprises... but I am very happy so far!

Another fitting tomorrow afternoon... I’m excited!

Today I am going to go to the Khan. See what I can see. Sometimes there are some nice things there too (although usually not- hence my repeat visits to Eman and Amera, my two favourite designers – the extra expense is Always worth the extra quality!)

I have so many costumes now (no idea actually how many) that often I can rotate them and people think they are new, which is fabulous in times when there is not so much work to be had and belts have to be tightened. Financial belts that is- hip belts usually have to be loosened when there isn’t so much dancing going on! My trips to the UK are such a great excuse to HAVE to buy something new! Maybe this time I will sell off some of my old costumes while I am there. I hate parting with them though; they carry so many memories in every bit of bling!!!

Wishing you a day full of sparkle too...........

* Update- since writing this morning... my sparkle was dulled a bit by sitting in a taxi for half an hour just to go from one end of my street to the other... something I could have walked in less than 2 mins. The idea of another hour or two in the same horrific traffic was too much for me so I got out, walked home and went to bed to dream of the glitter instead! I will just have to do more bling another day....! 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Against all odds

I had two very different performances last night.

Both had small audiences.... but you can blame ‘Egypt’ for that... not me!

Yesterday was the 2nd year anniversary of the day that Mubarak stepped down. I remember I was sitting home glued to the TV watching the news. As soon as the announcement was made I received a phone call from two friends in London, Caitlin and Ellie (back in the days when she was Ellie ‘in London’ rather than ‘Ellie Of London’ the Rising singing star of Cairo!). They too had been watching the news from UK and I remember the elation we all felt when it became obvious the voice of the people had been strong enough to bring down a dictator of 30 years. I, in true Braveheart style, was laughing and shouting’ Horreya Horreya’ (freedom) down the phone!

 Ah those were the days. Two years on and so much and yet so little has changed.

Last night yet again Tahrir filled up with people..... but so did the area around the palace, the latest protest location of choice. Tahrir was calm, thankfully, and emptied early. At the palace though things were violent however and the police were again filling the already polluted Cairo air with Tear gas along with bird shot and water cannons to ‘calm’ the protestors! It seems the people there feel that the objectives of the revolution have not been met at all and the dictator has just been replaced with another one, Morsi, the ‘puppet of the Muslim Brotherhood’.

So knowing all that is going on in the city- would you chose to go out clubbing and dining out, or would you sit home and have a quiet evening to yourself? Exactly. However a few brave souls did venture out... so the entertainment (me and my band) were called into work....

My first performance was at my usual place of employment... the Pharaohs’ cruising restaurant, Giza.
I arrived feeling flat. I had no energy and no inclination to dance at all. The boat one had one deck full, and actually full is the wrong word for that too. Like I say, most sensible folk stayed home! I have yet again new member in my band, another new Tabal and a new Org too (keyboard player). I do love to dance but on this occasion I felt I would be going out there and ‘jobbing it’ given my mood and the mood of the country and my uncertainty about what the music was going to be like.

What happened?

I entered the stage, big and bold and strong. They say that people’s impressions of you are created within the first 3 seconds of seeing you, so I always try to force myself into a confident state for the start of a dance when I don’t feel it – fake it 'til you feel it you could say. I scan the faces of the audience during this time and all I usually need is someone who is paying attention. Now that might seem weird to those of you who dance in Halfas or in theatres etc where everyone is sitting watching the stage waiting for you to start, but here in Cairo, usually the time the dancer comes to stage is exactly the same time as the food... so often people are understandablely distracted! Thankfully, one Egyptian woman right at the front was watching, then when her daughter tried to talk to her she brushed her away saying ‘no, talk later, I want to watch her, she is good...’  
That was it. My confidence lifted and I proceeded to perform possibly my best show for quite some time. It is amazing how suddenly everything just worked. The music was great, the new Tabal will need time to get to know me more, but he didn’t do badly at all. The rest of the audience was fabulous too. There were mainly Egyptians and Syrians, and everyone was very appreciative and responsive. I love dancing and having people, especially the women, singing along with the songs at me... sharing the moment with me. To see how much they love the music, and how it makes them feel and they can see that I feel the same. That connection is the most amazing feeling ever. It makes them happy, and that makes me happy! On the boat I am supposed to perform for two sets, each lasting only 15 minutes... on nights like this I usually get into trouble because I am enjoying myself so much on stage that I run over my allotted time. Last night was one of these nights.. but the staff and management were enjoying the show too, so I didn’t get into trouble for it! Who else out there loves their job so much that they happily do extra time for free, even if it means getting into trouble for it?!!!!

On the boat I can have anything between one and 4 shows per evening depending how busy it is. For the reasons I have mentioned above, it was as quiet as it could be.... which was a shame when I was in such a fabulous dance mood! Thankfully I had another show booked for that night...

After Eight is a small club/bar downtown that has live music most nights. It is not the sort of venue I would normally perform in... but they have decided to have an oriental night each Monday. Which actually means their usual mix of Arabic, house, r&b, pop, shaabi, you name it cocktail of music but with a bellydancer too...... The venue is located a 2 minute walk from Tahrir, so given then ‘party’ happening there I assumed that it would be cancelled.... It wasn’t. Although from the low numbers of attendees it should have been! What can I say... my friends and I waited and waited in case some more people arrived..... a couple did, but not many and then the manager and I decided that a short performance was better than cancelling completely. So I danced. Of course, this time it was with CD rather than my band- which I always hate in comparison... but actually in that setting it worked. It was like a private party and I think I was much more relaxed in my dancing because of that. I felt I was performing just for friends.

 It is a dark place anyway... and there wasn’t any lighting on the dancefloor area... so all the people at the front of it took one guy’s lead and aimed the flashlight from their phones at me. It was an inspired move. The atmosphere was tangible. I felt like I was dancing in an old movie in my lovely turquoise and gold Eman Zaki costume. After, one of my friends told me that parts of my dance reminded him of Samia Gamal - so I guess my feelings came through in the dance since I wasn’t aware of doing anything like her dance style! I just know I felt special. I felt I was glowing (and I don’t mean that as a polite way of saying perspiring too much!)

I know I should have been disappointed to have such a small audience, but given the circumstances and the select few that were there, actually I really loved it. Thank you to those who risked the unknown and came out to support me last night. I hope you enjoyed it even half as much as I did!

And... the good news is... that I will be dancing again in After Eight next Monday... so hopefully assuming Tahrir is clear for a change, we will get in a bigger crowd and I can perform my entire show..... If you are reading this and are going to be in Cairo next Monday (18th Feb.) please do come along!