Friday, 15 January 2010

Sirocco - a new direction in dance Festivals

Celebrating the art of Middle Eastern dance with the meeting of East and West, the Sirocco Festival returns for its 3rd annual event in May.

This is a unique experience amongst dance festivals, introducing participants to new forms of Middle Eastern Dance, that evolve before your eyes. Sirocco artists are hand picked by dancer, choreographer and writer Wendy Buonaventura, each one chosen for their ability to "ignite the magic spark of inspiration" amongst Festival goers. Each of these artists is also given the opportunity to develop a new dance piece for theatre, which is showcased at the Festival's Friday night opening show.

I was lucky enough to have attended the first 2 Sirocco Festivals. The main reason I went was to attend the classes of the Belgian dancer Beatrice Grognard, for her only UK teaching dates. However, at Sirocco I found I really enjoyed the other elements of the Festival, the theatre show, discussions, the Hafla/party night, being in the company of an interesting group of women representing the many different facets of the dance community. And last year my personal insight from the weekend was the strong message of being true to my own self expression and my own interpretation of the dance.

This year's Festival returns to the market town of Frome in Somerset from 14th to 16th May. Artists include Wendy Buonaventura, Mira Betz and Beatrice Grognard (back by popular demand for the 3rd year in a row), together with a number of other teachers of national standing. The Friday night show is Wendy Buonaventura's "I Put a Spell on You", a show that I was lucky enough to see at the Edinburgh Festival a few years back - although this time featuring performances from Sirocco artists.

A Festival with personality and conviviality, I would thoroughly recommend Sirocco to anyone seeking out a dance weekend with a difference.

The photo shows participants performing at the Party night/hafla at the Rook Lane Arts Centre at last year's Festival.

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