Friday, 14 May 2010

Habiba Dance Edinburgh Festival Workshops

Here are some dates for your diary.

I'll be running 2 brand new Egyptian Dance workshops at The Salisbury Centre during the Edinburgh Festival in August 2010

The Golden Age of Egyptian Cinema

Sunday 1 August, 1.00-3.00pm

Dance like the Stars of Egypt’s Golden Age in a workshop inspired by the stars of the 1940s and 1950s era Egyptian cinema – Samia Gamal, Tahia Carioca and Naima Akif.

Classical Egyptian Dance is a new contemporary art form with ancient roots. It draws on the imagery and music of the Ottoman courts, the storytelling of Egypt's Golden Age of cinema, and the music of the classical Egyptian orchestras and famous singers whose radio broadcasts captivated the Arab world. You will find new ways to express this beautiful music and explore the playful and sensual sides of the dance.

This is a General level workshop and is suitable for those who are already familiar with the posture and basic moves of Egyptian dance or belly dance whether Improvers, Intermediate or more advanced students. Bring a full skirt if you have one and a silent hip belt.

Interpreting the Human Voice

Sunday 29 August, 1.00-3.00pm

This workshop will help you to connect with and dance to some of the classic Arabic Baladi (traditional) songs that form part of every dancers’ repertoire. We will also explore movements to interpret the beautiful Mawaal, sometimes considered the Egyptian Blues, a soulful improvisation of the voice that expresses feeling and emotion.

You will learn to find your own personal interpretation of this beautiful music, building on the moves and technique you already know, whilst emphasising the importance of musicality, rhythm and responsiveness.

This is a General level workshop and is suitable for those who are already familiar with the posture and basic moves of Egyptian dance or belly dance whether Improvers, Intermediates or Advanced students.


Both workshops each cost £12 full price or £10 concession.

To book contact the Salisbury Centre, 2 Salisbury Road, Edinburgh, EH16 5AB
Telephone: 0131 667 5438

Bookings will open as soon as the Salisbury Centre Festival Programme is out.

I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Learning the Language

It wasn't meant to be a New Year's Resolution, but since January I have been learning Arabic.  And the whole experience has just been so rewarding I want to share something about what I have learned so far.

I had a pretty bad experience learning languages when I was at school and it's not something I ever thought I would be able to do.  Several years later, as an adult, I faced my fear and started going to beginners French classes.  I found it very motivating to learn at my own pace without the school environment and I stuck at it.  We're not talking complete fluency, but after about 3-4 years of study I found that I could pass pretty well in France and Belgium using what I had learned.  A little bit after that, I built on my knowledge of French and even managed to teach myself to speak a little Italian too.  So why all those years spend thinking I couldn't do languages?  Just like learning any new skill, whether languages, dance, or anything there simply isn't a good or bad at, there's only learning in the way that suits you.

So what about the Arabic?  Well I like the sound of it, I love the music and the songs.  And when I listened to the music and read song translations I found I could start picking out the words that I recognised and some of the basic patterns in the language.  I thought about going one step further and learning it properly.  Yes Arabic is very different, but could it really be so difficult?

Around the turn of the year I had some happy accidents.  My friend posted a Facebook link to the You Tube channel Learn Arabic with Maha - containing a charming series of videos being made by an Arabic language teacher who had started teaching her Italian husband.  At the same time, I spotted a set of Beginners Arabic Adult Evening Classes run by the local council, starting that very week.  And all of this perfectly timed to happen right before the holiday to Egypt I had already booked.  All the pieces fell into place at the same time.  So with no reason to hold myself back I plunged in.

I want to say more about the different ways that I have been studying in a bit more detail, but I will have to come back to this at some point soon. 

It has been over 3 months now and I've been studying hard.  I won't be sure how much has actually sunk in till my plane actually lands in Cairo.  But I am very hopeful and I really do think, Insha'allah, that I will have something to say.

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