Sunday, 23 October 2011

Breathing New Life into an Ancient Legend

Dream of an Egyptian Night (Songe d'une Nuit d'Egypte) is a contemporary dance show; which takes its inspiration from the Egypt of the pharaohs, and the goddess Hathor.
(c) Tarab of Egypt
The legend of the goddess Hathor has enabled Béatrice Grognard and her dancers to plunge into the dazzling artistic and intellectual richness of the Egypt of the pharaohs.  Thanks to its musical excerpts drawn from numerous Egyptian repertoires and to the projection of paintings, sculptures, objects and antique sites, Dream of an Egyptian Night aims to celebrate an art which spans two millennia.  The show combines both ancient Egyptian spirituality and sensual pleasure; reflecting Béatrice Grognard’s fifteen years of research and experience of creating performances.  

“A celebration of the powerful femininity of the sun which is a mysterious expression of the beauty of the world and the magic beyond…”
(c) Tarab of Egypt
When the show debuted in Brussels last year it drew critical acclaim and was even featured on Egyptian television’s “Good Morning Egypt” news programme (Sabah el kheir ya Masr) and the Belgian news on Télé Bruxelles.  Here is a short clip from the original show.

Songe d'une nuit d'Egypte - Tarab / Béatrice... by tarabofegypt

You can watch further clips of extracts from the original show (Songe d’une nuit d’Egypte) on the Tarab video channel on Daily Motion.

The exciting news is that thanks to Ellie Atkinson of Zahira Dance and Raqs Sharqi Dorset, and after playing to audiences in Belgium, France and Italy, this amazing show is coming to UK this autumn – to theatres in Bristol in October and Leeds in November! And more good news, both shows will be followed by 2 days of workshops.  Here are all the details.  

Bristol show
Friday 28 October 2011, doors at 7.30pm. 
Queen Elizabeth Hospital Theatre, Berkley Place, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1JX. 
Tickets are £16.50 including booking fee
To reserve go to

Bristol workshops
Dance Space at the Island (Bridewell St entrance), Bristol, BS1 2PY
Saturday 29 October, 11:30-16:00 - Baladi
Sunday 30 October, 9:30-14:00 - Sha’abi (the rural style from Upper Egypt)
Each workshop costs £45
Bookings can be made by contacting Ellie Atkinson.

Leeds show
Friday 18 November, doors at 7.30pm.
Northern Ballet Theatre, Quarry Hill, Leeds, Yorkshire LS2 7PA. 
Tickets are £16.00 including booking fee. 
To reserve go to

Leeds workshops
Northern Ballet at Quarry Hill, Leeds, Yorkshire, LS2 7PA
Saturday 19 November, 11:30-16:00 - Classical from the ottoman courts
Sunday 20 November, 9:30-14:00 - Sufi.
Each workshop costs £45
Bookings can be made by contacting Ellie Atkinson.

Béatrice is an inspirational and generous teacher of her own particular style of contemporary and theatrical Egyptian dance. I’m so excited by this that I’m even planning to travel from my home in Edinburgh to both Bristol and Leeds weekends so I can attend both workshop weekends and I’m even thinking of seeing the show twice.  I’m particularly excited by the Sufi style, I’ve only done this a handful of times before with Béatrice and it is an incredible experience, not to be missed. 

Béatrice Grognard is one of the foremost European teachers of contemporary Egyptian Dance.  I first discovered Béatrice Grognard when I started attending her classes when I worked in Brussels for a spell in 2006. Attending her classes twice a week was a wonderful escape from what was a very busy but exciting period in my life. And since returning to the UK, I have continued to train, attending Béatrice’s occasional UK workshops and participating in two of her study trips to Egypt to work with live musicians. 

At the end of last year, I attended an amazing weekend of workshops with Béatrice organised by Diane and Ellie of Raqs Sharqi Dorset.  The learning was deep and amazing.  The Baladi focused on the meeting between singer, musicians and dancer, melting together like hot chocolate into a single melody.  The Ghawazee class helped us to explore strength, femininity and most of all fun, working with signature moves like throwing hips, twists, dynamic movements, wide shimmies, and rhythmic footwork.  And the jewel in the crown of the workshop weekend was Sharqi, the modern and classical form of the dance, almost contemporary in its interpretation.  Béatrice opened our eyes to challenging all our assumptions about how to interpret the music, unpicking many years of learning the “correct” way to dance.

About Béatrice Grognard

(c) Tarab of Egypt
Béatrice Grognard divides her time between Europe, Cairo and Brussels where, in 1998, she founded the "Tarab”, School of Theatrical Dances of Egypt". She has dedicated the last 15 years to the study and research of Egyptian music and dance. Trained as an archaeologist, Béatrice has always had true passion about arts and dance. Since 1991, Béatrice has devoted herself exclusively to dance and choreography and, thanks to her tremendous enthusiasm, has dedicated herself to defending the beauty and the authenticity of traditional Egyptian dances. Her quest today is directly linked to her original interest in archaeology: to bring forward Egyptian dance and the music of the past, redefine their boundaries and breath new life into them with theatricality introduced on stage, therefore ensuring them new life and a future.  For more information about Béatrice, see

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