Thursday, 30 May 2013

Everyone Can Dance

Earlier this month, I thoroughly enjoyed watching an evening of ballet performances, at Edinburgh Ballet Circle’s annual showcase, at the St Bride’s Centre, Edinburgh. 

Edinburgh Ballet Circle

Edinburgh Ballet Circle is an entirely amateur ballet troupe, consisting of dancers who regularly attend one of the many adult ballet classes across the city.  This was set up in 2011 by director Jonathan Burnett and is the first entirely non-professional ballet company in Edinburgh for some 50 years.  I've been attending Jonathan's classes for a couple of years now and I went along to support some of the people from my class who were in the show. 

The production consisted of 3 ballets.  The first part was my favourite, Act 2 of The Nutcracker, featuring a fun circus themed twist together with some fine comedy touches.  I particularly loved the ‘sugar plum fairy tight rope dancers’, with brave tutu wearing amateur ballerinas, showing off pointe work skills.  There were also ‘chinese plate spinner dancers’ with their pirouette free for all.  And I can't omit to mention the small group of male ballerinos who appeared in almost every scene and were game for anything, even a tongue in cheek clown routine.  The second ballet was a dramatization of the Little Mermaid, with wistful and dramatic story telling, ably danced and very atmospheric.  The finale was the ‘Ballet of the Nuns’, a quirky show that lived up to its bizarre title.

Nuns in tutus
I absolutely loved the whole thing.  Overall, the night showcased everything I love about community dance, whatever the genre.  It’s fantastic to see dancers of every ability, age, shape and size giving it their all.  There was always something to look at, whether skill, drama and finesse, or smiles of joy coming from the corps de ballet for just being there. 

It really reminded me how great it is within the Egyptian Dance or Belly Dance community, to have performing opportunities for student dancers to express themselves, whether at a local hafla, festival or community show.  It is so important that these showcases continue, for dancers of every skill level to work hard for, enjoy, and share with friends and family. 

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Learning from Baby Liv

I want to share this amazing video with you.  My teacher Merav first shared it with us students whilst we were in the middle of a classic series of Feldenkrais lessons that focused on relearning developmental movements like rolling.

These are all movements that come naturally in the first year of life, including this little baby called Liv:

To read my other related posts, click on the label Feldenkrais

Thursday, 9 May 2013

A Fabulous Bellydance Day Out

I'm so glad that the unseasonal snow and zero degree temperatures didn't keep me from attending the first ever Miss Fabulous Bellydance in Peebles in March. 
Oriental winners Tammy, Sarah and Beata
It was a lovely day out and a fabulous celebration of all those dancers who dance just for fun.  The one rule for the competition was that it was entirely amateur - in fact anyone who had ever been paid for performing or teaching any kind of dance was not allowed to take part.  Dancers came from near and far (well far meaning Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow) to show off their skills in 4 categories - groups, oriental, tribal and comedy.  There was plenty of glitter, beautiful costumes, big smiles and a few surprises.
Tribal winners Nihoma, Kaz and Aileen
Congratulations to all the winners, all their proud teachers, and a big thank you to Celia Buchan for putting on such a fabulous event!  And I'm already looking forward to next year! 

The Helwa Hurdies, second place in the Groups
Winning comedy duo the Gummi Bears

Friday, 26 April 2013

Quick Middle Eastern Style Side Salad

Lemon and mint give this easy salad a characteristic flavour reminiscent of those plates of finely chopped crudités you get when traveling in a Middle Eastern country. 

I thought I'd share this recipe alongside my usual dance themed blogging, as it looked really pretty and was very quick to prepare.  It makes a great side dish, or healthy lunch along with some pitta and humous. 


Mix together:
  • Halved cherry tomatoes
  • Chopped red pepper
  • Chopped fresh mint
  • lots of lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Top 10 Ways to Market Your Belly Dance Event

After successfully organising and hosting the sell-out NADA/Baladi Blues event in Edinburgh last year, I had some nice comments about my positive approach to the marketing of the event.  I'd never done anything quite like this before – an afternoon of workshops, followed by evening concert and party with musicians – but I had the advantage of drawing on some related experience from the non-dancing part of my world. 

Daughters of Isis by James Campbell
At the time, NADA's convenor asked me to pass on some marketing advice to their members, so I wrote them an article for their magazine. 

Here are my 'Top 10 Tips' for marketing your dance event, first published by NADA:
  1. Find the people that matter.  Word of mouth can mean a lot in our world and personal approaches count.  Your fellow teachers, friends and students can make a huge difference and an event that brings the dance community together is one which people will want to support.
  2. Identify all the reasons why people might be interested in coming to your event, they are your unique selling points.  For example, what’s different about your event?  Is there something special about the teacher that students will learn from?  Is there something that isn’t on offer elsewhere? 
  3. Use a range of tools that are at your disposal.  There are lots of ways to tell people about your event.  Take advantage of the internet, Facebook, classes, posters, flyers and anything else that captures your imagination.  These tools are usually cheap and often free – although you do need to invest your time to make them work for you. 
  4. Create a timeline or countdown to the event.  Along with all the other stuff that needs to get done like organising the venue, programme and selling tickets, think about when you need to advertise your event.  Time your mail outs and other updates to fit with your plan.  Too few messages and people might miss the event entirely or just not get round to booking.  Too many and people get annoyed, unsubscribe or simply hit the delete button. 
  5. Don’t sound like a stuck record.  If you are updating people about an event, do it in an interesting way so that your potential audience don’t lose interest.  Think about what you are saying and pick out different themes and messages to make it engaging.   
  6. Put in a bit of personality into your campaign.  This one’s harder to convey, but what matters here is a friendly approach that makes others want to join you.  It’s about showing it’s real people that are behind the organisation of the event.   
  7. Be honest about participation levels and ticket sales, and when it’s really time to book.  This helps people to plan when to book and pay for each part of the event.  And helps the organisers respond quickly if the numbers don’t pick up when they should. 
  8. If there is one part of the event that isn’t selling so well, target some extra effort.  We had only had a few early registrations for our free beginners’ belly dance workshop.  In response, we targeted some Facebook activity at this part of the day, specifically to engage with non-dancers. 
  9. Make it easy for people to participate.  A few extra touches can help someone decide to commit to the event.  The first question is often “where is the event, and how do I get there?”  Provide helpful information like maps and transport information and use a dedicated webpage if you can.   
  10. Finally, create something that people want to be part of.  No matter how much muscle or self belief you put behind your campaign, it’s never going to work unless people are interested in what you are doing.  Our creation was an easy sell thanks to NADA – an amazing opportunity to learn with, listen to and dance to authentic live Egyptian music.  Or in the words of the Baladi Blues Ensemble band leader Guy Schalom, “spread the Baladi love!”
What do you think about this advice? 

I'd love to know, how do you spread the word about your belly dance events?

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Feldenkrais classes in Edinburgh

I talked a little in my previous post about how much I've got out of learning Feldenkrais and I thought it would be good to share some information on local classes, for anyone interested to learn more. 

There are currently 3 teachers of Feldenkrais that I know of who offer classes in Edinburgh.

Firstly, there is Jackie Adkins.  She is a teacher based in Moray, who comes to Edinburgh every month or so to teach a workshop.  Her next event is this weekend, 6th April, on the theme of 'Freeing the Shoulders' (see flyer).  Jackie also teaches workshops in Glasgow and regular classes in the North East in the Moray area (Forres).  I first started learning through Jackie's workshops and found them a great introduction to the method.  I also liked that she provided us with useful handouts and was great at signposting where to learn more.  To find out more, go to her website.   

My current teacher in Edinburgh is Merav Israel.  She teaches regular classes (Awareness Through Movement), offers one to one lessons (Functional Integration), and offers the occasional workshop.  I have gained a great deal from her classes, particularly the private sessions.  Merav has a gentle style of teaching and a rich empathy driven approach as a practitioner.  For details of her group classes, individual sessions, and next workshop - 4th May, on the topic of 'breathing' - visit her website

Another teacher based in Edinburgh is Jae Gruenke.  I have not had the opportunity to take her classes.  She teaches a weekly class and also practises privately.  Her strong interest is in working with runners and athletes and she previously ran a specialist practice in New York.  For more, visit her website

Have you tried Feldenkrais method?  Do you know of any other local teachers?  I'd love to hear from you. 

Monday, 25 March 2013

Discovering Feldenkrais

I started learning Feldenkrais method a little over a year ago.  I first heard of it when one of my Egyptian Dance teachers started the teacher training course and started a share a little of what she learned.
I first attended some workshops, then weekly classes and eventually moved on to private lessons.  Bit by bit, Feldenkrais lessons are starting to change the way I move, the way I think, and challenging my own assumptions about dance, bodywork and movement.

There are 2 ways in which Feldenkrais is taught.  The first is 'Awareness Through Movement'.  This is a group class, where the teacher talks the students through a series of movements, starting small and building up gradually into bigger things, helping the student to discover new possibilities.  The talking through, rather than 'watch and copy' is really important as it has the effect of stripping away any ideas of what a movement should 'look' like, leaving behind the opportunity to explore and observe, and allow real understanding and learning to take place.  There is play, there are 'a-ha' moments, there are new discoveries...

The second method is called Functional Integration.  These are one on one classes with a practitioner, as a kind of hands on physical therapy.  Classes focus on the individual needs of a student.  The movements are subtle, gentle and gradually bring the different components of the body together into an integrated whole.  

Here is a short video about Awareness Through Movement.  I particularly like this film because it beautifully illustrates a spiral, something which also appears in the movement vocabulary for my studies in Hilal Dance

Here is another clip, showing more of the class environment, interspersed with interviews with the students themselves:

To read more, find resources, or a teacher in your area you can try the Feldenkrais Guild UK or the International Feldenkrais Federation.

Main photo by Mary Beth Smith, from here.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Baladi Blues Live - More photos from the NADA AGM

Here is a selection of my own photos I took at the NADA AGM in Lancashire, featuring Guy Schalom and the Baladi Blues Ensemble. You can also read my previous post with photos of my solo with the band.
Guy Schalom and the Baladi Blues Ensemble
Claire Novis and the band
The Baladi Blues ensemble is led by darabuka (Egyptian tabla) player Guy Schalom.  The regular line up includes Adam Warne on frame drum and riq, Ahmed El Saiidi on saxophone and Sheik Taha on accordion.  Guest artists were Ali El Minyawi on daholla and Abdul Salam Kheir on oud and vocals. 
Melody from Abdul Salam, Taha and Ahmed

Rhythm from Guy, Adam and Ali

All eyes are on...
...Katie Holland

Getting into the groove

Monday, 11 March 2013

Barefoot Dance Shoes Review - Bloch Soleil Foot Gloves

My new purchase from my local dancewear shop is a nice pair of gloves... for my feet!

My new Foot Gloves
In nearly all the dance styles that I do, I dance bare feet.  But unfortunately it's not always possible to go barefoot all the time.  So occasionally I will wear either soft ballet shoes for performances or a split sole jazz shoe for greater protection and support whilst practising (think cold church hall floors...).

The problem is a shoe can change my dance, as I find myself using my feet differently as I subconsciously transfer my weight onto the balls of my feet, point my feet more and play with swivels and arabesques.  But that's not always the look and style I want to go for, especially when dancing a more earthy style.

I've also been studying Hilal Dance.  This is an extremely grounded dance that is much more flat footed and earthy than other contemporary styles.  It uses a lot flowing of movement through space, including walks, turns, spins and spirals, and it's very important to have good contact to harness the energy through the floor.  However, I've found the training to be a little harsh on my feet and by the second day of an intensive workshop weekend, I've had to tape over the blisters on my feet rather than resort to shoes.

So, I've just invested in a pair of Bloch Soleil Foot Gloves.   I chose this kind of shoe because it both respects the shape of the foot and the need to go barefoot, whilst providing protection over the balls of the feet and, as a huge bonus, comes with a a nice big cushion underneath the big toe.  
Bloch Soleil Foot Gloves close up
They cost me £14.50 from a local dance supplies store.  Before I bought them, I was a little worried about fit.  My feet are very wide and find it hard to get a comfortable fit from my dance shoes, and Bloch only sell these in 5 sizes.  However, after inspecting them in store, I found that they are in fact very stretchy and the size 'L' was fine for my UK size 6 feet.  

So I wore them for the first time in class last weekend and I think they worked quite well.  They looked a little tight when I first put them on at first, but were comfortable enough once I got used to them.  They also stayed on my feet the whole time, sliding down my feet only a tad, but not enough to cause any real difficulty.  They helped to prevent the blisters I get from sticky floors and made the turns smoother and easier.  The ease of movement against the floor did change my dancing a little, however, so I had to think a lot harder about my balance and adjust my steps a little to prevent sliding.  As this natural floor contact is important, on the second day of workshops I kept my feet bare as long as possible, and only put the shoes on once we started drilling turns.
Barefoot chic by Bloch
Overall, I think the Bloch Foot Gloves worked quite well, stayed comfy, and did the job they were designed to do.  I still prefer barefoot, but accept that this is a good option that I would definitely keep in my dance bag for next time. 

Oh, and after I bought them I found out that they also come in lots of cool prints, including zebra, leopard, snakeskin, and even a version with a cute little band of henna drawn on! I might need to think up a reason for a second pair...

Fuzzy pack shot shows the choice of prints
I'd love to know if you go barefoot or wear shoes when you dance?  And if you prefer shoes, which kind do you wear?

Monday, 4 March 2013

Amel Tafsout in Peebles, Scotland!

A few years back, I was lucky enough to learn North African dance in Scotland, direct from master teacher Amel Tafsout.  Amel is originally from Algeria and teaches North African dance.  She is a very special, warm and spiritual person and I was lucky enough to have attended her Stirling workshops on a couple of occasions.  I really loved Amel's teaching style and her insightful teaching.

Amel Tafsout
Well the good news is she's coming back to Scotland.  Thanks again to Celia Buchan of Borders Arabic Dance, Amel will be teaching 2 days of workshops in Peebles, on 13th to 14th April 2013, and there will also be a Hafla. 

On Saturday 13th April there are 2 workshops on the Dance of the Ouled Nayl and Algerian Rai, followed by the Hafla in the evening.  Then on Sunday 14th April, there is a very special workshop in Sufi spinning.  I've taken the Sufi workshop before and can thoroughly recommend it. 

For all the details and to book, go to Borders Arabic Dance.  And don't miss the excellent early bird deal for all bookings made by 18th March (£65 for all 3 workshops). 

If you don't know Amel already, here's a wee excerpt from her official bio:
Amel Tafsout inspirational master dance artist, choreographer and one of the finest exponents of contemporary and traditional Magreb dance of our time.  Raised in Algeria she has been fascinated by dance and music since childhood.  She holds 2 M.A .degrees in sociolinguistics and romance languages a research in dance ethnology and a long training in healing practises. Her knowledge and experience make her completely unique.  Now resident in the United States she is a voyager between countries, languages and cultures.

I hope to see you there!

Monday, 25 February 2013

Dancing at the NADA AGM and my new Baladi dress

Here are some fabulous photos by Philip Welsby of my performance at the NADA AGM with the Baladi Blues Ensemble, in Lancashire last week. 

Dancing at the NADA AGM, Lancashire
The pictures also show off my new Baladi dress by costumier Wendy Holyer.  I love how it turned out, especially the sleeves.  The main fabric is from my recent trip to Goldhawk Road.  And the blue trim is fabric I bought back form Cairo a few years back.

Performing with the Baladi Blues Ensemble
I performed a solo Baladi progression to Amint Billah, which I chose as I knew Sheik Taha would be playing the accordion, who was instrumental in his contribution to the Ashra Baladi structure.   Although I'd practised to various versions of this song beforehand, the music on the night turned out completely different and so my performance was entirely improvised.  I truly love how with Baladi music, the combination of musicians and dancer brings out a completely different result every time.  It was also a lovely and welcoming crowd of fellow dancers and the whole evening was a joy.   

New Baladi dress

With Sheik Taha and Ahmed El Saidi

Dancing with the Baladi Blues Band

It was an amazing night and a fantastic privilege to dance to such wonderful musicians.  A big thank you to NADA for the opportunity. 

Monday, 18 February 2013

Oh, what a lovely cover up!

Caught backstage at the NADA/Baladi Blues event and AGM in Lancashire, I love these fabulous galabeyas by costumier and belly dancer Beverley Smith from Leeds.  

As owned and modeled by Sandra Thompson and Anne Kingston, these designs are simple, elegant and a great way to conceal the beautiful costume underneath, prior to the big reveal.

Rocking those triangular sleeves

Sandra and her black and red velvet galabeya

Anne in beautiful blue devoré

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Arabic as easy as A, B, C...

This is how I learnt the Arabic alphabet.

It's a clip from the Egyptian Sesame Street, 'Alam Simsim which literally translates as World of Sesame.  When I told my Egyptian friend about it he said he didn't have an Arabic alphabet song when he was growing up, so perhaps this song is just for the TV show.  In any case, I think this is a pretty cool and it helped me to learn it.

If you want to sing along and learn the alphabet yourself, here are all the letters for you:
Alif, Ba, Ta, Tha, Geem, Ha, Kha

Dal, Thal, Ra, Zay, Seen, Sheen, Saad

Daad, Ta, Tha, 'Ayin, Gheyn, Fa, Qaf

Kaf, Lam, Meem, Noon, Ha, Wow, Ya...
I've written this out in the style I usually transliterate arabic for my own use.  There's no single standard that people use to do this, but this should give you a general idea of how to pronounce the letters.  I've added in some underlining to highlight those letters which have a more guttaral or emphatic sound than regular English letters - it's what gives Arabic that distinctive sound.  If you want a better pronounciation guide, look out for a more formal Arabic learning resource.  Or if you've got a guide book for an Arab speaking country, you might be able to find some basics like this in the back. 

Got it? Ok Yalla, all together 5, 6, 7, 8...
Alif, Ba, Ta...

Monday, 4 February 2013

Bellydancing and the Blues

If you haven't heard all about it yet, Guy Schalom - talented darabuka player, dancer and leader of the Baladi Blues Ensemble - recently recorded a programme for BBC Radio 4 all about traditional Baladi Egyptian music and dance.

Bellydancing and the Blues

Bellydancing and the Blues was broadcast on Boxing Day at the end of last year.  The good news for anyone who didn't manage to tune in on the day is that the programme is available to listen again on BBC iPlayer on a permanent basis.  

The is an insightful documentary about a traditional form of Egyptian music and dance and how both developed and grew through interplay between east and west.  There are some fascinating contributions from distinguished musicians and dancers from Germany, the UK and Egypt including Raqs Sharqi Society trained Jane Wass, music producer Jennifer Carmen and Egyptian accordion master Sheik Taha.  I particularly loved hearing a different spin presented to the history of belly dancing past and present.  And as a real bonus, the whole show is ornamented with musical excerpts of beautiful Egyptian music, including from Guy's own Baladi Blues series of CDs. 

Guy Schalom
Here's an extract from the blurb on the BBC website:
"Dancer and drummer Guy Schalom hunts out the spirit of the new Egypt in one of its biggest cultural exports. To our ears, Baladi is the music of the bellydancer - kitsch and mock-Arab. But in its true form it is the essence of Egypt, 'of the country', 'home' in the deepest sense..."
To listen to the programme in full go to BBC iPlayer

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Miss "Fabulous Bellydance"

The very lovely belly dance teacher and costumier Celia Buchan of Borders Arabic Dance is organising a fantastic event for student dancers.  This fabulous event is coming soon to the small Borders town of Peebles on Saturday 23 March 2013.  

Celia Buchan by
This is an entirely amateur competition and there are fabulous prizes to be won including cash prizes crystal tiaras, sashes, champagne and beautiful bouquets!

There are 3 categories: oriental; tribal; and for troupes of up to 6 dancers.  And after the competition everyone can celebrate a day filled with fabulousness at the after show party. 

Full details and an entry form can be downloaded from Borders Arabic Dance.

This will be an amazing day of dance, fun and prizes and I hope to see you there!

Monday, 21 January 2013

8 Belly Dance Gig Bag Essentials

I confess to being a secret fan of Gilded Serpent's online Gig Bag Check videos.  I so love nosing through the belongings of belly dance royalty and wannabes.  
Gig Bag Essentials
In the absence of a touring Lynette Serpent, I thought it might be interesting to share some of the things that I like to have with me when I'm performing.  So here is my pick of 8 gig bag essentials:
  1. Nude ballet shoes.  Although I generally prefer dancing barefoot whenever possible I carry these with me everywhere I go as dodgy floors can appear in all sorts of venue, whether carpeted stages, nightclub dance floors, or uneven concrete...   
  2. Mirror.  A small freestanding mirror is brilliant if there isn't a handy one at the venue or for occassions when there are other performers vying for the only one there.  Mine is an aluminium foldaway from Muji - it's big enough to see my whole face and with a bit of fidgeting, I can even check to see if all the bits of costume are where they should be. 
  3. Leg warmers.  I'm very attached to mine as I like to keep heat in my muscles just before running on stage - essential when performing in a Scottish winter.  However this does mean I have a bad habit of leaving an unsightly heap of discarded belongings in the most convenient back stage area (next door bar, ladies loos, DJ booth...)
  4. Cover up.  Essential for keeping your costume hidden, and generally keeping warm (do you see a theme emerging here..?) My favourite is a galabeya I bought in Egypt that my dressmaker Wendy converted to front fastening by sewing on a line of duvet poppers.  It's so simple and great for a quick change without risk of disturbing hair and makeup.  
  5. Flip flops.  More footwear essentials, these are great for pottering round back stage and pretty silver sandals looks so much nicer poking out the bottom of your costume than clumpy boots or trainers.  And no chance of leaving any sock marks either... 
  6. Eyelashes.  An artist from another performance style once commented how surprised she was when she saw a dancer performing at a party who just wore ordinary every day make up along with her professional costume.  Once you get the hang of them, I definitely think that falsies make a huge difference to your overall impression. 
  7. Assorted pouches and bags.  I always use a variety of these to keep all the bits together.  There are ones that are see-through for jewellery and accessories and I love those canvas/jute reusable shopping bags are fantastic for keeping each entire outfit together - I avoid storing dance costumes in plastic and this also a good system to deploy for costume changes. 
  8. Business cards.  I have these close to hand, especially if I have just come off stage, important for generating new leads and leaving a more lasting impression.  
Safely stowed shinies
What are your must have gig bag essentials?

Sunday, 13 January 2013

More dancing with the Baladi Blues Ensemble

I want to share some good news about another fabulous event being organised by NADA with the Baladi Blues Ensemble.

It's on Saturday 16 February 2013 in Lancashire and the day features dance and music workshops, the NADA AGM, and a fabulous evening show with performances and a chance for everyone to boogie with the band.  The event features dance teacher Claire Novis (from the JWAAD belly dance school) and Guy Schalom - the fabulous tabla player and band leader - will also be teaching and of course leading the band.  Some of my all time favourite traditional Egyptian style musicians will be there including legendary accordion player Sheik Taha and the wonderful singer and oud player Abdel Salam Kheir.  There will also be lots of lovely guest dancers, and oh yes, I'll be performing too!

Guy Schalom by James Campbell

Claire Novis

Thanks to NADA's support, this event is amazing value for both NADA members and non-members alike.  And if you're not taking part in the workshop, you can still come along to enjoy the show.  Anyone who was at the NADA/Baladi Blues event I hosted in Edinburgh last year will know how great this group are.  And if you haven't heard them yet, what are you waiting for?

The event is taking place at the Ellel Village Hall, Galgate, Lancaster, LA2 0LQ.  The first workshop starts at 1:30pm and the evening show starts at 7:30pm (with doors from 7.00pm).  Oh, and for dancers staying for the whole day, you can even book a special 'dancer's tea'! 

For all the information, packages and bookings go to Desna Dances.

I hope to see you there, and for anyone coming along who also follows my blog please do come and say hello!

Monday, 7 January 2013

Fabric Shopping in London

On a recent trip to London, I went to Goldhawk Road in Shepherd's Bush in search of interesting fabric for new costumes.  It's a great place to buy material, with shop after shop offering a huge range to suit any budget. 

Goldhawk Road
I was on a quest for something stretchy, okay to sew and flattering.  I was also interested in finding something versatile, with resulting makes that could sit somewhere between classwear and performance.  My other requirements were to avoid plain colours, velvet - which doesn't tend to stay put while dancing, and to avoid anything too shiny - which is less flattering on curves.  This spec wasn't initially easy to fulfill, but after a couple of hours of rummaging I bought several metres of lycra and stretch fabric ranging from £3 to £4 per metre.

Here are the results of my haul:

Starry night

Psychedelic blue

Touch of pink

Midnight lace
What's your verdict?

Update 25/2/13: read my follow up post with photos of the Baladi dress made from the 'stary night' lycra. 

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