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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