Sunday, 14 February 2010

Flirting with tradition

I had a wonderful evening at the Filmhouse tonight, watching the Egyptian film Ghazal el Banat (The Flirtation of Girls). This is a 1940s Egyptian comedy musical with a story that could easily translate to a Hollywood setting - but with an emotional intensity in the acting and characterisation that could only be reflective of Egyptian cinema and culture.

The film features Leila Mourad, a hugely popular Egyptian singer who was of Jewish origin. A beautiful opening sequence features Leila (who happened to be playing a girl called Leila) riding through the forest with her friends singing Etmakhtari Ya Khail (Sing and Dance with the Horses).

Here it is:

It also starred the great comic actor Naguib el Rihani, who incidentally was married to Badia Masabny - the founder of the famous nightclub which featured dancers like Samia Gamal and Tahia Carioca.

Comedy sequences, chorus girls that appear out of nowhere to tapdance in stilletos, the beautiful sound of Egyptian Arabic, music, poetry and song, all given a sensitive translation, made this film an utter delight.

There was also an appearance of Mohammed Abdel el Wahab who strangely happens to be rehearsing at two o' clock in the morning, along with his 100 piece orchestra complete with choir, inside the house of film director Youssef Wahbi.

You can read a particularly nice review of the film here.

Thanks to Neill Walker at the Festival of Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace, and the Filmhouse for bringing this film to Edinburgh. Merci!

Photo shows Leila Mourad

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Hafla for Haiti

Hafla for Haiti fundraiser event comes to Edinburgh on Sunday 21st February.

"Hafla" is the Arabic word for party. This fabulous dance event, will feature the best of local talent with a range of performances of many different styles of dance from Egyptian Dance to Burlesque.

The event has the support of Save the Children in support of the Disasters Emergency Committee Haiti Earthquake Appeal.

The Hafla is at Revolution, Chambers Street, Edinburgh.
Doors open at 7pm, tickets cost £10 and are available on the door.

I hope to see you there!

Update: Hafla for Haiti raised £845 for Save the Children's work in Haiti! A big thank you for Irene for organising everything, to all the perfomers who gave their time and to everyone who came along to support the event.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Honesty is the best policy...

Someone asked me today for some tips on how to market themselves as a dancer and instructor. My reply was simply to do this in a truthful and honest way.

Be clear about the extent of your training, your influences, why you dance, what this dance means to you. How you teach, what you think your students will learn, where you take inspiration, and how you convey this to your students. My friend Elspeth believes that teachers get the students who are right for them and vice versa. I think that an honest approach will only quicken this process, helping the right match to be made.

It saddens me too often to see and hear the exaggerated claims of other dancers in this domain. The claim of authenticity from one who learnt their craft on their home soil. Or those that seek to demeanour the work of other dancers, even as far as discrediting their own teachers' work - to whom they owe heavy dues for bringing the dancer inside, out. To talk about that tiny tots ballet class attended once, as the equivalent of a lifetime of intensive training. To spin tales of being taught by the top dancers of the world when referring to a single workshop shared with 50 other women.

Time will tell, but these are the rules that I'm trying to live by with Habiba Dance. My organisation is now only a year old and the website, the videos, the words, the opinion presented here, they are all a part of myself, my own work and what I stand for.

Image Beth Rankin under Creative Commons.

Related Posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...