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. 

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