mekyria: (Default)
I finally went to a workshop by prof dr dr Hassan Khallil, who is 79 but happened to be in the Reda Troupe in 1956 and has been coasting on his reputation ever since.

I thought that I should expose myself to his pressence at least once, considering that I've been bellydancing for sixteen years now and have managed to avoid him all these years. Plus I am eager to get out there and network a bit, meet new people and dance.

I travelled to Vught (small town near Den Bosch) and took Hannan Sultan's workshop called skillful and slinky hips. Got aome good ideas about what exercises to use to level the hipwork and avoid injury. I hated how she let us drill in a different tempo compared to the music she put on. I cannot ignore a beat and dance in a different tempo. It's also a bit moot considering the teacher picking the music for class. Would be easier to pick something the right tempo instead of making the students go off beat. She is one hard working woman, I respect that.

The second workshop was the long awaited prof dr dr etc. Yes, he uses his titles all the time. I suspect once he bought them, he wanted to use them to get his money's worth. Mr khallil arrived late, and all the ladies stared to applaud when he entered. Little did I know that applauding was mandatory and expected at almost every instant he opened his mouth. He is very charismatic and positive, joking around, hugging women (he's an old dog, he is) and smiling. Can't help but like the guy.

We started 30 min late and Hassan explained that we were doing bellydance theater. An hommage to Cleopatra and het tragic story. He proceeded by showing us the most dramatic overacting ever. It included pining, sighing, yearning, reaching with the arms and putting on an obstipated face.

I was okay with it, saying to myself 'it's only three hours'. But when he told us to lie on the floor and wiggle like a snake, I reached my limit. That was right after he saw me yawn, walked up to me and said:'you should sleep at night'. I replied:'my baby won't let me', making him laugh out loud. 'Baby girl' I added, and he buggerrd off.

After a badly edited zar song attached to Mohammed Abdel Wahab, we pounced the floor with our fist, crawled on fours, picked up a small sized snake and theatrically dropping it in our shirt, the workshop was over. An hour early.

Let me get this straight: 25 people paid 75 euro to attend this three hour workshop. That is 1875 euro. Let's say 1/3 is going to the hostess, that leaves us with 1200 ish. He arrived 30 min late and we finished 1 hour early. For one and a half hour of prancing around, he made 1200ish euro. Tell me again that the bellydance market sucks and people are not willing to pay for workshops.

To be fair, One and a half hour of this was more than enough for me. Once, but never again. I did get to experience prof dr dr first hand and polished my snake writhing skills. Ozma, it reminded me of our floorwork workshop with Princess Banu in Istanbul. Good to know the crazy is equally distributed among teachers globally
mekyria: (2013 indonesie 2)
Last weekend was our annual hafla in Zeist, also known as the coziest ('meest gezellige') bellydance party in the Netherlands. Two years ago the theme was 'red', last year the theme was 'blue', so what would this year's theme be? Well, 'Rainbow', ofcourse! Because we all enjoy dressing up and this allowed us to get everything out of the closet and swap and switch between us. We all got to wear something that felt new to us without breaking the bank.

The first part of the show was a series of performances that showed the different phases in the life of a woman. I was 'birth', to the music of celtic harpplayer Marieke Lesparre.


I'm not sure if I classify this as fusion wankery or heartfelt oriental improv. I feel good about the first half of the performance, then I lost it for a bit. I got some really nice feedback on this piece so the audience overall liked it.

Our group, Sense of Bellydance, did 'Habibi I love you' together. They performed this song at our wedding in 2014 and have since improved and build on the first version. I like how this performance evolved and Germaine's daughter Veerle is super cute. Veerle danced the song about childhood, with wings, to a Tinkerbell song. It doesn't get much cuter and I am pretty sure that all moms were silently crying while watching her.


Overall the first part went well and I am proud that we got this far in the past six years. I am still a little bit frustrated that the only way to get decent video footage of our events is for me to bring a camera, position it correctly, make sure someone checks in every now and then to see if it's still pointed in the right direction, and then I have to edit the video and send it to everyone. So I just edited out the songs I wanted to show and sent the raw footage to Marjan, who promised to make a promo video this weekend.

The second half was separate performances of student groups and a couple of solo performances. I loved Gerie's performance and Nansi's performance, they've gotten more emotional and earthy. Last year they followed the 'Tarab' course from dancer Sena in Rotterdam, which worked with getting more in touch with their emotions and how to translate those emotions on stage. Good for them! My students and I did our pop song choreography that we started this semester. I a pretty pleased with it overall.


Some messing up here and there, but that's okay. We all picked it up rather quickly after screwing up and that's what matters! That, and we kept on smiling. Yay! I missed part of the event because I needed to pump (three times, so that's 1,5 hours) plus I had to attend our table where we were selling second hand stuff. Despite our best efforts, not much sold. The bellydance market is really saturated right now and flooded by cheap Chinese import, making it impossible to sell the more expensive older stuff like Egyptian hipscarves bought for 25-50 usd and oldskool bedlah and skirts. Even so, the stuff from Dunya's inheritance and from Laudie's closet sold, so I have money to give to Dunya's children and to Laudie. Every item that sells is an item that doesn't have to go back home.

I think I'll host a bellydance swap at my place in the summer, so we can all have some new stuff and move items we no longer like or use. After the Zeist hafla, we're now counting down towards Roos's student recital, plus I have a small hafla on May 18th and a student recital on June 5th. During the summer we're hoping for a second edition of Bellydance on the Beach in Wijk aan Zee, with excellent weather and a sleepover of Sense of Bellydance in the cottage at the coast. Lot's of fun things to look forward to!
mekyria: (2004 rood kostuum)

Brwosing back through my journal I noticed that I haven't written about belly dance for a while. Being a bellydancer is like having a lifelong partner: at times I remember the first time we met and how I madly fell in love with belly dance. At other times, we don't get to spend quality time together, or I wonder if I am still interested and in love after thirteen years. In the past couple of weeks, I was having a resurging feeling of love for the dance, which is good!

here's a longish update, with pictures and video material.

Read more... )


They did well and had fun! I am very proud of them and I look forward to teaching next semester. I wonder how long the cultural center will continue to hire their teachers: I suspect somewhere in the next two years they might change their business model to teachers hiring roms insted, in which case I am screwed. I'll worry about it when I get there.

mekyria: (Default)
 Saturday was a gig in Bergschenhoek, a tiny village near Zoetermeer, or a 0 minute drive frm The Hague. See, I had to be in The Hague for the Oum Kolthoum project: we were working on our Alf lila we lila refrain with Isandria and Joyce so we had to be there at 11.00.Stuff started going wrong when I tried to buy a train ticket and the machine refused my debet card. Had to go to the main all to get a ticket and missed the train, mking me late. But not as late as Isandria, who was held up because of road work on the A12. Alarmbells should have been ringing in my head, because I had to drive down the A12 to get to my gig.

Read more... )
mekyria: (naaigerei)
 The dress rehearsal on Thursday as great, it's looking great! Here are two pictures taken earlier this week. Keep in mind that the jackets have flowing half-circle sleeves and we are holding chiffon handkerchiefs in the finished version. This is Roos, showing her jacket and the pants + skirt:Read more... )
mekyria: (coin costume frans)
 I\'m booked for an outdoor performance this sunday, close to my home and they requested Turkish belly dance. But I've watched their website and it seems that the day itself is mainly visited by Dutch people, meaning that I have to do something to please both. So my setlist for sunday is:

1. Window of the East wings intro. It's not Turkish, but it is flashy and it will go over well with the Dutch audience
2. Cadimirin üstune with zils.Nothing like a 9/8 to get the party started, and it will please both Dutch and Turkish audience.
3. Asena from the BDSS babelesque cd. This is the choreography I've been working on with my beginner students, but I'm adding fun stuff for my solo
4. drum solo. Using the music from Roos, but with a different choreography. It's fun and upbeat and fits the Turkish theme. Note to self: I should look into doing a Lebanese set sometime too.
5. If audience is in for dancing, we'll do a mini workshop/follow the bouncing butt to a Mezdeke song. Bom Bom is my current favorite. If they are not in for dancing, I'll leave the stage. And when I say stage, I mean the cobble stone street I'm dancing on.
 
I'm practicing 2 hours a day in the next couple of days to nail it. The songs that need the most attention are Cadimirin Üstune (want to try some new steps and combo's) and Asena (Solo versus group choreography: it needs extra juicy stuff). 
 
Things I cannot control that could make Sunday a bad day: 
-the weather, though weather predictions are good for the weekend
- the street. Ive visited the spot, but cobblestones and asphalt means fast turns and floorwork are out of the question
- the audience.
- the (lack of) sound. utdoor sound systems, you never know what will happen when you're there
 
The good news is that the party is open to all and some of my students voiced intention to be there. So if you live in the Utrecht area and want to enjoy the weather while watching belly dance, come to the Spinozaplein on Sunday, april 17th. I'm due to dance arond 17.00 :)
mekyria: (Default)
I bought the new dvd 'the best oriental dancers of Europe'at OM. Mainly because three teachers of the 'verdiepingscursus'are on them: farouq, Ahlem and Mariska. There are two other Dutch dancers on it (Sena and Soraya), German dancers and two dancers from FInland and one from Denmark. I'll post a full review of this dvd in a few days after I watched it a couple of times. This is one of the first dvd's that originate from European dancers, are paid for by several dancers and promoted by each of them.

I think the lay-out of the dvd cover is awful, very kitch. Jeoffrey said it reminded him of what Russion porntapes look like (the lay-out and font, not the pictures of the dancers!). Quality of the recording is very high, editing is off beat more then once (it's a very slight difference between music and movement in some of the cuts). Europeans are obviously miles behind when it comes to making dvd's. I offered to write a review and post it on my BD website and got a luke-warm response. They know that my reviews show my perspective and I try not to sugarcoat it.

I love Mariska's performance. Her technique is wonderful, and though I know very little of Bharat Najam, I think her performance is a good example of good indain dance/bellydance fusion. Peter's performance shows of his subtlety and flowing moves, but I missed the charisma and emotion of his live performances. Ahlem is one of my favorite Dutch dancers. Her facial expressions really touched me, in live performances she seems more distant to me. Again very nice technique (ah, if only I had twenty years under my belt!) though one thing I noticed is that her arms are also a focus point for her. (at least it seems that way in this recording, it never attracted my attention before).

Wether this dvd showcases THE BEST DANCERS OF EUROPE is something that I don't agree with. The other dancers didn't impress me much: maybe because the egyptian style is harder to capture on film then the american style. It's easy to like the BD superstars: what's on tape is what they show on stage. Capturing the emotion of an egyptian baladi might be something that's not figured out yet.

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