Belly Dance Evolution in OZ!

13 March - 17 March 2014

Belly dance Evolution in OZ! A much awaited trip to Sydney to rub shoulders with Belly dance Royalty!

In Sydney with: Angela Mott, Candice and Martin Frankland, Lynette Marchant, Sophie Kaulima-Irvine, Astra Burrows, Vanya, Lisa Lawford, Cindy Corne, Suei Ssu-Yu Lin and Rachel Lundy.

13 March

Thursday a.m. I arrived at Sydney airport and met up with Cindy, Lynette, Lisa, Astra and Vanya. Jumping in a taxi van we arrived at our apartment and deposited our luggage before venturing out to check out the area for where we would be attending the workshops, going to the Red Carpet Gala night and the theatre for Dark Side of the Crown Show. All was within walking distance - we were in a great position.

A train ride in the afternoon with Vanya and Lisa to Ameras Palace - no trip to Sydney is complete without a visit to this treasure trove of costuming and bling. A 'few' dollars later and we all leave with our precious purchases safely under our arms.

Back at the apartments (3 in all to house 12 of us), the rest of the girls had arrived and we excitedly showed our purchases - swords, costume, skirts - wohooo - the shopping had begun!

Takeaway for dinner as the first of the workshops would be starting the next day - hoping to have an early night - no chance - that didn't stop us having a late night though as the excitement of being here was buzzing constantly!

14 March

Friday a.m Workshop with Jillina and drummer - Rhythm & Combination Exploration.

A great warm up and we were into the workshop - we covered the main types of rhythms and put little combos to them - i.e. Felahi, Masmoudi and so on. Jillina is an excellent teacher and breaks down the moves with good explanations and examples.

Friday p.m Workshop with Sharon Kihara - Obsessive Shimmy Disorder

OMG - be prepared to work your butt off if you ever do this one - drawing on Suhaila's technique from whom Sharon studied, we were butt clenching like the best of them! This was a workout in itself. Great fun!

A quick visit to the shops in the avo saw Lynette and I buying dresses (in the sale!) to wear for the Red Carpet Gala Night, for mingling with the stars.

Friday night - RED CARPET GALA NIGHT. Wohooo - the red carpet was out as we arrived at the venue - stopping for a photograph with Jillina at the entrance and then a glass of bubbles on entry. What a fab night we had. I became a real 'groupy' getting autographs in my Dark Side of the Crown programme and photos with the stars and dancers. We were even treated to the boys (Danielo and JULIAN “B-boy Ju”) doing an impromptu dance skit for us - those boys are AMAZING!

15 March

Saturday a.m

A good fry up for brekkie at our local cafe haunt to get me set up for the day ahead.

Thankfully only one workshop today, with Jillina ;-) - Raqs Sharki a la Jillina

A fun little choreo to the music 'Ahlam' by Dr. Samy Farag. Once again watching Jillina instruct and demonstrate was mesmerising.

Had a relaxing afternoon before getting ready to go to the show. And the night arrived - what we'd all been waiting for.

Phoenix Belly dance and the local girls performed in the pre-show, which was a wonderful warm-up to the main event.

And then it began....Stimulating and enthralling, familiar music by Paul Dinletir started up; the BDE cast and dancers entered before us to rapturous applause. With the theme of love, deceit and murder, they shimmied and undulated their way across the stage in a web of intrigue and mystery. Gorgeous costumes dazzled us from the stage and to see a production like this ‘in the flesh’ was mesmerising and gave me goose bumps at the sheer joy of being there and seeing it again for the second time, albeit with different backup dancers. This was the last time this show was going to be performed as it had toured the world and was finally coming to rest in Australia. How lucky were we to be able to see the final show.After the show Angela and I were lucky enough to be able to join Candice, Rachel and the rest of the Phoenix Belly dancers for the after party with Jillina and the BDE cast and dancers. We chilled out at a Beer Bar - lots of happy faces after a wonderful show - the end to a fabulous day.

16 March

Sunday p.m

Get Wild With Turkish Gypsy with Kaeshi Chai.

After a relaxing morning, still feeling blissful after the night before I attended Kaeshi's workshop in the afternoon. This choreography was part of what was in the show and it was wonderful to learn it under the awesome tuition of Kaeshi. She is a truly lovely dancer and a great teacher too.

The evening saw us all chilling out together having a final dinner with Jillina and some of the cast - what a fantastic way to end the weekend and our stay in Sydney for tomorrow a few of us would be flying back to NZ.

17 March

Monday a.m

Off to the airport - a final farewell to Sydney - feeling happy but sad to be leaving. It's been a wonderful 4/5 days here with the girls (and Martin and Vanya :-) I thoroughly enjoyed all the workshops I took and the show and gala night were such highlights. So pleased to have been able to go to this and for the wonderful company I had during my stay.

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