Well, here we are, well into 2018 already. Happy Belated New Year to you all. So far the year has been lining up nicely for dance on this side of the globe.
January 27th, I attended a day’s workshops with Zara Abdelrahman, in Oxford. Zara and her mum Sandra also run Zara’s Zouk (a wonderful costume shop), so no wonder, they’ve become good friends of mine :-) The workshop and Hafla was organised by the lovely Hannah Newton.
Zara is currently living and dancing in Cairo and she’s doing some amazing things over there. Check out this link of Zara performing with Samir Elaya on TV. https://www.facebook.com/elayasamir/videos/1813137162095126/
The first workshop was Shaabi and she took the time to explain about the Mawaal at the beginning of it, how to tease and not overdance this bit as it’s the singer’s time to shine and then as the music begins to ramp up a bit, wait, wait, wait, then go for it! The crowd will go wild.
The second workshop was Baladi with a Taksim at the beginning. Again she explained the ins and outs of dancing to a Taksim and how to dance to a Baladi piece - the key here is not to fully choreograph to it as it’s meant to be about feeling the music and dancing how you feel. But you can put together a skeleton of combos to do so that you feel confident if you’re not used to improv.
After the workshops we had a Hafla. For both the workshops and the Hafla we had a full house. I performed in the Hafla and was very well received. There was all levels performing and it was lovely to see all ages and abilities getting out there, all glamed up and enjoying themselves. Hannah always has a really good following when she puts on workshops and Haflas and people come from out of the area to attend (like me, who hitched a lift with Zara and her mum :-). I’ve also been attending classes with Sarah Malik and we’ve revisited Technique again to start the year off. Always a lot of fun and Sarah has plenty of new and reinvented moves to show us.