5 – 7 October Edinburgh
Hosted by Katra
The trip was off to a bad start when we discovered we had to pay extra for our luggage despite the fact that we’d tried to book it in and technology had failed. Nevermind, after a couple of stiff drinks Lu plucked up courage to board the plane and we were off to meet Philippa (Morai) and Charlotte (Ter’zim) who were sharing a room with us at the Castle Hostel. The room was cosy but had views of Edinburgh Castle. Had a few hours to explore before heading back to the hostel and cook an evening meal ready for Charlotte’s arrival.
We had the whole of the next day to shop and sitesee and of course there was the obligatory trip to Hilary’s Bazaar. Met up with Carolena for lunch on a street bench followed by more shopping and a visit to the castle.
Katra put on a fabulous show in the evening and it was lovely to see their own tribal roots showing through with a touch of tartan and traditional music.
The weekend of workshops with Carolena and Megha were great fun and once again I had to either tweak my notes or remind myself that although I already knew something it obviously hadn’t really sunk into brain or muscle memory yet.
It was so good to meet up with old friends again and share an afternoon cuppa and cake in the local tearooms who must have thought we are all bonkers. Well, maybe we are just a little bit!
Russia Tribal Festival 2012
26 – 29 April Moscow, Russia
What a fantastic festival!!! Svetlana and her troupe Ujbaba extended such a warm welcome to me and Jacqui and made us feel like royalty. We were met at the airport by Anastasiya of Ujbaba and her boyfriend who treated us to a 3 hour floodlit night tour of Moscow – St. Basil’s Cathedral, Red Square and the Kremlin at midnight were just stunning.
On the opening night we performed an ATS® duet followed by a Zambra skirt dance at the Welcome Party and were a little overwhelmed when Sveta invited us to perform in the Gala Show the following night alongside Russia’s best Tribal dancers and the stars of the show – Sharon Kihara, Amy & Kari – Unmata, Tjarda Van Straten and Wendy Allen & Sandi Ball – FatChanceBellyDance®. They were all really lovely and didn’t mind sharing their dressing room with us. Sandi came to the rescue with some bindi glue as mine had leaked all over my suitcase – sticky!!!! Later after the show we were all treated to a slap up Russian meal with caviar in a windmill. Sveta and Ujbaba really hosted a stupendous evening
The Festival was fantastic value for money with workshops, accommodation and food included in the price – would really recommend a trip to this event plus you get all the fab sightseeing around Moscow too. The added bonus was that we took an extra few days to take the train to Saint Petersburg where the art and architecture were just breathtaking.
Dance Fundamentals (Sandi)
Drills for Leading & Following (Wendy)
A Selection from Families of Fast Movements – The first 3 workshops covered the basics, always so good to fine tune the steps, posture and technique which you can only really do when you have a real live FCBD® teacher to watch just how things should be done. Jacqui and I were very honoured to be asked to help demonstrate
Contrasts in Dance (Wendy) – I really loved this workshop which worked on interpreting the music and adding contrasts – some great drills to really get the point across
New ATS Movements & Technique (Svetlana) – although the workshop was taught in Russian Svetlana had thought of everything and provided us with a translator who was absolutely brilliant – translating fro
m Russian to English and listening and speaking at the same time, now that truly is a skill which I’m positive is harder than zilling and dancing at the same time. Loved Sveta’s enthusiasm, she was very entertaining and everything was carried out at mega speed with loads of spins to some very loud heavy duty music. The Russians definitely like rock bands as was proved time and again with the poster adverts for various UK and US rock bands in the parks!
Closed Master Workshop for Ujbaba and teachers (Wendy & Sandi) – the first part of the workshop covered the FatChance Flair working on flow and actually dancing the steps rather than mechanically carrying them out. The second part continued into café style in quartets. My poor brain was on overload by this time so had to work hard to think ahead to keep the quartet looking interesting within limited space so loads more practise needed on this
What an honour to be invited to perform at Sam’s birthday party, had some really good feedback from all the other lovely dancers including Sam and Bozenka. I love that these beautiful world famous dancers are so supportive and encouraging to us students. Sam has been a wonderful source of inspiration and over the last few years has regularly asked us to dance. I hope others see as much improvement in us as Jacqui and I have seen in them
I really loved Bozenka’s workshops the following day:
Dom Tek A La Ghawazi – The ‘Dom’of the Middle East are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group. They have a rich oral tradition and express their culture and history through music, poetry and dance. We worked on polishing technique in order to articulate movement. Drilled crisp, strong hip movements together with a variety of zil patterns and encouraged us to improvise. Bozenka is just so graceful and made everything appear much easier than it actually is
Earth Charmer – Really earthy dancing where we all crossed arms to hold hands in one big line and twist back and forth and through the line finishing with duets in the centre of the circle. Bozenka, the little minx, invited me to duet with her where we bent over backwards to lay our heads on each other’s shoulders while continuing to dance around each other locked together as one unit. Scary but great fun!
We were also treated to some video footage of a pre wedding all female party where a 99 year old woman performed a very special dance passing on her wisdom of how to please your man to the very young bride to be. Very earthy and erotic and just incredible to watch this very dignified elderly lady gyrate on all fours as if she was still a teenager herself. It was a privilege to share
2-4 March, Glastonbury
Raheesha and the Desert Divas hosted yet another fantastic weekend of workshops and shows. Made even more special because two of my teachers, Carolena Nericcio of FCBD® and Megha Gavin of Devyani, flew in from the States to perform in the Friday night show alongside other teachers and the fabulous Moirai Tribal from London.
The Saturday evening show was another great evening of entertainment with my emotions swinging from one end of the spectrum to the other. For me then the two dancers who absolutely stole the show were Samantha Emanuel, who made me cry with her emotional performance of the dying black swan and Nawarra – every time I see her perform she just makes you laugh, she really knows how to work a crowd and just exudes charisma. Ava Fleming gave a powerful theatrical performance to Roxanne (Moulin Rouge), not an easy piece of music to use given the connotations and subject matter but she chose an audience that would understand and pulled it off with huge dignity.
Both evenings had after show parties and it was great to meet up with many many friends both old and new, there was certainly lots of hugging going on
Saturday morning kicked off at 9.30 with the first of 5 workshops with Carolena and Megha
True Tribal Basics & Tribal Combinations
no matter how long you have been dancing it is always worth reviewing the basics of the Classic steps on a regular basis especially – ARMS, ARMS, ARMS & POSTURE, POSTURE, POSTURE and I’m still adding little pearls of wisdom to my notes
ATS® – Zils!
again loads of information on how to dance with your zils, how to interpret music, playing with different zil patterns in the chorus – really useful workshop
Something Old, New, Borrowed – Focus on Slow Moves
went over some of the newer steps that have now been formally added to the Modern ATS® vocabulary. I noticed a few tweaks à la FatChance to several of the steps I had previously learned with Devi Mamak so will have to re-learn some of those
For those new to ATS® or who have never experienced workshops with C or M then no talking means ‘I love you’. Megha explained the philosophy of not talking once the music has started. Such a valuable lesson which makes you sort out your communication issues through the dance itself so that you deliver good strong cues when improvising
Something Old, New, Borrowed – Focus on Fast Steps
went over some of the newer fast steps that have now been formally added to the Modern ATS® vocabulary. It was good to see that Carolena herself was still working on getting the new steps in to her own muscle memory which just shows the rest of us that it does take time and that we’ll each learn at our own pace.