||[Apr. 24th, 2008|04:13 pm]
Well, it's been a while coming, but here's a brief(ish) run-down of the Spring 2008 Jewel of Yorkshire weekend:
Odd start to the weekend as I had a job interview at very short notice on the Friday morning. Other than interrupting my packing with the 'Oh my god, what do I wear for an interview?' panic, it didn't actually make that much difference from a belyydance perspective. After it was over I met my other half for lunch (it was out 5th anniversary, and we'd sacrificed it in favour of me going dancing!) then I went home and finished packing and went out to buy a few essentials with soul_rider.
We set off at about 3:30pm. At about 4:30pm I received a phone call informing me that I'd got the job. I was quite pleased by this. At about 4:50pm we arrived at the B&B and checked in. The evening was taken up with girly chats, drinking fizz and painting nails, then we went out for curry, which was fab, as always.
Headed to the venue early and picked up my registration card, but my first workshop wasn't until the second slot so I had a while to sit and have another cup of tea, say hi to people as they arrived, and watch the stalls being set up.
Tunisian was the title of my first workshop. A style based largely on hip-twists and earthy moves, it would probably work very well as a group dance, but less well solo. It can be fairly energetic too, and there was some fun bouncing around and turning.
My second workshop was Beladi. How to dance in a very small space! Beladi is more dancing for the common girl and has less of the refinement that you might see in classical egypitan dance. The arms are rarely raised above the head or stretched out to the sides, the emotion of the dance is more prevalent, the majority of moves are in the hips and much more exaggerated than you might see in classical egyptian. Mostly what I took away from this class is how to entertain an audience without using up all of your 'tricks' in the first minute. Beladi songs are often very long and certain phrases in the music will be repeated several times, you can't perform your whole repetoire the first time around, because then the audience will get very bored when you have nothing new to show them the next time. You must learn to engage an audiences attention by doing something as simple as raising your arm, then you still have a full range of actual dance moves to use later in the song.
Saturday night was the show, and it was beautiful as always. A bit shorter than last year, which was actually better, as I was still awake enough to enjoy the last dance as much as the first. All of the dancers were lovely, and I can't recount them all here, but highlights included Artemesia's fun veil dance, Leyla Jouvana appearing to have a great time teasing her husband dancing at him while he played tabla for her on stage, of course the eternally fabulous Khaled, and especially the lovely improvised duet between Khaled and Sara Farouk at the end of the show.
Sunday morning got off to a fun start with Khaled's Khaleegi Tabla workshop. We've been doing a khaleegi choreography in our Sunday classes, but it's mostly based on the more traditional khaleegi moves. I was looking forward to giving the club-style khaleegi that Khaled frequently throws into his choreographys a go. We did a good bit of warming up the neck muscles, which was a good thing as we started learning the many head-swinging manouvers that can be used in khaleegi dance, the more energetic of which would not look at all out of place on the dance floor at your local rock and metal club. Being a sad old rocker at heart, I had few difficulties with these moves. However, when we got onto the shuffling steps later, which Khaled likes to perform up on toes a lot (and adds shimmies!) I regretted having not warmed up my legs as much as my neck. Not that I think it would have helped when about an hour and 15 minutes into the class my right knee slipped out of joint and I had to go and sit down. Now this isn't quite as bad as it seems, my knee has an annoying habit of doing just this, sometimes it slips back in almost immediately and only hurst for a couple of hours, sometimes it takes some coaxing back into place and takes a couple of weeks to settle back in properly. Unfortunately this time was the latter and I had to sit out the rest of the workshop taking notes. On the up side, most of the rest of the workshop was just going over and practising the moves we'd already learned and fitting them into dances when the whole class tried to copy Khaled with varying degrees of success. This was actually reassuring to get to watch rather than attempting to follow Khaled myself, as I could see that nearly everyone else in the class had problems keeping up at some points too, so it wasn't just me!
I got about 10 minutes turn around time before I headed upstairs (Ow! Poor knee!) to a multi-veil workshop with Leyla Jouvana. Fortunately quite a lot of this class could be practiced while standing still and moving only your arms or upper body. I only really had problems when we were practising spinning moves. I learned a few new tricks that can be performed with a single veil or with 2 held together, as well as learning the proper hold for using 2 veils so that you can separate them elegantly. I learned that the extra weight from using 2 veils together is really noticable the next day when your upper back, shoulders and arms are aching! Then we learned a bit about the Dance of Ishtar, or the Dance of the 7 Veils. This dance is NOT a strip-tease, as many people believe, and it is only the veils that are discarded, the rest of the costume stays firmly in place! Very firmly as it turns out, as you have to secure all 7 veils about your person in such a way that they can easily and gracefully be unhitched, used in the dance, then discarded. This means that your bra and belt need to be made of pretty stern stuff, and there must be absolutely no risk of slippage, because the weight of 7 veils is quite considerable! I had a go at attaching all of the veils and then removing them while dancing. I think I'll be able to do it with practice, but my abilities were severely hampered by being unable to turn or place my full weight on my right leg during my dance! I will say that I was very pleased that I'd found 7 matching veils, it seemed to make it easier if each veil had the same weight and movement as the rest.
After this workshop I got to sit in the main hall with plenty of tea and snacks, reading my book a bit, then chatting with diva_c, soul_rider and a few others until aunty_cis finished her last workshop and joined us for a bit before taking us back home.
At home I had a very swift shower and change before meeting up with the girls again for juicy steak and a well earned tiramisu (and maybe more wine than we'd first intended!) at Robertos.
All-in-all a very pleasant weekend. It's a pity that my mood wasn't really suited to being in large groups of people, but I enjoyed it all the same.
Now I am having a minor strop, because I missed class last Thursday as my knee was still bothering me and I didn't get home from work until 3 minutes before class was due to start. Yet it looks like I might have to miss class again as I've been steadily coming down with something thoroughly unpleasant since mid-morning and now I ache worse than the morning after Leyla's veil workshop, I feel weak and I feel dizzy. *sulks*