Archive for May, 2011

Maria D'SilvaLast weekend saw the annual Bellydance Bonanza held at the Oxford Community School on Glanville Road. I was up bright and breezy (considering the accidental bottle of Rose I was seen sinking the night before with my old boss on the Cowley Road…) for a 9.30 workshop with the fabulous Maria D’Silva… I have seen Maria dancing before and have always been mesmerised by her cheeky bouncey moves, and this was the first opportunity that I’ve had to learn from such a master. So it was worth the early rising! Maria is SUCH a lot of fun, bouncey and bubbly and all before the first cup of coffee. Maria walked us through a wonderful lively warmup and eased us into some groovy combos straight out of Cairo! Bit by bit we pieced together a really fun and lively choreography, complete with moves I’ve never experienced before – so stretching the brain muscles as well as the body.
We packed a lot into the hour and a half workshop and worked up a very fun and cheeky 80 beats to start a stylish modern Cairo piece – LOVED it! Came away feeling energised. So much so that I bounced right into the souk and purchased my very first set of fan veils and a bright red hip belt with multi-coloured sequins. Oops!

I had to leave promptly, as I had a date with my mum, travelling all the way up from Essex, but what a way to start the day (only a further 4 punishing hours of walking round the shops to go!). I was sad to say adieu to the Bonanza, as my day was cut short, but I hear it continued through to be another great success- roll on next year!

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It’s that time of year again – Bellydance Bonanza time!! Time to dust off your sequins, flex those achey joints and get off your sofa and down to join the crew at Nikki Livermore’s annual celebration of all things “bellydance” and stretch, shake and snake your body into some rather fabulous dance moves. Nikki has been running this Oxford based event for many years now (maybe 5 or 6, I was at the first, but missed a couple in the middle..) and it’s a wonderful day to meet all the movers and shakers on the Oxford bellydance scene, learn some fab tricks and moves, watch some wonderful performances, shop a little, have some tea and cake and generally chill out with a bunch of lovely bellydancers!
If it’s your first time bellydancing, it’s not a problem, come and join in the fun, and if you’re an old pro, there’s always something new and exciting to try out 🙂
This year’s schedule is packed with exciting things with which to dabble – promising “bumper size hot combos”, “swish, swoop and flutter those beautiful props”, “spicing up your bellydancing with salsa hot moves”, how can you not be tempted – from double-veil technique, to a belly-boa (feather, not constrictor), to steam-punk sirens, to sword dancing, to Haiwaiin, there is NO WAY you could have a more dynamic and exotic Saturday in your diary!

Select your weapon of choice for the Bellydance Bonanza...

So full details can be found on Nikki’s website – and places are, I believe, still available. Even if you aren’t up for dancing, it’s a wonderful place to relax, watch some dancing and purchase a few sparkly garments… I’m signed up for a 9.30 class, so see you there!!!

Oh, and you can read about the 2009 event here!

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I really nearly didn’t make the OMEDS Hafla this weekend. I had a bazillion things on in my first week back after the bank holiday extravaganza (where I sneakily managed a 11 day getaway to the wonderful greek isles of Santorini and Paros…), and there was really far too much on my plate, BUT I kept seeing these little pleas asking for help with the ticketing, and really I couldn’t stay away.
So I got to help out on the ticket office and got to enjoy the first half of the performance, which did not disappoint.
First up was Jo, who very bravely stood in for Aimee, who was unable to make the Hafla (much to my disappointment), and she opened with a very slinky veil number – looking gorgeous in turquoise and was as cool as a cucumber opening the event! Jo was followed by the OMEDS beginner class who put in a wonderful first performance and got the crowd whooping along! Zanoba delivered one of their veil dances to the very sultry song “Slow Hand” – which I LOVED and now want to do my own dance to this song – it works really well with the veil as well 🙂 And then one of my fav performances from the first half – the iSisters did this fabulous Algerian Scarf Dance – not being put off at all by a music malfunction prior to getting started – I absolutely LOVED this dance, all flicking of scarves – it looked like flames leaping out at the audience – and their costumes were gorgeous! Then.. Suhana! A new soloist to OMEDS – pulling a very saucy teasing number out of the bag. Again, a favourite of mine, Suhana really knows how to “work her face” as much as her body, putting on a captivating performance that sent the audience into a frenzy!!!
Xenia appeared for another wonderful solo, putting her usual energy and pazazz into her performance – I never tire of watching her lively expressions of the dance and a performance that really stayed with me was that of Einav Dahan – a visiting performer from Israel, who is self-taught on the gypsy Roman 9-8 rhythm. She was clearly completley captivated by her own music and I’ve not quite seen anything like it in terms of feeling and expressing the power of the music – very powerful, very sensual, and quite emotional to watch. Very enviable to be able to become so “at one” with the rhythm!!
Mersin, with all their beautifully put together glitter and glamour outfits then stepped up to blast out a crowd-pleaser to the Entrance of the Stars – great music, great moves, and a return of my wonderful friend Kate to the OMEDS hafla stage – you looked beautiful Kate! Then our hillarious and bellylicious host Sophie finally got her music working to close the first half with some seriously intricate moves, hip snapping and chest popping away to the beat and really turning the heat up before the close of the first half!

Unfortunately, just as I was enjoying being part of the audience (although I desperately wanted to get on stage myself), I had to do a Cinderella and dash off into the night for other appointments. It was tipping it down and I had to ride my bike all the way back to East Oxford leaving the lure of the jingle bells behind me in the O’Reilly Theatre. I only have a few photos – I’m waiting for Agata (the official photographer) to release her arty snaps – then I’ll put a few up here – AND I can’t wait to hear about the acts in the second half (if anyone wants to post about the second half – please let me know!!). But yet again, OMEDS did a fab job, gathering together some wonderful and beautiful talent from all over Oxfordshire and the surrounds – and it’s always lovely to spend the evening hanging out with our fellow sisters of sparkle… Roll on the winter hafla, I want to be ON the stage this time 😉

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