Archive for July, 2011

July is here again. The sun is high in the sky, so it must be time to head underground to eek out the curious and creative souls of all things dark and devious.. So, that means one return ticket to Leceister, throw some threads in my case and head for the Midlands! It seems that I am no longer gatecrashing the party in black. I’ve tasted it once and now I want more! This year Gothla was like coming home, it has moved venues but still offers a wonderful treat of tasty performers at the Friday night showcase, with some opera singing, some zombie gypsies, and some rather fabulous pvc clad, high kicking Matrix dancers YOWSERS! And of course, now our habitual visit to the Mosh club after hours, for a little more hair twirling and whiplash building activities. This year Nancy bought tigerbalm…

Sabrina bellydancer I managed to spread the love around this year, taking two workshops with the wonderful Sabrina – first a fast and furious drum solo – she taught us 6 minutes worth of drum solo in 2 hours WOWOWOW that was crazy, but amazing. A little later we met again in her second workshop to pack a punch into our performance. Learnt tonnes about entrances with veils, walking with emotion giving good “performance face” and generally delving into what makes someone incredible as a performer – really insightful stuff – and she gave us our word – SHINE – to focus on in performance. She was amazing. I came away ladden with CDs 😀
The Saturday night was a feast for the senses again as the Redeemer nightclub held the open-stage performances – I actually prefer these to the Friday night ones as the real pick and mix comes out here – my favourites were a some twirling scandanavian dancers who were completely spellbinding and a new group out of Manchester – Rockit! High energy bellydance aerobics to rock music! Awesome!
After a long day (and night) on Saturday, Sunday was supposed to be restful, I ducked into the first hour of the Morgana workshop, Morgana was teaching Matrix-esque pops, locks and kicks, but the energy was too much for me, I just wanted to chill, so I hung up my sequins a little early and let the hard core carry on!
Another fabulous weekend exploring some interesting takes on performance and bellydance styles, a great opportunity to check out new interpretations and see what dancers are doing with alternative music – and of course, a great time to meet with my angels from the darker side, Tamsin, Nadia and Nancy. Rock on gals, back again next year 🙂


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Rehearsing before the carnival

It must be carnival time!

Two things always happen on a certain weekend in July, one, the Men’s finals at Wimbledon, but two, and more importantly, it’s the Cowley Road Carnival. Despite no longer being on “the road”, the Carnival is an important landmark in the year, as the colourful people of Oxford descend on my local park and engage in all manner of creative activity, plus you can usually buy a top notch curry from one of the stands. AND every year, I somehow manage to weedle my way onto a random stage/dance space/tree shade patch for a spot of shimmy.

Pirates in the Park

Getting ready for the procession - shimmy-me-timbers

This year was the best so far in terms of numbers of minutes shaking our thang. Shimmy Shimmy Bang Bang, now extended out to 12 members, was lucky enough to be included in the procession – an hour long snake of banging drums, stilted dancers, mobile solar systems and bubbling teapots, oh and pirate bellydancers of course! The gals did me proud, parading, shaking, snake arming and generally “giving it large, bellydance style” for the long procession zig zagging down the park and into the masses of people that lay in wait for us at the bottom!

Then, completely exhausted by the sheer numbers of shimmy per square park footage, we finally made it backstage for a quick collapse on the grass and glug of water, then BAM onto the huge main stage for our 1.5 knees up to the theme tune of The Pirates of the Caribbean. YeeeeeeOW! We were great! Well, I think so, and adrenalin was high after that fast and furious performance!

Fingers on fire - cooling down with fan veils

I then had about an hour to, erm “relax” before getting changed behind a van and then going onto the Pegasus dance stage (smaller, but just right for my duet with Soleil d’Egypte buddy Gill) to carry out my first ever fan dance. YIKES I was nervous that the darned things wouldn’t open on command (although I did take them to New Orleans on a recent business trip and was whipping them out every evening in the hotel room for a quick flutter…). Anyway, we pulled it off almost to perfection – even getting my barrel turns in time with Gill – yay! It looked like our hands were on fire (in a good way), flame like fans flicking in the light breeze.
Once the fans were done, we transitioned into our cheeky pop number, jumping and springing about the stage in the humidity. Phew.

Back behind the van for a quick change back into the pirate get-up and I had to find the very elusive “community dance area” to meet the pirates again for our double run of the Roustabout and Skelebobs choreography – which was received well both times – with two crowds of happy campers (despite having a very quiet boombox tweeting out our music).

THEN, home to collapse, shower, rub my feet and watch the end of the Men’s final.
A great day all round 🙂

Our fan veil performance
Part of Roustabout performance

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