I am extremely pleased to announce that I will be performing as a Principal Dancer in the Fringe Theatre Production of Phantasmagoria, part of the BlackBoxFestival.
An other worldly experience through theatre dance and sound. The Darkstar Dance company take you on a journey to the glamorous side of spook and macabre showcasing a collection of dark, magical stories with a Tales of the unexpected feel. These multi-talented ladies open up a world of shadow dance to tell their stories of ghostly creep. With the styling of a gothic folies bergere, these mysterious sirens are beautiful, alluring and ultimately not to be trusted. Join us for a darker style of belly dance.
To book tickets visit: http://www.etceteratheatre.com/details.php?show_id=1953
Belly Dancing in Istanbul, Turkey
I had the absolute pleasure of visiting Istanbul for my second time last week to perform and train with star teachers and artists at Tarazade Oriental Festival, Istanbul.
Many of my favourite artists such as Sema Yildiz, Aziza, Marta Korzun and Didem were performing and teaching.
I have followed them on YouTube for a while now and to see them perform in person was humbling and a true honour. I was blown away by their live performances.
During the festival I fell in love with all teachers, each and every one became my favourite. Their knowledge, technique and love for the dance have really inspired and injected a new lease of life into my dance. They are a credit to their hard work and I felt very lucky to have all these artists under one roof.
As always, I have fallen further in love with belly dance and can't wait to practice all I have learned about my own dance style as well as others.
I feel it is important to try different styles to find out what you like and what sort of dancer you are. Dance is an expression of yourself and only you can tell your story.
This trip has definitely confirmed to me that I am a Turkish and Theatrical Fusion Artist. I'm afraid that I can't deny it or hide it folks :).
Here are a few pics from the festival.
Belly dance theatre is still quite a new concept in the UK. Many other dance disciplines have been producing theatre shows for a while now and with experience comes knowledge.
Fresh from the UK tour of Aladdin, here are my top 5 tips for belly dancers and fusion artists working in belly dance theatre shows.
If you've been in a show or are currently rehearsing for one, please leave your comments below as I'd love to hear your experience and any tips or advice that you may have.
It gets to this time of year where our New Year hopes and resolutions begin to fizzle out and the rainy days all merge into one. Christmas and New Year seem like a long time ago and Spring feels like a lifetime away. I have to be honest and say that this is one of my least favourite times of the year. It's cold, it seems like there's not much to look forward to and we want to hibernate until it's warm and sunny. Couple this with rushing around and being busy at work, we tend to lose that sense of feeling alive and relationship with our senses.
Being a dance artist I always get a huge rush of emotions and adrenaline before, during and after my performances but it wasn't always like that. I worked in the same company for almost 6 years where towards the end I was doing things on auto-pilot knowing the job inside out, same thing, different day with no opportunity for growth. I wasn't thinking for myself and I wasn't really living, I was stuck in a rut and just passing time. It was only once I handed in my notice to live my dream of being a professional dancer that I felt like I had been plunged out of the mundane and started viewing everything in HD vision. For the first time since I was a teenager I had felt alive and suddenly all the colours of the world were brighter. My senses, smell, touch, vision, taste and hearing, were awoken.
Now, I'm not saying give up your day job but what I would like for you to think of what makes you feel alive? Is it spending time with your family, completing a 15 mile run at your personal best, travelling the world or helping those less fortunate?
I would like for you to spend 5 minutes tapping into these feelings and then try to hold onto them. These are the kind of highs that drink or drugs can't buy. You can exercise your mind and take control so that you banish those 'so-called' winter blues.
For me, dance transformed my life building my confidence and allowing me to take time out of my busy day to concentrate on me and forget about my worries. I find Belly dance, in particular, to be sensual and allows me to spend time getting to know my body, the same goes for my students; I see them understanding how to do things they never thought they could, whilst challenging themselves. We are often told to do things but if you don't question and understand why then what's the point. With out this knowledge how can you feed your mind and grow as a person? Belly dance heightens your senses allowing you to embrace your femininity in a way that works for you.
In light of this, I am running Sensual Sunday a one-off fitness inspired taster session combining sense-heightening dances, Belly Dance with Aerobics and Latin fusion. These sessions aim for participants to work a sweat, feel alive and dance all while having fun. More more info see: Sensual Sunday
I will leave you on this quote which the Ancient Greek Philosopher Aristotle put simply:
'The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival' - Aristotle
Zara's Zouk Dance Meze
Last month I attended some great belly dance events and I wanted to write about one event in particular called Dance Meze. Dance Meze was organised by Zara, fellow London belly dancer, winner of Belly Dance Trophies 2012-13 and belly dance store CEO/owner of Zara's Zouk (yes, she does have a lot of titles to her name, I wonder when does she sleep?!).
The event promised a scrumptious variety of some of London's best dancers, food, fashion catwalk from Zara's Zouk and rhythm workshops. It definitely delivered!
I went with a couple of my students from Saturdays class and when we arrived we were warmly greeted by Zara at the door. We brought a drink, took our seats and the show started shortly after. Opening the show was Maelle (pictured left), winner of Belly Dance Trophies 2011-12, whose performance was elegant and classy setting the tone for the rest of the evening. We were then treated to the first catwalk show, modeled by London belly dancers of all styles, which showcased Egyptian costumes, the new range of practice wear from Plum Scarlet and tribal pieces some of which were sourced from Afghanistan. Following the catwalk show, Miss Belly Dance UK 2011 and Director of this year's Aladdin Dance Theatre Show, Delilah, delivered a shimmytastic crowd pleasing routine.
Zara was our delightful hostess with the mostess, she encouraged people to get up and dance in the breaks and have a good time 'Egyptian style'. Things really started to warm up during the interactive rhythm workshop led by Christina with guest appearance from renowned London-based drummer Sallam Al Sheikh. We each had a Duff (drum) and played out the commonly known Maqsoom and Zaar/Ayoub rhythms. I felt this was a nice touch to the evening as it added an authentic element and at the end of the day what would belly dance be with out a drum?
After all that hard work it was time to eat. Before us lay a delicious array of vegetarian dishes from Mediterranean and Middle-East cuisine such as stuffed vine leaves, falafal, cous cous and Greek salad. Being Turkish Cypriot I am a very good judge when it comes to food and I have to say that everything was absolutely yummy. The icing on the cake was literally a cupcake for each and every guest....mmmmmm. All of which was included within the ticket price providing great value for money.
The evening flew by as I caught up with familiar faces and friends, moving swiftly it was time for the next two performers. Organiser of Belly Dance Trophies and Director of the London Algerian Ballet, Farah Nasri, stunned the crowd with her powerful modern Cairo style and fabulous dancer Tara Lee-Oakley brought lots of energy with her Turkish style performance. As Zara introduced each performer it was nice to hear her personal reason for choosing them. Most of whom she is either friends with or is inspired by. I thought that added a nice touch to the evening as it highlighted positivity within the belly dance community and friendships built as a result of our love for the art form. As we all know there is often much rivalry and bitchiness in the dance world so it was refreshing to feel the 'lurrvvee'. We then oooed and ahhhhed some more during the next catwalk show as some really nice pieces came out. My favourite costume of the night was a black number worn by Kassandra (pictured right) with an all over embellished body stocking, that sold it for me, it was so unusual and pretty.
Closing the first half of the evening was Ayanna (pictured right) who brought an old school Egyptian feel to the evening with her elegant and classical style performance. So much so that I was shocked to find out that she wasn't Egyptian. I had to leave soon after but the second half of the evening continued with a hafla including performances from fellow Aladdin cast members Darkstar and her troupe The Darkettes, newly crowned Miss Belly Dance UK 2013 Roxane and Kassandra as well as other artists. The evening then turned into night giving the audience a chance to enjoy themselves on the dance floor.
Overall, it was a warm and friendly, great value for money event with a high standard of artists from the across the London belly dance community. I was thoroughly entertained, well fed and for me, it was nice to sit back and enjoy all the performances instead of dancing myself. I really look forward to the next one, hopefully same time next year.
HAPPY NEW YEAR MESSAGE FROM TEVEC
Hello lovely people,
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
I hope you had an enjoyable break and saw in the New Year with style and joy. I spent my New Year countdown on the River Thames celebrating with a very good friend. For me 2013 was a year of change and I loved and lived every minute of it. I'm hoping 2014 is bigger and better with more things to come from Tevec Dance. I do not believe in New Years resolutions as I believe that if a person is willing they can change themselves whenever they want to.
So here is my New Years message to you and your loved ones. 'The most important thing is to enjoy your life - to be happy - it's all that matters'. @AudreyHepburn
One of the reasons I love being a belly dancer is the dressing up element, so I had to write a post about costumes and make up.
Materials for my next belt projectGetting ready for a performance brings about a certain nostalgia like when you were a child rummaging through your mothers glad rags and stilettos imagining yourself in a fantastical land with fairies and wizards (or was that just me?).
With belly dance costumes the possibilities and characters are endless whether your style is geek chic or demure there is no such thing as too much glitter or sequins. When watching different belly dance artists you realise that no two costumes are the same, each dancer has the opportunity to be as adventurous as they want to be. You can create a glamorous 1940s diva, a mystical tribal goddess or a sassy saidi village girl. Before I started performing as an adult I used to be a bit of a tom boy but experimenting with costumes and make up for performances has definitely opened my eyes to a whole new world of femininity.
My virtually non-existent make up skills are now considered acceptable and I even find myself watching YouTube tutorials and searching for the latest make up look; I would never have done that before. However, that being said, I will always struggle with fake eyelashes; the amount of times I've performed with those little fluttering things only for them to start falling off mid-performance....grrrrrrrr.
You quickly learn to become creative with your costume too. Due to the cost of professional costumes I tend to make my own bedlah (bra and belt) sets and skirts. Also being a UK size 6 I struggle to find costumes that actually fit and look good on a petite young lady.
Even though it can be a long process making your own costume can be fun and very individual. At the moment I am making a belt for the Aladdin Dance Theatre Production taking place in February. I'm working on a theatrical and magical Sorcerers Assistant belt with lots of layers and tassels. It will have a lot of sheen, bling and detail so that it can stand out within a stage setting. I can't wait to post a picture of it when it's finished and ready to wear.
V.I.B TIP: A very important tip for my fellow performers, what can sometimes look garish on the street will look normal or even plain on stage so don't be afraid to add extra bling, jewelry or a touch more lipstick to help you stand out.
+Belly Dance with Tevec Dance
One of my hand-made costumes
Arrgggggghhhhhh!!! We had our second session as a group a couple of weeks ago. We discussed personas and how to move little but make huge impact using your bum treasure. Oh boy was this hard and something that I am not used to at all. I'm used to big movements, spinning across the stage and prancing around as light as a feather, a bit like a Belly dance Tinker Bell. Lets just say I was way out of my comfort zone but it was a very, very useful session. thank you Delilah for helping us to explore our bum treasure and prize cow (it goes into greater detail in her book Performance Mastery). Of course seductive Demelza Fox did not have any issues with this at all. Wait till you see her in action!! :D
After the auditions what was next? First things first everyone had to have their one-to-one session with Delilah Dance to discuss the their role and the story line. Delilah is the productions' director, 'mummy' and mastermind. This is her baby that she is working on, with us, to bring to life. You instantly feel warmth and energy from Delilah, she is so passionate about this project that you can't help but admire her for her vision and all the hard work that she has put in so far - it's infectious. Delilah will be mentoring and tutoring us as we develop our characters, choreograph our solos and rehearse to pull off this national belly dance spectacular. My first piece of homework was to read her book Performance Mastery to aid us with preparing our choreography for the theatre platform. The book is very comprehensive and poses some very good questions to the dancer. My main struggle with choreographing and developing my dance scenes is that I keep distracting myself with other tasks. Naughty me...
Award-winning Turkish Oriental and Theatrical Fusion performer and teacher.