Last month I toured England for the Performance Mastery production of the well known story, Aladdin. Myself and sixteen highly competent and well established dancers in different styles such as Oriental, Folk, Egyptian, Turkish, Tribal and Fusion performed three tour dates in Oxford, Manchester, and London over two weekends.
After months of hard work, blood, sweat and tears to produce a unique belly dance show of a high standard, we kicked off our tour with the opening night in Oxford. Having not performed in Oxford before, I wasn't sure how the audience would react, but to my delight the show was received very well with outstanding reviews. The cast including myself were chuffed with the response, especially as everyone had been working their socks off for the past eight months. However, the highlight of Oxford was not the actual performance but the shenanigans on return journey home. Certain members of the cast (eh-hem) couldn't sleep on the way back to London. Instead the we burst into song, singing our hearts out on the minibus with our renditions of Abba classics, Disney anthems, 90s hits, the Spice Girls and more. I'm sure the driver got us back to London in record time because of our 'fabulous' singing and you'll be pleased to hear that we're not auditioning for the X-Factor anytime soon.
The following weekend we hit Manchester and London with the former taking place on the Saturday night. After a five hour drive and some good pub grub we were ready for our second performance. The Manchester audience did not disappoint, they were energetic and really encouraging, clapping, cheering and even booing at the Sorcerer. On our return, some of the dancers didn't get home until 5.30am on Sunday morning only to perform later that day for our London showing. Ahhhh, the rock star life, it's all glamour.
The experience and reviews
The tour was an experience that I will never forget and to have the opportunity to close the tour in my home town of London was incredible. I had family, friends and my own students in the audience so the pressure was definitely on. In the last couple of weeks leading up to the London show all I could think was, would I impress my students? Would my family feel proud and let me off for not being around for the last eight months? Well, I was kind of in the bad books for having missed Mother's Day, my nieces 1st birthday etc.
The main struggle that I encountered as an artist was that after working on something for a long while, I lost all sense of how it looked, felt and translated as a story. Thankfully, all of my doubts were smashed during the tour as the reviews were incredible, I had a great response towards my character which was a huge weight off my shoulders (see the reviews below).
Normally, after I perform, I tend to be on a real high but after Aladdin I just felt numb, the buzz didn't settle in until the next day. After which, I couldn't concentrate for the entire week following the tour. All that effort, months of rehearsals, working with dancers I hadn't met before, making friends, playing a character and developing that character, getting in to the zone, and trying to get inside the head of your character. When it was all over, it felt very strange going from full speed intense training to zero.
Overall, being cast in Aladdin as Sorcerers Assistant is one that I will never forget and will cherish. I have always enjoyed performing belly dance styles on stage. Why should belly dance only be confined to restaurants? There is so much beauty and creativity that can go into making a belly dance theatre show. The best thing to come out of the tour was the friendships, which is one of the reasons I started taking dance lesson in the first place, so it's nice to see that this element hasn't been lost over the years.
Read some of the reviews on the Aladdin website: http://aladdindance.weebly.com/blog
Read some reviews about my character:
''Tev you are an absolute superstar☆☆ phenomenal performance! You were captivating and I loved spending so time with you dancing laughing and singing with you xx Thank you xx''
''It was lovely working with you. You are a genuinely lovely person to know and work with, an amazing talented dancer and an inspiration. Thank you! x''
''Tevec, Your performance was a tour de force...loved it!''
''Tevec Ibrahim you were brilliant tonight - the way you bought the mischief making character out was fantastic. Enjoyed it so much xxx''
''Congratulations on an excellent performance xx''
''You were amazing!!''
''You were simply amazing Tevec Ibrahim x''