Archive for the ‘Baladi’ Category


Saturday 17 March 2018    1.15 – 6.15pm

Fluidity, Flow and Freedom – Dancing with the veil.  A beautiful lyrical and carefree expression in the Baladi form


Flying B 1photo Simon Richardson

‘Feeling the relaxed stability of our posture and the free movement of our legs give us exhilaration; dance and veil dance themselves’


Courtyard Clinic Studio

The Old Post Office, Parsonage Street, 

Dursley, Glos. GL11 4DR 

(Opposite The Courtyard Cafe and next to the church.  The studio is at the back of the small car park)

Cost:   £40 or £35 (conc. £25) if paid by 3rd March.

Please contact me for booking and more information, and for bank details if you wish to pay online.  Email:  lizawedgwood (at)yahoo.co.uk      Tel: 01453 757140   Mob: 077 6666 4684


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Image may contain: 3 people, people dancing and people standing

There is a Traditional Egyptian Dance Class in Rodborough on Wednesday evenings 7.45-9.15pm where I teach the old form before this dance was influenced by a Western interpretation. I have a long and full time professional career as dancer both as teacher and theatre performer of this dance and feel myself part of the revival of a tradition which is little known in this country. In the class we learn how to dance without effort, to dance from our inner stability, from our love of the music and our authentic joy of movement. Once we have learned some basic traditional movements there is tremendous sense of freedom to improvise and express ourselves. I love to share this beautiful art form and the sense of well being it brings to our life.

For more information and a Free Taster Class please CONTACT


It is said that when we dance to Baladi (the Blues of Egyptian music) we dance the archetypes of women’s experience.  However what does this really mean? It is a subject which continues to fascinate me, and is an exploration I will be returning to again and again in workshops throughout 2018. 

In traditional Egyptian dance these archetypes roughly speaking are understood as

1)The Young Woman or girl, perhaps unmarried or without the responsibilities of married life. 

2)The Mature Self Possessed Woman, often the boss of an undertaking in Egyptian society.

3)The Wise Woman who has suffered yet survived the travails of life and learned from them.

As dancers we must be careful not to dance these archetypes just as an idea (See ** below).  The beauty of Baladi music is that it is nuanced and in order for us to express it we have to respond ‘in the moment’ as that music evokes our changing motions.  Much as a poet uses her skill in the art of poetry so the dancer uses the language of her dance form to instinctively express joy, sadness, strength, playfulness and other feelings in all their shades and depths.

Dance 23 Oct15 14

Despite this the core of Baladi is its essential simplicity and stability, and is therefore ideal for the less experienced. These characteristics of simplicity and stability give an earthiness and grace and ‘hold’ us as dancers, and we return to them constantly.

For the more experienced, stability and simplicity give a self confidence and foundation.  Once they are established we can explore with freedom and curiosity the many rich layers to be found in this very Egyptian urban art.

**  I am writing here more about improvised rather than choreographed Baladi. However even when dancing a choreography we need to feel the feelings that arise with the music authentically and not put the emphasis too much on perfecting choreography and technique. 


Baladi is a wonderfully rich form of music and traditional Egyptian dance which evolved in the 50s and 60s and earlier.  Then as today country people left their villages to find work in the jostling teeming streets of Egypt’s cities. For respite and to further business opportunities they spent time in crowded smokey cafes.  Travellers too and musicians from other parts of both the Middle East and from much further beyond would gather to be entertained and to make music, often with a dancer.  For music and dancers in cross-cultural exchange this was a platform to experiment and find new freedoms of expression. Whereas much village music and its instruments had remained unchanged over the centuries now non traditional instruments were introduced and integrated into an evolving music often of emotional complexity.  It requires of the dancer to reflect that.

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Italian workshop Feb 2015

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LW dances Baladi

The Inner Dance of Raqs Sharqi – A Fresh Look at Baladi

This year many of the courses and workshops in Gloucestershire UK, Germany and Italy will focus on having a fresh and in depth look at Baladi.  

We need poise, ease and clarity of technique in order to facilitate the full emotional spectrum which characterises Baladi, that dance which flourished in the small, crowded, smokey cafes of the Egyptian conurbations during the first half of the twentieth century.

We will explore this beautiful dance from an ‘Inner’ perspective. The movements of Raqs Sharqi, to have that quality of ease, need to come from our inner physical core, our inner middle upper spine, and not merely from arms, hips and shoulders. More importantly, I call it ‘Inner’ because instead of overemphasising  technique (which leaves the audience distanced and vaguely unsatisfied) we dance the wholeness of who we are. We offer our authentic sensuality, in the real meaning of the word.  This means to be present in the feeling of the movements and not just to do them.

If we as dancers do the movements we show our expertise.  If however, in a very simple way, we  stay with the physical feeling of those movements, we access a well of empty, peaceful, happiness.  This is the source of creativity, and combined with our love of its music, it is this creativity that improvisational Baladi asks of us.  It is a surprise, an adventure, –  suitable for all dancers whatever their experience!

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with Erna Frohlich and Liza Wedgwood

in the glorious setting of 

The Gruberhof, Mittersill, Austria

We have been coming here for twenty years to explore and enjoy the many facets of Raqs Sharqi (Traditional and Modern Egyptian Dance)  – for sumptious weeks of dance, meeting friends and dance colleagues from several countries, good food and relaxation in a glorious setting.

Our focus this year is to go deeply into the essence of this extraordinarily beautiful, earthy, yet elegant dance. Here we can experience the excitement of the dance and yet remain peaceful, and stable in our core.  On yogic principles, we focus on body awareness as well as on technique so that our dancing becomes effortless and totally charismatic.  We will work on deepening our understanding of the music and culture of Egypt gleaned from Erna’s and Liza’s travels in Upper Egypt, so honouring the people and particularly the musicians of that troubled land.

Tanzwoche Mittersill 2014

The dance week is for all levels and all women.  The week consists of  dance, body work, one to one help, a party and excursions into the wild flower meadows above the tree line of the mountain peaks.  Beginners will find it a restful and enjoyable introduction to the dance, and the more experienced will find new perspectives, deeper understanding and inspiration for their continued development.

The total cost for teaching and accommodation is 864 Euros – 480 Euros to be paid on application (for the teaching) and  384 Euros in cash on arrival (for accommodation).



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Liza Wedgwood dances Baladi form of Raqs SharqiWorkshop in Leibnitz nr Graz, Austria 31 May – 2 June 2013

Pharaonic influences in the Baladi form of Egyptian Dance

Integrating Line, Shape and Contrast

Places still available!

Contact Astrid

Email: office@astrid-pinter   Tel: 0043 650 602 5602    http://www.astrid-pinter.at

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‘Pharaonic Baladi’

Saturday 10th November

2.00 – 6.30pm

Sunday 11th November

10.00am – 2.30pm

Village Hall, Nympsfield nr Stroud, Glos

This is the last workshop in the series of Pharaonic Baladi, the focus for the year.  The theme gives remarkable insight into form and line, the Yang (male energy) quality which is so often missing in our dancing – not just in Baladi. The focus on the geometry of our arms and the juxta-positioning of shoulders and hips gives immense interest and strength.

These charismatic qualities may well have evolved owing to the small amount of room available to dancers in the homes, cafes and courtyards of crowded cities where the fertile melding of Shaabi (music of the country) with other cultures and western influences produced Baladi (urban folk).  Dancers had to give striking performances often in a very confined space.

During the weekend we will be paying attention to integrating line and form into our fluid movements and the Taqsim (improvisational interlude) yet keeping the soft expressive spine – a wonderful balance of the Yin (female energy) and Yang principle.

Cost:   £30  (Beginners 2 hours £15)   £50 for both

Minimum number of participants per workshop is 7

To book a place please contact Liza

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Saturday 4th August  2 – 6.30pm

Village Hall, Nympsfield nr Stroud, Gloucestershire GL12 3UA

This picture of us gazing in fascination at the beauty of the temple images taken during our Dance & Culture Week in Luxor and Aswan reminds me of the impact the geometry of the figures had on me.  That geometry, that strength of form is the inspiration for these Pharaonic Baladi workshops.  In Gloucestershire in the second of these workshops, we will continue exploring this sophisticated but uncontrived form of Egyptian dance.

Included in the workshop will be discussion on where the dancer would perform this style, what kind of costume would enhance the dance and we will contrast ‘Pharaonic’ with the less stylised Baladi with which we are familiar.

In the teaching I support the student whatever their level, and because the emphasis is always on ease and authenticity, beginners will find the workshops an enjoyable introduction.  Experienced dancers gain confidence and find new inspiration.

Cost:   £30  (Beginners 2 hours £15)

Please book by sending a cheque to Liza Wedgwood – address provided on application.

Contact me for information and any queries

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The sun has come out – briefly – and my eyes are caught by the display in my garden of the white upright dazzle of the foxgloves against the dainty tumble of the roses behind. As usual my thoughts drift towards the dance.

This juxtaposition of form and flow is the harmony which we love about the natural world and is what we strive for in art.  Raqs Sharqi is no different!  I wrote previously that it was the beauty of the images in the temples and graves in Upper Egypt which gave me the impetus to look how we can use clarity of arm positioning to bring strength and charisma to our dancing. Arm shape of course is not enough.  Unless the upper spine and the heart area is expressing the melody, subtlety, the effect of this arm positioning would be stiff and contrived.  It is the softness of the the chest and the freedom of movement in the shoulder/arm joints which makes sense of Pharaonic Baladi.

There are still places at the Pharaonic Baladi workshops next weekend.  Please see below.

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