Archive for the ‘technique and insights’ Category



mjX4jaKMx7fBfPUVg_Wi05CjIDI7lRvB7MNRyTe_Pew2011 photo shoot Acton Court

I am looking forward to teaching again this year in the beautiful city of Prato near Florence.  It must be at least 20 years ago that Patrizia Pacini first invited me to teach Raqs Sharqi to her spirited and open hearted students.  Each subsequent year I have had the opportunity to share with them my development and insights, and it is a special treat when we have had Tim Garside to inspire us with his music.

This year as last, the theme is to improvise with confidence to his latest music.  The emphasis is on confidence.  Students come to this dance for pleasure but also to learn a beautiful art form, and I have come to realise that the keys to both aspects are ease and simplicity.  I am no lover of choreographies except when it is strictly necessary to coordinate several dancers on stage.  For me the magic happens when we dance ‘in the moment’, spontaneously, freely, using the well practiced techniques of traditional Raqs Sharqi as a language to express our joyful creativity. And when we have the fortune to dance to live music, magic does indeed happen for dancers and audience alike.

Contact Patrizia Pacini  tel 0039 347 6261330



BERLIN    22 and 23 June ’19    Contact:   Susanne Donner  

berlin -orientalscher-tanz.de  tel ++49 (0)30 420 202 40

MUNICH   13, 14, 15 September and 15,16,17 November   Contact:   Erna Froelich

taqsim.de   tel  ++49 (0)89 342435 


Liza Wedgwood dances Modern Sharqi

Adventurous and exhilarating workshops exploring both traditional and creative concepts, an encouragement for each dancer whatever her dance experience to find her own unique expression.

Modern Classical – new ideas, expanded use of space, freedom to integrate
untraditional music and concepts yet always adhering to basic principles.

Courtly Classical – intimate and refined, warmly communicative, in depth feel of traditional music and songs.

Dancing with the veil – more than an accessory . . . .(Mrs Thatcher’s handbag!)
but rather movement and sensuality of fabric, an extension of the lyrical flow of the spine, the weightlessness of air and space.

Susanne Donner wrote   Liza lädt uns ein zu einem Wagnis anregenden Kurs, in dem sowohl traditionelle als auch kreative Konzepte erforscht werden. Dieser Workshop ist eine Ermutigung für jede Tänzerin, gleich welcher Vorerfahrung, ihren eigenen einzigartigen Ausdruck zu finden. Wir widmen uns dem modernen klassischen Sharqi und nehmen neue Ideen der Ausbreitung in den Raum auf. Wir etablieren unsere innere Freiheit für neue Konzepte, aber bewahren grundlegende Essenzen des Raqs Sharqi. Wir tanzen in innigem Bezug mit dem Schleier. Wir können seine Bewegung, seine Textur und seine Sinnlichkeit uns einverleiben und als Erweiterung der lyrisch fließenden Wirbelsäule erfahren. Das Schwebende des Schleiers, seine Leichtigkeit erhebt uns in die eigene fließende Schwerelosigkeit in Luft und Raum.

Mit großer Hingabe und Wachheit vermag Liza jeder Tänzerin auf ihrem individuellen Weg Türen aufzuzeigen oder gar zu öffnen, die sie in ihrer Entwicklung passieren wird. Manche ihrer Sätze sind mir Jahre geblieben, besonders, wenn ich sie nicht sogleich verstehen konnte, und mein Körper und meine Seele erst viel später im Stande waren, sie zu erfahren.

Erna Froelich wrote    Liza bietet ihre Hingabe, langjährige Erfahrung und eigene Weiterentwicklung im Tanz an, um jeder Tänzerin auf ihrer Stufe zu helfen.
Jeder Workshop bietet eine sinnvolle Einheit für sich, aber wer es ermöglichen kann, das gesamte Wochenende zu kommen, wird Zeit finden, tief in den Tanz einzutauchen und mehr individuelle Förderung zu erfahren.


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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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In this workshop, and using both modern and traditional music, we will explore very simply some of the danced archetypes of Egyptian culture and their responding moods.

How we dance has almost more impact than what we dance.  Although technique is important, it is often not enough as an expression of the music, the culture and who we are as dancers. Music from Egypt and the Arab world with it’s yearning melodies and earthy, often exuberant rhythms, sometimes beautifully simple, sometimes richly complex, is why we dance and how we dance.    So there comes a time when we want to come closer, in a deep and creative way, to that what we love about Raqs Sharqi.

Raqs Sharqi has infinitely more colour than the smiling, jolly persona that is the usual depiction in the West.  There is the possibility of subtle feelings which the music invites us to express, our genuinely joyful celebration but also our sense of beauty, wisdom, drama, sorrow, femininity, courage, contemplation and others.  Taking a few of these, this workshop is for everyone to enjoy who has some basic experience or who comes from another style of Arabic dance.

Dance 23 Oct15 14_2

Saturday 5 December 2015  1.00 – 6.00pm

The Courtyard Clinic Studio (Beautiful warm studio with mirror!)

The Old Post Office, Parsonage Street, 


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

Cost:   £35       Please contact me to book 

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October is the month when Erna Froehlich and I teach the Autumn Dance Week in the glorious setting of the Austrian Alps.  This year attending a course abroad is especially attractive for us in Britain owing to the strength of the pound.

It will be the 21st year of teaching our October week, and in the same place which we love dearly, a family run cosy old farm house. It provides us with all the comfort dancers need to learn, relax and to enjoy each other’s company.  There are beautiful walks, delicious vegetarian food, a spacious dance studio and even sauna.

Every October so far we have sunbathed on the flower filled balconies and terrace, stocking up on rest, warmth and sunshine for the oncoming winter ahead.  I hope that you will be tempted to join Erna, Tim and me for this wonderfully international event.


11 – 17 OCTOBER 2015



In the houses of the wealthy, family events were celebrated with dancing, music and song.  Downstairs in the street or courtyards the Ghawazee (gypsy dancers) enthralled visitors and the menfolk with their colourful and exuberant dancing.  Upstairs, unseen, the women of household would watch from behind mashrabiiya, screened balconies and projecting bay windows where women could peer out and see the activities below while themselves remaining invisible.  These women often had their own entertainers, the Awalim, women who in their heyday were renowned not only for their refined talents as singers, poets, musicians and surely dancers too, although there does not appear to be records that they were.  As well as being exponents of these refined arts, it was the Awalim who brought into the confines of the women’s quarters news, gossip and popular songs about life outside.

We will explore how these protected women and the Awalim might have responded with their dancing to the arts of Ottoman Egypt.

A chance to immerse yourself deeply in dance and to meet international dance lovers of all levels.  The week will be taught in German and English

Venue   The Gruberhof, Jochbergthurn 9, 5730 Mittersill, Austria  www.gruberhof.info

Cost   408 Euros for accommodation in a double room to be paid in Euros at time of arrival.

           plus 475 Euros for teaching to be paid when booking.

Information and booking contact Liza or Erna tel: 0049 89 342435 email: erna@taqsim.de


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Funded by Stroud Festival and part of the Stroud Dance Festival  15 October – 1 November 2015 this is an opportunity FOR MEN TO TASTE FOR FREE the exhilaration of dancing with the stick in the ancient ritualised combat dance of TAHTIB from Egypt .

The several years training in both Karate and Tai Chi gave me insights into the basic concepts of many martial arts – relaxed but focused attention, a low centre of gravity, balance, centredness and a peaceful attitude.  During my long experience as a dancer and in my teaching and study visits to Luxor I came to understand how these elements are the basis for the improvised dance form, the TAHTIB, and how it is highly relevant to the dance shy men of the West.  We will use large sticks and evocative music played on instruments unchanged over centuries to explore an art which goes back to pharaonic times.

The workshop is non contact and suitable for all men.  You do not have to be especially fit, nor have experience in dance or in the martial arts, just an open and curious mind, and a willingness to have fun.  Sticks will be provided.


See stroudartsfestival.org for the dance programme


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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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Egyptian Dancing with the Stick Workshop

Saturday 6th December 2014 1.00 – 6.00pm

The Courtyard Clinic Studio (Beautiful warm studio with mirror!)
The Old Post Office, Parsonage Street,
Dursley, Glocestershire. GL11 4DR
(Opposite The Courtyard Cafe and next to the church. The studio is at the back of the small car park)

The workshop is general level. The work on grounding and poise makes this workshop very suitable for beginners. The more experienced will expand their repertoire, find inspiration and deepen their understanding.

Cost: £35 (newcomers 3 hours with break £17)
Please book as soon as you can. 

Erna Froehlich and I returned inspired from our October Dance Week in the Austrian Alps near Mittersill. We had celebrated 20 years of our residential dance intensive in the same cosy farm house with its beautiful dance room looking out towards the glittering white mountain peaks.

Our focus for the week was ‘Stick Dancing’. Erna and I purposefully left this term unqualified to allow for freedom and discovery, not only for students but for Erna and myself.
The fruits of those days were unexpected and inspirational, and they are what I would like to share with you at the workshop.

At first I was disheartened because we did not have enough natural wooden walking sticks for such a large group. The only solution was to use the hooked golden ‘cabaret’ canes which I have never really liked. It was those golden canes however which instigated our journey of discovery and became our inspiration.

I have not yet managed to get a supply of these golden canes, and therefore for this workshop please bring one if you own or can get hold of one. Don’t worry if you don’t or can’t. I will bring plenty of ordinary canes for us to dance with.

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Saturday 23 February 1.00 – 5.30 pm

Village Hall, Nympsfield nr Stroud, Glos  GL12 3UA

A warming workshop to ease us into the dancing year.  The Raqs Sharqi style of Egyptian Dance works on integrating movement throughout the body.  That is what gives it it’s charm, fluidity and ‘natural’ ease.  Away with stiff isolations and contrivance!  Instead there will be lots of practice on transitions and on calm, beautiful arm positioning both framing and free, and experiencing its integration from our finger tips to the soles of our feet.  We will work also with the expressiveness of our feet and legs and feeling how this affects the clarity of our hip movements. That should keep the grey and cold at bay!

I support students at 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 contact me to book a place

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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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