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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.

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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.

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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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by international performers and teachers, Liza Wedgwood, dancer, and Tim Garside, musician and percussionist.  

Sunday October 25th at 6pm The Gold Room, Centre for Science and Art, 13 Lansdown, STROUD, Glos. GL5 1BB

flying baladi 5

Tanzwoche-Mittersill_2This is for the curious, for the adventurous, for dance lovers, and musicians of Middle Eastern music. Driving rhythms, yearning melodies, the refinement of courtly classical as well as the earthy complexity of the Egyptian ‘Blues’, it is all in this unusual performance showing the rich but rarely seen diversity of Raqs Sharqi.  

In the improvisational magical moment does the musician inspire the dancer or is it the other way around?

Tickets £7, Cons. £5 from Trading Post, 26 Kendrick Street, Stroud, GL5 1AQ Tel 01453 759116

or from Liza (click contact)

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Dance for pregnancy and new mums in Stroud  2014

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LOTS OF MUSIC AND DANCE WORKSHOPS AND PERFORMANCES, A WONDERFUL LONG WEEKEND FULL OF COLOUR, SOUND AND MOVEMENT.  I shall be part of the team this year and  delighted to be dancing and teaching together with the musicians MAREN LUEG, CHAS WHITAKER and FRANK RUSSEL of the well known Majaz band.   Do join me  on 29-31 August at Camerton Hall, Meadgate, Camerton, Bath,  BA2 0NL, North East Somerset. 

Have a look at http://www.arabicdrum.co.uk/mideastfest to see captivating photos from  last years festival and to buy tickets.  Day tickets are also available!MidEast-Fest-Flyer-2014



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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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THIS SUNDAY 15 July  3-4 pm.   ***

Venue :    Push Studio, 17 Blackwater St off Lordship Lane, East Dulwich, SE22 8SD

All women are welcome whatever ability, size or age.

(I am offering this workshop so that people in the area have a chance to get to know me as teacher and dancer and to enjoy this dance form.  Look out for more workshops in the area in the future.)      Contact  me for more information.

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