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The Calendar has now been up-dated!  Please click on tab above for details of workshops, courses and intensive days of dance in Germany, Austria, Italy and the UK.

On 16/17 January the 2016 dance year will start with a ‘Moods and Archetypes in Baladi’ weekend in Berlin. This will be followed on the 24th by a Beginners workshop in Stroud, Gloucestershire, and workshops in Munich during the last weekend of the month. 

Munich and Dursley courses this year will explore the themes of Sha’abi and the Charisma of the Ghawazee (click on Raqs Sharqi tab above).

Workshop

Saturday 13 February 2016  1.00 – 6.00pm 

SPOTLIGHT ON SHAA’BI AND THE CHARISMA OF THE GHAWAZEE 

ghawazee

The Courtyard Clinic Studio 

The Old Post Office, Parsonage Street, 

Dursley, Glos. GL11 4DR  UK 

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

Cost:   £35 (conc. £25)

The Sha’abi form of Raqs Sharqi is the dance found around Luxor in the Sa’id (Upper Egypt).  Literally it means ‘of the people’ as in ordinary people or country people.  Old music from the villages, as well as modern day pop, allows for simple, joyful dancing using repetitive movements.  Included in this genre is the dance of the professional dancers, the Ghawazee.  Much loved, they brought colour and entertainment to village and family celebrations, and dance to this day to the multilayered Sa’idi music played on instruments unchanged over the centuries.

Technique, costumes and a bright smile are not enough to express this dance.  Eventually the evocative Sa’idi music, coming down the centuries, calls us to find something deeper, richer.  It calls us to find an archaic authentic response and invites us, in the excitement of repetition, to dance effortlessly from our stable centre. 

Excitement characterises Sha’abi but so does stability, and these two attributes are not necessarily understood by us dancers in the west as we search for that certain something which takes us to the heart of both dancers and audiences alike, and makes the dance so compelling to watch.  They would appear to be opposites.  In fact the melding of the two is the essence.

The year’s course will help us to understand these opposites. It will bring us closer to the culture in which this dance flourished, the dance of the Sa’id which is so pertinent to our lives today.

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WHAT IS COURTLY CLASSICAL AND WHO WERE THE AWALIM?

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.

 RESIDENTIAL DANCE WEEK

11 – 17 OCTOBER 2015

WITH LIZA WEDGWOOD, ERNA FROEHLICH AND MUSICIAN, TIM GARSIDE

Unknown

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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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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