Sunday, 15 May 2011

A Hafla-ing We Will Go....


You WILL go to the ball, Cinders!
Jane chills out with Cayte and Jo.
 As you'll know by now Sarah couldn't make this afternoon's hafla at Lowton (she's starting to feel a bit better now thankfully). However, we needn't have worried - Tribal Jane was only too happy to leap into the breach. I have to say I did draw the line at dancing improv with her - far too many flailing windmilly arms and flopping over at the waist for my liking! Let's just say, never try to do an Arabic dippy fade thing with her... Nevertheless, we still had a great time. Rather than just straightforward blogging, here is the story of Jane's day out in words and pictures (she does like pictures bless her!) :

Networking with Sue
 As soon as she arrived Jane decided to get in with the Important People - and made a beeline for Sue, who has organised the Lowton hafla (and, together with her husband John, has laid on the superb Rent-A-Chef buffets too) for many years. Sorry if that makes you feel old Sue! Lowton haflas are great - friendly, well organised, good food ... all the important things! Lowton was also the very first hafla I ever went to - and performed at - so always has a special place in my heart. No idea what Jane was doing here - angling for a performance spot maybe?

Please can I have a go now?
 Next stop was the music corner - as always, coordinated by Julie, who runs the haflas with Sue. Jane was very excited to find a man crawling around under the mixing desk on her first visit to the sound booth! There was a really interesting mix of music this time - from rock through to classic Egyptian tracks. Jane was very happy to spot a bit of Gypsy Caravan in there, as well as a beautiful track by Raul Ferrando, and a track by Valravn that would be great for a bit of improv. However, she would like the Sirens of Shadows to know that she finds Wumpscut very very SCARY!!!!!

All these jewels for ME!
 Then it was time for Michelle's magical Whirling Dervish souk - a regular and vital part of the Lowton haflas. Tribal, cabaret, jewellery, costuming, props, cds, dvds - there really is something for everyone! It's so hard to resist - it sits there twinkling and sparkling, just luring you in! I have to confess, I was sorely tempted by a gorgeous teal and black semi-circular silk veil ........

I am over eighteen. Honest.
 As well as the great buffets at Lowton, there's also a pay-bar, which is really reasonably priced. The bar staff are so used to haflas by now (as are the chaps who inhabit the games room next door) that they just take it all in their stride ... It's a great hafla venue, with a good big dance floor and easy parking - and more than one set of toilets. Which is important of course!

So tell me again - why can't you
just do a solo?
There's always time for a bit of a chill-out before the first dances start - time to peruse the programme (which always includes music as well as dancer details. I love this - I'm a bit obsessional about knowing exactly what tracks people are dancing to!) ...

At last it was time for the performances to start, and as usual at Lowton there was a really good mix of solos and groups, Egyptian, Gothic, fusion, props and both more and less experienced dancers.

It was great to see our friends from Morrigan and Sirens of Shadows performing some Gothic/tribal fusion. All their hard work in choreographing and rehearsing has certainly paid off and we thoroughly enjoyed their performances. Well done girls!

Rakkassah - Sue's troupe who host the hafla - treated us to two fabulous dances, including one with a zil accompaniment.  As you all know, I love my zils but do have a bit of a thing about their proper use. I am happy to report that the ladies employed their zils sensitively and appropriately to complement both the music and their dancing! Yay!

There are just too many acts to go through here - but one does deserve a special mention! Today we were joined by Hassan, who shared some authentic saidi stick work with us. I just love the more folkloric styles of dance and this was no exception. So relaxed and at ease, obviously really enjoying himself - and really enjoying simply dancing. Thank you Hassan!

Although we didn't perform today we did get plenty of chances to get up for a boogie in between acts. It was great to be joined by a host of other dancers - including many who were not tribal but were intrigued by the improv we were doing! That can sometimes be a bit of a challenge when you're leading, as you're trying to think of moves that won't be too difficult for people not familiar with the style to follow. I have to confess that in the end we just 'went for it' - but everyone seemed to really enjoy it anyway!! Except for Tribal Jane, whose earlier trip to the bar had obviously caught up with her. She was fast asleep under the table ...

Do I really have to travel home like this?
I didn't have THAT much to drink!
And so another afternoon at Lowton came to a close. Huge thanks to Sue, Julie and all the team for a great hafla. And huge thanks to the audience - I think I only spotted one of the Seven Deadly Sins when somebody walked across the front of a dancer whilst they were performing. That's pretty good going!

We really missed you Sarah - but we did have a great time anyway! Next week it's Shekinah's hafla at Formby, and hopefully Sakura will be fighting fit again by then!

Until next time, happy dancing!

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