Tuesday, 27 December 2011

A (slightly late) tribal Christmas present!

Yes - I've been waiting and waiting for this one - fiendishly stalking Facebook, Paypal trigger finger at the ready ..... and finally, the time has come! I'm all paid up, and Paulette's new Gypsy Caravan Tribal Technique dvd will soon be winging its way across the Atlantic to me. Time to stalk the postman now I think!

Paulette shot this dvd over in Milan in October, together with the fabulous Les Soeurs Tribales (including Cinzia Di Cioccio, who's now a member of Gypsy Caravan International). She'll be back there in March, and is apparently doing some more filming then. Yippee! It seems like a good while since we had a new Gypsy Caravan dvd and now it looks as though we're going to be well and truly spoilt for choice in 2012. And believe us, that's just how we like it!

Here's a little bit of a taster as to what's in store for us :

Woo hoo!

If any of you haven't sussed out how to get your copy yet, just visit the new Gypsy Caravan Dance Company International Facebook page here.

And just in case all of that wasn't enough, Paulette is off to Australia in the new year, doing workshops and more filming with the lovely Nina Martinez of Gypsy Rain, another member of Gypsy Caravan International. She's also got a new website in the offing, so we're eagerly awaiting that too. It looks as though it's going to be a fantastically full Gypsy Caravan style 2012 and we really can't wait!         
Until next time, we're off to wait by the letter box!
Happy dancing!

Thanks to Paulette, Cinzia, Nina and Gypsy Caravan Dance Company International for the photos in this blog

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Happy Christmas ....

... from Sakura Tribal to all of our friends everywhere! xxx

The picture is from a Christmas card by the fabulous Rozie Hadley - check out her other cards and calendars here!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas ...

Yep, you know the feeling ...... there's a wild flurry of dance activity (which may or may not be accompanied by a wild flurry of snow ...), a mad last minute splurge of tribal pressie buying, the unavoidable festooning of every Christmassy-coloured costume that you possess with glitter of every colour imaginable (from your own hair fripperies, other dancers' hair fripperies, random Christmas decorations in church halls ...).... And then suddenly, quite suddenly, that's it. The last hafla has been hafled. The Christmas performance photos are in. Dance teachers take a well-earned Christmas break. Dance studios close their doors. All is still. All is quiet. (I feel as though I need to break into a verse of Silent Night at this point!)

Cayte and Jan at Liverpool Hafla
 It's a strange feeling - a sort of 'All dressed up and nowhere to go' feeling. Even if you've a busy holiday planned there is still that 'plunge' in activity ... especially if dance is a huge part of your life. We have our last dance class until the New Year on Tuesday and then that will be it until 2012! Eek! Sakura have danced their last performances of 2011, all three of us at Burnley hafla and then Cayte and Jan at Liverpool. We've even had our last practice together until 2012. It feels as though New Year has come early, even though Christmas isn't over yet!

Sarah at Burnley Hafla
 Well, it's quite simply just too early to be doing all that looking back and looking forward malarkey. That's all well and good, and we have some exciting stuff to plan for in 2012, but this just isn't the time for it. We need to focus in on CHRISTMAS! Tribal shopping, tribal costumes, tribal pressies ........ it's all good stuff! For me - Cayte that is! - it also always seems to be a time when I begin to reflect on what this amazing dance means to me. A kind of build up to New Year I suppose - and an opportune time to score a few pretty notebooks and pens in the sales, in preparation for all those dance workshops coming up! Oh yes, we loves our pens and notebooks!

So .... what deep tribal musings are going on this year? What's a Tribal Christmas really all about? A bit of an acrostic coming up I think!

Tribal Connection!
C is for connection. Of course. Yes, you can still get it in other dance forms, but once you've truly felt that tribal improv connection then nothing else comes close!
H is for Happy Tribal. Our kind of tribal!
R is for roots. They matter, They keep us grounded and strong. We are thankful for all of those dancers over the years who have given this dance form such strong roots - Jamila, Carolena, Paulette and more.
I is for improv. Despite what people may sometimes think when watching us (Yes, we do still get the 'Was that really improv?' questions!), Sakura only ever perform improv. It's what speaks to us!
S is for sisterhood. Dance sisterhood. Tribal sisterhood. Or indeed brotherhood. But that begins with a B ....
T is for teachers, mentors, tribal mammas. We owe so much to them all and can never thank them enough. You know who you are ladies!

Hayley Tully of Shekinah - the perfect audience member!
Get a load of that smile!
 M is for music. Music that speaks to us, makes us slink and squidge or gets our hips swinging and our feet tapping. Pulsing drum beats, the cry of the mizmar ...Thank you for the music!
A is for audiences. And especially those people who catch your eye and make that connection with a smile .... Our dance is about much more than performing - it's about how we feel when we dance whether that's in our living room or studio or bopping together after a hafla. But when we look out during a performance and you're smiling right at us it helps us to spread that connection out to YOU!
S is for soul singing. Happiness is one thing, but when you're truly in that moment, connecting with the music and your fellow dancers, flowing, responding - your soul soars. And improv does that for us ....

The 'Winter Kiss'
Ok, ok, I hold my hands up. Other than the acrostic bit, that had NOTHING to do with Christmas. Well, is this any better? Fabulous wintry hair frippery, courtesy of Tania, the Tribal Temptress! I had planned to wear this in my hair at the last hafla of the season but as I was delayed at work then had a long drive through dark December traffic I had a record-breaking hair/costume/make up adornment session of UNDER FIFTEEN MINUTES! I would never have believed it possible! Anyway, given the need for speed I went for simple tried and tested headwear and wore this beauty on my belt instead - you can see it in action further up this post. And rather gorgeous it looked!

Where's Wally - or rather Where's Sakura?! Dancing with
our North Wind class family at Burnley!
Going back to Christmas though ... it's a time for love and peace and family. And of course, in tribal we have that family - in our own tribes, in other people that we meet and dance with, in fellow dancers across the world. So with that in mind, a Tribal Christmas seems very appropriate. We may not see some of our dance family for a week or two, but as we say those last goodbyes of 2011 we know that we'll be celebrating a tribal Christmas together in our hearts.

And if not there's always Facebook.

Until next time, happy dancing!

Thanks to Ian Woodward and Tania Hudson for the photos.I'm not sure where the gorgeous Christmas Tree picture came from - if you know, please let me know!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

A Huge Sakura Welcome!

Exciting news - squeeeeeeeeee!

Welcome to Sakura, Jan!
Two have become three!!!!! You will have heard us talk about our lovely friend Jan? She's been in our tribal class with Chris Ogden for a while now. Well, having tried workshops in a few styles, she's realised she's a Gypsy Gal at heart. She's been practising her GC stuff like a demon and we've shown her a few of our Sakura moves and we are DELIGHTED to be able to announce that she made her debut - improv of course! - with Sakura Tribal on Friday night, dancing - rather appropriately - to 'New Path' by Gypsy Caravan. She did brilliantly and we can't wait to rock out that GC styling with her some more!


Happy Birthday Jo!
  We had a totally fantastic night altogether at Chris' Burnley hafla - great road trip with our other lovely friend Jo (who's just headed down to London for a bit of ATS; have a great time and a wonderful birthday, Jo! x), lots of dancing and gossip and we performed three times, including as the new Sakura line up. We saw lots of friends and were joined by Ian (Woodward - see his photos on an earlier blog) and his partner, Pauline .... so we got some fabby pics of Jan's first outing with us.

Now - muwahahahahah! - what can we tell you about her? Your life in our hands, Jan!

Two become three
 FACT NUMBER ONE : Jan is another committed vegan! Yep, she's been mentoring me (Cayte) on my journey into veganism. So add in Sarah, a committed veggie and we're a pretty animal-friendly threesome. Compassionate Tribal, that's us! Tee hee!

FACT NUMBER TWO : She's also more than a little bit of a metalhead. And here is the proof - as posted onto her Facebook page recently :

With some of the Morrigan girls, Marcail and Charlotte
FACT NUMBER THREE : Jan also dances with Morrigan, a North West troupe who do tribal choreo with a bit of a dark twist! She danced with them too at Burnley - they were great! She's also danced a few styles in her time, including Egyptian - but has now found her tribal home. Ahhhhh!

In the lead!

FACT NUMBER FOUR : She's not backward about coming forward, no matter what she might say! Here's the proof, as she quite happily steps into the lead in her very first Gypsy Caravan improv performance with us! She did a really great job too, including a couple of tricky lead and formation changes, and didn't get phased at all. Well done Mrs!

Welcome to Sakura!

FACT NUMBER FIVE : She's an all-round fabby person! She makes great vegan cakes, giggles a lot, loves glittery J2Os, ADORES my singing (yes, you KNOW you do Jan) and is a great friend and a wonderful dancer. Welcome to Sakura, Jan!

We really need to do a little interview with her now so that you know all her deepest darkest secrets!

It's just the two of us on Friday!
This Friday we're off to Kate Farrow's Christmas Hafla in Liverpool where Sakura will perform again, this time as a duet! Yes, and it's Cayte and Jan this time (Sarah's going to watch Shed Seven in Manchester so can't join us sadly!). We're really looking forward to it! We're mini-road tripping there with Jo, who's doing a solo (Yay! We love Jo!) and we might even persuade TJ (as in Tribal Jane) to join us! Good times!

Until next time, happy dancing!

Big thank yous again to Ian Woodward for all the fantastic photos in this post!

Sleepover - Tribal Style - Part Two!

Tribal Jane meets Aunty Pauline!
Well, it might be a week late (it's been a busy, exciting week!) but here as promised is the second part of our Tribal Sleepover weekend. Can't believe that seven days ago we were there - it seems much longer now! Could this be a sign of old age creeping up on us, we wonder? Anyway, one week passed is one week closer to the next one! So, what do we still have to tell you? I think I mentioned workshops, drumming and the hafla? And a bit of Tribal Jane feedback, hmmm? Let's see ....

A nicely chilled out TJ!
THE WORKSHOPS : There was a fantastic choice of workshops - crafty, musical, dancing - something for all tastes and all moods. I was in a chilling sort of mood, and cut my cloth accordingly. The Saturday morning started with Jane Mowat's fabulous yoga session - lots of gentle stretching which really eased us into the day's activities nicely! Following that I hot-footed it next door for a bit of guided meditation with Pauline, where I spent twenty minutes being soothed in a verdant forest clearing to the sound of hypnotic drum beats from Asif --- great stuff! The laid back morning continued with aromotherapy, again led by Jane. That was such fun and so well delivered. We not only learned lots about the history of the subject and uses of different oils but also got the chance to try out our hands as Aromatherapy Apprentices, making a Dancer's Foot Massage blend and then designing and making our own oils. The workshop closed with an Aromatherapy quiz. The prize was a gorgeous aromatherapy candle from the rather exquisite Neom shop (check it out here), and guess who won? Squeal!

Michelle - one talented lady!
From there, Sarah and I parted ways - she was delivering her Gingerbread Bunny 'Funky Hair accessories' workshop which seemed to go down a storm (I saw lots of beautiful evidence of this adorning lovely heads at the hafla!)There were lots of feathers and sparkly things involved, anyhow!  Meanwhile I headed off down to the basement, to a fantastic tribal workshop - with a Christmassy flavour - from the fabulous Michelle Pender. We had great fun - loved it! AND we had the added bonus of being able to perform the choreo we learned at the hafla later ....

A bit of African drumming
 We had planned on a bit of Bollywood that afternoon, but still feeling a bit chilled we opted for some African drumming with Mike - we loves our drumming, we does! We really enjoyed it! It was quite different from the Arabic drumming that we're used to, but we had great times drumming together, really getting into the zone and going faster and faster and faster and faster ...... There were more workshops after that, but we had decided to go and get showers before the rush started and then get ready for the hafla and evening meal. Great minds think alike; Tania and Amy had opted for the same approach so there was lots of girly chat!

Art journaling is so cool!
On the Sunday morning Sarah was teaching an Art Journaling workshop. I was still in that lazy sort of mood, so hung out there with her. She had a full house and I was so impressed with the work her ladies came up with - well done all of you! The final workshop of the weekend was our Asif fix - Arabic drumming (Intermediate/Advanced, no less!). As always we were not disappointed. I had asked him to be gentle with us, but of course he refused point blank - and instead provided lots of challenge and hard work. But hey, it was worth it! Great stuff!!!

Arabic with Asif
Now of course We couldn't go to every workshop as there were three on at once ... we missed out on African dance, Chakra dance, Mbira, henna, making zill pouches, make up, reflexology and no doubt a good few more. But it was great to be able to choose what suited our mood and hey, there's always next year!  Suffice it to say, everyone seemed to be buzzing whatever they'd done!

Mike and Mark doing a bit of Friday night drumming!
THE DRUMMING : I've told you a bit about the drumming workshops, but that really is only the half of it! We had drumming ALL weekend .... whilst chilling on the Friday night, accompanying performers at the hafla, providing music for bopping at the hafla ... you name it! It was all really relaxed so that everyone felt comfortable just picking up their doumbek and drumming along, and drum along they did! I can't finish without mentioning the 'Best Dressed Drummer; competition on the Friday night of course!

AND FINALLY ........ 

'Vessel Mix' with North Wind Tribal
THE HAFLA : We couldn't have all those tribalistas there without getting together for a bit of a boogie now, could we? We had gone not sure if we would perform or not - we had our music just in case. Well, I ended up performing THREE times! It was that sort of a hafla, where everyone is so relaxed and friendly that you just get swept up in the excitement of it all and end up squealing 'Us, Us!' whilst brandishing your music in the air and bouncing up and down in your chair! Sakura performed to 'The Huntress' (where I managed to get so caught up in the flow that I kind of bumped into Sarah - now that's dancing close together!), we got up with some of the North Wind girls to dance 'Vessel Mix' (from our classes with Chris) and then stepped out of the Gypsy Caravan music zone for a while to do Michelle's Annie Lennox Christmas choreo. Phew --- we needed that chilled out day to keep us going!

Go, girls!
There were so many fabulous performances that I really can't mention them all here. Solos from our teachers, class dances, troupes, mbira playing ... such a great mixture and all with a tribal slant. A couple of things really did stand out for me though ..... Firstly the performance by the African workshop ladies. This really closed the hafla on a high - wow! Everyone had so much fun, and it was so high-energy we couldn't sit still as we watched! We must confess though, that although it was fantastic we heaved a secret sigh of relief that, given our laid-back mood that weekend, we'd opted for the Aromatherapy session instead that day .... we would have been on our knees by hafla time otherwise!

Amy's first solo
Another highlight for us was at the other end of the hafla- right at the beginning of the dance performances! It was our friend Amy's very first tribal fusion solo, and she did an amazing job! Well done Amy! We were then treated to Bollywood, BTS, ATS, more beautiful solos ...... so much!I shall be here all day if I try to talk about them all! Everyone did so well; we were thoroughly entertained! Thank you all for a great evening!

So that's it .... a great weekend over! Mega huge thank-yous to all the organisers; you did a great job! Can't wait for the next one!

Guess who?
I'm going to sign off for now, but will be back later today or tomorrow. I have some very SPECIAL Sakura news for you. It's something we are VERY VERY excited about .... but that's all I'm going to tell you now! You'll just have to stay tuned to this channel for more!!!

Until then, happy dancing!

With thanks to Julie Horner-Kucharski for the photos of Michelle and Asif, and ian Woodward for the photo of the Sakura belt!

P.S. Tribal Jane has decided she wants a special post of her own to tell you all about her recent travels .... look out for that one in a week or two. I should warn you there will be some pretty hair-raising moments!