Thursday, 28 June 2012

Mishaps and Mayhem!

Don't be fooled by the apparent poise .....
Ok, so you know how so many of you think that tribal dancers are so poised and elegant? Well, we may appear so as we step gracefully onto that dance floor, but who knows what might be going on under all those pantaloons, skirts, fringes, belts and flowers? Prepare to be enlightened .....

Before I go any further, let me tell you about the inspiration for this blog. It was something that happened to me at a workshop at the Tribal Gathering last weekend ... and yes, it would happen to me and yes, I think it actually may well be my biggest tribal mishap to date! I asked all the Sakura girls for their top three embarrassing dance incidents, thinking they would join me in my tale of woe, but guess what? I am the biggest numpty in Sakura!!! Luckily Jo, my partner in Namaste Tribal came up with a few equally cringe-worthy moments to share so I am not alone. So here are our top three horrific dance mishaps (well, less than three from some disgracefully poised people!) :


3. Coming in at number three is something that happened to me as a baby tribal dancer. It was only my second performance and we were dancing a choreo to Colleena, a lovely track from Mizna. Anyway, having done a pivot bump we were just about to embark on a choo-choo across the floor when suddenly I realised my left foot was tangled in the right hem of my pantaloons whilst my right was tangled in the left hem (no, please don't ask how!). For a minute I couldn't move at all and was desperately straining  in each direction whilst the rest of the class were remorselessly bearing down on me. I only got free by doing a manic little foot stomp (akin to a toddler tantrum!). I left that dance floor pretty quickly I can tell you!

Sooo graceful .........
2. This is much more recent and happened at a Sakura performance (just myself and Jan) at the Merhaba Liverpool hafla last Christmas. Lovely slow start to the music, graceful Camel Walk on the right (Look - I even have a picture to prove it!) and then on to the left ... stretch up, reach down .... and there the performance nerves kicked in. My left knee - the supporting knee - began to shake and those leg muscles just would not power my rise to standing again! In desperation and envisaging holding that position for the whole track I put a bit more pressure on my right toes to boost myself up. But yes, you guessed it .... I was standing on my pantaloons!! My right leg began to slide ever more outward: instead of ascending I was rapidly descending floorward! I had to summon all my strength, channel it into my left knee and lurch up. Jan has quite cheerfully announced that if I HAD slithered to the floor she would not have joined me but would have stood behind with graceful snake arms (and no doubt a big grin on her tribal - sisterly face!!!)

1. Here it is. The big Number One. Fresh and hot of the press - from last Sunday to be exact! I was at the rather fabulous Tribal gathering in York, doing an Angela Noble workshop on Tribal Arms and Hands. Those of you who know Angela will know how graceful and elegant she is, and so can imagine the flavour of the workshop; it was beautiful. Until little old me stepped in that is! We had all sunk to the floor in a puja and it was time to get up again (well, rise gracefully). So far so good. But of course SOMEONE (guess who!) had managed to step on her skirt (no pantaloons this time!). I tually started to stand pretty gracefully until my skirt tightened as it stretched out. In a desperate attempt not to lose it I shifted my weight, my foot slid ...... and horror of horrors I did a not -so-graceful topple onto the floor with a loud THUD!!! Being a Woman of Mishap this didn't really phase me; I wasn't hurt and would have burst into raucous laughter, but none of my Sakura or Namaste girls were with me  and - well, you don't like to giggle on your own do you? So I picked myself up. dusted myself down and carried right on being graceful - as you do!

Now, all of my top three mishaps ( and don't be misled into thinking they're the only ones - oh no!) involved feet. The other Sakura ladies have mustered up a couple with another common thread ....

SARAH'S TOP MISHAP! (Yes, just the one!)

1. Although this could count as more than one, since she's done it more than once with various costume parts. See Rozie Hadley's fantastic cartoon here for a clue . Yep, it's the old 'Tassels Down The Toilet' trick.  Just what you need right before a performance to make you feel gorgeous!!!!!

Lots to dangle there Sarah!


2.  It's tassels again! Not down the toilet this time (although I bet she's done that too!) but this time trapped in the car door and flapping wildly in torrential rain all the way to a hafla! And yes, they were substantially lighter (and soggier!) at the bottom by the time she got there!

 1. Now this happened to Jan several years ago. I don't think it would phase her now but she was horrified at the time! There she was, a baby dancer, hopping around quite happily in a workshop at Gothla, thinking how well she was doing when it suddenly dawned on her. Her partner was none other than the beautiful dancer who had left Jan awestruck during the previous night's performance! Suddenly poor old Jan wasn't quite so confident!

So composed!

JO'S TOP THREE MISHAPS (Yay, lots of mishaps!)

3. Jo dances with 400 Roses, a Folk/Tribal fusion group who do a lot of outdoor performances. One day last year she felt particularly beautiful after a day spent dancing out in the blazing sunshine, bedecked in frills, flounces and flowers. And a fishnet top. Did she feel quite so beautiful when she got out of her costume to find the fishnet patterned sunburn that lingered for weeks and weeks? I think not!

2. Jo's strappy choli felt really really good - she felt it made her dance more elegantly with all its ties and shoulder-revealing qualities. Until she got of the dance floor to find she'd had her arm through the wrong hole all the way through her dance!
Good job it wasn't your sword you dropped!
3. Last year 400 Roses performed a stick dance at Jewel of Yorkshire; they were dancing in front of the stage and space wasry limited because of the steps. This meant that they were very close to one another, and the inevitable happened - with a mighty 'Bash' Jo and Tania (Tribal Temptress) 's sticks made forceful contact and Jo's flew right out of her hand! Undeterred she prepared to dance on stick-less but suddenly remembered she needed it to form an arch later in the dance. Sooooo ----- she bobbed down to retrieve it, tripped, fell into a seated position on the stage steps, and still managed to grab the stick, hoist herself back up and finish the dance!

AND FINALLY - A JOINT MISHAP! (Just to prove how Sarah manages to avoid any undignified fracas!!) 

Medha - who's poised and who isn't?!
Pre-Sakura Sarah and I (and another friend, Lorraine) danced with Jo as Medha. It was at one of our early performances at Bridie's hafla in Wrexham (after some Donna Gardner workshops) where we succumbed to the dreaded Tribal Tangle. Yep, my spiky bracelets got caught in Jo's belt and hers, in tribal spirit, in mine. We were inseparable! Of course Sarah continued to dance gracefully in front whilst a lot of tribal tugging (and more than a little scalping of fringed belts) went on whilst we freed ourselves behind her! Shades of things to come perhaps???

So just think on, next time you see that poised, elegant tribal dancer! Check their tassels for soggy bits and watch those feet!!!

Until next time, happy - and mishap free - dancing!

Thanks to Ian Woodward and Rozie Hadley for images in this post.

Monday, 18 June 2012

A Medieval Road Trip!

Sarah, Jo and I dancing together - ooh, a good few years ago!
It's been a wee while since our last Sakura road trip (well, around two months to be exact - but it feels like longer!) and so this weekend we decided to set off on our travels in search of bellydance! Poor old Jan had work commitments and so couldn't join us but Sarah and I, together with Jo (of Namaste Tribal) piled into the car and set off down to not-so-sunny Shropshire!

You just don't expect a hafla venue in a street like this!
After a rather fruitless pub tea hunt and sundry adventures at chip shops (least said, soonest mended as far as that goes!) we finally wended our way into the historic town centre. Of course we did not believe the sat nav lady when, half way along a quaint little street she announced 'You have reached your destination'. Well, you wouldn't, would you? So off we went in search of a likely hafla venue, but to no avail .... until ...... suddenly ...... we spotted two coin belts swinging their way down the street! 'Follow those bellydancers' was the cry , and a mad chase followed - us in the car in the midst of a stream of traffic, them on the pavement, completely unaware of the whole commotion they were causing. And then - there was another! And another!!!! A bevy of bellydancing beauties lit our way to the hafla!!

Jan, you would have loved it!
Our trials and tribulations were not over as there was the small issue of parking to be overcome, but overcome it we did and headed back to the lovely Grade 2 listed building. Asif Qu was there at the door - he had heard of our wanderings! - and we were whisked inside. In no time at all we were seated comfortably at a table with Asif, Pauline, Mike and the beautiful Maini-axe (Yes, I KNOW I always spell that wrong!) - and thinking how much Jan would have loved it. We missed you honey!

Pauline and Asif - what a team! (photo NOT from this
Now what I haven't mentioned is that this was no ordinary hafla. Oh no. It was a GAME OF THRONES themed hafla! The place abounded with all types of medieval costume and decoration - even the programmes were in the form of medieval scrolls! The performances and music were of course linked to the theme - and yet all were very different. People had been so creative in so many ways! There were knights and ladies, maidens and wraiths, swords and palm flames .... and a vast array of all types of music but with suitably medieval twists! Pauline had taught a workshop earlier in the day and her ladies performed a choreography to my favourite Corvus Corax track, Mille Anni Passe Sunt (I just HAVE to join in in with the 'Oh, dragul' bits!). There was improv from the Maini-axe (including an impromptu duet - fab!), a bit of airship pirate swordiness from Qu Tu, a drum solo from the mighty Pauline/Asif partnership and drumming from Asif's workshop students!

As we don't usually frequent haflas in Shropshire it was great to watch dancers that we don't normally get to see - tribal, oriental, contemporary. We really enjoyed ourselves - and of course it's always great to just chill and watch and appreciate and be inspired by new ideas! Of course there was drumming afterwards too. Sarah just couldn't resist and had to grab a doumbek and play right along with everyone. Jo and I hit the dance floor and did a bit of improv Namaste style ... will it be Gypsy Caravan or ATS® next? Who can tell? We had a great time!

The drive home was long and dark but was filled with lots of chat --- and we all agreed it had been well worth the journey. And yes, not to rub it in Jan but we all agreed AGAIN that you would have loved it!

Our next Sakura outing all together will be to Kate Farrow's Merhaba Hafla in Liverpool on 21st July. Maybe we can persuade her to have a medieval theme - just for Jan? Pretty please Kate?

Until next time, happy dancing!!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Namaste Tribal : A new venture!

Hello again! Cayte here ...

Firstly a bit of an apology. You won't find this post as liberally scattered with pretty pictures as usual. That's because my computer has decided it would be great to play silly games - a result of which is that although the actual computer is working, all I can see on the screen are coloured lines. So whilst in theory I could still blog, I wouldn't have a clue what I'd actually typed ...which could be a bit dangerous! Luckily I can do a simple blog on the old iPhone, which is what I'm doing right now. It just means that photos only appear at the end of the post.

Now then - I promised you a bit of news didn't I? As I told you a couple of posts back, I'm still rockin' out the Gypsy Caravan with my gorgeous Sakura ladies, but I've also embarked on a new venture with our friend Jo (an ATS® dancer). Now I'm not going to tell you ALL about it here, because I'd just be repeating what is on our new website, but I WILL give you details of where to find out more.
Suffice it to say it's called Namaste : Tribal Harmony and it's all about celebrating tribal bellydance in all its forms. We will be remaining true to our own styles and rejoicing in our differences, but will also be honouring and respecting our similarities and shared roots, reflecting the spirit of Namaste; the spirit in me honours and respects the spirit in you.

We will also be offering classes in tribal bellydance (ATS® and Gypsy Caravan) in Stockport and Wigan (that's in Lancashire, North West England) in the very near future, as well as performing together as Namaste Tribal.

To find out more you really MUST visit our new site :

our new blog :

And our new Facebook page - just search for Namaste Tribal (and
PLEASE don't just look - 'Like' us too -- pretty please???

Big thanks to my lovely Sakura partners for letting me use this post to give a shout out for Namaste! I'll be back soon with news of what us Sakura Gypsy girls have been up to lately (tales of mud and mayhem actually!)

Until then, happy dancing! Xx

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