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!!

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