Wednesday, 17 June 2015

WildHearts On Parade!

Date : June 14th, 2015
Location: Manchester, England
Occasion : Manchester Day Parade! 

Yes, on Sunday Sakura were thrilled to be joined by WildHearts Audrey, Elaine and Sue, our old friend Kate, new friend Jean, drummer Andrew and of course photographer extraordinaire Ian (Jan's other half!) to parade through the streets of our local city as part of its annual Manchester Day celebrations! 

We were the Tribal Sagat Army - and  yes, we zilled as we went! Joined by dancing gypsies, harem fluffers, a battalion of Isis wings and some crazy flying carpets, all pulled together by the fabulous Michelle Pender, we zagareeted, shimmied and sashayed our way through the streets in front of, so I believe, a crowd of around 175,000. Scary stuff! 

The sun didn't smile on us - but then the rain stayed away too so we really can't complain! There was a fabulous party  atmosphere and some amazing costumes and creations from other groups. We had FUN - as you can see from all the smiles!!! 

For the occasion our costume theme was 'old school tribal' and we went the full hog with pantaloons, 25 yard skirts, lots of tassels, tribal bras, facial markings - and of course, turbans! This was a bit of a departure for us as we normally adopt a more pared-down, contemporary look - but it was great fun and really effective with the black and red colour code. And yes, it did take us all a couple of hours to get ready. And yes, we raised many eyebrows on our trips into/out of the city on the tram. And yes, it didn't take two hours to take the costume off again but it sure as heck felt like it (HOW many safety pins did I use???!). Not something we'll be adopting all the time - but definitely a really good choice for a special event like this one! 

Of course we weren't the only ones who had gone to so much trouble with our costumes ... There were the two suffragettes on stilts on huge bicycles, the aeroplane complete with 'Amelia Earhart', the fabulous peacock, the amazing griffin (complete with moving head!), the uncostumed but adorable Irish wolfhounds and oh so many other spectacular sights! It was just fabulous! There was a fantastic sense of community between all the paraders and the crowd ... Although I did manage to miss seeing at least four people I know who were amongst those lining the streets (sorry - but hey, I didn't even know what street I was on most of the time, let alone who was in the crowd!!). 

So yes - it was a great day! And would we do it again? Definitely!!! Huge thanks have to go to Michelle who masterminded our part in it and brought together dancers from across the North West to craft and giggle and dance together as one community! You are a star!!!

Thank you too to Ian Craven who is responsible for all the photos in this post - great memories of good times! 

I'll finish now with a few more of our favourite WildHeart/Sakura photos. 

Ready for the tram ride : Jan, Kate and Kate

More trammers : WildHearts Sue, Elaine and Audrey 

Drummer Andy (right) and guest WildHeart Jean (centre)

Another great one of Andy

Well hello there!! Sue, Jan and Kate

Community spirit : Elise had to wrap her wings around Jan to keep her warm as we waited to parade. 

Looking cool, calm and collected before the parade - nobody had mentioned 175,000 people at this point!

And finally a sneaky selfie  (not from Ian this time). Some of the group were cultured and went for coffees in the museum. Others (ahem) went to the pub. Guess who?

Until next time, happy dancing! X

Tuesday, 9 June 2015


Woah - it's June already and nearly half way through the year! Where is 2015 going at all? 
After a few bouts of illness/injury/life Sakura are getting ready for several upcoming performances over the next few months. As these go on you may start to notice a few differences ....

Most of you will know that Sakura have been performing Gypsy Caravan Tribal Bellydance for a number of years now. However everything changes - and so do we. It's the right time now for us to explore, to wander down new pathways, to satisfy our 'Sakuriosity'. GC will still lie at the heart of our new endeavours ... providing those firm foundations - but we're already working on new moves, new music, new formations - all of which will fit into the funky aspects of GC that we love so much.

Delilah, in her book about performance talks about the level on which you connect with your audience. She mentions those dancers who come across as being 'above' their audience - superior, removed, not really connecting. Then there are those who I suppose you would say are 'beneath' their audience. I don't think I've seen many of these but I suppose they come across as little girls, begging to be liked? Then there is the final group - those who are on a level, together with their audience. Those whose dancing and demeanour screams out 'I'm having fun here and I'd love you to come along for the ride!'. It's this last group that us Sakura girls have always tried to be a part of. We want you with us, we want you to want to join us! This will be something that we really focus on as we grow and develop over the coming months! 

It won't happen overnight, but will be a gradual change - lots of work to be done here! We are both really excited about this next stage in our journey - and we hope that you will enjoy it too. We will keep you posted on here as to how it's all going and on our trials and tribulations!

Cayte's classes in Wigan will still follow the Gypsy Caravan Tribal Bellydance Beginners and Intermediate syllabus. We both believe that it's important to have strong roots and to know and understand what those are, and are so grateful to Paulette Rees-Denis for those foundations that she has given to us with her beautiful dance style. We want to make sure that we pass that on to our students too! They will continue to perform Gypsy Caravan - sometimes 'flying alone' and sometimes joined by Sakura for the odd special performance! It is so good to see them all grow in skill and confidence, and to witness their beauty shining out. Love you ladies!

We hope to see some of you somewhere in the near future. We are very excited to be taking part in the Manchester Day Parade this Sunday, along with some of our WildHearts and other fabulous North West dancers. Our zills and turbans are at the ready, our tassels are tasselsied and we're all set to rock out a bit of old school tribal. Maybe a few of you will be there too? 

If not we will be at the Nile to the Mersey hafla in Liverpool on 20th and then will be shaking out our posh side (off duty as regards dance) at a Masquerade Ball on 27th. Good times ahead!!

Speak soon and in the meantime, happy dancing! 

Cayte & Jan xx