Last weekend saw Covert Bling, the troupe I dance with, attending the Bedouin Girls Hafla in Old Windsor.
First of all I must say that the timing of the event was just perfect for a glimpse of the largest full moon for 20 years. It was the most beautiful thing, because it was a different size and different colour than a more usual full moon. As an example, the more regular occurrence of the harvest moon later in the year is something we are used to seeing even if we are unfamiliar with it and so we expect it to be bright and orange or if we are surprised we can soon understand whey it looks and feels so different.
In March here in the UK we do not expect to see such a large pinkorange moon-face. As we drove along the unromantic highway to the venue town, we (me and Kitty Kohl) were transfixed by the beautiful natural phenomena we experienced. And, in addition, thanks to Google Maps on Kitty’s phone we almost supernaturally arrived where we needed to be.
Onto the event itself. This yearly event has a good venue and attendance. Held at the Old Windsor Club it regularly raises money and this year proceeds were going to the Thames Valley Hospice.
So here’s the deal for me as a performer.
This event offers a small but spacious event space. That doesn’t really make sense but it means that it’s not a big space, but it’s big enough. Everyone needs to project out to the audience at this friendly event but not so much that you frighten them!
Changing room space is limited but I think this year everyone had realised that that was the case and came to the event as fully costumed as they could with their *every day* clothes brought along to change into later.
Each year the event has a *mini-show* from 8pm till 8.45pm and then it’s food and dancing till 11pm. I think this is an excellent format. It works really well as there’s enough dancing to talk about, enough food to eat till you pop and and enough time if you have the opportunity to dance until you drop. There’s also one vendor, and this year saw the return of Penny and her Everything Egyptian bazaar.
First up were the Bedouin Girls – a cheeky, fun and engaging choreography from the hostesses of the evenings event. Always good fun and engaging to watch we keep asking them to come along to Hipnotic and I finally got the answer I was looking for – although the date is tba!
The came the *Dangerous Trio* led by Lynne Hogg – and when questioned they admitted that their name was a warning (definitely unqualified I can assure you!) that they might cause damage with their sticks. Not a chance of that from this experienced trio. They held my attention with their masterly and assured use of sticks with a great Saidi track, “Yammouna Fi AL Saaid”.
Next was Nikki, one of two solo performances. Nikki danced to the very familiar and much enjoyed Nourhanne version of *Habibi Ya Eini* and I found her choreography to be engaging, free of too many repeats and one that the performer really seemed to enjoy.
Covert Bling were next – the troupe that I dance dance with. Four of us were able to come long, and as usual we were improvising common steps and combinations to a piece of music that was familiar to us, Lesgi by Solace. (I’m not advocating iTunes with that link….if I can I’ll change it….)
It’s a piece of music we danced to a few years ago. Drilled to for some time. It’s familiar to us as a toupe but it’s not something we work with a lot now. So we chose it for this Hafla because it presented a chance to:
Go back to our roots
Go back to something we know but don’t really KNOW.
Improvise in a way that feels both unfamiliar and safe.
It was enjoyable for us as there were a couple of slip ups, and so we will watch the footage, make some changes if need be, drill a lot, eat some more chocolate and make jokes and laugh about random things and most importantly keep on enjoying being a part of this experience.
Salomes Sisters were next with two tracks, *Trust in Me* (the proper Disney Jungle Book soundtrack version – my favourite version ever) and then a track they called “Wheelie Bin”. I absolutely loved that their costumes were made to their own personal taste, and had a basis of white and old gold that they had all executed really well.
Saaidah aka Lynne Hogg was next up for a great solo to a track she identified as a *Lovely piece of old fashioned Saaidi*. And she did it great justice with all of the energy, fun and challenge that Saaidi offers.
To close the performances section Hathor performed to *Jai Ho* from the soundtrack of the blockbuster film Slumdog Millionaire. Always a treat to see something choreographed to a piece of music that has entered the cosmic pyschology, this was a fab way to end the performances section.
After everyone had cruised and enjoyed the buffet there was time for a raffle and then the rest of the evening was given over to dancing the night away.
Top marks to the Bedouin Girls for a fun evening and I look forward to seeing how much they raised for Thames Valley Hospice, AND having them come and perform at Hipnotic.
P.S. I forgot my camera so can’t supply pictures!!