Keeping busy

A quick lunchtime update. I have completely lost track of what day it is! Two days ago we were learning baladi with a relatively simple choreography so we could really get the feeling of it. We’ve been given translations to all the songs we’re using and it’s good to see how the moves relate to the words. After snatching a few hours of sleep most people headed out to the Tivoli, a cabaret, to see the dancers.These weren’t famous dancers lie the ones who travel and teach, these were ordinary working dancers. There was a little bit of false advertising going on though:

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That’s Asmahan on the poster and I bet she’s never danced there! We saw two dancers and two singers. The dancers were quite reserved, almost shy, but then how would you be if you knew Randa was sitting in your audience? The first dancer invited her up and when Randa got going her face dropped but she rallied and carried on. Randa danced “El Eh Besalowni” and “Inta Omri” for us which was really special. I have video of her brother Fady giving her a money shower which I’ll try and put up when I get back. I learned a thing about money showers, I didn’t realise that they were essentially toy money. You might have a stack of £1000 but really it’s play money that you paid £100 for. Knowing that didn’t detract from the fun of seeing the men toss the bills around.

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This was a really late night and we left just as things were getting going – 4am! Fortunately yesterday was our day off, spent by a swimming pool followed by lunch and a folklore show with endearingly ropey dancers.  There’s always one or two who know the steps and the others are desperately following along. The bellydancer was good though and of course we all had a dance too.

I left early with a small group who were going to another show. We had all of 15 minutes at the hotel to make ourselves presentable then it was off to the Nile Maxim again to see Asmahan. I hadn’t been too sure about going back but when I heard Asmahan was dancing that was it, I HAD to go. I saw her in London last year and loved her but I’ve never seen her dance in Cairo. It wasn’t her full show with boy dancers and a grand entrance but it was still incredible. Asmahan is so powerful and her presence just fills the room, but she has a great sense of humour that goes with it. I think she appreciated two tables of excitable bellydancers, we were certainly the loudest people in the room. She got her band to play “Batwannes Beek” for us which was lovely. I had such a nice time.

Right, better leave it there because I need to head back down to find out when I’m dancing in the competition! Eeek!