Wednesday, 26 November 2014

New site

Dear dancer,

Thanks for taking an interest in my bellydance blog.

You can find out more about bellydance, classes, performances and me at my new site

Just click here.

See you there.

PS You're just one click away from the information you're looking for!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Leith Festival Halfa - Tuesday 11 June 2013

I'm really excited about this year's Leith Festival Hafla. I can hardly believe it's the third year we've had it!
Last year's poster! But this one is very similar, only the date has changed... JUNE 11TH!!
Once again I've invited some lovely dancers to come along to The Parlour Bar on Duke Street, Leith, to bring some shimmy and sparkle to the Leith Festival. Sadly the festival is a bit smaller this year, but as long as it's got some bellydance in it, I consider it to be small but perfectly formed!

This was me performing at the first Leith Festival hafla in 2011.
And this year our listing in the Leith Festival programme caught the attention of The Leither, our well-kent, idiosyncratic local publication. In the page 3 editorial, it says:

"Please allow me to indulge myself by invoking the spirit of the (never) bettered Travelling Vacuum Flask Museum from a few festivals back in offering up a few lovingly chosen leftfield choices from the 2013 programme which, I hope, tickle your fancy.

"Dance? Surely the promise of 'Cairo on Duke Street' meets all your terpischorean needs? A Hafla (get together), hosted by the wonderfully, if improbably, named, Elspeth SwishandHips, cries out for a well-choreographed stampede to the ticket office."

Isn't that nice? Although, of course, it's a free, unticketed event, so there's no need to stampede. Just turn up, grab a drink and enjoy the dancing and the atmosphere. I will be there to lead you through the evening's proceedings, teach you to cheer like a middle eastern crowd, and sell you raffle tickets for the brilliant Just Because charity.

The last two years have been packed, standing room only. So come along at 7.30pm for an 8pm start - or come later if you don't mind standing, it's very informal! and bring some money for drinks and raffle tickets. And feel free to get up and join in, if you feel inspired (but it's not compulsory!)

Hope you can come!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Twelve Months, Twelve Sentences

2012 was the most amazing bellydance year I've ever had. This year when I was lucky enough to be part of Club Bellydance and got the dance with the Baladi Blues Band, and entered my first ever bellydance competition. Can I summarise it in twelve sentences?! 

January didn’t bring any bellydance workshops my way, but I enjoyed going to my first ever hooping workshop, taught by the brilliant Ann McLaughlin; and I spent a LOT of time dancing to Alf Leyla Wa Leila, because in...
In February I was lucky enough to perform with the Baladi Blues Band, my first time ever dancing with a live band which I LOVED, as well as being invited to compere the Edinburgh University African and Arabic Dance Society’s hafla, and starting work with The Peacock Project.
I worked so hard for this performance and loved doing it!
In March, the wonderful Lorna of Cairo came to Scotland and I was to dance at her classes, organise a performance for her and generally hang out.
The Beautiful Lorna of Cairo, in Leith. With me.
 April brought another hooping workshop with Ann, and I had an excellent weekend of rehearsals with the Peacock Project, working towards and completing the choreography for our entry to this year’s Shimmy in The City competition.

May was amazing, when I rehearsed hard for and performed in Club Bellydance at The Pleasance, with the Bellydance Superstars, the biggest Bellydance gig I’ve ever been involved in, which was a brilliant experience for the dancing, the learning and the new friends I made. Oh and I ran the Edinburgh Marathon two days later! 

In June (deep breath) I taught 2 bellydance sessions for children at the PLU festival, which was really interesting and fun; I performed sha’abi style at the GFAD hafla and got a good response; organised  & performed at the rather splendid Leith Festival Hafla, which was very successful; and organised, ran and compered the Musselburgh Hafla, which was a really good event.

July brought the Big Dance weekend, which was also rehearsal weekend for The Peacock Project, and I organised an amazing flashmob in the National Museum of Scotland as well as preparing 3 of my 4 classes to perform. I also organised a performance night for Lorna of Cairo at Mimi’s bakehouse, where we all had cake for dinner!

In August I returned to full-time study after 16 years away, as I began to study for an HND in Fitness Health & Exercise at Edinburgh College. 

September was the culmination of the year’s work for the Peacock Project as we competed at Shimmy in the City, in London, which was an amazing, challenging, growing experience, and I survived the terrible disappointment of not winning.

By October I was back to teaching four wonderful classes, in Musselburgh and Dancebase, with lots of wonderful women and a lovely man. 

In November I danced with the Helwa Hurdies at a Halloween hafla and enjoyed expanding our repertoire; I compered and performed at a charity hafla at The Quay, organised by one of my students Sara Gollan, which was a brilliant night; and did lots of preparation with the Dancebase Improvers class for the Dancebase Christmas show, including extra rehearsals and costuming.

The Helwa Hurdies in Halloween dress, I Dream of Jeannie style! (if you're too young, Google!!)
December brought the brilliant Dancebase Christmas Show, where both of the classes I teach performed and did really, really well.
The lovely ladies of the Dancebase Improvers, just before taking the stage for their Golden Era tribute dance.
Wow. What with studying full time now, I don't expect to have a 2013 as jam-packed with bellydance goodies as 2012 was. But it was such an amazing year and I'm so thankful.