Monday, November 16, 2009

Dance musings: Helm workshop

On Saturday I was lucky enough to attend a workshop with the wonderful Helm. Helm are a US based group who perform middle eastern/folkloric music tailored for belly dancers (especially ATS). The workshop was split into two groups -dancers and drummers - who worked seperately for a few hours before coming together during the last hour to work together.

In the dancers group, we worked with Ling Shien to learn different zil patterns and put them together with foot patterns to dance to their song "Hosanni Oo". At first, it was really difficult to remember the zil and foot patterns together but as the workshop progressed I really began to see how everything fitted together. The zil patterns complemented the footwork which also complemented the music. By the end of it all, things had finally managed to make sense! It was a thoroughly challenging but enjoyable workshop, and Ling Shien is a wonderfully patient and supportive teacher.

After some lovely thai food with Tracy and Andrew, we headed off to the Firewater show with Helm and Dajjah. It was amazing to be able to hear Helm live, as we dance to their music all the time in class. I was blown away by how beautiful Ling Shien's voice is - so haunting! Moirai Tribal were dancing too and at one point, Tracy and I were coaxed up to dance. It was really nerve-wracking but good fun - we even managed some level three moves!

We didn't know what to expect from Dajjah but they were really good as well. It was middle eastern music but with a truly modern slant. Hannah (whose classes I go to on a Wednesday) was dancing to their set and she was amazing. She has such a fluid style and an otherworldly look when she dances. Let's hope some of that rubs off on me!

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Escaping the city

The weekend before last, Graeme and I, along with a group of friends, headed off for a weekend in Norfolk. We were so lucky with the weather - beautiful blue skies during the day followed by crisp chilly nights.

It was so nice to escape from the hustle and bustle of London to beaches and autumn tinted woodland. When we arrived home on Sunday night everything seemed so noisy after the peace of the countryside.

It was a wonderful weekend - the combination of good company, yummy food and beautiful surroundings made it perfect!

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