Last chance for Australia’s most awesome Middle Eastern Dance and Music Camp!

“99 workshops, 22 teachers and the chance to dance and play music all day and night for 5 nights and 4 days – plus the most delicious food, great people and absolutely stunning surroundings. “
Does it get better than that!  😉
The camp is already in full swing but there is still the weekend to go and believe me this camp is worth the effort. If you didn’t book the full camp this year, you could check it out this weekend and know why you should book the whole thing next time around!
Day ticket options give you 3 meals and 1 night accommodation with your ticket for only $185. (All meals (including morning and afternoon teas), accommodation, workshops, concerts, fire-side jamming and unlimited FUN! )

Ayelet-Cabaret1

I have only managed to get to this camp once but it was amazing. Unlike most belly dance festivals, you are all in the one spot, same accommodation, same place to eat, etc. That means instead of just a quick ‘hi and bye’ and sharing a few laughs in the workshops, you get to really spend time with your fellow students and teachers. Because of the music element being involved it means that it is not just a big oestrogen fest. I don’t mind girls only events but it is so rare in the belly dance scene that an event has more than a token male,  I think it is a pleasant change to be able to collaborate with male energy as well.
It’s also one of the very few places you can get Mizmar lessons in Australia!
It’s held at Natural Bridge in Queensland (just over the NSW border) so if you live anywhere within a few hundred kilometres then do yourself a massive favour and go for a drive this weekend. I will give you more notice for the next one dear readers but thought I should let you all know now so you can research up the next one if you don’t live near enough to go have a look.
If you are a dancer that is not from Australia but was thinking of heading over here for whatever reason then this camp s a great choice. You will be able to do so much and there is no need sort out all the logistics – just the transport bit and even lifts from the airports in Brisbane and the gold coast can some times be arranged for you if you book in advance. Everything else is taken care of. I even took my family when I went. My kids had a great time as did I.
All the info can be found on the website www.medamcamp.org.au
The camp is a not-for-profit community event and run by volunteers – they’re just in it for the smiles!

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World Belly Dance Day Bellingen Australia 2013

Jade Belly Dance was again proud to be involved in World Belly Dance Day activities for the 5th year in a row! world belly dance dayFor those of you that are not in the Belly Dance scene or are yet to hear about it, World Bellydance Day is an event started in 2008 by the lovely Lydia Tzigane (Dubai) to promote “the idea that belly dance is an ART form, a cultural event, a sport, and a social and family entertainment.”, “Our task is to show how nice it can be, that it is a lovely dance not necessarily done only in nightclubs or restaurants. It is an art form that brings lots of people together, of different ages, nationalities, countries, backgrounds, religions.” It is always the second Saturday in May and all money raised from events is to go to charity.

Grandstanding!

Grandstanding!

When I stumbled across the World Belly Dance Day website back in 2008, I just knew it was something I had to be a part of. I went to the other dance teachers I worked with and the first World Belly Dance Day Bellingen was born! Since then the organising has been taken over by Shekhinah but my dancers are always happy to join in.

We have been blessed with outstanding weather for the last 4 years and it has been a predominately outdoor event working in with the local produce market. Last year it was so hot (despite being late autumn) that I actually got a sunburnt belly!

vicki tracey vicki

Photo by Vicki Carroll

This year it couldn’t have been more different. It was cold and rainy and we huddled under the grandstands trying to stay dry. The parade got replaced with a mini jam inside the nearby Hall. The performances all went off without a hitch though and a good time was had by all despite the last minute relocation.

Children Khaleegy dance

The gorgeous Khaleegy dresses. Thank you Lydia and World Belly Dance Day. Photo courtesy of Raqs Reflections

Some of the girls from my Bellingen kid’s class got to perform their Khaleegy dance wearing the costumes that they won from last year’s World Belly Dance Day. The photo of the finale of their dance to Abl Ma Anam won them best group photo and a set of child sized Khaleegy robes.

Thank you again Lydia! They are all so proud of themselves.

Some of my senior girls from Dorrigo danced a Tajik piece and the lovely Lyn performed her comedy solo – a piece that starts off as a very old school classical Egyptian piece and somehow ends up as Gangnam Style!

Belly dance Tajikistani

Tajik inspired dance number!

Much to my delight, last year’s bellynesian piece generated so much enthusiasm that we did it again – but this time with more students and fancier costumes. The costumes were thanks in part by the work of the wonderful Joanne Ware that made 12 modified grass skirts while suffering pleurisy. Jo we love you! We were asked by many audience members to do a longer piece so rest assured we have a much bigger bellynesian piece in the making (this time to live music!!).

Polynesian / belly dance fusion

Original photograph courtesy of Solveig Larson

As always when you perform at these events you inevitably miss the opportunity to watch many dances (while changing costumes etc). I loved all the dancing and enjoy watching anyone that gets up and has a go. Of the dancing I saw there were some great pieces performed by members of different schools, 3 were particularly memorable for me – including Houda’s Arabesque Belles who performed for the first time ever!!!!! Yep, they are a non performance based class but they decided to dance this year and were sensational to a live version of Lamma Bada.  All in white with well timed sufi twirling, simply hypnotic.

Saidii cane dance belly dance

Susan in full flight!! Awesome stick dance. Photograph courtesy of Raqs Reflections

Susan’s stick solo – OMG! I tried so hard to get a good shot of her but she was moving so much the camera couldn’t focus on her. Thankfully I have gotten permission to use photos by Raqs Reflection to illustrate this comment. Talk about being in the zone. I have known this women for 10 years or so and always thought she was a lovely dancer but this was the best I have ever seen her dance – actually I would say that she was the stand out dancer of the day. So much energy and joy.

My third pick of the day was the bollywood fusion number by Ruth Maitland’s Awalim class. I have also known these ladies for well over a decade and danced with them many times. Their piece was not strictly belly dance but so colourful and so much fun it was my favourite piece I have ever seen them dance. Truely  inspired choreography.

bollywood belly dance

Ruth’s Awalim class performing a bollywood number. Photograph courtesy of Solveig Larson

A big thank you to all the people that made World Belly Dance Day Bellingen possible – the schools, teachers, organisers, videographers, photographers, parents, partners, children and audience. Also, G’Day and thank you to all the beautiful people that joined in with events around the world. I can’t wait to read about your performances, so don’t forget to send Lydia your reviews. Without all of you there would be no World Bellydance Day.

Finally I have to thank my glorious dancers for all they give to me. You are such a wonderful caring group. I am honoured to know you all. You will always be my ultimate favourites. I have loved watching each one of you grow and develop in this wonderful dance form.

Love to you all,

Jade Belly Dance

Me! Photo by Vicki Carroll

Jade

Please email me at jadebellydance@hotmail.com if you have any photos or video of World Belly Dance 2013 in Bellingen. I would love to see them. Did you participate in World Belly dance Day? Please comment below.

August Hafla Pictures

Another fun night was had by Jade Belly Dance members at Sacred lotus’s August Belly Dance Hafla. It was held at Club Coffs (Catholic Club) and people travelled far and wide to dance, including my own dancers that travelled as far as Dundurrabin. There was a diverse mix of acts with Tribal, Gothic, Oriental, Khaleegy, Bellynesian, Baladi all represented and that’s not to mention all the props! Fan veils seemed particularly popular but canes, shamadan, swords, daggers and wings all made appearances. (Click to see larger images)

It was the first time performing on a stage for many of my dancers and they did admirably. The mother’s dance went over a treat. The Dorrigo girls had been rehearsing the number on their own and did soooo well. I had forgotten to go over professional exists though, so they finished and were smiling and hugging each other on stage! It was so cute and their happiness spread out to the audience. I never would have planned an ending like that, but they totally got away with it with their enthusiasm. You just HAD to love them. A bit of glitch happened with our Bellynesian performance though, our dance starts with us on stage in place but the music came on before most of the girls had even set foot on it. I had to run forward and start a shimmy but it put my 2 brand new dancers off a bit to have to run into a dance and they felt disappointed. They did OK though. That’s just performing for you! You have to be ready for anything.

A nice touch was Tarab playing Middle Eastern Rhythms at the half time intermission for people to get up and have a dance to.

As usual with organising students, costume changes, etc. I didn’t get to see all the acts. I really liked the fan veil piece by Bellylicious bellydance and Masana’s group had to get first prize for most original costumes for their Elvin Army piece! Must have taken ages to create them.

Thank you to all the dedicated dancers that performed, to Kylie and her volunteers for putting on a lovely evening,  and to Jamie MacInnes for being a pack horse, photographer and videographer…again! love Jade xxx

Stay tuned! Great posts on:

  • inspirational videos for junior dancers,
  • food for travelling dancers (gluten-free!),
  • free online bellydance classes – which ones are the best and a whole lot more.

Comment below if there is something belly dance related you are dying to read about.

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