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.

Hafla food idea – enough with the hummus, try Karkaday!

Instead of adding yet another serve of Hummus and flat bread to the 10 others on the table at your next Hafla, consider brewing up some Karkaday! Hibiscus tea is ubiquitous in Egypt and a refreshing drink often fondly remembered by returned travellers. Karkaday is reputed to have been a favoured drink of the Pharaohs and it is no wonder.

Karkaday from Egypt

Karkaday I bought in Egypt

An herbal tea drink consumed both hot and cold, it’s loaded with flavonoids which may:

  • Help support memory and concentration
  • Boost the effectiveness of vitamin C
  • Help promote a healthy heart and immune system
  • Support blood pressure and cholesterol levels already within the normal range
  • Help you manage weight challenges

Karkaday is Hibiscus tea, an infusion made from the calyces (sepals) of the Hibiscus sabdariffa flower. It is popular throughout the world but goes by a variety of names. In Italy, Egypt and the Sudan  it is referred to as Karkaday (spelling varies),  but elsewhere the names vary. It is referred to as roselle (another common name for the hibiscus flower), flor de Jamaica in Latin America, Chai Kujarat in Iraq, Chai Torsh in Iran, gumamela in the Philippines, bissap or wonjo in West Africa, sorrel in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, red sorrelin the wider Caribbean, and other names in other regions.

This is what the loose leaves look like.

You can buy hibiscus tea (or whatever it is called in your region) already made up as tea bags from a health food shop, herbalist or sometimes even from the supermarket. It can be served as a simple infusion (i.e. pour hot water on it) or work on an easy variation to impress your belly dance buddies. Hibiscus tea has a tantalisingly fresh, cranberry-like flavour and an attractive, deep red colour. Many drinkers like to add a sweetener like sugar to the beverage to reduce the tartness but that is a matter of taste.

Here is a suggested recipe that would give you approx. 14 cups full but you can make just one cup for yourself easily enough. Just put a small amount of hibiscus in an infuser (a use a tea bag), put it in your cup, pour on hot water from kettle and add sugar if its not sweet enough for you!

Karkaday Ingredients

  • 1 cup karkaday  loose leaves (or hibiscus tea bags if not available)
  • 1 gallon (3.8 Litres) water.
  • ½ cup Sugar (optional)
  • 1t orange flower water (optional)

Cooking Instructions

  • Boil water in a large saucepan.
  • Add karkaday.
  • Stir in sugar till it dissolves.
  • For a stronger, redder tea – Leave for an hour.
  • Drain karkaday with a fine holed sieve to get rid of leaves.
  • Either cool in refrigerator or serve hot.


“I think I could do with a cuppa while I think out my next move”

You can find other hibiscus recipes here

 No need to wait for a Hafla though, next time you need a quick way to quench your thirst, why not try the tea used by the Pharaohs?

Have you tried karkaday? What’s your favourite recipe? Hot or cold? Comment below.

 Today’s Make up Monday post didn’t happen due to internet problems I had to sort out when I should have been writing so I am posting this piece that I wrote a few weeks ago in its place. Stay tuned for more upcoming make-up posts and a piece on my adventures in Perth at the Western Australian Middle Eastern Dance Festival. Don’t forget to follow so you don’t miss out!

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