28th March 2017
After a difficult end to 2016, 2017 has been much kinder on the whole. My highlights thus far: The JWAAD courses which I absolutely love teaching. They are very intense but I love the mentoring aspect of them and seeing the participant blossom.
Cairo in February – saw so many amazing dancers and, as it was a small group, had time to bond with all the girls. Shimmy by the Sea – my first time at this festival on the South coast. I love the fact that Chloe was inspired by her weekend at my event at Ford Castle (Now Borwick Hall). In her turn, Chloe has inspired my to make a few changes this year …. watch out Borwick regulars……
28th December 2016
What a terrible year for deaths … so many celebrities seem to have gone this year. Then, closest but not unexpected, Stus mum, Annie Sharp. A great lady who had had a good innings and passed away after 92 independent years …. just the last one in a home which she hated. The one that has really stopped me in my tracks is Pauline Qu. I wasn’t a close friend but we connected at various events and I had a huge amount of respect for her as a dancer and teacher. My heart goes out to Asif and the family. When someone like Pauline dies, I truly believe that they have touched so many peoples lives and made such a difference, that they will live on through their deeds.
Onwards and upwards – 2017 is looming – I hope all my friends, family, students and fellow dancers have a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year.
7th December 2016
Where has the year gone? I do prefer being busy as there is the potential to get up to all sorts of mischief if I get bored! But there is also a balance.
I love teaching the JWAAD accredited courses ….. they challenge me as a tutor as well as the students in ways that ordinary workshops do not. I also love the fact that more tutors are getting involved and am particularly pleased that Hilde Cannoodt and Yasmina of Cairo are joining the team.
Check out the JWAAD website for courses: Click here to have a read
I went to my first Gin Festival with Christine …. loved it. I am a gin fan …… my current favourite is Masons Lavender gin! And on a foodie front, had a real treat and went to L’Enclume in Cumbria ….. a great experience.
I find technology amazing and frustrating in equal measures. Particularly Facebook – I love to have a play and post nice pictures, tag people in, connect with loads of folks I wouldn’t otherwise. But I also find it can be a vehicle for attention seeking, chain posts …. and diatribes which can be a bit hurtful to some people. I try and stick with positive things in life … it creates a much better energy.
I have updated the events page – and am teaching at a few places around the UK this year. I am very excited to be taking the Farida souk to Bristol ….. and going to Shimmy by the Sea for the first time. We also have our regular residential course at Borwick Hall at the end of May ….. and of course Dance and Dine at Ponden in September. These are all in the Dance Diary. Hope to see you at some event somewhere…..
1st June 2016
Yvette, the Big C …. and perceptions…..
Many of you know Yvette Cowles – all round amazing person who has lived for nearly 20 years with breast cancer but has never let cancer define who she is. On an interview with Victoria Derbyshire, she and another cancer bearer, Katy, discuss their perception versus some other peoples. I have an underachieve thyroid and take thyroxin – but that isn’t who I am ……. so why should cancer be the determining factor in peoples lives? As Yvette says, no one knows what might happen tomorrow.
Have a look at the Clip on Yvettes web site.
Yvette is also a co-director with myself, Josephine Wise and Gwen Booth of ‘JWAAD Belly Dance Training Ltd’. We were just discussing how some peoples perception is that JWAAD is a bit aloof, not inclusive. This really gets my goat (where an earth does that phrase come from?). Both Yvette and I have to be the most inclusive people on the dance scene in the UK. All of us celebrate diversity and appreciate skill, whatever the genre / style of dance. Be it Belly Dance, ATS, Fusion, Egyptian, Turkish, Folklore or cabaret. Everyone has different skill they bring to the company and we all aim to use those skills to create the best and most in depth accredited courses for belly dancers in the UK.
If you want to find out more about these amazing courses, have a read of this link: Here
Rehearsals with Helwa and the Raqsettes are both going well. You can see the premier of the Raqsettes show on 25th June at the Big Summer Shimmy:
Click here for tickets
You can join the Raqsettes Community page on Facebook: Click here…
You can join the Helwa Community group on Facebook: Click here
20th May 2016
Japan …. toilets….. wow! Buttons to press which: heated the seat, sent sprays up your front or back bottom, made fake flushing noises to hide your own natural noises. The really posh ones recognised when someone came in, the lid opened and the toilet bowl lit up. Obviously there was much more to Japan. Had a fabulous time in Tokyo and then Okinawa. A great group of girls at workshops in Okinawa – the show I starred in was sold out. An amazing experience. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly.
When I got home it was almost straight onto the Borwick weekend. It is a long time since I have laughed as much. Thanks to everyone: teachers, helpers and participants for helping create such a wonderful atmosphere.
I have my first weekend off in ages. No doubt FB will feature a few pics of me and Stu drinking alcohol again!!!!
Classes are all going well this term. Great to see lots of new faces as well as old ones. That hasn’t come out right!! As well as all my regulars, many of whom have become firm friends along the way.
Very pleased with progress of the Raqsettes show … and Helwa. You can find both of them on Facebook. The Raqsettes have got several gigs coming up including a big one for the Cultural Spring in Sunderland …. and it looks like Helwa might have a slot at the Edinburgh Fringe. How Exciting. Watch this space.
28th March 2016
Only 6 days to go until I fly to Tokyo, have a few days there then onto Okinawa to teach at a bellydance festival.
I barely seem to have drawn breath this Spring. I am working on 2 new shows. Choreographing for the Raqsettes who will be premiering their show at the Just Because fundraising hafla on 25th June. Check out the events page for details. Then also choreographing for and rehearsing the Helwa troupe. I took 2 groups to Cairo. That was fabulous – we had a great time. All the pictures are now posted on the Farida Adventures FB page. Had a lovely weekend in Manchester with Tracey Gibbs and am looking forward to her joining us at Borwick Hall to teach. And of course the JWAAD History and Culture course which II love teaching with Yvette.
It was a surreal moment when I found out, whilst in Cairo, that I had won the NADA Glitter Ball award for most Inspirational UK Teacher.
Lets hope the rest of 2016 doesn’t go downhill from here!!!
Latest – most exciting news – I am going to teach in Japan!!!! Sooooooo excited!
22nd December 2015
It has been an incredibly busy few months. We have run several JWAAD accredited courses this year – both in Sunderland and London. For the first time next year, we are running the Safety course in Lancaster. Desna Mackenzie will then be a licensed JWAAD Tutor.
Dean Villa is just about finished – all major jobs complete – thanks to Stuart Sharp. I love our home and it is great to run some of the more bijoux courses from here.
I have a bit of a break over Christmas and New Year – time to recharge batteries – and work on choreography for 2 new shows. One with Helwa! and one with ‘The Raqsettes’. Watch out for these next year.
Am very excited by plans by the JTA (JWAAD Teachers Association) to raise the profile of Belly Dance. For those of us who are passionate about our hobby, this is a great thing. The more people involved, the more events we can run and the more exciting and varied the whole scene becomes. That is my vision for 2016 …..
I hope you all have a fabulous Christmas and a happy and healthy 2016.
1st July 2015
A glorious morning – not really the right weather to have a hot pussy on my knee! But in the winter I am grateful when Suzie cuddles up. Christine and I take turns as the office isn’t the warmest of rooms!
Very excited as the tiling in the hallway should be finished this week. Stu is taking advantage of the nice weather and getting some outside jobs done.
I am looking forward to the Johara Project with Josephine Wise that starts next week. Lots of performance stuff going on this month starting with the Sunderland Showcase on 12th July – the culmination of the project. Then, on the 18th July, an outdoor performance in Sunderland city centre, followed by a showcase at Dance City in Newcastle. Sunday 19th brings another showcase at Dance City. The following weekend is Helwa Sunday on 26th July – always a good night. And then it’s Summer School – where does the time go?
7th May 2015
Having a bit of a mare trying to find a suitable theatre for ‘The Mirror’ …. but I am sure it will sort itself out. Where has the last month gone?? Looking ahead….. Ford Castle isn’t far away. A weekend of fun, frolics … oh and belly dance….. it is one of my favourite weekends of the year. I love sharing it with so many belly dance buddies ….. And several JWAAD courses coming up – which I love teaching – they push both me and the participants in new directions. Check out the events page for details.
3rd March 2015
Here I am, sat with Suzie on my knee updating the events pages. What an exciting year ahead. Do check it out. If there is anything you are interested in, feel free to give me a call. Please book in good time. I rarely cancel events but you will save me sleepless nights if you book on things early …….
Saw the Mirror at the weekend – it was fab. So glad it is coming here on 12th July ….. keep the date free……
11th Feb 2015
Where does the time go??? 1st Feb brought Yvette Cowles and Sequins on my Balcony to Sunderland – a truly special afternoon. Thanks to Yvette for making us all laugh …. and some people cry!!! The weekend just gone has been taken up running ‘The Influence of History and Culture upon Belly Dance’ in Sunderland with Yvette Cowles – then we are running the same course next weekend in London. Also looking forward to a weekend in London – not working – spending time with my Dad, friends & going to see the Johara show, ‘The Mirror’ on 1st March.
Classes have finished for the term. Time to take stock and think about the new year …… Do you remember when older folks told you how the years go by faster and faster? I never believed them …. but it is true! Actually many of those old adages make sense the older you get!
The last event of this year was Fantasia – which came to a dramatic end with Ozgen dislocating his knee cap!!! Fortunately he is home and on the mend.
Stu and I are heading off for a few days break in Edinburgh ….. it has been a very busy autumn with the music course in Sunderland, the Penrith project and several other things……. so, I feel ready for this break.
Looking ahead to next year, the first Belly Dance event is 1st Feb with Yvette Cowles and her amazing show. Check the events page for details …..
I hope you all have a fabulous festive season …. and a healthy and happy 2015 ….
Back from a great weekend at GFAD – Glasgow Festival of Arabic Dance – great bunch of women. If you haven’t been to this festival yet, you really should give it a go. And Glasgow has some amazing bars and restaurants. NOW – time to focus on ‘From Egypt to Penrith with love…’ I so enjoy running this project and creating new and original shows each time …. for a range of dancers. I have chosen the music …. just have to figure out the choreography ….
Sadly we have had a last minute cancellation due to illness …. anyone want to take advantage and join us this weekend???
Below is the translation for Batwanes Beek ‘I cherish your company’
For Dance City L3 class choreography.
6th September 2014
Gearing back up for classes after a busy summer. There was a holiday in there somewhere but it seems like a long time ago!!!! I have loved choosing music for the term, getting back into dancing and creating new pieces of choreography for the classes. It’s amazing how stiff you get!!
Lots of things coming up this term … I am running a residential weekend in Yorkshire, taking the Farida souk to Shimmy in the City in Croydon, teaching at JoY in Yorkshire and at the Glasgow Arabic Dance Festival, running the only accredited music course in the UK ‘Understanding music used in Bellydance’, a performance project in Penrith and Carlisle and trading / teaching at Fantasia in London! There is so much going on …. how do you decide? Stu has resigned himself to the fact he won’t see me at all on weekends – except for at the Glasgow weekend as we are going to have a few days before to explore the City ….
I am delighted that Helwa! are featuring in the Saturday night show at Shimmy in the City …. their London debut! Madly choreographing for that now …. and the girls will be rehearsing lots to get it really tight.
I know a few of my Dance City Intermediate girls have talked about going down to Fantasia ….. I think that would be great …. I’d put us in for the show there …. another London debut!! We’ll talk about it in class.
I am delighted the amazing Sara Farouk is coming to stay with me for a few days and I have persuaded her to teach a workshop on Saturday 8th November. If you can get to this you will learn a huge amount from this woman!!!!
Click here to book**
And – don’t forget if you want a local night out to see dancing, Arabesque Restaurant in Sunderland – last Thursday of every month …. and Helwa Sunday at Bar Loco – generally the last Sunday of every month – run by Jo miller.
AND OF COURSE, OUR END OF TERM HAFLA …. SATURDAY 6TH DECEMBER…….
23rd July 2014
An incredibly busy few weeks. Stus mum with us for 2 weeks, joined by friends for a long weekend. They left to be replaced by Yasmina here to teach the project. It was lovely to have Yvette and Moyra staying too. Monday night was the first time Stu and I had an evening without anyone else in the house for 3 weeks. Bliss. Lovely to see everyone …. but lovely when they went.
The project with Yasmina, culminating in presenting her show ‘Cairo Cocktail’ at the NADA showcase on Sunday. It has been an amazing week. A pleasure to work with Yasmina as assistant director on the show. The participants were amazing. So focussed and committed. Very proud of all my girls who were in the show …. and those that did solos were fab too. My classes also worked hard to present their dances in the first part of the show. I think my favourite part of the week though had to be our cocktail evening …… I got to indulge my hobby and created several cocktails for us all. Stu left the house for the night and went to stay with his mate Stevie……. a sensible move I feel!!!!
Onwards and upwards ….. in the glow of a successful project, I am planning one for next year with one of the UK’s top choreographers in Egyptian dance. She originally trained as a contemporary dancer and enjoys fusing East and West. This will be very different, challenging and so rewarding!!! Email email@example.com if you are interested……
7th July 2014
So proud of the Helwa Troupe. The girls hard work has really paid off. They were the stars of the Summer Shimmy at Boldon. Everyone was really impressed with their performances. All my classes were FABULOUS too. It was just me that kept messing up the music!! Sack the DJ I say …..
Saturday 12th July ….. heralds the BIG DANCE weekend. Helwa are primed and I hope lots of girls from classes will come to join us too. Unfortunately I have been telling everyone to go to The Monument in Newcastle …. but apparently we are just by the Haymarket metro station!!!
19th May 2014
The Helwa girls have been working really hard in readiness for a mini tour …… starts in Mowbray Park, Sunderland on Monday 26th May 2pm and 3pm – 2 tastes of what the girls can do …. to help promote the show and my classes in Sunderland. We were rehearsing on Sunday ….. hot, hot, hot …. the weather that is …. and of course the girls were shit hot too!!! I am so proud of how committed they all are and how much work they are putting into it.
Then it gets serious – a full show in Catterick at Phoenix House – a fund raiser for Help the Heroes on Tuesday 27th May.
Sunday 1st June …. Turquoise Restaurant, Newcastle …… you can get to see the show whilst eating a delicious meal ….. the show is 8 – 9pm. Book your table soon! 01914471070
And then, on the 7th June, a big fundraiser at Newcastle Civic Hall.
If you are interested in hosting the Helwa show, email me firstname.lastname@example.org
1st April 2014
Whatever happened to playing April Fools jokes? It seems to be a thing of the past ….. I can remember planning things to do weeks in advance …… and now no one seems to bother. Have you played an April fools joke on someone?
Really looking forward to JoY this weekend, catching up with everyone & having a fab time.
21st March 2014
Back from Cairo …. and just catching up with everything. Had a fabulous week with Candi, Karen, Moyra, Sarah, Rita & Sue …… We did so much …. those that managed to stay the course saw 11 dancers through the week!!!! Some were amazing ….. some really shouldn’t have bothered turning up for work!!! Everything from a sleazy downtown club to luxury of the Nile Maxim. The dance scene is alive and well.
There were very few tourists around…… Sue (the only one to do ‘sightseeing’) had the pyramids to herself. We were made to feel welcome everywhere we went. I have just written an article for NADA about the dancers we saw and an update on the current political situation. With lots of fab photos to go with it. Did you know that NADA also have a sponsorship scheme to help towards personal development? It really is worth joining, not only for the magazine but for the fact that it is supporting dance development: www.nada.uk.com
I spent some time with Eman Zaki & Sara Farouk …. and we came up with a new idea. People often ask how bras are made …. and about the beading work on costumes. We are going to offer a 2 day course in Costume making. How exciting is that? I am taking a group in September and it will be an optional extra. We need a minimum of 5 to run it ……. Full details are on www.faridaadventures.com
Much as I enjoyed the Cairo week, it is good to be back home …. Suzie is gently snoring on my knee as I type…..
6th Feb 2014
Inspired by Julie Thompson and her Slimming World success, Stu and I signed up for it ….. and have just been voted ‘Slimming World couple of the year’ …. Mind you, that is for the Washington Village branch …. and we are the only couple!!!!
On with Belly dance related stuff……
Exciting projects coming your way:
Sara Farouks last Stand … in Manchester …… a fantastic performance project with the inspirational Sara Farouk starting in June …. contact Tracey: email@example.com
Exciting project with Yasmina of Cairo in Sunderland
6 days of workshops culminating in a show 15th – 20th July 2014
In Sunderland. This includes at least 30 hours of tuition with Yasmina and a private lesson with Kay. This 30 minute piece choreographed & directed by Yasmina will be showcased at the NADA show on 20th July. Contact Kay: firstname.lastname@example.org
From Egypt to Penrith with Love …. ….. in Penrith
3 weekends of workshops with me … Kay …. culminating in a show at Penrith Players. The last weekend includes a session with Adam to create a tabla tableau for the show…… Contact Kay: email@example.com
Last year the show sold out and the atmosphere was incredible! Participants said they got so much from it … it was challenging but great fun!
Sooner than all of this …. I have just printed off tickets for our end of term hafla on 12th April – they are now available in class and will soon be available on line….
6th Jan 2014
Classes start again and I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone and getting back into the ‘shimmy’ of things. I have a brand new class starting in Sunderland, St Nicholas church Hall, Queen Alexandra Rd near the Barnes on Monday Jan 13th 6 – 7pm – if you’re an ‘old hand’ but fancy an extra class do come along as well
4th November 2013
Just reading facebook – it is amazing how much negative stuff there is on there. This, to me, is a public arena …. like shouting at someone across the street ….. rather than having a quiet word in their ear.
I am not saying we always have to be nice but feedback is always more effective if it is specifically targeted at the individuals concerned. I generally find that with the scatter gun approach, the people you are aiming it at won’t think it applies to them …. and those more sensitive souls who you probably do not mean, will take it to heart.
If something hasn’t worked, there is probably a whole host of reasons. Asking people for feedback can be a really good way of working out how to do it more successfully another time. This can be applied to weekly classes, haflas, showcases or even individual students.
Desna Mackenzie wrote a really good article on ‘feedback’ in the NADA magazine …. well worth a read. www.nada.uk.com
1st November 2013
The fabulous Sara Farouk is here for a few days R&R ….. but teaching private lessons to a lucky few …. in-between her R&R!!!! She was collected from the train station ON TIME after a trying journey.
Stu collected her whilst I was in the midst of a photo shoot with Jill Henderson, Sheila Wardle, Julie Thompson, Lynn Swainston and Dee (whose surname I can never remember!). More fab photos for the Farida web site.
Christine aka Her Royal Hellness is in Whitby for some Halloween madness. Heres hoping she doesn’t come back with another broken wrist!!
Very excited as our main spare room is having a carpet fitted today. I had hoped it would be ready before Sara arrived but it wasn’t to be. She can always bed hop and move in there once the carpet is down …. and the bed assembled!
I am having a dance free weekend …… but doing some planning for the Farha Festival which will be in December in Luxor. We have 2 places left if anyone fancies a week of dancing with fantastic teachers ….. in 5 star luxury on the banks of the Nile…..
JoY!!!! – 11th – 13th October 2013
We had a joyous weekend at JoY. Great to see so many friends …. both old and new. Really enjoyed teaching my classes ……. hope I spread a bit of inspiration and love of the dance to a few more girls. Our new range of cossies went down really well. Loved doing the techno number with my Dance City intermediate girls on Friday night. Exhausted but happy. And I lost 3.5 pounds at Slimming World …. must have been humping all that gear up and down the back steps at Victoria Hall…..
Fabulous Ford Castle May 2014
I’m very excited to announce that the Farida residential weekend next May is moving back to its original home of Ford Castle. Stu and I called in a few weeks ago to meet everyone and see whats been happening. There are new folks and some familiar ones still at Ford, all of them looking forward to our dance weekend. I shall be teaching and performing along with guest teachers. Keep an eye on the following link for updates Farida at Ford Castle
How did that happen? 23.7.2013
I am now one of the Directors of newly formed ‘JWAAD Belly Dance Training Ltd’ along with Josephine Wise, Yvette Cowles & Gwen Booth. We are all delighted to continue work on formally accrediting courses with the Open College Network. As well as developing the ‘Personal Development Programme’ which is designed to help dancers identify strengths and weaknesses and work on an action plan tailored to them. For more information: http://www.jwaad.com/personal_development_programme.htm
Where has this term gone??? Now gearing up for the JWAAD Summer school …. can’t wait ……
I saw Josephine Wise and Yvette Cowles at the weekend – it was the final weekend of the first ever accredited ‘Understanding Music used in Belly Dance’ course. Feedback has been really good. The next one runs in Newcastle.
Then onto the accredited History and Culture course.