Yalla Alimah Bellydance Company

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Yalla Alimah Bellydance Company

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Marius CD Launch in Kraaifontein.

Posted by tanayabellydance on March 21, 2013 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (0)

For the full story of Tanaya's day, go to www.tanayabellydance.com

I arrived about 45 minutes early, I let my seat bayack and had cat nap. I was woken sometime later by the other dancers, Gail and Johannie, knocking on my window and we all went in together. First thing, I grabbed a glass of juice and took some more pain pills.

Then we went to speak to the sound engineer and to check out the stage. Everything seemed fine. We went backstage to change into our first costumes and wait for our cue.

Someone came in and told us that we were not going to be performing on the stage as it was only for the singer and not for us, the opening act.

We went to check out the space in front of the stage. It was fine, only problem, as I pointed out, was that people at the back of the hall wouldn't be able to see us. We went backstage and waited for our cue again!

Finally it was time. While we were dancing, I realised that the lights were behind us and that the audience probably couldn't see us that well, just three silhouettes in front of the stage! We had a short break to change costumes and then we did our second set which was in between the tables.

Then Marius did his performance and we had to boogie a bit to one of his songs and then we left.

Here are some pics:

Tanaya, Johannie and Gail posing backstage!

Belly dance boogie!

Post dance pic!

Pre dance pic! A bit dark, but there's Marius in the middle.

Tanaya backstage practising a hip circle.

Fright Night at the Artscape

Posted by tanayabellydance on May 12, 2012 at 6:40 PM Comments comments (0)

On Sat the 5th May we danced at the Harem Show at Artscape. We had two time slots so we did a troupe choreo and I did a solo which I was really stressing about as I was going to be performing to Aheb Masr for the first time. We, Yalla Alimah, wore our metallic teal troupe costumes. We were dancing to The pearl in My Heart . It's the first classical style choreo that I have done. I used Hadia's module as a guide and I think it turned out really well. Anyway I like it. When I first started working out the choreo the music was quite long, 5.38min. Too long for western audiences short attention spans and also too long for shows, as there are always time contraints. So, I had it edited down to 4.28min. We've used this edited version many times and it is perfect and we know it really well.

The first thing that went wrong was that the entrance to the stage was the opposite of where we had been shown when we went to have a look previously. Then, the troupe went too far across the stage until we were on the far left instead of centre and before I could get them to correct, the music had started and we just had to make the best of it. Everything went fine and Then...we discovered, to our horror, that the music was wrong. It was the original unedited song, with a whole minute of extra music scattered throughout the song. Once I realised what had happened I started hissing directions to the others, like 'There's four of these!' and ' Three turns now!' etc. It was awful, By the time the song thankfully came to an end I was a shaky leaf! Backstage again, Muriel and Stephanie were just laughing and saying how funny it was, but Gail was quite shaken. She and I had to knock back a glass of champers to calm our nerves. Then I started worrying about my solo, what if it was the wrong song as well? The original is more than 9 minutes long, there was no way that I was going to suffer through 9 minutes of unfamiliar music. I went in search of the sound engineer. I finally found him and asked to check my song. There was no way of hearing it as he didn't have head phones, but the length looked right, so I just had to trust it was the right song. Thankfully, it was, and my new choreo went perfectly. So funny that the one I was the most worried about was fine and the other that I knew so well ended up being the scariest experience ever.

Once the dancing was over I started thinking of how this could have happened. I tried to find someone else to blame, Th theatre, the organisers, karma etc! But unfortunately I could see it was definately my mistake, but what the hell happened?

I recently got a new laptop, hmmn, let's see. I transferred all my files and folders from my old PC (os XP) to my new laptop (os win 7) Before I had a chance to get used to this new os, I had to burn a cd with my music and deliver it to Surika seven weeks before the show. Huge hurry, getting Aheb Masr edited in time, but thanks to Dylan, I managed to give Surika the music by the Mon 26th March. I also offered that If she liked, everyone could send their music to me and I would burn it onto a cd. That would save everyone having to drive for ages to deliver 1 or 2 songs. You won't believe what a mission that turned into, but that's another story. Finally 10 days before the show, Surika couldn't wait any longer and she came to get whatever music I had so far. As it turned out, just one dancers music hadn't been sent.

So...what went wrong? The only thing I can think of is, when I transferred my files and folders, Win7 organised them into libraries, (which I hate!) It also seemd to replace all my edited versions with the original versions. Which I couldn't find in my libraries. I now know that I can ignore the stupid libraries and just use my D drive with windows explorer like I used to.

The other thing that was sad was that we didn't have a dress rehearsal, I did ask but no one replied. We often don't have dress rehearsals so I wasn't too concerned about that. Sometimes the venue charges extra etc and most people have other jobs or other constraints on their time. The sound engineer told me he'd been there the whole day and we could have rehearsed :-(( If I'd known, I'd have been there like a bear!

Lessons learned:

  1. Always play music all the way through to make sure you have the right song.
  2. Get more persistent about dress rehearsals. That's where you can pick up any potential problems ahead of time.

Apart from that, it was a lovely show. Hope we get some more soon.


Double Delight Double The Time!

Posted by tanayabellydance on February 19, 2012 at 1:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Huis Zonnekus

I don't know what the correct term is, but for want of a better word, I'll just say it...Huis Zonnekus is a local old age home. The manager of the facility called to ask if I could dance for a few minutes during the function that they were having for their residents. Of course I said 'Yes.' So I asked my troupe if they would like to join me and luckily one was free that morning. So at 9.30am Stephanie and I set off to go and dance our hearts out. We were all dressed up in red and white - a la theme and so were the audience! It was very nice and I think they enjoyed it. Well, I hope they did.


Farmersfield Village

Later that afternoon I had also been asked to dance at another Valentines function at Farmersfield Village in Edgemead. Tao, Muriel and I were going to be performing, so as Tao's custume is gold, I decided that we could all wear a different colour - Tao in gold, Muriel in red and me in pink. To cut a long story short, Tao couldn't dance with us and so Muriel and I bravely set forth to dance for some more senior citizens. It was a lot of fun. they had laid a table for us with tea, cakes, sandwiches and chocolates. There was a singer going through his Sinatra repetoire and then we danced. I think we did good, they really did enjoy it and told us so frequently. The singer came over especially to compliment us on our timing and articulation and another gentleman said he'd seen bellydancers in Turkey, and that we were much better!! Wasn't that nice! I do know it is because we were doing American cabaret style, which is easier for western audiences to digest, but still, a very nice thing to hear. After our performance, they were encouraged to dance various styles amd you culd see that they would have torn up the dance floor when they were younger. No pics:-(

I do think I am a bit insane. I took a day off from a well paid job to go and dance for free, but I must say I really enjoyed it.

International Oriental Dance Festival and GWR

Posted by tanayabellydance on November 22, 2011 at 4:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Saturday the 29th we piled into my old car and went to our first performance of the weekend.

The charity function at the Rondebosch Golf Club. We were, Tao, Muriel, Gail et moi. It was lovely, we all wore our icicle costumes, (New cozzies for everyone else, so they wanted to wear them!) I've been waiting for pics to put into my blog, but so far none are forthcoming. I'll add them later. We did our 15 minute set and then were invited to have tea and cake. The guests, mostly women, loved us. It was fabulous, everyone was so complimentary and were taking my details to book us for functions, but so far not a single booking from that gig - oh well, it might still happen. Then with a huge tray of cakes and goodies we set off for the Waterfront to register and take part in the Guiness World Record. Such a pity, we were 185 short to beat the current world record, I can't remember what it is or who currently holds the title. There were some rumours going around that it had been cancelled, pretty spiteful if you ask me, and quite a few girls had left. And there were also some girls who didn't want to participate because it wasn't tribal enough for them. I could have also said that it wasn't Egyptian enough for me, but it wasn't about genre or style, it was just about numbers and solidarity. Good effort though, kudos to Marina for organising it.

The next day, Sunday 30th, didn't go so well. We were to dance at the ampitheatre, and were towards the end of the programme. Of course they were running late and of course we were the ones who had our set cut short. We were very upset about that. Didn't feel nice at all. Anyway, a few people contacted me afterwards and said we were one of the best and that it was a shame that we were cut short.

After that debacle we went to dance in the Blue Shed. I then committed one of the 7, or 10 or whatever it is, deadly sins of Bellydance! Can you guess what it was? I forgot I had some chewing gum in my mouth!!! Halfway through the first song I realised I was still chewing, horrors!! So I kind of tucked it into my cheek until we were finished. Well there's a first time for everything I guess, the other night I almost started dancing in my socks and once I swirled out into the restaurant I was dancing at still wearing my specs and wearing a yashmak!! I must have looked so funny. Luckily Aura noticed and let me know before I got too far.

Yalla Alimah on Tour!

Posted by tanayabellydance on September 26, 2011 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (0)


We had to be at CTN International at 7am Friday for our 8am Mango flight to JHB Lanseria. We booked in and divested ourselves of all our suitcases and the swords!

I had made a cardboard, bubblewrap and packaging tape parcel for our swords and canes. I was very worried that they wouldn't let us take them, but it was fine. We had to book them through oversized luggage and when they went through I had a look at the Xray screen and they looked so cute. You could clearly see the swords and faintly see the canes. Then we went off to have breakfast and wait for our flight to be called. It felt very glamourous to be there with my girls and going on tour.

(Of one city! But hey, we have to start somewhere.)

The flight was lovely, I adore flying, and take-off and landing are my favourite parts and if there's turbulence, so much the better! It had all that. We had a coffee, which we had to pay for! And wished we had some biscuits.

We were dancing Stellar on Saturday and the Pearl in My Heart on Sunday plus I was hosting some workshops and I had a stall with coin belts and the four gold costumes that Shana and I had designed and made. Ava and Symi (the organisers) had invited us to stay at their house. They have 3 cats 2 dogs and a couple of fish. Oh, and a snake!

Gail and I pulled 'advanced age' rank and bagged the double bed and bedroom and Shana and Pascaline got the couches in the lounge. We had all taken sleeping bags with us to help with the bedding situation. The problem was that we had packed for winter and JHB decided to have summer. It was lovely and warm and my lingering cough cleared up a bit, but we were definately over packed and overdressed.

Friday night Gail made the most delicious curries (one vegetarian for me and the other vege guest and the other was chicken) with poppadoms and roti's that just melted in your mouth. The other girl wouldn't have any 'cos she doesn't eat potatoes. She's also vegan.

Then we went to the venue to set up and plan seating etc. Disaster! There was a weird 6" high podium set up on the stage which was taking up more than half the available space. The caretakers of the venue never got around to taking it away so plan X had to be decided on pronto! We decided to change the seating to a 'banquet set up' and have the Souk on the stage and the performances would take place in the space in the middle of the tables. I thought it was very nice like that and I think everyone else also liked it too. Though my back was getting very painful from all the heavy lifting and carrying.

Next morning, Saturday, we had to get up bright and early to finish decorating and for me to take my workshop - "Building your Bedlah" Of course I got relegated to the back of the bakkie while a certain drama queen sat in front. Fortunately that wasn't a problem, in spite of the sore back.

I left at about lunch time to go back to my girls and get ready for the show. My friend Loraine stepped up and became our driver, manager and publicity agent. (Such a honey)

The show was due to start at 4.30 pm, but of course and inspite of the best laid plans, ended up running about 30min late. All the dancers were waiting and changing in the the "changing room." we were number 22 in the programme so had a long wait until we were due to go on. A photographer, Raven Photography or some such, had set up an impromptu studio on the one side of the "changing room" near the door. All the studios were lining up to have their pics taken, us included. The photographer was a woman. Later we could go on their site and buy the pictures if so desired.

Finally it was our turn to go on and we Rocked! Fabulous applause and loads of compliments. Yay! All our hard work is paying off.

After the show was over, we wanted to change. We had noticed that there was a man footling in and out of the "changing room" during the course of the show and he was hanging around at the end, when we wanted to change. I went over to the photographer, 'cos he seemed to be with her, and asked if he would mind stepping out while we changed.


Madam photographer told me that he is a professional photographer and either we can get undressed in front of him or go wait our turn in the toilet!! Such rudeness. I then asked if he could at least turn his back and not blatantly ogle us while we were changing. She absolutely refused and was about to make much of it until eventually he went out anyway. I am so disgusted at her attitude that I won't buy the photo's, even if they turn out to be the best ones ever.

Which I doubt.

We left after that to take Pascaline to Ava & Symi's house so that her lift could take her to the airport - she had to leave early and wouldn't be dancing with us on Sunday. And then we all went to Frattelli's, where I had the best pizza ever since La Lanterna in Yeoville many, many years ago.

Sunday morning I was up bright and early to go and teach my next workshop, Bedazzling Your Bedlah, and then Loraine picked me up to go and fetch Shana and Gail to go to her house and relax for the afternoon.

We got ready there and had a little practice in her garage and then it was time to go back for the show. This time we were number 26 in the programme. The

hated photographer was there again. We had to change surrepticiously behind our veils with men standing at the door, obviously staring and trying to see as

much naked bellydancer as possible. Urgh!

The problem with Sundays show was that as each act completed their performance, they'd pack up and leave, so by the time we went on there were much less audience than at the beginning.

Very Poor Sports.

I was cheering like anything for them, but when it was our turn to dance they weren't there to return the favour.

One of the preceeding acts had a complete exhibitionist as the teacher. This woman wanted to look through a window to see the preceeding acts so she tried to climb a tree! In her satin costume! (and you know that stuff hooks and pulls threads like anything) She clumsily hoicked herself about a foot up the tree, (I was actually too embarassed for her and couldn't bear to watch!) and then afterwards, about 5 minutes before she was due to go on, she pretended to notice that one of her dancers costumes didn't have armpit holes so she ran around the food vendors looking for a knife. She found a bread knife with which she proceeded to gash holes in the armpit area. (Like any one would have noticed that one of the cozzie's didn't have holes.) She said it was for ease of movement. Ok, granted. But surely...? Ava would have complained that she couldn't lift her arms at one of the fittings? Rubbish, she just wanted attention.

Afterwards we had to pack up again and this time I could really feel the strain, I noticed that a certain drama queen avoided doing as much as possible and slowly just packed her stuff.

Then we went back to the house to pack for our early morning flight and have some supper. I had my left over pizza from the night before and 'the vegan, potato avoiding' person ate a huge plate of the previously rejected potato and lentil curry!


We chuckled about that for days afterwards. She's so fake.

Next morning at 4.00am Gail and I had to get up and Ava and Symi took us to the airport to catch our early morning flight back to CTN.

Home sweet home, and my horrible cough came back within hours of landing. Oh well, c'est la vie.

3rd Asmahaan Show, Erin Hall, Rondebosch.

Last Saturday, 10th Sept, we were dancing at the Asmahaan Show, organised by Surika. There were 4 of us this time, Tao, Pascaline, Gail et moi.

I did The Pearl in my Heart as a solo and the troupe would be doing Stellar+. We have 3 variations of Stellar;

1. Without sword

2. With sword

3. Either of the above (+ drum solo bit - N.M.C)

Surika had given me 8min, so I decided to do Stellar with sword and my solo. I emailed her the music files 6 weeks ago and heard nothing further. On Saturday morning I emailed her and asked for the line-up. She replied that there was no line-up and that it was going to be alphabetical.

We arrived and were chatting with other dancers and friends. Nadia asked if I'd handed in my cd. So I said that I didn't have to 'cos I had emailed the music previously. Then Nadia told me that Surika hadn't been able to download all the music so she had asked everyone to bring a cd. Except me!

Fortunately I had packed a cd, just-in-case! Also she had put my solo and my troupe dance together on the Not aphabetical line-up. So I wouldn't be able to change. Anyway, Nadia said we could swop places in the programme and I could go first, then her, (while I changed) and then my troupe. Perfect. It all went super well.

I am very proud of my troupe. They have been put on the spot a few times and almost never know what to expect with regards to the stage/dance area etc, but every time they manage to pull it off!

Success in High Heels (and bellydance costumes!)

Posted by tanayabellydance on September 6, 2011 at 5:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Weel, (hmmn, my Scottish tourettes is acting up again!)

WELL, what a fantastically busy week I've had. First of all Yalla Alimah was booked to perform at the Success in High Heels function at Bromwell House in Woodstock. What a lovely building. I went there at about 3pm on Thursday to check out the dance area and do a sound check.

It's got a little bistro downstairs and the rest of it is a boutique just filled with gorgeous things. Artwork, designer clothing, vintage and designer furnishings - stunning stuff! Due to the weather taking a sudden turn for the worse the whole party had to be transferred into the bistro area and the marquee outside was abandoned. Space was therefore suddenly at a premium. I told them what we needed, minimum, and went home to get ready and pack.

When we arrived, we could see immediately that there wasn't enough room for us to dance. Guests were encroaching invasively into our designated dance area. Panic!! I spoke to the organiser and we decided that when it was time for our performance, we would ask some of the audience to stand and move back a bit to give us a bit more room. It's only for about 15 minutes - should'nt be a problem?

Then we went upstairs to change and wait for our cue.

I had decided that I would start it off with a solo, then the troupe would do a drum solo while I changed into my troupe costume and then we'd all do Stellar with sword together. Ha ha ha! Best laid plans... First thing that went wrong with that was that I forgot my sword. I remembered everyone elses! Then I realised that I'd also forgotten the wax, which helps a little with balancing the sword on our heads. (It's like rosin for circus horses backs) Then we saw the teeny tiny little space that we had for dancing and agreed that we could seriously hurt someone if we dropped or knocked a sword off. So swords were off the menu!

You know what? It actually went well. My solo was without mishap. I did notice a certain unpleasant stickiness about the floor, but, it wasn't unbearable. Then Yalla Alimah danced the drum solo and then I joined in for Stellar. There wasn't time for me to run upstairs to change into my troupe cozzie so I had to wear my red solo costume. Fortunately I am middle front, so I'm sure it looked ok. Just as well we scrapped the swords. We were bumping elbows and shoulders as it was, the swords could have been fatal! When we were finished we all trooped upstairs for some pics, champers and to change back into mufti.

Then we had to dash home to pack for our early morning flight to JHB.

Belly-Ring Haffla and Lost in Gugulethu!

Posted by tanayabellydance on August 24, 2011 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (0)

On our way back from the Haffla, which was lovely by the way, my GPS got us horribly lost and confused in "Gugs' of all places. We were going through red lights and panicking behind Taxi's. It was awful. Turns out the GPS was set on 'shortest route' which means it tries to take as direct a route as possible, never mind how dodgy the neighbourhood. Muriel was giggling nervously in the back seat, Gail was praying, and Steff had her head between her knees. I was fighting all my fight/flight instincts (though they were screaming at me to drive in the opposite direction to what the GPS was saying!) just as well I won that fight - I would have been completely wrong. Turns out we were in the road  (in Gugulethu!) parallel to the N2, so things wern't as dire as we had first thought. Vanguard Drive has never looked so safe and classy before, ever! The whole way home, I felt as though I was being chased.

When we got home Gail and I had to have a coffee with a stiff shot of whisky for our nerves.

Funny thing then happened, 'cos we were joking about almost dancing in Gugulethu, We've been asked to perform for a church function in Bishop Lavia(which I believe is right next door! Tee hee hee!!)