I’m aware that it’s ages since I’ve last written. Somehow life – and dance – just got in the way. But it’s been a joy to immerse myself in dancing and teaching over the last few months as it’s what I love most.
Johara Dance Company's ‘Elemental’ tour is now well underway and on Saturday we did a show at the Bloomsbury Theatre, London. Whereas on previous occasions, we relaxed into the performance, this time we were all affected by nerves. The combination of performing in front of our ‘home crowd’ and knowing that the performance was being videoed made everyone edgy. And speaking for myself, I don’t think it was my greatest performance. That said, it was great to get such effusive feedback from dancers and teachers I really admire such as Maggie Caffrey (pictured below with partner Jacques, Sharon Gordon and Kathak teacher and performer, Sushma Mehta) and Heather Burby, as well as from friends and family. We knew that this show was breaking new ground but I think the audience was surprised by it. Jo Wise should be congratulated for taking the dance in such a radically new direction. Like other company members, I feel really privileged to be a part of the experience.
This month I’ve also been crossing the UK to teach workshops. I had a lovely – though wet - weekend in Cornwall teaching Bollywood for Liz Newman, and the following week taught a Bollywood workshop in Stirling for Warda before going to the weekend at Ford Castle, organised by Farida Dance.
One of the things I love most about this dance is catching up with old friends – as well as making new ones. At Ford it was as though my dance history was flashing before my eyes; I first met Sara Farouk over fifteen years ago and haven’t seen her much since; Tracey Gibbs was one of the first dancers I ever met, and Anne Kingston, Kay Taylor and I, well, we go back an awfully long way too. And I enjoyed spending some time with Charlotte Desorgher, whom I’ve only met fleetingly before.
The atmosphere at Ford is always great, with everyone up for enjoying themselves. Kay and I spent much of the time doing the final assessments for teachers on the last JWAAD Diploma Course. It was great to see how they had all evolved into such good teachers, each with their own individual teaching style.
I did teach some workshops myself – my take on the Bambuteyya (aka as the Drunken Sailors Dance – not I hasten to add the official description!); Cairo Goes to Hollywood (aka as Camping it Up with Confidence) and Samba Reggae Fusion. I don’t think I’ve ever had such fun teaching – largely due to the enthusiasm with which the women threw themselves into all of the classes.