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The Collaboration

It was a good event. I just wasn't quite in the right mood for it, I think.

Firstly the drive up was a bit of a nightmare. Not the London bit (that was a doddle), but actually getting into London. I was aiming to go M25/M3, to get to Chiswick, and there on into central London and North to Swiss Cottage. I used to do that run every week, back when I was doing classes with the Raqs Sharqi Society teachers. But for some reason, the sliproad onto the M3 was at a standstill. So the section of the journey that should have taken 20 minutes, ended up taking an hour. Grrr!

I arrived much later than planned, and I'd missed the first performances (Maelle, Poppy, someone else I didn't know). But there were other performances throughout the evening. I think I'm getting all Zana'd and Ayanna'd out. I've seen them dancing far too much, all in a short space of time, and I need a little break from seeing them dancing everywhere! But I also saw Judyta, for the first time, I'm fairly sure I haven't seen her dancing before. And Zara was doing a very creditable Sha'abi. There was one dancer I don't know, and didn't catch her name, dancing to live music, who was rather dull to watch, I'm afraid, and Tara, whose dancing I'm getting to like more and more. Shafeek did a tannoura (he is such a little devil when he does it, it sure as hell ain't a spiritual thing with him!), and then Sa'aidi.

There was live music. Ali on tabla (he also got inveigled into doing a bit of stick dancing after Shafeek had finished his, and it was weird seeing him doing it. He does a lot of his dad's stick tricks!). Also Hagag Kinawi on tabla. Yes, he's Metkal's son. And Tarek Saeed on keyboard. At the start of the live music section, we also had Nissa on oud and singing. There was a rather cute Lebanese singer there (he looked like a teeny tiny Peter Serafinowicz). And finally there was Natacha Atlas. She did Mon Amie La Rose, and that was it. After that it was Arabic disco for the rest of the evening.

I wasn't really in a mood to get up and dance. I don't know whether it was just the residual bad mood from the drive in, or what, but I just wasn't in a very get-up-and-boogie kind of mood.

I felt quite alienated, I think. This was mostly a result of my expectations for the evening being false/skewed. I think I was expecting a more Planet Egypt-like experience, where there was a diversity of dancers. I never thought I'd hear myself saying this, but... I missed the crappy student dancers, the ATS or fusion dancers, the crazy WTF dancers... Tonight, all the dancers were young and pretty and slim (with the exception of Poppy, who's an older chubbier dancer). I realise this *wasn't* Planet Egypt. I realise they wanted to have a high level showcase, as the first Collaboration event. But it just made me feel that I was only ever going to be welcome there as an audience member, never as a performer. That felt a bit dispiriting.

The drive home was much better!


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 13th, 2012 03:18 am (UTC)
Random question: why does the London BD scene have so many events on weeknights? It's amazing they get anyone to show up! Here, Sat night is really the only viable night for shows and I live in a rather big metro area (not big like London, but 3 mil ain't small).
Jul. 13th, 2012 03:22 am (UTC)
Mainly because of the impossibility of finding a reasonably-priced venue on a Saturday night!

Also possibly because people working in London, and commuting from the 'burbs don't have to go very far to get to BD events on a weeknight, they're already in place, so to speak.
Jul. 13th, 2012 07:20 am (UTC)
You'd think if they were going for the 'after work' thing it would be a reason to start earlier (7ish) and bloody finish BEFORE the last tubes/trains!! The problem is none of the 'in crowd' seem to have a day job or any sympthy for those of us that do!!
Jul. 13th, 2012 12:03 pm (UTC)
It was the same with bands when I was there, for the same reasons Bea outlined below. Gigs every night, but you'd never get a Saturday till you had a following really.
Jul. 13th, 2012 08:11 am (UTC)
I read the list of performers and thought "Same old, same old", then realised I've never actually seen half of them except on youtube!
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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