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London Belly Dance caught up with Arabian Dance Theatre’s producer Tara Oakley for a behind the scenes look at the company’s new show, UNDER THE SUN, which opens this Friday and Saturday at the Jackson’s Lane Theatre in Highgate. (October 2011)
Arabian Dance Theatre’s previous productions - ILHAM (2009) and UNITY IN DIVERSITY(2010) – achieved unprecedented recognition and publicity through Arabic TV channels and newspapers. The company has been featured on BBC Arabic, MBC Channel and Alamia TV, as well as Al Arab and Asharq Al-Awsat newspapers. As BBC Arabic said in 2010, "Arabian Dance Theatre [brings] Arabic dance to the entire world". “Arabian Dance Theatre is the only Arabic dance company in the UK to have so much media coverage by the Arabic media,” says Tara.
From the rehearsal studios in Fulham’s Dance Attic, Tara explained that UNDER THE SUN is the result of months of hard work and dedication by the dance company. Initially conceived by Tara earlier in the year, the show has been developed from scratch then designed, choreographed … and rehearsed, rehearsed, rehearsed! Read the full story here
London belly dancer ASMAHAN is CREATIVE CONSULTANT to Olympic champions & icons TORVILLE & DEAN on ITV'S DANCING ON ICE (23 February 2011)
London Belly Dancer Asmahan is acting as consultant to ITV's current hit programme Dancing on Ice. The theme for this week's show is "dance from around the world". One of the couples, Chloe & Michael, will be doing a belly dance number to the Kiss, Kiss song made popular in the UK by Holly Valance. This week Asmahan demonstrated about a dozen characteristic belly dance moves to Christopher Dean who then created with Jane Torville a choreography incorporating those moves.
Asmahan says: "They produced really creative & difficult movements which delighted & amazed me. They are so talented & work so hard. It was a pleasure & an honour to work with them. Chloe & Michael were fantastic. They both loved the theme. I went with them to the ice rink to give them a lesson in dance technique. Michael is a dream dancer & the most wonderful partner a girl could have."
Asmahan knows about the costumes but we won't reveal that here so as not to spoil the enjoyment of the show on the night ... Asmahan is returning to the set for the 6:30pm show on ITV on Sunday 27th. She says: "I hope this will shine a lovely light on Egyptian dance & show it in a contemporary context in another artistic medium." Here, here!
THE EGYPTIAN REVOLUTION ... A BELLY DANCER'S PERSPECTIVE (11 February 2011)
"I took a five minute walk to my friend's apartment, and could feel excitement, tension and fear in the air. This was Friday the 29th of January, the day of the second mass protests, a day that everyone knew would have a vital impact on the future of Egypt. I won't forget this day. Partly because of the mundane, everyday activities that continued, despite the revolution taking place.
" I brought my washing in with the sounds of gunfire in the background, gunfire that was used to tame the potential chaos? I got groceries from the local busy supermarket earlier in the day. Something huge was going on, politically and emotionally for Egypt, and yet everyday life continued as normal to some extent. That was the surprising thing for me. The electric atmosphere could not be ignored, however, and affected everyone.
"Now I'm back in London, I watch the developments in Cairo through the news and wait and hope to return to Egypt."
GALIT MERSAND'S BELLYLICIOUS SHOW REVIEW (October 2008) - "Fasten your bra straps, loosen your hips & hold on tight: ladies & gentlemen, Galit Mersand is in town again with her one woman show 'Bellylicious'. She is here to entertain, amuse & educate in her own unique style at the Battersea Barge - an evening's entertainment I would urge you not to miss!" London Belly Dance's roving reporter Harriet Gervasio reviews Galit's show in advance of its return to London by popular demand ...
BELLY DANCE & BURLESQUE: SAPPHIRA'S SHIMMY SHAKE SHOW REVIEW (May 2008) "'It has come to my attention that these bellydancers get an awful lot of attention, & they don't even take their clothes off!' mused Roxy Velvet, burlesque darling & compare at the Shimmy Shake Show, the first night dedicated to bellydance & burlesque in London. She is correct, but does this mean that belly dancers can't join forces with burlesque in the name of good old-fashioned entertainment?" Harriet Gervasio examines the controversy surrounding the cross-over of belly dance & burlesque, & what happens when performers from these genres join forces ...
EL TANBURA INTERVIEW (March 2007) - "Following their sell out concert at the Barbican Ramadan Nights festival, veteran Egyptian master musicians, singers, philosophers & fishermen El Tanbura return to the UK for a nationwide tour to promote their critically alcialmed album 'Between the desert & the sea'." Johara, London Belly Dance website editor, caught up with the band's founder Zakaria Ibrahim & star dancer Ali Ouf at their hotel in Hampstead ...