UK Events for 2014

Lots of things happening next year! Budgets will be strained, but there’s so much interesting stuff that we will be spoilt for choice.

In no particular order:

  • Orient Expressions will be running their bi-monthly event with workshop and hafla, starting in February with a shabi choreography
  • Sat, January 11th, 13:30: Firewater Presents Shakti Dance Workshop with Mishaal, in London. Details here (Fusion)
  • January 24th-26th: ATS Residential in Cambridge; ATS but all 45 places already taken
  • February 8-9th: Through the Looking Glass Choreology intensive with Hilde Canoodt in Brighton, all places taken
  • Feb 28th – March 2nd: Majma Dance Festival in Glastonbury (all styles)
  • May 2nd to 5th: Tribal Remix in Brighton
  • July 18th to 22nd: Silvestre Technique Intensive (contemporary technique), in Brighton
  • July 25th to 17th: Gothla UK (Gothic Fusion); more details at
  • August 30th to September 2nd: Kristine Adams’European Tour, From the Belly of a Traveller” (ATS), in Devon
  • September 20th: Kristine Adams’European Tour, From the Belly of a Traveller” (ATS), in Essex, more info at
  • September 26th to 28th: ATS Residential
  • Octboer 28th to November 2nd: Infusion Emporium in Wolverhampton (Fusion); Soul Movement Intensive with Rachel Brice, Ashley Lopez and Samantha Emanuel, and a weekend of workshops and show to follow; details at
  • November 14th to 18th: Devi Mamak Workshops in Essex (ATS); register interest at

Soul Movement Flyer


(note: this post was scheduled for December 17th, and I’ve been having trouble with WordPress not publishing it or anything else since… I’ll try to fix this and release the posts slowly, but since I need to re-do them, it will take a while)

comedy bandageI’ve been a little bit quiet, and it’s been for good reason. In November, I got minor surgery on one of my toenails, which has dealt with a long-standing ingrowing toenail. I kept thinking that it wasn’t really affecting me, but seeing that right now, the position of my toe has changed completely and I am more stable on my feet than I have been since last year, I’d have to say that I was wrong. Sadly, as part of the recovery process, I’ve had to stop attending ANY classes since late October,and if you need to ask why, just take a look at the photo on the left.

This of course has caused me to pretty much climb up the walls. No dancing? Awful! I wouldn’t wish it on anybody, but I understand it’s for my own good, so I’ve been following the doctors orders to the letter. They told me I could slowly ease back into dancing, but shouldn’t attend classes until the area is fully healed. And since I also couldn’t even remain seated at the computer for too long, I took to finishing costume projects, as might be obvious by the amount of costuming updates that I’ve done.

Once I got to a stage where I was comfortable walking, I started practicing a little bit. No more than 15-20 minutes at a time, with long intervals in between. Not a lot, really, but it was almost enough to work on what has become my very first solo, doing my own choreography to Natacha Atlas’ version of “I Put a Spell on You”. I’ll post more information soon, along with a video and hopefully choreography notes, if I can turn them into something coherent and understandable to others.

So overall, it’s been a rather quiet couple of months where I’ve concentrated on healing, and on keeping the stupid dressing on. It’s also showed me that *any* sort of issue with the feet needs to be looked at asap… life would have been a lot easier if I’d had the surgery done when it was first suggested 18 months ago, and probably my ankle injury wouldn’t have been that bad or taken this long to heal -and is still doing, by the way. So, the moral of the story is, don’t ignore feet issues, or even toenail issues, they might be affecting far more than you think!

What happens now? I have to wait until this finishes healing -hopefully a couple of weeks more-, although I’ll try to keep dancing at home, and I’ve got a new choreography that is starting to take shape in my head. I’m going to restart ATS and Fusion classes in January, hopefully, and should get back to Egyptian practice in the New Year too. I am also attending an ATS residential weekend by the end of January. As for costuming projects, I’ve got three immediate concerns: a gift for a friend, a bag for transporting my sword to said Residential, and a cover-up to use at the Residential too, which, right now, is planned as a Ghawazee coat in black crushed velvet, using the leftover trim from my Silver and Black bra and belt. The list after that includes a couple more practice and performance tops, and three pieces using an amazing cherry brocade: a bra, a belt, and a Turkish vest, where I’d like to start flexing the embroidering muscles I re-awaken with the medallions on the Teal set. And in terms of dancing, I want to focus on recovering and improving my practice schedule and stamina from before the forced break. Not bad for new year’s resolutions, right?

Finished teal costume

Finished Teal Costume

Finished Teal Costume

Last weekend I attended Orient Expressions’ Hafla, and managed to secure a performance spot. I’ll go over the performance on a separate post, with a video included and notes on the choreography, but right now I wanted to show off the finished teal costume. Click on the photo on the left for a bigger image.

I created a mermaid skirt in teal stretch velvet using the method/pattern outlined here, and although this time the bottom part is fuller, there’s still no real train (mental note for the future: raise the front, but leave the back train). The skirt used 3 metres of fabric, and the leftover scraps gave just enough fabric for a matching short-sleeved choli, which should come handy if I use my sea green Devadasi Designs skirt, or if I want a slightly more covered look.

You can also see how the Czech crystal hip drapes worked on the belt and bra. There was a small malfunction of one of the drapes when the link attaching them to the belt burst open; I’ll have to replace them with a double-ring.

The whole costume was tied together with the help of this bolero from Belly Dancing Direct (review coming up!), and one of their body stockings, although I am thinking of getting a long sleeved underbust bodystocking to use next time with this and a couple of other costumes I’ve done or I’m making.

Overall, I am extremely pleased, and my only regret right now is that I didn’t step out of my comfort zone with the decoration enough to take it to the next level. I would still love something in peacock colours, and might just have to approach it again from a different angle after I’m done with the projects list. What do you think?

Old School ATS belt and bra set, part 2: the making

Silver and black bra Work in progressNow that I had all the bits together, it was time to start assembling. I first decided on a set decoration pattern to use for both bra and belt, using the braided black and silver trim for the top edges, followed by the rectangular Kuchi trinkets, then the Turkomen dangling buttons. It took a while to decide how to arrange those as they were not all the same, but in the end I settled on an 8-small-1-big pattern for the belt, and all jewelled ones for the bra. Silver and black bra close-upI flattened the few mangled trinkets using pliers, and for the bra, removed all the original stones and replaced them with AB Swarovskis in Cobalt and Siam to add more sparkle. The Turkomen buttons have the loops inside the domes and are rather difficult to attach directly, so I opted for stringing them on a double rattail cord before attaching the cord itself to the pieces.

Silver and black belt detailThe process was simplesimple but laborious, using extra-strong Gutterman thread. It didn’t help that I run out of the special thread after just finishing the first cup of the bra, and had to wait a few days to get more. Since both items had the same design, the process was roughly the same for both. The braid consists of 9 separate strands, so to keep it attached properly I had to sew it by hand, making sure top and bottom loops were sewn, and that the stitch also secured the strands passing under the top strand. On the belt, I sewed the trim using the machine, but on the bra cups, I had to do it by hand, in both cases making sure I kept to the very edge of the trim to avoid obscuring the silver design. Then added the rectangle metal trinkets. After these, I attached the 4-strand braided cord to each end of the belt, making sure it was firmly in place by stitching both sides of the cord for each loop, to prevent it from breaking off, as the final result would have quite a bit of weight. Then I added the Banjara mirrors to each end, and continue on adding the threaded Turkomen buttons to each piece, with a spiral stitch holding the cords in place and limiting the sideways movement of the buttons.

SIlver and black belt, ends close-upAt this point, I focused entirely on the belt. I lined the inside with a piece of black polycotton broderie anglaise, then picked a couple of tassels, sewed them to the fastening cords, and finished it all off with some Moroccan Mozumas to add a bit of extra metallic sparkle to it. But I still had 8 tassels left, so I used the leftover rattail to make another 4-stand braid, then knotted the tassels with their long cord, and sewed them in place, then added two small bits of cord to the inside of the belt to knot this tassel cord in place. This way, I can use it or remove it as needed.

Silver and black belt and bra, work in progressThe cost of the whole set came roughly to £60, but needed 40+ hours of work. Nearly all of the metal trinkets came from Birgiss Bellywear, the lovely trim was bought from Grand Bazaar, a Turkish manufacturer via Ebay, and the rattail, braid and cord were also eBay finds. Considering a typical “vintage Kuchi belt” at several places starts at £30 or so, and with my hips I’d need two of them to assemble something with the coverage of this one, and would still require all the work, I don’t think it was that bad. Even less when taking into account that bra cups are exactly to my measures and with the right support, straps won’t dig into my shoulders, and back band fits perfectly too. And it means that now I’ve got a rather “traditional” ATS set that I can wear with all my skirts, without worrying that the trim or stones or base colour of the belt will clash with any of colours of my wardrobe. Granted, I’ve removed all of the colour that the belts can add, replacing it with an abundance of sparkle and metallic detail, but my skirts are all rather intense colours anyway.

I am, overall, extremely pleased with the results, and I can’t wait to wear the lot. I hope I can take some photos with a full set soon enough, my idea is to use these two with black and white loons, layered sea-green and purple 25-yarders, the ivory and silver flowers shawl I crocheted a few weeks ago, and the purple stretch velvet choli I made and wore for the ATS World Wide Flash Mob. And of course I can’t wait to see how it will look with a mermaid skirt, or some ruffled or tribal dance trousers. SIlver and black belt, finished

%d bloggers like this: