What On Earth Is A Hafla?

You may well ask. Indeed you may also wonder how I even know and therein hangs a tale.

It starts a while ago when I first attended the Loxwood Joust where one group of performers were a troupe of belly dancers who I thoroughly enjoyed watching. This might have led to nothing had someone not decided to give me a hip scarf for my birthday. Now a scarf covered in jangling coins is hardly something you can wear around the house so I took the hint and investigated belly dancing lessons.

I found a class on an evening I wasn’t busy less than half a mile from my house, so I went along to give it a go.

Now you’ll know I’m not a complete novice to dancing in general and indeed I even have badges to prove it but this was a completely new genre for me.

Luckily the other ladies were incredibly friendly and supportive even when I was wallying about* at the back feeling like I had two left arms (the feet are far easier than the arms I tell you).

Yet somehow after only a few lessons I was learning the steps to the dance that they were learning for the Hafla. No, I had no idea what that was and still less idea that they would turn round and encourage me to perform with them there.

It turns out a Hafla is an evening when lots of troupes of belly dancers get together to eat,  drink and most importantly dance for each other.

As part of the beginners class it was a chance to dress up and show off basically everything I’d learned up to that point and a chance to watch a lot of very talented ladies perform a surprisingly varied array of dances.

It really was an awful lot of fun. If you get the chance, you should go to one, you’d enjoy it.

*A technical term I assure you.

Seeing Grace – Show Roundup

While I usually write here about my experiences performing (in one form or another) I have been taking an increasing interest over the past year or so in working backstage. I’ve enjoyed helping out with sound and lights for various visiting performers at our local theatre but then I accidentally fell over* an advert asking for backstage crew for a production in Oxford, a show called “Seeing Grace“.

So allowing serendipity a chance I  duly offered to help out and to my amazement they said yes!

The project was a fascinating one. A challenging topic (human trafficking and prostitution) rendered through a mixture of drama and dance. Much of the cast were still quite young but all incredibly talented, hard working and professional.

My job was easy; move chairs and tables, oh and keep track of an array of props including an ever increasing amount of crumpled paper. It was, despite the seriousness of the topic, a lot of fun. There was a great camaraderie and even one night an impromptu yoga session.

The run was far too short, only two nights, but those two nights saw a show that was simply breathtaking, powerful and emotional. I’m very glad I could be part of it.

The photos are some we were able to take dring the dress rehearsal.

 *Google search results can be unpredictable but I’m certainly not complaining. If every search brought such an opportunity I’d be delighted.