Burrito date number 25 was all about belly dancing. From belly dancing classes, to performances to the different types of belly dancing; traditional, tribal, fusion to name a few. All because Gillian loves belly dancing.
Gillian lives with Claire (burrito date number 3), and it is through Claire that we arranged this date. Around the first Sunday every month Gillian’s school Meilssa Belly Dance, put on a performance for the public in Archangle on High Street Kensington. As Gillian had to take part in dress rehearsals we met for a burrito earlier that afternoon instead.
The burrito part was enjoyable; we were both relaxed and got on well. Gillian works for the department of education, she recently finished a masters degree in anthropology development, or something like that. She’s is interested in development in third world charities. The conversation quickly moved on to her hobby though. I tried not to come across as ignorant, but really wasn’t too well up on the latest trends in belly dancing. That was about to change. Gillian teaches, and practices 4/5 times a week. She took up belly dancing 2 ½ years ago, and is now part of a semi-professional ‘troop’. Supposedly it is very difficult skill to master. After the burrito in Angel, I left Gillian rehearse and joined her again later.
Gillian suggested I take part in one of the classes beforehand. I brought my flatmate Rick along, and when we got there, we had a drink instead of the class! There were a lot of people there. Gillian and her friend Laura did their best to prepare us. Gillian and Laura’s troop were up first, (not anyone can do this by the way, the girls needed to audition to be part of this troop). Their set included a combination of different styles. The performance was entertaining and finished with a lot of energy. I can see why they need to practice so much, they really could move, they use their hair as a prop and fling it around! Unfortunately it was too dark to capture a decent video, but both Rick and I were very impressed.
Gillian and Laura joined us for the rest of the show, which went on from approx. 8pm to 10pm. The whole thing was an eye opener, an insight into a very vibrant niche community. The professional BabyBliss girls finished off the night with a spectacular show led by Melissa who runs the school. Belly Dancing originated in the Middle East and North Africa, it is said to have been a courting dance and as exercise for females. There are many western influences now, and Shakria has really brought it mainstream, many of the songs were contemporary R&B and Pop songs. The costumes were a variety as well, from traditional to more modern where the girls would make pieces themselves. A Turkish guy who played the percussion finished off the show with a solo piece, and some of the girls improvised.
Yes, this post reads like an introduction to belly dancing, but I am literally writing all that I learned. I had a good time though, and I doubt it will be my last belly dancing experience!