Hello, April!

Hello, April! Ahh, spring. How I love you! Those bright yellow broom flowers, the cheerful daffodils, and among my absolute favorites… the magnolia trees! These days their buds are so eager to burst open into those dreamy blossoms… just a few more days before we can enjoy their full glory over here! I’m a romantic soul at heart 🙂

Those last weeks of winter had a lot in store for me, so it’s lovely to take a short breath over the Easter break.

In February I taught the first Technique Intensive in my studio. A 3 hour class which was quite… intense! I had limited the number of participants to only 9, and it was interesting to work on dance moves and mechanics with just a small group of dancers. Thanks for your dedication, ladies! bellydance technique intensive with Queenie In March, I was happy and honoured to be a guest teacher at Shimmy by the Sea, not one but two glorious bellydance weekends hosted by the fabulous Chloe Dent.

I always love visiting England, and I’m actually getting the hang of driving on the wrong side of the road, which means that my travel companion Khalida felt comfortable enough to take some pictures instead of holding her breath 😉 bellydancers queenie and khalida Of course… getting gas is part of the fun! Although this one was a perfectionist’s challenge to deal with! 🙂 tanken We were lucky to catch the solar eclipse on 20th March! I had already given up on seeing it, being on the road on a grey and cloudy day, but just as I pulled up at the gas station, the clouds opened up just enough in the right place! With a bonus photo bomb, too 🙂 Solar eclipse march 2015 Upon arrival in Battle, there was some time to discover the village. Being there for a bellydance event, this sign made me grin – plump chicken fillets, anyone? 🙂 chickenfillets I love mugs! But I have too many of them already, so I was brave and resisted buying this one – even though it’s Queen(ie)-themed and it has a crown. I love things with crowns! twomugs At the festival, I really enjoyed teaching my workshops. Chloe had picked some of my favorite topics (drumsolo choreography, ‘Queentessence’ about graceful stage presence and ‘Go with the Flow’ with super smooth transitions).

I loved dancing with and for these ladies! The atmosphere at both events was so nice! I seem to be missing some group pictures, will post them when I run into them!

Once again it was a pleasure to travel with my dear friend and favorite roomie Khalida! It had been a while since we’d seen each other, so it took a while before the chatter calmed down 🙂

Another lovely thing about SBTS and its location at Crowhurst Park are the beautiful views and gorgeous sunsets. Each and every time we are treated with lovely skies. sunset1 sunset2

And last but definitely not least.. the last weekend of March brought another Queenie Day! The day started with an hour long practice flow, continued with a 2 hour technique workshop with a focus on the upper body, and ended with a dynamic oriental choreography. 5 hours of dance – we did it!

Queenie Workshop Day

A beautiful end to a quite busy but amazing first trimester of the year! Looking forward to what the coming months have in store! 🙂

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Paris, baby!

Queenie - Karim Nagi - Bellydance - Paris

Last weekend I was invited by the lovely Illina to teach a Technique Intensive in Paris. We met in London a couple of years ago, and I was delighted to spend a few days with her. She welcomed me with open arms, and I enjoyed sharing ideas and experiences with her, over excellent home-cooked food and the best baguette in the world.

L'étoile du Berger

The boulangerie – with constant queueing!

L'étoile du Berger

There was some time for sight-seeing too! I preferred to visit the palace of Versailles over the Louvre museum – only because I’m not a fan of crowded places.

I’ve always wanted to see it, and I’m happy I finally got the chance. It was really cold though, so I resolved to go back in summer to be able to spend some time in the gardens without freezing 🙂

Pictures from the Versailles Wikipedia page

On our way to the Versailles estate, we passed by an event with vintage cars. There was some fun live music, too! Yes, we sang along 🙂

Live band

The band!

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It was cold!

Illina - Rolls Royce

Illina picked her favorite car – she went straight to the Rolls-Royce 🙂

Queenie - Fiat 500

My choice was… different 🙂 I love the old Fiat 500!

Expert at work 🙂

Obligatory selfie 🙂 Check out Illina’s remarkable eye colour!

That evening, Illina was dancing at L’Orient Palace in Coignières. 3 members of the association – Patricia, Anna and Maryse – joined us for a great evening with amazing Moroccan food and lots of laughs 🙂

Blurry photo with Patricia and Anna – and Maryse behind the camera 🙂

 

Moroccan Salad

Moroccan salad with a wedge of lemon – so good!

 

Tajine

Tajine with chicken, prunes and almonds – yum!

Charming Illina!

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Loved the decor!

The next day, it was workshop time! Illina had scheduled a 3 hour Technique Intensive, which allowed me to teach some of my favorite techniques and new combinations. I taught the class in French – which caused some language giggles from time to time 🙂

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With some of the lovely dancers after the workshop

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🙂

I really enjoyed this weekend. A big thank-you goes out to Illina and the members of the association for inviting me, and to the dancers who took my workshop.

Eiffel Tower

The perfect end to a perfect weekend

Queenie Eiffel Tower

Proof I was there 😉

Eiffel Tower Fridge Magnet

New souvenir on my freezer 🙂

I am happy I got to visit Paris again – I hope to be back soon!

Au revoir, la France!

 

Bellydance festival in Nice, France!

I was honoured to be invited as a guest star at the first edition of the Bellydance festival in Nice. I love France, so I was excited to be able to combine my fondness of la douce France with my passion for dance 🙂

Nadia Jalal and Sabine Zerbib presented a great line up – check out the festival poster!

Tarazade Festival, Istanbul

I traveled to Istanbul on my own, and returned home with a bunch of new friends – figuratively speaking of course 🙂

Tarazade

Tarazade’s opening party on Friday was an excellent start of the event. We got to enjoy the music played by the live band with Baytekin Serce, who would perform almost every evening. It was great to hear their Turkish flavored repertoire!

During the days that followed, I took workshops with Marta Korzun (I love her style, and she is such a sweet person!), Mayodi (so classic and so inspiring!), Hale Sultan (fun Turkish choreo with surprise floor work!), Helene of Norway (really interesting 3D idea’s) and Didem (outstanding technique!).

Every single instructor inspired me in their own way, which is exactly what I had hoped for when I consciously chose varying topics.

The shows were just amazing. Dozens of superb artists giving their best… not on stage but on a dance floor, on the same level as the audience. The energy was mind blowing!

Tarazade Artists

The artists!

On the third evening, I was happy to share the open stage with performers from all over the world! Check out my performance!

 

What a lovely experience I had at Tarazade 2014. Inspiring workshops, awesome performances, great food, cool people. Thank you, Tara!

See some of the pictures I took in the fb photo album!

 

Celebrating Dance!

For the last three years, the change from summer time to winter time has been a little confusing to me, as it was always paired with a visit to the UK. This means a normal time difference with Brussels of one hour, but then the clock goes back by one hour, and I must say that I have figured out that the best thing to do is just not trying to figure out what the normal time is 🙂

That being said, spending the last weekend of October at the Celebrating Dance Festival in Torquay has always been amazing. It is such a relaxed and friendly festival, with credits to organizers Afra Al Kahira and her husband John.

On my way to Torquay on Friday – ok ok, after the tax free shopping spree at Amsterdam airport – it turned out that co-teacher and roommate Delanna was on the same flight! We had performed in the same show before, but we didn’t really have the chance to meet and get to know each other. That would be different this weekend!

The flight was delayed and it was a little chilly so the hot chocolate I ordered was a bit of heaven in the sky 🙂

After arrival at the festival venue, the Toorak Hotel, we had a lovely dinner and enjoyed the Delegate Showcase!

On Saturday I taught two back-to-back workshops, starting at 9AM. Luckily, one of the many things I love about England.. is the breakfast for champions 🙂

After the Fancy Feet workshop! I almost forgot to take a group picture so as some ladies had already left it became a self-portrait of those who stuck around 🙂

With the "Slow Motion Potion" workshop ladies!

With the “Slow Motion Potion” workshop ladies!

Saturday evening at the Toorak Hotel means… Gala show! I had  wonderful time performing for the delegates, it is always such a pleasure, they make a great audience!

Posing for the group picture with (from left to right) Béatrice Curtis, Loveday, Razia Star, myself, Delanna, Artemisia, organizers John Fauley Hancock and Afra Al Kahira, Nikki, Yvette, Hannah, Ysonde and John the drummer

I was not teaching on Sunday morning, so for the first time in three years… I left the hotel 🙂 It’s unbelieveable but when an event entirely takes place in one hotel, it is tempting to stay at the venue until everything has passed and it’s time to head back or travel on.

This time was different 🙂 I found out Torquay is actually a part of what is called “the English Riviera“, the bay area of South Devon. There even are palm trees! The weather was beautiful when I stepped out but it gradually turned, up to the point where I had to run for a pouring rain!

English palm trees!

English palm trees!

Beautiful weather at the Torquay coast line

Beautiful weather at the Torquay coast line

Torquay harbour and ferris wheel

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How cool would it be to dance at the Princess theatre 🙂

The long pier, including someone spreading his wings to fly with the wind 🙂 (which was getting rather strong by then!)

Reaching the end of the pier (and being blessed by gushes of sea water)

In not even an hour time, the weather had changed from lovely and sunny to grey and very windy, the sea was getting rough!

After my storm fleeing run and a short stop at the souk where I found some gorgeous jewelry, it was time for my third and last workshop of the festival. Respect for these ladies who kept dancing after all those hours of workshops during the weekend!

After teaching  the Entrance Combinations workshop!

After teaching the Entrance Combinations workshop!

Travelling back on Monday proved to be a bit of an ordeal as our flight was cancelled because of the storm that developed on Sunday night.

Our flight to Amsterdam was cancelled because of the adverse weather :(

Our flight to Amsterdam was cancelled because of the adverse weather 😦

With roomie and travel companion Delanna in scary airport lights 🙂 It was such a pleasure to get to know this lovely lady and amazing dancer!

Thankfully I arrived home safely… after a rebooked flight itinerary and many more hours of travel between different airports – AND 3 rainbows, of which 2 double 🙂

 

Just for fun, bypassing their scientific explanation: find out about the symbolic meaning of rainbows. Interpretations range from transformation and initiation with the native American Navajo, to new life (uh oh!) with the Celts. I like the ending quote of the author:

“I’ve tossed out a lot of info about the symbolic meaning of rainbows here. In the end, the simplest interpretation is this: The best message and meaning of rainbows is assurance and appreciation. Beholding a rainbow is a gift, and when we encounter their beauty, it is the perfect time to be grateful for all the gifts in our lives.”

Which makes for the perfect, slightly cheesy conclusion of a lovely weekend 🙂