— Béatrice Curtis - Egyptian Dance –
Vejer 2004 - A Quick Down and Dirty Review!
Vejer is beautiful but hilly, lots of steps and steep slopes. The weather in late September/early October was gorgeous- like August. Most of the group were staying in the Hotel Casa del Califa, which is beautiful and exotic, each room different and interesting in its own individual way. Part of the group was in another hotel, La Janda and in a smaller Pension.
We had the Belly Dancing Course over 4 days (Monday to Thursday, 2½ hours a day), and Meret’s Raqs Sharqi Course ran on the same days. There was also a Flamenco Course going on at the same time, and the Raqs Sharqi course was available as an optional extra for them and for the Belly Dancers.
We worked on a choreography to Scheherezade & the Golden Slave, which everyone learned well enough to be able to perform at the Wednesday night haflah- much to my teacherly/maternal pride! Well done- you are all Stars! We worked a lot on basic technique, and had a bit of a go with sagat (finger cymbals) so that everyone could say they had done it & survived! We worked with Veils, which I always love to teach- the class suddenly becomes full of princesses and Amazons. And no-one’s worrying about what to do with their hands! I had hoped to teach a second choreography, but when I realised that Meret was also using choreography in her class and half my girls were doing her classes as well as mine, I decided it would be a bit mean to make them learn a third one in three days, so we spent some time on the Wednesday working on more improvisational skills, using some delicious Taqsim music, and a rousing Tabla Solo. Meret & I held a combined 4 hour class on Pairwork on the Thursday.
And apart from the dancing? (You mean you want to know about the rest of the time?) There are lots of little bars and restaurants in Vejer – Kati, our local host, had organised group dinners for most nights and provided us with recommendations for other places to eat, and just across the road from the Casa del Califa was a little tapas bar that was perfect for lunchtimes or early evening snacking. I had several lunches in the garden restaurant of the Hotel. Apart from being very convenient, the food was always delicious (thanks to Mohammed, their chef).
The belly dance classes were in the mornings so we had the afternoons free. Kati had a couple of beach days planned in the itinerary, and it was fantastic to swim in the Atlantic Ocean & watch the sun set over Cape Trafalgar. We could also relax on the rooftop terrace of the Casa del Califa, or do a bit of shopping (though the shops don’t open after lunch till 5pm or so).
Kati also had plenty of evening entertainments lined up- next time (I’m hoping there will be a next time, because it seems to have been successful this time round) I shall try more of the Flamenco evenings. There were evenings out to Conil & Cadiz for Flamenco shows, and a Flamenco night in Vejer itself (though it was only the music, not the dancing).
Friday was the Day Trip to Tangiers. I have to say from the outset, that I was excited because it was Morocco (for goodness sake!) and also because we were going by boat (I love boats and I love the sea). And I did enjoy the trip for those reasons. But the trip is not organised by Dance Holidays but by the Ferry Company, and it’s not really a cultural/historical sightseeing tour, it’s a shopping tour. We were on a well-established tour route and so we were badgered constantly by people trying to sell us stuff. Some people can take that better than others. Meret was at pains to assure us all that we shouldn’t judge the whole of Morocco by that view of Tangiers. Another reason I enjoyed the trip was that I saw three dolphins on the journey back.
Saturday was the last night party- a Moroccan Dinner at the Casa del Califa with entertainment provided by Meret & me. We thought we’d be dancing at our own private party on the terrace, but it turns out we were dancing for the whole restaurant! And I think the owner of the hotel was publicising the fact that there would be dancers because there was a much bigger crowd than we had seen for the rest of the week. Hmmm…
And home to the cold and wet of October in England… Oh yes, I definitely want to do this again next year.
Click here for pictures.
Interested in joining us in October 2006? This link will take you to Club Dance Holidays and full details of the 2006 holiday.
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Updated 24th January 2010