In just over 5 week’s I’ll be hosting the last ever Hafla at the Hall at the Weybridge Hall in Surrey. If you’ve never been, then don’t miss this special celebration of all things belly dance in our beautiful historic building.
You can read more about the upcoming event and get tickets here.
I started Hafla at the Hall over 6 years ago. It was then a small affair attended mainly by my students and arranged for them by me, as I wanted them to appreciate the many different aspects of belly dance, and not least other dancers too. As a dance performer and teacher I feel a strong obligation to inspire and develop my students, and hosting a show or a hafla is only one way of doing so. It’s a great platform to experience the different aspects of dance, because beginners as well as professionals share the same stage. You can’t compare dancers with one another, or at least I don’t recommend that people do, because the whole point is to appreciate the variety of music, styles, costumes, body shapes and levels of dancing. Everyone has to start somewhere, and it takes a lot of guts to do your first performance, which I think all my students know, so they’re always really good at encouraging and showing their appreciation of each dancer.
I still organise my Hafla at the Hall event mainly for my students. It give them something to rehears and look forward to, but it has also grown to be so much more than just ‘another hafla’. I often refer to the dancers that come year after year as my Hafla family, and I feel (and I know many of the dancers do too) as if I’m surrounded by nothing but good friends and appreciation on the night. It’s a networking event too; I know many of my students get inspired when seeing other dancers, and it’s great that they can then pop over and have a chat with them afterwards. Whether they want to know more about their costume, performance or perhaps even dance with them. The belly dance community is fairly small, which is part of its charm. You get to meet the same people at events and shows, and yes students may get so inspired that they start attending another dancers’ classes, but I personally celebrate that because I know it will develop their potential and keep them dancing.
Hosting the hafla is of course also a lot of work and my students’ help is invaluable to make sure it’s such a great evening. With ‘a little help from your friends’ you can do some amazing things, and I feel every Hafla at the Hall has just gotten better and better along the way. We’ve had amazing national as well as international dancers like Raphaelle Masson, Maelle and Itziar and also raised much needed money for charity.
But unfortunately our historic building will be closing shortly after the next event to be redeveloped into a 2 screen cinema and flats. I’m really sorry to see the hall go, even though it hasn’t been perfect; the stage is too shall to be used for groups (because originally the building was a cinema!), the floorboards creak, the toilets could do with modernising etc. But all in all the building holds a lot of beautiful memories and I know even more will be created on the 18 August when it’ll be the final curtain call at the Weybridge Hall.
Will there be future Hafla’s at another Hall? Probably, but I will have to do plenty of research first to ensure we get a space full of character worthy enough to become the setting for this event.
You can read more about the upcoming Hafla at the Hall and get tickets here.
Did you miss my last post? Read it here: How to deal with stage fright