“Back in the 1980’s I went to a fancy dress party as a belly dancer.
My mates were egging me on to dance but I didn’t know what to do. I decided to learn. At first, the music sounded really odd. I didn’t understand it. It was a long painful journey.
I missed a whole period of Western music in the 1990’s. I just stopped listening to anything other than middle eastern music for a couple of years to try to connect.
Like when you know what’s going to happen next in a pop song I started to get that with Egyptian songs and I fell in love with it. They have an extra depth, and notes and techniques we don’t use in the West.
In 1995, I packed in my job with British Telecom to teach belly dancing and run tours to Egypt. Now I run the only accredited teacher training school for belly dance in the country.
I was in a taxi in Cairo when I first heard this song. Warda was an Egyptian singer. The song translates as ‘I Will Cherish You’- it’s a love song and I really feel the emotion. It really makes me want to dance and brings my thirty year journey full circle.”
Photo: East Boldon, South Tyneside