We didn’t quite arrive in Henley by train, boat and plane – but almost.
|Henley On Thames|
Meroe had arrived back from her trip to France less than 12 hours before, so that is the boat bit, and the rest of the Ya Raqs crew travelled down by train. We all met up at the Catherine Wheel hotel in Henley for a quick lunch before heading off to Kenton Theatre for the sound and lighting checks.
The theatre was a lovely and by the time we arrived it had already been taken over by the glitter and glam of the rest of the Sheikh It cast. We were lucky enough to be given the opportunity to run through our Tunisian number in full on stage – not a bad idea given that we’d had two weeks apart and really needed to just do the last minute fine tuning to the performance.
I have to say that Henley was a real treat for us in more ways than one. We got to stay in a great hotel – so no need to camp out in our Bedouin tent this time. We got to perform on a real stage – not the wind-swept field somewhere remote. We even had our very own dressing room – with mirrors and everything!
|Phoenece and Aisha backstage|
Show time was 7:30 and our first routine was the Bedouin. It wasn’t long before we’d got not only the audience but also some of the other performers, who were waiting in the wings, clapping along with us. It was great.
|Aisha and Meroe|
|Naima, Aisha, Meroe, Mish Mish and Phoenece|
|Aisha and Meroe|
|Phoenece and Mish Mish|
Then a rather leisurely costume change before out Tunisian routine in the second half. We even had time for snacks!!
|Mish Mish refuels between dances|
This was quite a contrast to the Bedouin with lots of very strong hip movements to get our Tunisian tassels flying - another amazing reception from the audience.
|Phoenece, Aisha, Meroe, Naima and Mish Mish|
|Mish Mish, Naima and Meroe|
Then came the big test – the finale. The finale had been quite carefully choreographed but because of the distance between us and the rest of the cast we hadn’t had a chance to dance it all the way through – until now! We had choreographed our little bit independently, and hoped it would fit, thankfully it did.
We had a great time in Henley and met some amazing dancers – dancers who we very much hope we will share a stage with again sometime soon. Our thanks go to the masterminds behind this whole show Louise Brooks and Natasha Bradley – thank you for inviting us to join you ladies and for all your hard work in making it such a huge success - it was a pleasure working with you. We must also make special mention of Mark Chattington for his amazing photographs from the evening - thank you too Mark.