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  • Writer's pictureby Zara Dance

A bellydancer's adventure in Pakistan...

I am soooo lucky with the opportunities given to me by belly dance and when I received a call from Tara asking if I was free in 2 weekend times – I was in store for another great adventure.

Tara had been offered a job for two to dance at a birthday party in Lahore, Pakistan. I was so honoured to have been asked and recommended by her for the job.

I of

course jumped at the opportunity but it wasn’t going to be easy – we only had 2 weeks before the party and the customer wanted a ONE HOUR SHOW. Not only that one of the 2 week Tara was going to be away. But hey Tara and I have worked together in past and I was surprised at how quickly we organised what dance we were going to do – a combination of choreographs of mine and Tara’s that we already had plus a couple we made up together especially for the show. This along with a solo set from each of us made the show line up a fantastically varied one – with Isis wings, stick fan veils, veils and drum solo-duets all included. We met a couple of times to go through each dance and then it was up to us to rehearse alone as the next time we would be meeting would be at Heathrow to go to Pakistan.

Not only did we have to put the show together that week we also had to go and spend a whole day applying for a visa which was a stressful experience in its self but luckily went smoothly.

A week later and we are meeting at the airport …. We have a 7hr flight to Kurachi followed by a 3hr stop off and then finally making it to Lahore. We had to prepare quickly!! We only had 4hr from landing until we had to perform!

Unfortunately, we were unable to sleep on the flight due to sick babies crying, turbulence and a flight attendants being punched by a passenger – on what was the worst flight of my life – however none of this mattered as we were in Lahore and about to dance!! The excitement was what fuelled me.

We arrived at the party – it was in a massive farm house on the outskirts of Lahore, a house dedicated for the owners free time and parties to held – there is a massive swimming pool, luxurious cars such as farrieries and BMWs were all parked outside. The guests were all so pleasant and ready to party they were there to have a good time – they were so receptive to our performances and so welcoming. The woman’s who’s birthday it was – was wonderful she was there to have a PROPER good time. It was her birthday and we were her treat for herself. We stood in our costumes with our isis wings out to frame her as she cut her cake. We also danced and participated with audience to a few of her favourite songs.

We were also invited to stay and party after our performance – which we did, we met many a wonderful person. Many Pakistani stars were at the event including famous models, clothes designers and one of Pakistan’s cricket team’s ex- captain’s!

After that night we had 2 more days in Lahore before returning to London in that time we went to various house parties of people we had met at the party. We also got to go out and explore some of Lahore’s markets and sights. All were amazing. I can’t tell you how much I loved Lahore. The people were all so friendly, polite and well educated. Everyone, no matter if they were working in the markets or a famous star could talk great English. The streets were so clean and the city so modern. The people were respectful and un-phased by us westerners. I felt safe as a woman walking the streets and suffered from no street harassment or even stares. The food tasted amazing. I don’t really know how I imagined a city in Pakistan but this surpassed anything I thought possible. Lahore is a wonderful city and I would defiantly return again.

I am sooo thankful to bellydance- it has taken me to countries I would otherwise never visit and as a result opened my eyes – I was shocked as to how Pakistan really is compared to how our distorted media wants us to perceive it. Belly dancing aside, this trip emphasised to me how important it is to travel and seek out your own information on the world as apposed to the media and what the government want you think.

It also emphasised to me just how amazing Tara is – she is truly one of my best friends, I loved traveling with here and loved getting to know here better over the holiday. She has travelled so many places for dance and as result had a wealth of knowledge and advice for me on traveling as a dancer which she was more than happy to share. She was already an inspiration to me and now truly

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