Tribal Umrah with Sarah Maeer Johnson

Earlier this year I felt the urge to spread my little travelling wings once more in the pursuit of more dancing goodness. Tribal Umrah beckoned to me the most, so it is there I went! Tribal Umrah is a weeklong festival that is held in a different city each year. Djeynee, a terrific French Tribal Fusion Belly Dancer, is entirely dedicated to the art and runs an incredibly fun and well-organised festival. Typically held in France, this year it was held in Rennes, a beautiful town filled with half-timbered buildings in Brittany.

Before I left Australia, Sabrina from Tribal Umrah helped me to arrange a shared apartment with three girls I had never met before, Lenka from the Czech Republic, Anji from Germany and Cintia from Mexico via Provence, France. It was great to finally meet them in person at the festival, and we all got along so well! The entire festival had a very friendly, family type vibe.

What really attracted me to Tribal Umrah was their Pro Track line of workshops. Signing up to the Pro Track is done by an application process, and I was fortunate enough to be successful. In the Pro Track I got to meet and work very closely with 20 women from all over France and the world. Each day I attended about 8 hours of workshops, and the group enjoyed the tutorage of some of the best names in the business including Rachel Brice, Amy Sigil, Mira Betz, Mardi Love, Heather Stants and Anita and Stephanie from FCBD. As an icing on the cake, we got to learn a Mardi Love choreography for 2 hours every afternoon which we performed with her in the Teacher’s show on the closing evening of the festival.

Even though we were dancing hard every day, we had plenty of extra activities we could attend including a hafla, student show, picnic and even an excursion to the Brocéliande Forest. It was a truly wonderful experience and the entire festival left me feeling very inspired, having met so many interesting and amazing people from all over the world. Thank you to Djeynee and all of her helpers that made it happen, and of course to the amazing teachers who made it an experience to remember.

Sarah Maeer Johnson

Sarah Maeer Johnson France 2012 3