We’re launching our new website at a really exciting time for Company of Dreams and, we hope, for British belly dance. Here in London the belly dance scene is thriving again after a very difficult and unhappy time a few years ago. Teachers are seeing more new students coming to classes and our regular showcases like Arabesque Nights and the Arab Quarterly are attracting exciting new performers and enthusiastic audiences. Best of all there is a truly marvellous spirit of collaboration among the leaders in our community and a real desire to make belly dance the very best it can be.
And here at Company of Dreams we’re making history. We’ve just premiered our new theatrical dance production of Scheherazade, and the response was so overwhelmingly positive that in a few months time we’re taking it to Sadlers Wells, the home of British ballet and the most prestigious dance venue in the country.
That’s the public face of our work, but behind the scenes things are even more exciting. Firstly I’m proud to say that the company paid its professional dancers, not only for the performance, but for the full development process – over several months of rehearsals. This meant that we were able to create work of a far higher standard than is usually possible. We have nine professional dancers and it cost a lot of money, but that’s the way it should be – if dancers are to work to the highest professional standards they need to be paid!
It was made possible by a lot of very hard work fundraising and through the generosity of the Arts Council and over 70 people who generously gave to our successful Kickstarter campaign. The fundraising took more than six months out of my life but it was worth every moment of that time to see the standard of the result. If you haven’t seen Scheherazade yet, you must. My aim was to create something that I would be proud to put alongside professional productions from the mainstream dance sectors and I believe we did just that.
Taking bellydance out into the world
But it’s not just in our productions that we’re breaking new ground, we are in the process of creating a proper, formal company to take British bellydance into completely new territory – beyond the bellydance niche and out into the wider world.
Company of Dreams is now a Company Limited by Guarantee, with a Board of Directors. Our directors are senior figures in the world of the arts, education, the law and business. In a couple of weeks time we will have our first AGM where we will resolve to approve our memorandum and articles of association and then submit them to the Charities Commission. If our application is approved then Company of Dreams will become a registered charity and our directors will become our trustees, responsible for supporting me in my work, ensuring we keep to the highest standards of probity, keeping us to our vision (see About Us page) and helping us make our way in the big wide world of the arts.
We’re on a very exciting journey and one which we hope will make a real difference to the dance we all love so much. We look forward to sharing our journey with you along the way.