Madam Kay (Kay Taylor)

‘Madam Kay’ is my Cairo name.  Denotes a certain amount of respect for me as a business woman in Cairo.  My partner now refers to me as ‘Madame Kay’ on facebook posts – and dancers that come to Cairo with me use it too!  Really I am just ‘Kay Taylor’.  A fairly down to earth Yorkshire lass that has adopted the North East as her home.

I started dancing about 20 years ago in Leeds. I went to a fancy dress party dressed as a belly dancer and all my friends wanted me to dance. I couldn’t. It’s not that I am shy or retiring …. I just didn’t know how! I heard about classes and started going occasionally. I gradually got more interested and was soon a regular then started travelling to workshops. Josephine Wise was a huge influence and great inspiration – I would go to as many of her workshops as I could and if I was ever in London, ensure it co-incided with a night she ran a dance class. Going to her annual week long summer schools really pushed my dancing. Then I did the JWAAD Teacher Training course with Jo and Maggie Caffrey. It was worth every penny. I learnt so much even though I was already teaching regularly by this time. I am now head of JWAAD Teacher Training. I enjoy teaching and regularly teach workshops at big events such as Fantasia, Bellydance Congress, Raqs Britannia and JOY.  For details of my workshops, click here.  I love introducing people to this style of dance. It never ceases to amaze me the different types of people it attracts. I want people to learn to love the music, understand the culture that it comes from and the impact this has on it, I want them to appreciate the skill involved and the unique interaction there is between the dancer, the musicians and the audience. Every woman can do this dance …. Each to their own personal level. Not everyone wants to be a performer. In Egypt everyone dances …. Not to ‘perform’ but for the joy of dance and the fun of it. I want my classes to be fun and for people to get out of it something that enriches their life.

Importing costumes is interesting. Buying and choosing designs is the fun part! I have become good friends with many of the designers in Cairo & Istanbul. Designer, Hanan Mahmoud, always calls me ‘Madam Kay’ – and it stuck.  Stock taking, cataloguing and updating things is a complete headache! But I must have one of the best wardrobes of dance costumes in the UK! It’s why I love performing – I get to wear all my fab cossies! Travelling around the UK and selling them is a lot of miles but I love meeting up with old friends and making new ones.

Taking groups to Cairo is 50% pleasure and 50% achieves nightmarish qualities. I love showing people round, taking them to dance shows – from 5 star luxury to 50p dives! But Cairo is like quicksand – everything changes from one hour to the next. Nothing is definite until it is actually happening. This is a nightmare when you are leading a group. ‘How do you do it Kay?’ people ask.  With lots of help from friends in Cairo and an ability to go with the flow.

In 2001, I asked for a 6 month sabatical from my day job as customer service manager in BT. It was refused so I decided to leave. By this time I was teaching 5 classes a week, selling costumes & running holidays – I knew I could support myself with dance – even if not quite to the levels I had been used to. I left in March 2002 and then in the summer of 2002 I stayed in Cairo for three months. I studied Arabic and can now read and write!! Though my vocabulary is limited so I may not understand the words! I helped Raqia Hassan with the 2002 Dance Festival in Cairo (& 2003 & 2005 & 2006). What an experience! Everyone should go at least once! I also studied dance with her. She is the top teacher / choreographer in Cairo. I learnt so much and came away inspired by it all. I made so many contacts & so many friends. My dancing changed beyond recognition & I felt like my body had developed it’s own style as opposed to me just doing steps I had learnt.

For me, what started as a hobby has now become my business. I hope I never loose my love for it. At the moment though, I am continuing to learn and the more I learn, the more I find it continues to inspire me.  The more I learn, the more I realise there is to learn. Cairo remains my biggest source of inspiration and I have great friends based there who both help and inspire me:  Sara Farouk, Yasmina and of course the amazing Nibal.

Just as I think everything is settling down and balancing out, some new idea or project inspires me & we enter another whirlwind of chaos. The last was running Fantasia on behalf of JWAAD Belly Dance Training Ltd of which I am one of the directors.  Kay Taylor:  Director.  It seems I have gone up in the world!

Likes : Dancing, dinner parties and fine dining.

Dislikes : Primadonnas and MacDonalds

Star sign : Cancer

To go back to Kays workshop options, click here:
For classes with Kay click here:  Kay also runs several dance breaks and residential courses each year:  click here.