Bellydancers in Kent
Hollywood could be coming to Edenbridge to tell the tale of a group of women whose lives were turned around by the exotic art of belly dancing.
A story by Markbeech dancer Charlotte Desorgher, 54, has been snapped up by a major studio and tourism experts predict the town could benefit by up to £1.5 million if it is also chosen as the main filming location.
The movie, which is described as being about “bringing belly-dancing to a lovely, quintessential English village”, will be based on Mrs Desorgher’s experiences and the inspiring tales of her students.
These include the story of a woman diagnosed with terminal cancer a week after she was chosen as a soloist in one of the company’s dancing shows.Mrs Desorgher said: “As time went on, the belly dancing and her belly dancing friends kept her going and she’s actually still alive, five years later, even though she was originally only given 18 months to live.” Another character will be a talented belly dancer who ran away from home because her mother tried to stop her dancing.
A Yorkshire-based writer is working on the script and will visit Tunbridge Wells to see a concert at the Assembly Hall by Mrs Desorgher and her 150 students on Saturday, June 23. She has to be tight-lipped about the details but Mrs Desorgher said a British producer was on board and well-known names would be recruited to play the lead roles.
She added: “It will be a very British film so there won’t be so many American actresses in it.” While she will not have control over the film, she will be an adviser and is keen to ensure locations are authentic.
She said: “We’ve got some lovely villages and this is a story about bringing belly dancing to a lovely quintessential English village.” Mrs Desorgher became captivated by belly dancing in the 1980s. By 2001, she was showing Markbeech’s women how to belly dance in the tiny village hall and says she now has more than 1,000 students in the South East.
About ten years ago she and her class of dancers, who had been learning for just a year, held a concert in Edenbridge’s WI Hall. Mrs Desorgher said: “I had no idea how it would be received. But they were brilliant, the queues were on to the High Street and the hall was full to bursting. It was just a remarkable night and I remember thinking, this would make an amazing film.”
For a decade she carried that dream before bumping into a film executive at a wedding, who loved her story and set the wheels in motion.