Gilded Serpent presents...
was Madrinah from Tampa, Florida. Second
place: Viviane from College Station, TX.
Third place: Leyla Zahar, Puerto Rico.
Judges standing to right are Raqia Hassan
and Mo Geddawi
Queen of Raks Sharqi Competition
Ahlan Cairo Nights
Texas, August 4, 2005
I have to say right up
front that I am not too keen on dance competitions.
How can one really judge something that is so subjective?
I don’t like to think that you can score a dance performance as
they do gymnastics or ice-skating competitions! When
I watch those competitions, I feel that there are always elements
of politics that play into the scoring. How does one
score artistry and personal interpretation? In the
face of variations in choices and style of music, how does a judge
remain objective? What are judges looking for in the dancer
that they select as the best representative from amongst a large
group of dancers?
are the criteria used for the Queen of Raks Sharqi Competition
(Dr. Mo Geddawi’s “Dance Evaluation Method”). Scoring on
a scale of 1 to10:
Ability & Technique
Ability & Rhythm
& Stage Presence
Exit & Choreography
seems a massive task to meet all these criteria, everything on
this list represents an element that we as dancers are constantly
striving to gain and improve (and gaining a few more costumes
is probably the most fun part of it).
A night where
there are almost thirty competitors is bound to present massive
dance overload. There was a wide range in dance ability,
size and age, but one thing that all competitors appeared to possess
was a confidence in their ability.
found no shortage of egos in this room, but that doesn’t mean
that those egos dominated in a negative way. It
is healthy to have confidence and to be willing to put oneself
out for a challenge.
fact, that was one of the reasons that some of the dancers mentioned
for entering a competition. They wanted to challenge themselves.
That seemed like a very good reason to me, and really a much reason
to enter the competition than thinking “I am the best dancer and
will win.” After wanting a challenge, I think
some of the reasons are: just for the experience, to have fun,
meet a personal goal (choreography, costuming, poise, attitude,
stage presence) and, possibly, take oneself to the next level
as a dancer in many facets.
I have to
laugh about this because it surprised me so much, but someone
came up to me before the competition started and asked me if I
was competing! It never occurred to me to even attempt
something so serious and nerve-wracking. OK, so I
have been dancing for over 20 years, which does put me in a category
of knowing lots of technique, understanding the music very well, having
quite a bit of performance experience (for a super-hobbyist dancer),
appearing confident on stage (while shaking like mad under her
costume) and being comfortable enough to let my feelings show
through. I appreciated receiving the vote of confidence
from someone who knows me and has seen me dance many times.
I feel that my own personal criteria (my age and weight
being major ones) would not let me enter such a competition. Additionally,
I felt that this was a competition for younger up and coming dancers.
Admittedly, all of the top competitors were attractive, had trim
figures (not necessarily thin but leaning more in that direction),
and appropriately costumed, with plenty of stage personality,
and, of course, one’s all-important ego.
started a bit after 6:30 p.m. and continued on to 1:00 a.m. and
the final declaration of the winners. The judges for the competition
were: Farida Fahmy, Raqia Hassan
and Mo Geddawi with the scores being tabulated
by an independent panel including, Meleea, Daungerous,
Rita and Bud Benner. I think
I must have fallen asleep at one point because I totally missed
someone near the end. The contestants came from all
over the United States (with quite a few from Texas) but also
with more than one from out of the country (Canada, Puerto Rico).
For some reason, the program didn’t list each dancer’s home town.
I forgot to write in places of origin, but this is the order of
Madrina is no stranger to competitions.
She was also crowned winner of Sultanate al Raks
Sharki 2005 in June, sponsored by Najla’s
creative designs in Orlando, Florida. In
2004, she was a finalist in the Belly Dance Superstars
Competition and in 2003, she was first runner up
at the Medina Competition.
She has been a featured dancer in many dance showcases
across the United States. Anyone who has had the
chance to see Madrina dance will agree that she inspires
her audience with her interpretation of her musical
choices and is truly a gift dancer.
keeps herself busy teaching belly dance classes and
dancing at restaurants and events in the Tampa Bay area.
She is also the director and choreographer for her troupe,
Sesen Middle Eastern Dance Company.
-- by Kristin Konecy
(TX via Brazil),
Zahar (Puerto Rico),
I was thinking
that it would have been helpful to me to have had an elimination
round earlier in the day or the day before, so that we might have
had the top 10 participants for that evening. However, I’ve
never run a competition, and I’m not sure how all that could be
organized. Imagine trying to run the Miss America
pageant with 50 or so competitors . . . and they only show you
2 or 3 hours when they air the competition on TV and they have
been in Atlantic City for a week! Regardless,
it was an interesting evening for everyone and the three winners
were all good dancers. I didn’t have much to complain
about other than I was too tired the next day from being up so
late. Perhaps I complained because I couldn’t figure
out how they determined that one was better then the other, etc.
Also, they did mention that the voting was extremely close for
the top dancers. I sure wish I could have seen how the rest of
the top ten stacked up, but that is irrelevant now. A very
good and deserving dancer won, Madrina, whom
I’ve seen perform 3 times now – twice in Florida and in Texas.
I hope she enjoys her trip to AWS in 2006 and her opportunity
to perform at the opening gala. Maybe I will need
to go –just so I can see how she represents all the American dancers
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for other possible viewpoints!
Mona el Said in Dallas, Part
2 by Catherine E Barros
12-7-04 Mona el Said in Dallas,
Part 1, by Catherine E Barros
by Little Egypt at the Holiday Inn, Dallas Texas September 3 -
always nice when you find that someone, whom you’ve put up on
a big pedestal, is down to earth, just “folks” like the rest of
8-24-04 Dina in LA, report and photos by Catherine Barros
On May 14-16 of 2004, Nora, Dee Dee & Ahmad Asad
of Little Egypt presented Dina of Cairo in a teaching workshop
and show at the Radisson Hotel at the Los Angeles Airport.
How MECDA Began by Feiruz Aram
(Middle Eastern Culture and Dance Association) is a nationwide
organization which began in 1977 for the purpose of organizing
working dancers, sharing information between teachers...
The Egyptian Category 2005
of The Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition, report by
February 19-20, 2005 in Long Beach, California, photos by GS staff
Zaharr's Memoir, Part
11- The Minerva
do Greeks know about Belly Dancing anyway?” He just grabbed
my hand and we headed toward the door. Grumbling, I followed him
inside and I was startled to see a big stage with a large wooden
dance floor right in front of it.
Belly Dancer of the Year
2005 Grand Dancer, more Duos, Trios & Troupes photos by
May 28, 2005, San Ramon, California.
Belly Dancer of the Year 2005
Page 1 Duos, Trios & Troupes photos by Monica
May 28, 2005, San Ramon, California.