Moment with Nagwa
you Ahava?” Nora asked.
you’re next. The dancer before you didn’t show up, so you’re next.”
I was ready and prepared for a situation such as this one. Back
in June, when I sent in my application for the Ahlan Cairo
Nights: Queen of Raqs Sharqi competition,
I was very hesitant and almost scared. Was I ready? Was I in way
over my head ? Maybe I was, but there was no turning back now! The dancer ahead of me was halfway through her routine,
and I was second in a line up of 20 dancers!
I entered the stage, a calmness entered my body. There was no
time for nerves. I had six minutes to impress my audience and
the judges as well. My music started, and I began my dance.
dancing I kept eye contact with the judges and guests of honor.
I still remember their mannerisms and what I perceived to be
their glares. Randa
and Dr. Mo were conversing
and smiling contently, Faten and Zahra were clapping. Also,
there sat Nagwa Fouad, “Queen of Cairo!”
I first looked at her she returned a hard stare, I admit
that the moment was very intimidating.
Toward the end of my first song, I looked up again, and she was
staring only at me, intensely, her eyes following my every move.
I remember experiencing a sense of joy. When I posed at the last
note of my routine, I looked at Miss Fouad
and saw that she had begun to clap immediately began and
exclaimed, “Bravo!” In that moment, I realized that she had given
me all of her attention.
felt that I had done what I’d set out
to do: I had become one with my music. I had taken my audience
along with me so that they could hear and feel every hit and
pause in the music. In a sense, they, too, became one with the
off stage and into the restroom to change, I played back in my
mind what had just happened. It was surreal. All my hard
work, frustration, and late nights had paid off! My eyes began
to fill with tears, but I couldn’t cry because I didn’t want to
ruin my make up!
night finally arrived and it was time to find out who would be
crowned 2006 Queen of Raqs Sharqi. However, first there
was dinner and a show. On this night we would get to see Randa,
Madrina, and Madame Nagwa perform!
Randa Kamel is an amazing dancer. She is very strong, her
technique “is to die for” and her shimmies are flawless.
was an honor to watch Nagwa perform. Dr. Mo Geddawi
introduced her as she entered the stage to a standing ovation.
She was playful, fun, and a good sport. (There were numerous technical
difficulties with the music.) She handled them like the pro she
is and continued to dance. Miss Fouad made an encore performance.
Nagwa’s still “got it!”
performance was awesome. This was my first time seeing
her perform in person. I had seen her performance from last year’s
competition on a DVD, and she was a delight to see. She has such
grace and fluidity.
about 1 a.m., Dee
Dee began to set up the trophies. First, all the
judges and workshop instructors received awards for their contributions
to the event. Then, the winners were announced.
from Miami, Florida, won 2nd Runner-up.
Amar from Oklahoma won 1st Runner-up, and
Hare from Miami, Florida, also won 1st Runner-up
in a tie vote.
the last envelope was handed to Nora, my heart began to
pound; I had the chills and my feet were cold and numb. Nora opened
the envelope and read, “The 2006 Queen of Raqs Sharqi is… Ahava!”
couldn’t believe it! I walked towards
the stage and Dee Dee greeted me with a big hug.
My weekend was filled with workshops,
shows, and shopping. I had the opportunity to meet world-renowned
instructors Zahra Zuhair, Faten Salama,
Mohamed Abd el Al, Randa Kamel,
Dr. Mo Geddawi, and, of course, Madame
Nagwa Fouad. I got so much out of that weekend, but nothing
could have prepared me for what was to come.
prize includes a free trip to Cairo with the Asad family and a
performance slot at Raqia Hassan’s Ahlan wa Sahlan Festival. Traveling
to Cairo is something that I could not have imagined myself doing
in the near future; because I’m a full time student with
a part time salary; therefore, I’m really grateful for this opportunity.
Winning the title Queen of Raqs Sharqi is my “dream come true!”
a comment? Send us a
Check the "Letters to the Editor"
for other possible viewpoints!
Queen of the Bay Bellydance show
and Competition June 17, 2006 Photos by Michael Baxter,
Event Sponsored by Shabnam and Maurice in Oakland, California.
Happy Holiday Download! Comic
Click on image
for larger file- dowload, print, and color!
It Wasn’t About the Trophy: The North Valley Belly Dance
Competition in Oroville, Ca. 2006 by Salima
I have done many things in my life and by forcing myself
to have other performers judge my performance, I have motivated
myself to step up to the plate and accomplish what I had set in
my mind to do.
The Ethics of Fusion by
If the culture that you’re borrowing your moves
from objects to your fusion, does it matter? Are you being respectful
or exploitative if you borrow steps from a culture that doesn’t
want their music and dance used that way?