Dance Festival in Germany
November 26 to December
Review by Artemisia
Queen, Leyla Jouvana, organized and held the
13th edition of her annual festival in Duisburg late
last year. It is one of the biggest festivals in Europe, and
it is still growing. This year, the 10-day festival offered
nearly two-dozen workshops, four shows and a big bazaar full
of shopping temptations. Speaking of big festivals—this one
had over 3600 participants and visitors, and I was one of them—a
the weather gods did not smile on us
arrived, it was snowing—in a way this part of Europe does not
see very often! Many foreign and local guests traveling by train
or car became stuck in the snow. Therefore, the first workshop
started late, because Leyla and Aziza decided
to wait graciously an extra half an hour for all the participants
still need an introduction? She is the Portland/Montreal Aziza,
Miss Bellydance of the Universe 2002, and IAMED Cabaret Dancer
of the Year 2003. Aziza was the main reason I decided to travel
to the Duisburg, Germany, festival, so that I could take six
of her workshops, and I was not disappointed.
I already knew that Aziza is an excellent dancer from repeatedly
watching her DVDs, I found out that she is also a quality
teacher; she is warm and funny, encouraging and giving. Aziza
is one of those teachers who do not withhold information;
she answers every question and reveals all her dance secrets
(even during breaks). Aziza's performance at the opening show
(a small, more intimate show at the studio) was most impressive.
I could hardly believe she was dancing there, so close, right
in front of me: no DVD can compare to that live experience!.
During the closing gala, she wooed us all with her veil routine,
including some moves the had taught us during the weekI could
hardly believe she was dancing there, so close, in front of
me: no DVD can compare to that live experience!
- I was pleased
to participate in a workshop with Jillina (one
of the Bellydance Superstars), who has an excellent manner of
teaching choreography by means of combinations. During the closing
Gala Show on the last weekend, it was especially nice to see
Jillina dance as a soloist, and not just as part of the Superstars
group! The standing ovation she received was well deserved.
- I enrolled
in Leyla's famous 1001 Shimmy workshop, with her husband, Roland,
providing live percussion. Additionally, it was the first time
I had seen Leyla perform. She performed an extra drum solo,
replacing an absent guest, and was amazing. She is funny and
sexy, and the musical interaction between Roland and Leyla is
- For me,
Amir Thaleb was the biggest surprise for me, with his
mix of masculine power, the grace of an experienced dancer,
and above all, passion.
liked especially several things about this festival, when I compare
it to other festivals I have attended:
- This festival
invites several star dancers at once! For dancers who had to
travel a great distance, (There were visitors from all over
Europe, the US and Russia.) this made the festival much more
- The Gala
Show on Friday and Saturday starred only these
big-name dancers, combined with only a few group numbers of
Leyla's professional dance troupe. This selective limitation
led to an exceedingly high quality show. All of the dancers
had an opportunity to perform two long sets, and the audience
could enjoy their dancing in full, without causing the show
to become too lengthy.
- In this
Festival, students from the sponsor’s studio and local as well
as foreign guests had invitations to performance in the afternoon
Gala or as part of the program for the bazaar. Many other festivals
casually add performances from students and lesser known dancers
during their main gala, making the resulting shows uneven in
quality, often boring, and always too long!
overall quality of this German festival impressed me and I was
satisfied with the dancers Leyla had chosen to invite. The resulting
Gala Show was one of the best I have ever seen. The organization
was almost perfect, and they dispensed with small problems efficiently.
Leyla is a very kind and welcoming person and an incredible performer
(and so is Roland).
went to this festival for my two heroes–Aziza and Jillina–and
came home with three!
in her role as a teacher, performer and organizer does a heroic
job. The many flowers and long ovation she received after the
Friday Gala demonstrated that I am not the only one who believes
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idea that has gradually faded over time….
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