year's winner, Piper,
awards the Grand Prize trophy to Zaheea!
while the 1st Runner up, Nuwal, looks on.
Gilded Serpent presents...
Bellydancer of the Year Pageant
May 19th, 2001
Editorial by GS staff
Photos by Susie Poulelis
the dancers setting the trends, showcasing the trends, or simply
trying to appease the judges? This was one of the questions we
pondered during Leah Aziz's 28th Bellydance of the Year
Pageant. A well produced event with talented performers, the
Pageant afforded us the luxury to sit back, enjoy the dancing
and philosphize the genre.
the young dancers showed us hope for the future of bellydance,
a few familiar faces easily held their own.
Malone continues to make us groan with her traditional "Barbara"
jokes. We have heard about her collection of forgotten veils for
so many years now, that we would really miss the veil jokes if
she left them out in future years. Barbara, a retired radio personality,
has been the Mistress of Ceremonies for 20 years and, all joking
aside, continues to keep the show running smoothly.
gives a solid start to the show with her expressive movements
and good zil playing. She performs to Soroyan's Aziza and
although we hoped for a bit more facial expression, we feel
she is the strong leader through most of the show.
Wearing a fire colored costume to match her firy red hair,
Cira displays good technical
talent, but needs to mature into the sensuality needed for
this dance. Her strength is shown in her smooth, sweet veil
performance is a contrast to the others, yet showcases her
ability in floor and veil work. We predict that her wholesome
style is not what the judges are looking for in this event.
Nahiya makes a great
entrance and captures the audience quickly. Her style is
sharp and clean. We enjoy her for the most part, but feel
there are a few too many "up" thrusts in her hip
is another stage veteran who wows us with her ability and
style. She was half of last year's winning duet and we feel
she is another contender for the trophy this year.
is calm and poised during her athletic sword work and reveals
her passion during a sultry, dark veil routine.
shows us what
Zorba's regular audience has known for years.
She's got some moves that make us doubt that she has a daugther
the age of most of her fellow contestants. Her drum solo is
so fierce that she loses a few strands of beads - worthy of
extra points in our book!. Her grace and musicality come across
well and fill the room. Our only wish was for a more a smooth
Sabiba is a tough act to follow, but Zaheea!
is up for the challenge. She enters with a spinning viel
and entices us with incredible energy which is maintained
throughout her entire performance. Another splash of beads
during her drum solo makes us wonder if Sabiba has started
another trend. We like her playfulness and connection to the
audience. A good coach could help Zaheea!
deepen her style, but the judges are wowed.
by her mother, Sultana Gamal, Zahia Gamal
shows a promise of great things during
a smoldering violin taksim. Athough it took some time for
her to warm up to the audience, she ended her performance
with some seductive hip drops accentuated by just the right
amount of quivering flesh. She also tricks us with a fake
ending showing us that she's more comfortable than we originally
reminds us of a slinky cat, using her veil to accent isolations.
The Puerto Rico native includes spinning double veil and a
candle dance in her routine. She has a sexy smile until she
loses her bra, which takes her offstage for quite some time.
The audience shows great support, yet she is obviously shaken,
and continues to look upset through the end and into the award
ceremony. Although she may have believed the accident cost
her the trophy, we feel her dancing was not as sophisticated
as Claudia, Sabiba and Zaheea! Clearly her demeanor was not
worthy of an award.
From left to
right: Grand Prize winner Zaheea!, 1st runner up Nuwal,
2nd runner up Sabiba, 3rd runner up Claudia, 4th runner
up Shayla and Congeniality winner Yasmeen. |