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A Dancer’s Perspective

Kata Maya of Texas

2010 Yaa Halla Y’all Belly Dance Competition

by Iman
Photos by Carl Sermon and MaShuqa
posted September 24, 2010

My duet partner, Majah, and I have had the privilege of dancing in several exceptional competitions, and we decided to venture to the great state of Texas to experience the 10th anniversary of “Yaa Halla Y’all” organized by Isis and Del and the Star Dancers staff.

Yaa Halla Y’all is an action-packed, four-day event for all styles of Belly dance: Tribal, Alternative, and Cabaret. Each day, dancers can select from six different 2-hour workshops, conducted by teachers like Bozenka, Amy Sigil, Kaeshi, Karim Nagi, Amaya and many more. On Thursday and Friday nights, Tribal, Alternative and Cabaret dancers compete for the People’s Choice Awards, with Saturday night being the 2010 Gala Show of Stars and People’s Choice Winners’ Showcase.

For dancers who are interested in an incredible immersion into dance as well as a great competition, Yaa Halla Y’all is a “must do”!

Check In & Registration: As a dancer, you get a sense of the event immediately, when you walk in the door of the venue. In our case, a team of highly organized, very gracious volunteers greeted us. Music check in, and registration were done in record time.

Estelle of ChinaDancer’s Dressing Room: Each dressing room was hosted by one of Isis’s volunteers, wearing a red T-shirt and a halo headband so you couldn’t miss them. Every dancer had mirrors, cold water, and trays of safety pins, hard candy, chocolate, rubber bands, tape, band-aids, sewing thread, etc. The Yaa Halla volunteers were extremely well prepared, and able to get answers to any question.

Back Stage: Imagine a back stage with a private curtained rooms for dancers to go for some solitude before dancing, a TV to watch the live performances from back stage, more candy and three extremely organized stage managers who kept everything running like clockwork. Another plus was that the stage itself was beautifully festooned with live plants and Egyptian sculptures.

Competition: On Thursday night, 21 tribal and alternative dancers vied for the Yellow Rose of Texas People’s Choice Award for Tribal/Alternative duets and trios, Men’s Tribal/Alternative soloist, Women’s Tribal/Alternative soloist and Tribal/Alternative troupes. On Friday night, thirty-nine different performers competed for Cabaret Rising Star soloists, Cabaret Duet/Trios, Cabaret soloists and Cabaret troupes. While scores were being tabulated each evening, professional dancers took the stage, and at the end of the evening Isis announced the award-winners. Considering how many dancers competed, the evening started promptly at 6:00 and at 9:30, which was gratefully appreciated.

Saturday Winner’s Showcase: Internationally-acclaimed Belly dancers performed at the Gala Show of Stars, along with all 2010 People’s Choice winners. Four professional Belly dancers from China made guest appearances, with the highlight being the standing ovation Estelle received for her stunning double fan-veil routine. Several special awards were given by Isis and the Isis Foundation, including the Award of Excellence to Tonya for the 20th anniversary of the Belly Dancer Universe Competition, and a lifetime achievement award to Tamalyn Dallal for all her contributions to the dance community. Each of the professional dancers was extraordinary, and it truly was the best evening of dance that I have ever had the privilege to watch.

Workshops:Yaa Halla features twenty-two different 2-hour workshops over four-day event. At some events, it is hard to see the workshop instructor, however, Yaa Halla has uniquely solved this problem. Workshop instructors taught on an elevated stage. In addition, a camera operator projected the workshop on a huge projection screen so everyone could always see the teachers. The teaching staff was exceptional and included: Moria Chappell, Aneena, Saqra, Amy Sigil, Jayna, Kaeshi, Yasmine, Mia, Pangia, Princess Farhana, Frank, Tamalyn Dallal, Karim Nagi, Amaya, Bozenka, Carmine Guida, Aubre and Virginia.

Massage Therapists: Special Bonus — It was totally unexpected and gratefully appreciated to have access to massage therapists to help unwind strained muscles.

Vendors: For Belly dance shop-a-holics, it was a shopper’s heaven with 25 national and local vendors. You could schedule a professional photography session, see hundreds of costumes, find dozens of unique hand-made items, and get great, reasonably priced Lebanese food. There was always something happening with great daily prize giveaways and silent auctions, so you didn’t want to leave.

Yaa Halla Y’all: Isis is a gracious host, and makes everyone feel welcome, and her effervescent personality helps get everyone in a celebratory mood. Her team really had thought about everything. Isis said the planning and preparation for this event starts a year in advance, and as a participant, you get the benefit of all this preparation. Yaa Halla Y’all is flawlessly executed, great fun and offers something for everyone. For dancers looking for a great competition, exceptional dancing and fantastic workshops — Yaa Halla Y’all is your event.

Isis awards Tonya
Isis awards Tamallyn
Carl MaShuqa award Isis
Dell
screen
Vendor
Fashion show
Yaa Halla, Y’all 2010
Yellow Rose of Texas Belly Dance Competition Winners

THURSDAY NIGHT TRIBAL/ALTERNATIVE:

Tribal/Alternative Duet/Trio:
Winners:  Angels Trio – Texas
2nd Place:  Farfesha World Collision Tour – New Mexico

Tribal/Alternative Male Solos:
Winner:  Bagoas – Maryland
2nd Place:  Frank Farinaro – Colorado

Tribal/Alternative Woman’s Solos:
Winner:  Karolina – Oregon
2nd Place:  Zara – Texas

Tribal/Alternative Troupe:
Winner:  Tribal Evolution – Texas
2nd Place:  Anahata Belly Dance Company – Texas

FRIDAY NIGHT CABARET

Cabaret Rising Star:
Winner:  Reed – Texas
2nd Place:  Ylona – Texas

Cabaret Duet/Trio:
Winner:  Iman & Majah – California
2nd Place:  Sasha & Sam – Texas

Cabaret Professional Solo:
Winner:  Kata Maya – Texas
2nd Place: Tie:  Victoria – Texas and LaHania – Texas
3rd Place: Sidonya – Texas
4th Place  Alisha Lee – Seoul, Korea

Cabaret Troupe:
Winner:  Sa’diyya and the Danza dela Luna Performance Company – Texas
2nd Place:  Desert Fire – Oklahoma

More photos from this event by Carl and MaShuqa

Yao and Xiao Xiao Chen and Lin Na of China
Yao and Xiao Xiao Chen and Lin Na of China

Karim and Bozenka
Karim and Bozenka
Isis
Isis
Kaeshi
Kaeshi
Moria Chappell
Moria Chappell

 

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   |       |    1 Comment

  1. No Gravatar
    kirill

    Feb 7, 2012 - 10:02:05

    big thx!!!!

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