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Gilded Serpent presents...
A Report of the
2004 Ya Halla Y'all
Saturday Evening Show
August 21, 2004
by Leigh Allen and Tamara Campbell
photos by Craig Campbell

The Saturday evening show at Isis' annual  Ya Halla, A Gathering of Stars was one of the best dance shows we have had the pleasure of attending this year.  There were three shows, beginning at 8:00 p.m. in the Grapevine Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas and none of the three shows were without superstar performances.  There was also a great new look to the stage this year with custom arches, rich burgundy curtains, Egyptian themed statues, and a wooden floor.

The Wings of Isis opened the first show, entering on stage with huge Isis Wings.  They performed an original choreography that was a joint effort between the members and Sa'diyya, the Assistant Artistic Director for Wings.  These ladies did not just carry their props around- they really danced!  We could not take our eyes off them- they were excellent! 

A peek at the sword work of Isis
caught at another event.


Next performing was Bahaia of Austin, wearing the cutest pink pants with ruffles and matching bra.  As always, Bahaia was the essence of Egyptian style, performing big hip circles and little hip locks with subtle shimmies and slow mayas looking up to upraised arms.

Tirza of Midnight Mirage dance troupe, next took the stage wearing royal blue.  This was my first time to see Tirza perform.  Among other movements, she performed a big hip circle with a drop from her waist swinging her blonde hair around dramatically.  She also performed a forceful hip lock and chest lock combo. 

Asheba and Aisha from Bedouin Dancers in San Antonio, dressed in many layered skirts, performed a gypsy dance with tambourines.  Part of the music was a Karsilimar, to which they performed three count turns with little finger snaps and lifting their foot to the back in a little point.

Rachael, one of the Wings of Isis, and wearing one of her original designs in black and green, performed to a musical selection from Wash Ya Wash.  In one of the slow dramatic heavy drum parts of the music, she performed a drop to floor kneeling.


Cara of San Antonio (and Karavan) is always one of our favorite dancers to watch. Her muscle control is just amazing.  For a moment, she posed with her hip far out and down and her body in a diagonal line, but her arms reaching out to audience.  She also did some dramatic layering of hip, abs and torso.

The Isis Performing Companies closed the first show with an exciting candle and sword routine.  Half the dancers carried two candles and the other half balanced swords on their heads.  These ladies are lovely dancers and showed remarkable precision as they weaved candles between swords.

Kede from the Wings of Isis opened the second show wearing a silver and black beaded costume.  She performed a deep backbend combo to saidi beat, with chest pops on the second "doum doum." She has a real talent connecting with the audience and it is always so much fun to watch her face while she dances- a dancer who has it all, great technique and tons of personality.

Midnight Mirage, a troupe from Utah, next took the stage wearing white bedlahs, and sheer layers of white harem pants and skirts, carrying and playing doumbeks.  They made great use of the stage and there was a good bit of going to the back of the stage to make a dramatic walk diagonally across to the front; it was very effective.    They performed arabesque/undulation combinations, and some pretty intense shimmies.    

Sa'diyya (2003 Belly Dancer of the Year and winner of 2004 West Coast BDSS Star Search) danced next wearing a fabulous yellow costume and yellow veil.  She is always so much fun to watch that we could hardly take our eyes off of her to write notes.  We did notice a long diagonal lean, with hips drops down, chest drops down, and ended in a spectacular Turkish drop.

Dancing next in-group choreography was Karen Barbee's troupe Karavan from San Antonio.  They performed synchronized undulation/pelvic drop combinations and backward walks with downward hip figure eights and chest rolls.  They had, as always, great isolations and moved in almost perfect unison.

Jamileh (winner of the 2004 Belly Dancer of the Universe) danced next in a black and green costume with veil.  To a portion of her music that was very slow and sexy sounding, she performed a big slow hip circle, torso circle to the ground, tossing hair. 

Jim Boz from San Diego, CA came out in one-piece black jumpsuit with silver trim and got the crowd going with his enthusiastic and entertaining dance.  With a mischievous smile, he performed belly rolls, shimmies, and turned his back to the audience to show off alternating butt isolations to the music


The Wings of Isis danced again to close the second show in a piece choreographed by Sa'diyya and Jewel.  All dressed in white and silver two- piece costumes they again executed another fun choreography with lots of shimmies and smiles.  Then the hostess for the entire evening, Isis, came out in black and copper to ignite the audience.  The consummate entertainer she performed her signature multi-sword routine balancing 4 swords while spinning, shimmying, and even doing the splits.  It is wonderful to see her performing again after a two- year hiatus.


Jim Boz


The third show opened with Harry Saroyan singing with drum accompaniment by Issam.   Mr. Saroyan was also emceeing the show so not only were we treated to his beautiful singing voice but we also were entertained by his good- natured jokes throughout the evening

Amaya danced next in a blue and purple gypsy silk skirt and top with matching veil.  Her fire and grace were breathtaking to watch. Her flamenco arms were fluid and her kick and cross over turn a joy to watch.  She discarded the blue/purple veil and undulated across the stage on her knees to a veil the color of a sunrise and a matching hot pink feather fan.  She rose to perform one of her signature fan dances. 

Reda Darwish came on the stage with his ever-present smile carrying a doumbek and a set of bongos.  He began his set playing the doumbek and stirred the crowd with his finger rolls and doums then he switch to the bongos.  The speed of his hands and the wonderful music they produced brought the audience to their feet.
  Jihan Jamal, the renown choreographer from Miami came out in gold illusion lace dress. Her dance was beautiful, subtle and so very Egyptian.  Her lovely smile and graceful movements enchanted the audience as she performed classic cabaret with touches of folkloric. 
Aziza of Canada - entered in two- piece green costume. The bra and belt were covered with gold coins and large green stones.  She began her performance with a slow mesmerizing veil routine that had a variety of swirling movements then performed to an up tempo piece to which she amazed the crowd her skilled use of shimmies and locks while she floated across the stage.
Amir Thaleb of Argentina was suffering from a stomach virus but performed like the professional he is despite being ill. He came out wearing a burnt orange overcoat with gold sequined trim with black sheer shirt underneath, black pants and boots.  He performed a variety of folkloric steps including a rousing debke and then grabbed a cane and twirled it with blazing speed. 
With the crowd going crazy, he then came off the stage and pulled ladies up from their seats to dance with him.  When he went back up on stage, he removed the overcoat and continued with his high-energy dance to a rousing ovation.
  Virginia of Miami, FL came out in a shimmering white and silver beaded two- piece costume with white iridescent wings. As always she provided wonderful entertainment with great variety movements and skill.  She then shed her wings and performed a dynamic drum solo.
Jillina and Issam closed this exciting evening of dance.  Issam came out first and "warmed" the audience up by playing rhythms and having each side of the audience clap back the response.  Issam began to play a steady rhythm and Jillena appeared on stage a beautiful blue and yellow costume.  What followed was an amazing display of dancer and drum rhythm becoming one.  Jillena performed a dazzling array of flutters, rolls, locks, and shimmies to Issam's fabulous and varying rhythms.  Slow or fast, she personified the music and the obvious camaraderie between the two was a delight to watch.   

Isis' annual August shows are always great and professionally presented but the show on Saturday truly lived up to its billing as 'A Gathering of Stars'.  We can't wait for next year!
Next year's shows will be held August 18- 21, 2005

Leigh and Tamara a.k.a. Rhykiah and Badriyya can be seen often dancing with their husbands Radu and Borislav who along with Ja'Nena are the Middle Eastern percussion group DoumSmack.

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