and Veil is a student belly dance troupe
at the University Virginia Tech. They made their first contest
appearance at the East Coast Classic in 2006. They were
first-time competitors who went into it with an attitude of, “Let’s
have some fun.” The founding member of Hill and Veil competed
the year before as a soloist, so the rest of the troupe decided,
four members of Hill and Veil headed off to the 2006 competition
without knowing what to expect. They decided to use their choreography
from their annual hafla and plunged right in.
away without a trophy, but they were glad they experienced the
competition and the judges’ comments. They knew they’d be
back the next year. I was so surprised by their performance in
2007, they improved so much in the last year! To me, the purpose
of competing is to use the experience to get better. I really
love it when people come back with performances that show so much
growth from the year before. I sat down with members Hali
to ask Hill and Veil what made the difference. They told me
that they came away from the experience with new ideas about
included moves, props, choreography, and use of space. With the
coming of a new school year, Hill and Veil gained a lot of new
dancers and all of a sudden there were 50 new dancers! So they
divided the group into beginner, intermediate, and advanced.
One of the
new members was Reema Samaha, a student of Lebanese
heritage who had been dancing since she was 2 years old. Her
dance styles included: ballet, jazz, modern, hip hop, and belly
dance. Reema helped the advanced troupe create the choreography
for Hill & Veil’s competition routine. Reema was a big part
of the group. If she missed practice it was because she was attending
some other dance event, and her absence was always noticed. She
was always happy to be dancing and that energy rubbed off on the
rest of the group. She was always able to provide new ideas when
the choreography seemed “stuck”. She worked really well with
the group and her input really helped Hill & Veil get their
routine together for competition.
on April 16, 2007, Reema was killed by a fellow student along
with 31 other people on the Virginia Tech campus.
Veil didn’t know what to do. Nobody felt like dancing anymore.
They cancelled their annual hafla scheduled for April 21. They
considered canceling their contest appearance. They couldn’t imagine
dancing their contest piece without Reema.
they made an effort to dance together because they thought it
was the best way to get through the tragedy and give something
to Reema. Especially since she’d worked so hard on their routine. Ultimately
they decided to compete to honor her memory.
Hill and Veil
sent six girls (Hali, Chelsea, Nicole, Cathy, Helen, and
Liz) to the competition. Hali said, “The day of the contest,
backstage we could all just feel her. We were like, ‘This is for
Reema! She’s here!”’ She continued, “I think we forgot everyone
was there and we just danced. It felt so good.” Hill & Veil
was rewarded for their efforts with People’s Choice and a third
When I asked Hali and Chelsea what they would do next, they said
that they were going to keep on dancing! They will be graduating
in 2008 along with other dancers who were original members of
the group. They want to pass along the dance and to keep on creating
excitement and entertainment for their audiences.
fund has been established in memory of Reema Samaha. This particular
fund is a scholarship fund for a member of Hill & Veil.
To donate, send a check to Virginia Tech Foundation, Inc., University
Development, 902 Prices Fork Road, Blacksburg, VA 24061.
To donate online, go to https://webapps.banner.vt.edu/giving/academic_index.jsp
In the "Gift Designation" area of the form go to the
box "Other Designation" and type in Reema Joseph Samaha
Middle Eastern Dance Memorial Fund.
a comment? Send us a
Check the "Letters to the Editor"
for other possible viewpoints!
Independent Contractor or Employee?
important thing is that the relationship between worker and payer
be classified correctly for tax purposes so that you are aware
of what taxes and filings you are liable for.
Rocking with Raqia by Taaj
Each explanation brought the class closer to understanding the
essence of Egyptian style.
In Tribute: Rhonda/Baseema
of Troupe Ooh La La by Shabnam
were times she could barely walk due to a flare up of Lupus, but
she always came to rehearsal and gave a 110%--despite the pain
or trouble, she was going through that day. Rhonda soon became
the troupe mascot because of her courage and commitment. "If
Rhonda can do it, you can do it!" became our
motto. She was a great source of inspiration and motivation for
all members of Ooh La La.
Belly Dance, Through the Eye of the
Camera by Ishtar
dominate photography and film industries in both the west and
the east. As well as ideas concerning the status of the dancer
and gender, films involving belly dancers can give us information
on the class dynamic and stratification that exists.
Music Copyright Law for Belly Dancers
(or for any Performing Artist) by Yasmin
Hollywood blockbuster movies down to clips on YouTube the law
is the same and it applies to anyone who uses someone else’s
music for their own purposes.