Belly Dancer of the Year Pageant-2000

Notes from Belly Dancer of the Year Pageant - Friday night
Troupes, Duets and Grand Dancers
review and photos by
Susie Poulelis

We arrive late and saw for our first full performance, the lovely Marula. She gives an impressive performance and looks stunning in her light colored costume

Do you care?
The next impressive performance comes from Sirens in Sanity. Although I am bemused by their name, I enjoy their performance. They appear confident and smooth while they dance to well thoughtout choreography and good music. I am surprised that they did not place! One thing I notice about this troupe, which seems to be lacking in many troupes, is their apparent compatibility with each other. The dancers' abilities seem to be well suited to each other. More importantly, I notice that these dancers seem to be enjoying themselves.
Shobiyet: a duet. They look cute in red and have some interesting moves. It is easy to photograph them because they are so beautiful, well syncronized, and have great stage chemistry!
Linda-Linda: This dance is somewhat impressive, but I am wishing for the use of finger cymbals to make the presentation more complete.

Sahara in Silk - I am impressed with the visual effect of the costumes. The multi colored veils are very effective for stage and the choreography seem well suited for this occasion. I feel that there is one dancer whose skill level is not up to par with the others, and I do not get the same feeling of enjoyment that I felt with Sirens in Sanity.

During the intermission I spoke with
Rhea about this event. She told me that this event was started many years ago in the early 1970s for those who were not particularly interested in becoming professional. Several of the categories have evolved over the years. The duet concept is a relatively new one, as well as the Grand Dancer category. I asked Rhea when the Grand Dancer category was added, and she laughingly responded, "When we all began to get old!"

All troupes are judged by the following the requirements:

  • Appearance and Costuming
  • Choreography and Music
  • Originality and Versatility
  • Precision Dance

There is also a section where the judge can use his/her own discretion.

The winning dancers of Duets were:

  • Congeniality:Ayesha and Tiziana
  • Second Runners-up: Saida and Yasmin
  • First Runners-up: Amarasha
  • The Grand Prize trophy and the $200 cash prize went to Showbiyet.

Grand Dancer:

  • Congeniality: Delana
  • 2nd Runner-up: Saroya
  • 1st Runner-up: Linda - Linda
  • Grand Prize trophy and $200 cash award to Marula


  • Congeniality: Raks Sahibat
  • 2nd Runner-up: Sabat Banat
  • 1st Runner-up: Sahara in Silk
  • Winner: Raks Sahabat


Saturday Night

Lynette's notes:

Again, we have arrived nearly an hour late, we just caught the tail end of
Piper's show as we sat down behind Rhea, who was one of the judges. I teased her about being impartial, Piper is her daughter. Piper was electric, of course. How could anyone compete with this hot dancer? Rhea doesn't need to be impartial; I think that Piper will win it anyway.

Saqra makes me want to try a double veil routine. Her version includes extremely sexy, emotional veil work. Everyone hoots when she retrieves a dropped veil with her toes. Piper first and now this woman who also dances to Greek/Armenian music. Oops! She lost a bit on the next fast number, but now she regains her audience. The audience loves her. She nails the rather calculated drum solo. I wonder if these contestants knew in advance who the judges would be and are trying to please Rhea with these Greek/Armenian flavors?
  Semolina dances next. Your dance is a little weak compared to the previous two that we have seen. I am wishing that you might turn up your energy level. Your dance is clean and beautiful, but I need to see enthusiasm and energy. Semilina is costumed in an orange glittery skirt with a slit, a sunset-colored
fringed bra, and lots of red sequins! She also has a lot of support from the audience.
Last year's Grand Dancer, Tilana, is competing again. She weaves us a story, bringing out her basket of veils, showing us the different colors. She stops to pull out, and then hide, a delicious red feather boa. She finally "chooses" and dances with a veil holding just one end over and behind her head. Then she pulls out a snake of satin rope that she turns into a full veil, next gold edged, tie-dyed rainbow veils.

The next section is upbeat, a common song and rendition, but I can't remember its name. It has a strong beledi rhythm with a question-and-answer type melody. She is wearing a golden bra and belt with tie-dyed rainbow handkerchief skirt and a pink vest. She walks toward the edge of the stage and engages the audience with a look and walks back and executes her drum solo. A little much on the clowning for my taste, but she is very entertaining, none the less.
Rie dances next. She is an Asian beauty in aqua and silver, wearing silver pumps. Her dance gets much better after she warms up. She is such a little dancer, but able to get the crowd clapping with her funky forward-back undulations. She really grows on me. She asks us to clap for her and then mimes, with hand gestures, the words of the next song. Cute! It is an Egyptian styled "cute-attack", cute!
Thia: When the lights come up, we find her mid-stage in a crouch, shielding her face. Once she stands up, we are captivated by the wide sexy slits in her gold shiny harem pants. Primitive sounding ethnic music fades away to a melodic Greek style ballad. You can see her Costless Imports-style bra and belt after she removes her purple veil. She uses too many veil tricks but, imagine! she sports a belly jewel! Her floor-work includes what we used to call the "frog position." Her shimmy is sexy, more tricks, and then she gets up, employs nice "Up Undulations" and more veil tricks. Is this a Sirocco taksim transition to the drum solo? Veils are handy to pick up on a table close by. She accompanies the whole drum solo with her zils. She uses a "Turkish Drop." Another Sirocco tune starts and the audience doesn't know she is finished until she fades out behind the curtain.
Naiya-Hayal: She enters to a cute, little pop song, with her face veiled and "big hair!" Is that lime green? I'm not sure, but it is a beaded costume with a chiffon skirt, big palettes, and headband. Personally, I dislike the music. (I wonder if I am alone?) Finally, we get what promises to be good; Greek sounds with a woman's high voice warbling in the background accompanying some romantic veil work. It is a very nice dance, but it doesn't score up there with Piper or Saqua to my way of thinking. Next, she brings out a def for the drum solo, but uses it as a prop only. There is an unexciting ending and finale.

The night ends with another dance by last night's Grand Dance winner, Marula. She dances to some new-sounding pop music. She has a very trim figure and is energetic, and flirtatious. The slow section is a Chiftitelli rhythm, slow slippery, fluid, controlled professional, with a nice feeling that doesn't get in the way of her dance. Her music is a bit too "New-age" for me. The drum solo seems brutal, nice for a while but then becomes too predictable with too many tricks and "cutesy" gestures.

  • Congeniality Award: Tilana
  • Fourth Runner-up: Farah
  • Third Runner-up: Tilana
  • Second Runner-up: Rie (who receives the $100 prize)
  • First Runner-up:Saqra (who receives the $200 prize)
  • Bellydancer of the Year 2000: Piper

The Gilded Serpent

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