The Eighth International Oriental Dance Festival will be taking place from Thursday to Sunday, October 24 to 27 at various spots in the Mother City. This charity event in aid of the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children in Athlone has been organised by Ajsa Samia and Oriental Dance Theatre Palace of the Winds and will kick off with an Opening Gala Evening at the Mega VU Theatre at Ratanga Junction on the Thursday at 8pm, where audiences will be able to enjoy performances by professional international and South African Oriental dancers. (Tickets are available at Computicket for R150.)
On October 25 and 26 there will be workshops where interested parties can learn from some of the world’s best oriental dance teachers. (Visit www.iodfcapetown.com for more information.)
The Fringe Programme will take place at the V&A Waterfront on October 26 and 27 and will feature performances by hundreds of belly dancers from all over the world, from beginner’s to master level. (Performances commence at 10.30am and finish at 6pm on both days.)
Some of the names that dance enthusiasts can look forward to seeing perform include:
• Bianca Pieters (SA)
Pieters started her official dance training at only three years of age, attending ballet lessons in Durban with renowned ex-corps member of the Royal Ballet, Ellie Hughes. Since then she has studied many forms of dance including Jazz, Modern, Contemporary, Stage Dance, Mime, Ballroom and Latin American. Being the first “Tribal Fusion style” title contestant in the history of Miss Belly Dance South Africa, she placed third in the competition in 2012. In 2013 she won the tribal solo category and the Title category of MBDSA.
• Nicole McLaren (CH/USA)
An international dance artist, instructor and choreographer for Oriental Dance with special focus on Whirling Dance (Tanoura), McLaren devides her time between Zurich (Switzerland) and Los Angeles (USA). For years McLaren has been showing oriental dance performances on international stages in Egypt, America, Germany, Austria, France, Italy, the Netherlands or South Africa. The artist also performs to the live music of the Oriental Gypsy band Ssassa, or to her own band Harlekin. McLaren fell in love with one particular type of oriental dance style: Whirling. For her, this highly dynamic dance bears a unique, mesmerizing quality, paradoxically a great calmness while being in full motion. It simultaneously embraces a deep meditative tranquillity and a vibrant joy of life. In her very own Whirling style, McLaren combines modern music and dance elements as well as props from different cultures with the originally Turkish whirling technique.
• Gitza Krotzsch Estrada (Mexico/Spain)
A Mexican belly dancer since 2005, Estrada’s artistic training began in Mexico through seminars given by international figures such as Suhaila Salimpour, Devorah Korek, Bozenka and Saida Yamil Annum. She was creator, director and teacher of Dance Academy “Baladi” and director/choreographer of the group Rakkasah Al Hayat, who were winners of the competition’s New Talent Mexico, getting an invitation to dance in Havana Cuba in 2009 and 2010. She is a winner of the 1st Professional Award at the Festival At Hamadraks of Zaragoza (2012) and second professional award at the International Festival of Barcelona (2012 and 2013). Gitza has been invited to participate in international festivals in Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Portugal, Spain and Mexico. She currently continues teaching seminars and workshops in Spain and in Mexico.