The Middle Eastern Touch

This write up is going to be based on “The Hollywood Bellydance Hafla 2013″ held in SEGI University, Multi-Purpose Hall Malaysia followed by Workshops by “Hanan Abboud and Mandy Bakhshy” held in The Middle East Dance Academy Studio.

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Picture as seen above is “The Opening Gambit Performance” done by 25 MEDA Students practicing since the month of January for this number, Choreographed by Nanccy Bakhshy.

The Hollywood Bellydance Hafla 2013 idea was created by Nilu Bakhshy, inspired by Makiko Kimura who introduced Hanan Abboud to her, she decided that this night should be about Middle Eastern Culture and the unity of Malaysian Bellydancers. Her idea evolved as she came across a friend and dance partner Fatin Abdul Malik. Nilu was searching for a Venue at the moment and without hesitation Fatin insisted we do it at SEGI University, Nilu thought it was a fantastic idea! Let’s just say it wasn’t as easy to get Dato’ Prof. Dr. Jamalaudin Mohaidin to accept our proposal at first, but after explaining to him that this night will be about “Middle Eastern Culture” he decided to pursue it as he thought it would be educational and follow the SEGI International Student Society’s tagline “Bringing Cultures Together”.

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Above is the token of appreciation given to The Middle East Dance Academy by SEGI International Student Society.

We would also like to add the people behind all the event details not including Nanccy, Nilu Bakhshy and the MEDA Students:

Major Dolly Head of Student Affairs

Paramartha Sanjjana SEGI International Student Society (SISS) President

Fatin Abdul Malik SEGI Student Society Member

Preety Kaur Decorations

Zameer Ameerden Poster and Flyers Designer

Not forgetting the SEGI Crew for all their help and efforts. Thank you very much.

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Above is the custom made costume worn by Mandy Bakhshy, Designed by Nabella Malinka, an MEDA sister and friend. You can also find more of her work in her facebook page “The Art of Nabura“.

We all were happy and anxious to make this night unforgettable so Nilu Bakhshy brought in everyone she could think of to help her. All teachers from different schools such as Nanccy Bakhshy from The Middle East Dance Academy, Sherlyn Koh from Sirocco Secrets, Brancy Nekavapil from BellyFusion, Aiza from Aiza’s Studio, Zoe Choomchor, May Tan and Chin Wei from Klang, Malaysia, Nurul Huda from Singapore, Kevy and Sophia, Anahita Dancers, Tribal Bellydancer Beatrice Flowers and much more. To Nilu’s delight they accepted her invitation and they truly worked hard on their part with all the annoying facebook messages she sent regularly everyday. haha She truly wants to thank them for their participation and helpful hands.

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So to continue our adventure, the Dato’ requested that this night should not only be about Bellydance so Nilu Bakhshy made sure every performer brought something new and fresh to the table. Not forgetting the added line up of performances and entertainment Mahdi Moudini “The Doctor of Magic”, TraxxFM Celebrity EMCEE “The Flying Singh“, DJ Derealshit (Ashish Khilnani), SEGI “L-O-L Crew” (Hip Hop Fusion), Mast Millennium Dancers (Bollywood) and much more. The line up involved so many different styles from The Middle East and here is to list a few, Raqs Sharki, Modern Bellydance, Fusion Bellydance (Hip Hop, Flamenco), Azeri from Azarbaijan (North of Iran), Baba Karam from Iran, Raks Assaya (Eygpt), Melaya (Alexandria, Eygpt), Fallahi, Tribal Bellydance and much more.

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The highlight performances that night was done by Hanan Abboud from Lebanon, flying all the way from Australia, Adelaide with Makiko Kimura from Japan just for that night. Following after is Mandy Bakhshy from Iran/Turkey doing a Candle and Double Cane Performance. Another one of the last minute added performances was The SEGI Singer Marissa Singing in Arabic, this lovely girl has previous experiences singing in Hebrew and other languages so the audience was really wowed by her voice. Marissa was not alone! Mandy Bakhshy and Azim Riaz from The Mast Millenium Dancers were also executing a theatrical emotive showcase together with her to better express the song she was singing.

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Above is a picture of Nabella Malinka – Mandy Bakhshy’s Custom made Costume Desginer for the Hafla.

There were about 400 guests that night and if you were there you would have noticed how truly academic this night was, the EMCEE was giving descriptions of each performance style to educate SEGI University Students about Bellydance and the misconception that we all have. Flyers and Booklets were on every table that night to explain briefly about Bellydance and Middle Eastern Dance, Bellydance is truly an ancient and spiritual art that should be enjoyed by everyone.

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As we go on, the preparations for this night was simply a difficult task but to Nilu’s surprise everything was imperfectly perfect, it was great for a first one and that was a satisfaction no price can be put on. Nilu wasn’t looking for perfection for this night, she is pursuing her Degree in Mass Communication, Majoring in PR and Event management, this was basically practice for her and she really enjoyed and learned so much from this rare opportunity her mother has bestowed upon her.

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Her mother, Nanccy Bakhshy was the one behind it all. Let’s just say without her mother she wouldn’t have had the strength to do this at all. Nilu Bakhshy has always looked up to her mother even at a small age and has always dreamed that she could be half the women she is, lets hope in that night she proved, just maybe, she could be. Nanccy Bakhshy is the Principal of The Middle East Dance Academy (MEDA) and the Manager and Main Choreographer for the MEDA Dancers. To read up more about her just check out our website or google her on articles about her previous achievements.

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To follow up with the great night we had our Hanan and Mandy Workshops. The workshops were held in the MEDA Studio and different styles were thought in those days, the one that really stood out the most was the Oum Kouloumthum by Hanan. It was heart felt and soul grabbing improvised choreography, so touching that 3 of our students came out in tears when she performed a private number for them after the workshop. It was only then did the students really understand the cheering of the Arabs that was done in the Hafla. Hanan style is very folkloric and cultural just like Nanccy Bakhshy’s styles, thats why alot of people have now proclaimed them as “The Long Lost Twins“. Her workshops were truly extra-ordinary because she could tell us the meanings behind the words, music and dance. She did a tremendous job in her short visit in Kuala Lumpur and she really enjoyed every moment as we did hers, hopefully we will be honoured to have her in our company once again in Malaysia in the near future.

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Some the quotes by people who attended the Hafla and Workshops:

“it was interesting. I like the lady from Aussie. Her dance was very artistic.”

– Andrea Mathew (Guest in the Hafla)

“Eye opening workshop with teacher Hanan”

– Gabrielle Hee (MEDA Student)

“Hanan & Mandana Workshop – 2 days 15 hours worth of absolutely awesome knowledge on Belly Dancing and meeting new people. I can’t express enough on the workshops but everything was well worth it. Hanan is “AMAZING” and her partner Makiko. Hanan she is like twin Nancy then comes Mandana who showed us you can do fusion but still keeping it real – she is very talented. Thank you so much Nancy and Nilu for giving me this opportunity to participate, feeding all of us and pushing me to the stage.”

– Malarvizy Perumal (MEDA Student)

“One of a kind of a show I attended today. People from near and far, aged from 3 years old to their oldies, all kinds of people from all kinds of nations that are different races. I learnt and experienced a whole new culture of belly dancing. Thank you and congratulations to you all for your efforts and dedication. I was amazed and enjoyed it. Hip HIp HOORAY! I hope another hafla night comes around the corner for those who missed out.”

– Shari Ann Dawson (SEGI Student Guest in the Hafla)

“The event was FAN-TAS-TIC !! I discovered how much inventive the various dancers were, each bringing something fresh and new. And it was quite fun with a lot of variety. Great evening indeed! Loved it !!!”

– Jean-Pierre Lantieri from France (Guest in the Hafla)

“It was a great great event! Well done!! Enjoyed the night and ALL the performances!”

– May Tan (Invited Performer)

All photography in this blog was done by Mahshid Kerdar

More pictures can be found HERE.

Official Hollywood Bellydance Hafla Flyer HERE.

Official Hollywood Bellydance Hafla Teaser HERE.

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