I was nominated by the lovely Courtney to participate in the 5-day Artist Challenge, which invites artists to share pictures or video’s of their art work or performances, showing their artistic development.
Usually I don’t take part in challenges or other online projects but I was feeling this one, so I accepted and dove into my archives… meaning my facebook photo’s, an external hard disk and Youtube 🙂
Day 1 – posted on 7th April
#artistchallenge day 1 – I just ran into this photo a couple of days ago. It was taken at the Gentse Feesten, the festival in my home town where I took my very first bellydance steps. The dancer in the front is my first teacher Samyra.
At the time of this picture I must have been dancing for 2 or 3 years I think. I started dancing in 2003. The girl on the left, Jeanette, is a dear friend with whom I spent many many hours chatting online 🙂
Seeing this photo makes me smile!
Day 2 – 8th April
#artistchallenge day 2 – Fast forward to 2010! This picture was taken at Saqarah in London, by Maani Photography. I danced two sets, oriental and khaleegy.
This was the first of quite a few performances in England now, and I must say that it is always so lovely to go there. I’ve met so many wonderful people at Saqarah, Jewel of Yorkshire, Fantasia, Celebrating Dance Festival, Shimmy By The Sea!, Planet Egypt, Shimmy in the City… to name a few of the amazing events.
Very happy memories for which I’m very grateful, and I look forward to go back in October of this year, for the 15th edition of Celebrating Dance.
Day 3 – 9th April
#artistchallenge day 3 – Moving on to 2011. The craziest year ever. I was teaching, performing, working and competing. In April that year I won first place at the Jewel of Yorkshire contest, in September I won third place at Shimmy in the City and in November I won first place at Bellydancer of the World at Leyla Jouvanas & Rolands Oriental Festival of Europe, shared with Kathreen from Czech Republic.
This picture was taken by André Elbing during that performance.
Costume by Bella – who always know what I want, even when I don’t know it myself 🙂
It was the last contest I entered – I am not competing anymore and I’m happy with that, but I have learned so much from it on multiple accounts. The competition world can be very tough, and there is a LOT of discussion about it, but the experience has been invaluable for my dance and for myself as a person.
Day 4 – 10th April
#artistchallenge day 4 – I met Khalida for the first time in Eindhoven (NL) in 2008, where we both took workshops with Orit from Israel. We only met sporadically for a while but it was always nice to chat and have some fun 🙂 I think it was in 2010 that we started to realize that we have a *lot* in common. It also turned out that we started bellydancing in the same year and have experienced a similar dance evolution.
This photo was taken by Ludo Vanlangenakker at a show organised by Johanna and Nephélé, in 2013. Khalida and I both celebrated our 10-year danciversary that year 🙂
Although we only performed together a couple of times, we have cooperated for *many* projects. We still share rooms when we happen to travel together, which is always good fun, with dance geekery and philosophical talks. Thanks, dude!! ❤
Day 5 – 11th April
#artistchallenge day 5 – For my last day of the challenge I want to post the video of my performance at Hanaa‘s hafla, in september 2014.
This performance is very special to me, as it was the first time where I was totally relaxed and into the music while improvising. No internal shoulds or what ifs… just the music, the dancing, and the audience. A really special experience, that confirmed what dance really means to me, and what I want to convey with my dancing. Going back to the essence.
Thank you so much for nominating me for this challenge, Courtney! I really enjoyed taking this trip down memory lane and remembering those milestones.