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"SPORTSWOMAN
OF THE
 YEAR"
Interview with
Amirah
by Marcel Bieger
homepage Amirah: www.amirah.be
Amirah will dance as guest star at the Contest
"Bellydancer of the World" (19.11.), and also at the Festival weekend, 26./27.11.2011, of the 19th. Oriental Festival of Europe
by Leyla und Roland Jouvana in Duisburg
(
www.leyla-jouvana.de)
Photos © Konstanze Winkler
Graphic design: Konstanze Winkler
This year 2011 went exceptional well for Belgian dancer Amirah. Before known best as member of the duo “Kokoro”, her 1st place at “Bellydancer of the World” (in 2010) contest fuelled her solo career. She recently absolved the challenging „Level One Certificate“ of Suhaila Salimpour, and this year she herself will be sitting in the jury of “Bellydancer of the World” contest. But let her tell you in her own words …
What does the Suhaila Level One certificate mean to you, will you start using it immediately as a teacher?

Suhaila Salimpour has worked out a terrific concept for dancers to train with. I had experienced some of her workshops and was motivated to start an intensive training. This year, it was the first time you could take the exam in Belgium. I couldn't let this opportunity slip away, so I worked hard in advance with her online classes and DVDs. Whether I would pass the exam or not, I was already so happy to have done so much structured training!

I will not teach Suhaila's whole concept, because my students come to me specifically for Tribal Fusion, but due to the training I decided to make my classes longer with an extra workout because it makes you so much stronger and every dancer can use that!

What exactly does it mean to become the "Sportswoman of the year" in Ham?

Well, it feels funny and very meaningful at the same time ... I have been teaching in my hometown for many years now and I had the feeling that people didn't realise that bellydance technique requires more than just shaking every loose part on your body. I am sure many bellydancers will recognize this ... But when I got the first prize in the Solo Tribal Fusion category at Leyla Jouvana's Bellydancer of the World Contest, their eyes went open I think and they started seeing bellydance more as a sport than before. So I got nominated and chosen because of the prize I won ...

For the first time you will be sitting in the jury of the "bellydancer of the world" contest at Leyla Jouvana's festival. Is this another big step in your career?

Yes! I am so excited! The years before I always watched the whole competition and enjoyed myself writing down some comments and ratings ... and now I get to do it for real. It also will be a special feeling to sit at the jury table now after participating last year to see it all from "the other side". For me it is not a carreer move, I am just so very honoured to be part of it!
How come you got invited to perform at BellyFusions in Paris?

Thanks to Leyla Jouvana I could perform at one of her Orient Party's and one of the organisers of the Bellyfusions festival spoke to me and asked me to put myself as a candidate. So I did and ... now I will be teaching and performing in Paris at the festival!

What will we see from you this year at Duisburg festival?

As for the workshops I will be teaching one dramatic choreo workshop and in the other one I will focus on using expression in your dance. The Kokoro workshop will be funky!
About the performances I cannot tell much ... it's a surprise!

But I can tell you that I will not only perform solo, Kokoro will be there with a new act as well ...

You will have to come and check it out!

Amirah and Milka as Duo Kokoro