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Leiden, NL
August, 5th - 7th.

Interview with organizer
Anusch Alawerdian

by Marcel Bieger

INTERNATIONAL SUMMER BELLYDANCE FESTIVAL 2011
Although still young Anusch Alawerdian, based in the Netherlands and with Armenian roots, has made herself a big name in the dance world. This year she invites to one of her much noticed festivals again. For everybody who wants to have a say in international belly dance, this event is a must. In the interview below she tells us, what she has in store for her 2011 festival. By the way, one of her teachers was the Germany based, Netherlands rooted dancer Shahrazad, who has brought many dancers on their way.
You have a very artistic dance background and have also enjoyed a lot of dance training in different styles, as well as having performed all over the world. Please name the most important and influential steps of your career.

I have always wanted to become a dancer and have focused on that goal from a very young age. My mother is my greatest fan and supporter.  She always told me, if you want to do this then go for it. 

I have been focused and dedicated, trained very hard and spent time with a variety of great dancers. My heart goes for Oriental dance, but I like the different dance styles. Recently I performed in New Delhi, India, for three months and I took some Indian dance classes there. Now you can also clearly see the Indian influences in some of my new choreographies (laughs).

The first big step in my career was the opening of my own dance studio at a very young age and I had approximately 200 students!! It is a lot of fun and very rewarding to see so many people show an interest in dance and to see them grow. But the biggest step was to go abroad to perform and leave this all behind.  It is exciting, a new challenge, a new step in my life. I am so glad I made that step. I have learned so much and it is a great experience. I met so many interesting, sweet and beautiful people . . .
You have hosted quite a few festivals. Who will come, what is planned, and what are the highlights of International Summer Bellydance - or in short:
What makes this festival special?

From 1999-2008, I have organized the “Oriental Lounge” Festivals for which I would invite well-known artists. These festivals have always been very successful.

After I have been performing abroad for three years, I decided to hold the festival in the summer because it is easier for dancers from abroad to come and also I am always in my home country in the summer.

On my trips I have met many great dancers who are less known in our part of the world and this time I wanted to put them in the spotlight.


My guest artists will be:
Milla Tenorio (UAE/Brazil), Shayma (Argentina), Sophie Armoza (Israel), Amar Lammar (Mexico), Nelly (Austria/Greece) and Amira Ates(NL)

The Summer Bellydance festival is a three-day program with workshops, a contest, a bazaar, good food, an elegant opening Gala and we will end the festival with a rocking dance spectacle with an Arabic DJ, star singer Ramy Lapache from Morocco, live drummer Phoenix Lucas from Argentina and many more surprises... 
Not only the artists are from different parts of the world, but also the participants who registered will be coming from Korea, Russia, Germany, Switzerland, France, Israel, Mexico etc.  to my beautiful and historical city of Leiden in The Netherlands.  For those three days, Leiden will be the center of a bellydance vacation!!!
Tell us something about the Contest "Miss Summer Bellydance".

Well the most exciting subject for me in the coming festival is the contest, as this will be the first time for me to be organizing a big International Bellydance competition. I spent a lot of time in putting together this “Miss Summer Bellydance 2011” contest.

All the 7 International artists together with myself and a very special guest, impresario and General Manager of Puls Events of United Arab Emirates and Lebanon, Mr. H. Chakmagian will be involved.

I can’t wait to see which “talented butterfly” will get to wear the crown and win a very special prize. The participants will have a chance to be booked by “Puls Events” in UAE/Lebanon.

Will you think of International Summer Bellydance Festival No. 2, and what other plans do you have for the future?

I think for sure, I will have a Summer Bellydance Festival No 2 and 3 and 4 and on … !!! I already have new inspirations and plans for 2012. I hope my festival will grow each year with new ideas and surprises. Please wish me good luck!

I will also be organizing my “5th Oriental Lounge” festival as well very soon again.

My future plan is: Certainly continuing to perform and teach abroad. And I am planning to create my own Bellydance production with top dancers, which I will take with me on tour to perform as a “Bellydance Spectacle”.  I have already named this year’s Gala Show of the Summer Bellydance Festival beforehand “The Bellydance Spectacle” (she winks).
further informations about the festival: www.summerbellydancefestival.com

homepage Anusch Alawerdian:
www.anusch.nl
the YouTube show trailer
Graphics and layout: Konstanze Winkler
Photos with kindly permission by Anusch Alawerdian
Anusch Alawerdian
Milla Tenorio (Egypt/Brazil)
Shayma (Argentinia)
Sophie Armoza (Israel)
Nelly (Austria/Greece)
Amar Lammar (Mexico)
Amira Ates (Netherlands)
Phoenix Lucas (Argentinia)
Ramy Lapache (Morocco)
Why is the Netherlands, as a small country, so big in  bellydance stars.

We just love Bellydancing.