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At the beginning of last year the dancers Khalida and Milka told us that they were planning their own festival and if we would like to support them. When they enlightened us, what was cooking, we felt electrified – a festival as come together between the three countries Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, taking place in German town Würselen and Belgian town Heerlen, where truly everything comes together. We not only supported them we also went there and took a good look, and we felt enthralled. This year the sequel is on the agenda, this time with German artists also, and of course we will attend, again!
"I COULD SUDDENLY SEE THE HAPPINESS AROUND ME"

Interview with show promoter
Khalida

by Marcel Bieger

The MK festival started 2010, the follower is this year. Are you planning a series?

The original plan was to make it a yearly event, but this year both Milka and I have been surprised by our growing schedules, so it might be that we reconsider and make it a bi-yearly happening instead or even less frequent, depending on what the future brings for us. So all the more reason to come check out the one of this year. It is special because of our amazing guest teachers and performers, so we are looking forward to it very much!

This time there are dancers from the three bordering countries aboard, how did you bring them together?

The fact that we have dancers from different countries is on the one hand a result of the centralised location, within 30 minutes you can literally cross 2 borders here. But another factor is that both Milka and I have been lucky enough to be able to visit several great festivals in our own, but also each others' countries over the past few years and we met some great dancers and teachers along the way.

Even a dancer from the US will perform, is this a "gimmick" or do you want to establish a intercontinental show series?

Well, the internationality happened naturally, I think, because we are not afraid of looking over borders. We chose Razia, one of our main festival teachers this year, not because of her nationality, but because of her amazing performance skills, great personality and most of all because of her generosity and know-how as a teacher. I've gotten to know her at Aziza's workshops in Belgium a few years ago, and she also travels to different countries to perform and teach.

What kind of feedback did you get for your first show?

We were very happy with the positive reactions, both from the dancers who participated in the workshops and danced at the hafla, as from the audience, dancers and non-dancers alike. The main thing they said is that there was a nice mixture of

styles and dancers, but also that the atmosphere was both professional and very relaxed. We were super happy and proud about this, as this was our very first festival and we had a great team that helped make it all possible. We hope to achieve a similar result this year as well. One thing people asked for last year is a bit more time to dance themselves, so we have made the performance parts a bit shorter to accommodate that.
Looking back at the first show, what would you never do again, and what was your most wonderful moment?

One thing we thought to change immediately for this year was the stage and the room setup. We will have several high energy groups in the line up, so we had to make sure they can go all out of themselves while dancing! The most wonderful moment for me last year personally was a rather unexpected one. In between running from A to B I stopped for a beat and could suddenly see the joy of both the crowd and the performers around me, while the festival was going on. It was so great to be able to witness that, from the inside as it were, and I felt very happy and proud to be one of the people that helped made it possible.

How is Raks Pro doing and what will we see from them?

At the moment I am not co-directing RAKS PRO anymore, but we are very proud to be able to host them at our show because they are doing great! They will be performing the drum solo created by Razia that got them second place at Leyla's festival last year.

By the way, why are you running under the German flag, if I may say so?

Well, after living here in Germany for over 8 years now (how time flies when you are having fun!) I've noticed that I am starting to feel more 'in the country' than I used to be. I still love Belgium (especially the food!) and I still have my Belgian nationality (for now ha ha, might want to go for both one day), but my 'dance base' and home are really in Germany now.

So, if anybody asks me where I am from, I say 'from Germany' now, but if I have the time I like to add 'and I was born in Belgium'.

MK-Festival 2011
June,
3th - 5th 2011

with Tribal Fusion & Bellydance Workshops and Show/Hafla

Show on Saturday, June 4th, in Heerlen, NL

Doors open: 19:30h
Show begin: 20:15h

further informations
www.mkfestival.com

Khalida
Milka
gueststar Razia (USA)
gueststar Sophia Chariarse
Raks Pro