Ziva -Winner of Bellydance Evolution competition-

Photo by Bruno Ohara

Ziva became a cast and winner of Bellydance Evolution!!!

I met Ziva 1 year ago at Hip Line Belly Dance Fitness in Berkeley California. In her class, she watched each student dancing style carefully, and gave the best advices to strengthen each dancer’s skill and improve their techniques.  She is very considerable teacher and her flexible dancing movement attracts many students.

When I interviewed her 6 months ago, she told me her future plan with Raqs Sharqi.  She said, “I plan to continue teaching, studying, and performing Belly dance.  I love to inspire people and be inspired.  I hope that I have the opportunity to dance my way around the world some day.”  

When Ziva became a cast and winner of Bellydance Evolution, I was so touched. She showed us that you could make it if you have passion, clear vision, and honor to yourself. This is the story that Ziva became a cast of Bellydance Evolution and her enthusiastic experiences.

Photo by Bruno Ohara

1.  Could you tell us about the competition to be a cast of Bellydance Evolution?

Bellydance Evolution, directed by the multi-talented Jillina, hosts an online competition so that it is accessible to all dancers.  I received Jilina’s newsletter and found out that casting was open.  I applied, and was then sent a video (with no break-down) of Jillina performing a choreography that I had to teach myself.  I videotaped myself performing Jillina’s choreography and 3 minutes of my own improvisational solo.

I was fortunate in that I had signed up for a workshop with Jillina before I knew that BDE was opening auditions for Los Angeles.  Timing worked out so that the workshops occurred before the competition closed.  After I was selected for BDE, Jillina told me that she was glad she got to know me at this prior time.  I had taken two back-to-back three hour workshops.  When she saw that I was still “gung-ho” by hour six, she thought to herself, “I think she can handle this”.  “This” being 8 hours of rehearsal a day for Bellydance Evolution.
I believe that Jillina and BDE co-director Heather Aued look for a variety of qualities when they cast dancers.  Some of which include a positive attitude, stamina, professionalism, ability to execute and pick up choreography quickly, as well as an open mindedness to make changes at any moment to the choreographies.

2.  What was your strength as a cast of Bellydance Evolution?

I’d say my strength as a member of BDE was my attitude:  staying open minded , positive, and determined.  In complete honestly, your biggest strength as a member of Bellydance Evolution is only as strong as that of the cast member next to you.  Working as a team is essential in this type of production.  For me, this meant learning a slightly new dance format to match the other dancers and to match the choreography.  When dancing in a group, it’s important that everyone performs as a cohesive unit.  Fortunately, the L.A. 2010 cast was an extremely supportive cast.  We all helped one another.  I think we all wanted and were working for the same thing:  a stellar show!

 Ziva said, “Being a part of BDE L.A. 2010 was a very exciting journey where I was able to learn a lot and meet new friends.  It was hard work, but very rewarding and fun at the same time.  Jillina, a great mentor to many, Heather, and the entire crew are fabulous to work with.  I highly recommend auditioning to any dancer who is considering it!  It’s an amazing experience!”

About Yuki Okamoto

Freelance Internet Marketer/ Bellydance Japan Magazine Writer/ Raqs Sharqi -The Joy of Dance- SNS Managerとして活躍中。 2010年には、ベリーダンスイベント運営/ Marketing戦略立案施行を行うRaqs ART Internaitonalを立ち上げ、Suhaila Salimpour, Huleya HiromiのSNSの運営管理、インターネットにおける市場戦略立案施行を行う。 I hope that Raqs Sharqi -The Joy of Dance- promote every Oriental/Middle Eastern/Belly/Raqs Sharqi dancers and everyone who loves dancing sisterhood!
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