Find the perfect dress for every occasion...
WHEN MARINA Rehbein started the International Oriental Dance Festival eight years, almost 70 dancers heeded her call to show Cape Town their belly-dancing skills.
This year she is expecting almost 600 dancers from 60 schools from across the country as well as the Balkans, Mexico, Egypt and Turkey to show off gypsy, fusion, folkloric and fantasy dancing.
Not only has the festival increased in size year on year, but she is happy to point out that the quality of the dancing is improving.
“Costumes and choreography of years ago, there’s no comparison. People are working the whole year around to be perfect for this festival. With each year we can see how South African dancers are improving,” said Rehbein, who is the director of the Oriental Dance Theatre Palace of the Winds.
From the first year it was the festival’s intention to unite the South African belly-dancing community and give dancers a way to present their skills to the international community.
A new addition to this year’s festival is the inclusion of the winner of Miss Belly Dance South Africa 2013 in the fringe programme. Bianca Pieters’s inclusion in the programme was one of the prizes of the newly formed competition, held earlier this year in Joburg.
A regular feature of the festival is the gala event, which is being held on Thursday evening in Ratanga Junction’s Mega VU Theatre. Proceeds from the event go to the Saartjie Baartman Centre for (abused) Women and Children. Last year the festival raised R13 000 for the centre. There are still tickets available from Computicket. This year’s gala evening will feature classical Egyptian and Turkish dancing as well as Moroccan dancing, Bangladeshi traditional dance and Arabic flamenco.
Rehbein is particularly looking forward to the 22 dancers of the Bangladesh Nrittorong Academy as this is a group who have not visited Cape Town.
Two popular dancers who have been here before are Nicole McLaren, from Switzerland, and Latifa Saadi, a pioneer of belly dancing on the island of Reunion.
McLaren is a well-regarded proponent of the Tanoura – an Egyptian dance form performed by men, similar to Sufi whirling in the Levant and Turkey, but without the religious connotation.
Friday is given over to master classes and workshops at the German Club in Gardens.
These are open to the public to attend, in addition to the dancers who will descend on Cape Town for the weekend dancing.
On Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 6pm, the dancers all take a turn on the fringe programme at the Amphitheatre at the V&A Waterfront, showing off anything from traditional Moroccan folk-loric dancing to tribal fusion, a modern style that has evolved from American tribal-style belly dance to incorporate elements ranging from hip hop to traditional Indian Kathak dancing.
• See www.iodfcapetown.com for additional informatio