Festival of belly dance: Dunedin belly dance practitioners
Anna Walsh (kneeling) and Bronwyn Mohring, of Kazbah
Studio, will co-ordinate the Middle Eastern Dance
Association of New Zealand national festival of belly dance
and drumming, to be hosted in Dunedin this month. Photo by
About 100 belly dance and drumming practitioners from
throughout New Zealand and Australia will descend on the city
from April 13 to 16 for the annual national event, being held
in Dunedin for the first time.
The Medanz festival is being hosted by Dunedin's Kazbah
Studio, in Victoria Rd, with workshops and sessions also
being held at Tainui School.
"Modern belly dance is really quite diverse and there will be
a chance for people to experience a range of genres during
the festival," event co-organiser and belly dance
practitioner Anna Walsh said.
Belly dance was continually evolving, and now ranged from the
traditional Egyptian oriental style through to tribal and
fusion styles, she said.
"Fusion style belly dancing can be performed to virtually any
kind of music, from Indian through to Celtic music," event
co-organiser Bronwyn Mohring said.
Belly dancing has grown in popularity in the past 10 years,
particularly the tribal style - which can be described as a
dance version of "Simon says".
"Tribal belly dance is very dynamic and relies on a rapport
between troupe members - it is a lot of fun to get up with a
big group of people and dance," Mohring said.
Dunedin has several belly dancing groups and classes are
popular among women of all ages.
"It is a very joyful dance form, full of self-expression, and
which is very accepting of women's bodies."
The belly dance festival will culminate in a colourful show,
entitled Raks Samimi, to be held at the Mayfair Theatre in
South Dunedin on Saturday, April 14, at 7pm. The show, which
is open to the public, will feature live drumming and a range
of belly dance styles presented by performers from Dunedin
and throughout New Zealand, alongside some of the festival's
There will also be a Hafla belly dance party on April 15 at
6.30pm in the Tainui School hall, which will also be open to
For more information about the Medanz national festival
programme, and for reg-istration information, visit the
website www.medanz.org.nz or http://martiandance.webs.com.