I'm pleasantly surprised to know that there's a flourishing Belly Dancing community in Manila. I met Jill Ngo and her Goddesses of Bellydance, who introduced me to the Bellyfest 2010, during the Ultimate Taste Test 4.0 event.
According to Jill, most women belly dance because of the following reasons:
- It is fun and creates camaraderie among women. (I guess it is a girl thing.)
- It is great exercise. It keeps the spine flexible. The joints, like the elbows and hips, also loosen up. :)
- You can dress to the nines, wear your fave costume and fulfill your fantasies! Who wouldn't want to be a goddess even for a day? (It is like cosplay, but on a sexy belly dance level.)
- You become more graceful and confident. Why? Maybe because you get to realize you can do these mind-blowing moves that require great control of the body! (The confidence of belly dancers is amazing.)
- You can play up your ample hips and bosom. :) Who said curves are out? (Actually, authentic Belly Dancers are a bit chubby in the hip and bosom areas.)
- You can learn to balance a sword on your head, play the finger cymbals, dance with a sheer veil -- the possibilities are endless!!!
- Too often, we work out the limbs and neglect the torso during our workouts. Belly dance will surely tone your stomach muscles. (I guess this is probably the number 1 reason why it is gaining popularity, especially in gyms.)
Bellyfest 2010 showcases the talents of belly dancers in the Philippines, but this time in a theater production-style. In its fourth year, this is the best Bellyfest because of the proper lighting and audio provided by PETA theater.
The first half focuses on the story of The Journey of Issam, exploring the different music and belly dancing in Brazil, Egypt, Spain, and China. The last half is like a variety show/grand presentation of the various recitals of the different Belly Dancing groups in the Philippines. The show ended with a bang as it concluded with the solo performance of international theatrical belly dancer Belynda Azhaar.
Here are five reasons Why I Loved the Bellyfest:
1. The Goddesses of Bellydance!
Jill Ngo's The Goddesses of Bellydance is a professional Belly Dance troupe and has one of the most alluring Belly Dancing performances I've ever seen. I think it would be hard to find other local groups that would match them in terms of their seductive yet classy belly dancing performance.
2. Special Music and Exotic Dances
I enjoyed how they introduced various music and dances from different eras and regions to serve as breaks in between Belly Dancing performances.
Spanish Guitar Performance by Mr. Batu Yilmaz
This is probably the most exotic dance I've ever seen, and I tried my best to appreciate it.
The Striptease performance was well-received. Hopefully, there will be pole dancing next time? :)
3. Memorable Recitals
The recitals were interestingly varied -- with kids,...
Jill Ngo Recitalists' Performance
...belly dancers of different shapes and sizes,...
...belly dancers from Batangas,...
...and my favorite -- the confident belly dance recital led by Arcel Benson.
4. Belynda Azhaar Solo Performance
5. Sundee Vinas Solo Performance "Saptak"
But, for me, the best belly dance for the night was the performance of Sundee Vinas.
Congratulations to Jill Ngo and the Belly Dancing community! Our entire family watched it, and the boys were behaved the whole time. It's good to expose them to different kinds of dances early on. Also, I'm teasing Rache to join this Belly Dancing community. :)
Live an Awesome Life,
P.S. I imagine it would be awesome to have Belly Dancing in the middle of the Laoag desert at night during one of our Ilocos tours.P.P.S. Don't miss the other dance performances at PETA Theater -- Pinoy-French Contemporary Dance Week on June 15 and 17 at 7pm, and Sayaw Sabel on June 26, 2pm and 7pm performances.