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DAnd another white spot on the World Tribal Map is about to vanish! In Estonia, one of the Baltic republics this year the big international “Infusion Tallinn Festival” will take place in the capital Tallinn. For the first time a festival proper after several small events in the previous years. From all parts of Northern spirit they are coming to “Infusion Tribal Festival” and because we are notorious curious we asked Anita Blake to be our “Hagallady” and she is willing to make the journey.
One last thought before the interview starts:
While the Western media are already playing
Cold War, again in Estonia artists and dancers of all Northern Europe and Russia are coming together to celebrate, party and live tribal.
Can there be a more convincing sign for the peace giving spirit of tribal?

Interview with Yahna
about her Tribal Fusion Festival in Estonia

- by Marcel Bieger

Tell us about your festival.

Infusion Tallinn Festival is one of the biggest tribal fusion bellydance festivals in Northern Europe and it will be held at April 25-27 in Tallinn, Estonia. The teachers are Kami Liddle (USA), Alexis Southall (Great Britain), and Violet Scrap (Italy).

Infusion Tallinn will be called Festival the first time next year. Previous years it was called Infusion Tallinn and had just one teacher and 4 workshops. In 2012 we hosted Samantha Emanuel and in 2013 April Rose. Events also include show called Infusion Tallinn Show. As the previous events have been hugely successful we have decided to make it a Festival! This year workshops were sold out 90% in 10 days!

We have many talented performers on both shows: "Tribal Fusion Delights" on Friday and Infusion Tallinn Show - "Around The World", on Saturday. As there aren’t many tribal fusion events close to Estonia (means in Latvia, Lithuania and Finland), we have many performers from those countries, as well as from Sweden and Russia. Infusion Tallinn Show - "Around the World", is a themed show, where all the performers have special assignments, where they have to tell a story in their dance about some place in the world. Besides our star teachers - Kami Liddle, Violet Scrap and Alexis Southall, we have performers from Finland, Sweden, Russia, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
(Full lists of performers can be seen at the end of this interview).

How is the situation of Tribal Fusion in Estonia?

Tribal Fusion has been in Estonia for quite a short time – no longer than 6 years or so. I, Yahna have been teaching Tribal Fusion almost 4 years, now. Since the Tribal fusion community has grown and there are more teachers and students. But bellydance has been extremely popular for almost 20 years!
What will happen at this year’s festival?

In 2014 there will be 3 amazing teachers, 2 shows and 1 group dinner. And as addition to the crazy weekend, one of our teachers, Alexis Southall, will be teaching Unmata Style ITS in a workshop just before the Festival, on April 23rd of 2013. In 2014 at Infusion Tallinn Festival we have 6 workshops with a total of 15.5hours! We have two 3-hour workshops from Kami Liddle for advanced students and one 2-hour workshop open for all levels. Alexis Southall will teach a workshop about old-school Jamila Salimpour inspired technique. Violet Scrap teaches a technique workshop and a workshop about musicality and creating.

On Friday evening we have an opening show called "Tribal Fusion Delights" in a more intimate venue. On Saturday there will be Infusion Tallinn Show - "Around the World", which will be in a concert hall. And we will wrap things up on Sunday evening during group dinner at "African Kitchen"!

Tell us more about Yahna.

I am the first professional tribal fusion dancer, artist, and teacher in Estonia. I teach regular classes and workshops, perform and organize the tribal fusion event called Infusion Tallinn Festival. My dancing style is elegant and feminine, but at the same time I like to use hip-hop elements or dubstep music.

I started bellydancing in 2005, was inspired by Shakira and her hips and tried to dance like her in front of the mirror. I haven’t had any dance training before, but went to classes then. So after the first class I was hooked! Couldn’t get enough of this dance! I started out in a sport club bellydance class, but soon went to study with Pille Roosi, who brought bellydance to Estonia and who is considered the mamma of bellydance in Estonia.

Soon after I was in a troupe with my friend, Jamila, and in 2008 I joined Mystika Magical Theatre`s cabaret troupe and not long after I discovered ATS (they taught ATS in Mystika dance school) and tribal fusion bellydance, which was also sometimes taught in the studio. But it was really basic and I needed more. I recognized that cabaret bellydance is not my style. There was always something missing! Then I started travelling and taking classes from great tribal dancers and also studied after DVDs. And not long after, in 2009, I started teaching regular classes and workshops.

Now I have been teaching regularly 4 years, taught workshops in Estonia, Finland and Lithuania. Took part in many dance projects and collaborated to do a international duet with Alexis Southall. I have travelled to big dance events, such as Tribal Fest, Tribal Massive, Tribal Umrah and many more. I have taken workshops from Zoe Jakes, Rachel Brice, Mira Betz, Mardi Love, Samantha Emanuel and many, many more.
I have performed in USA, Spain, UK, France, Slovenia, Italy, Finland, Lithuania and all around Estonia.

I have also studied many other dance styles, such as ballet, Bharatanatyam, and hip-hop. I organize a fabulous Tribal Fusion Festival, called Infusion Tallinn Festival.

My latest project is Yahna & Friends, which consisted of me and 4 talented artists. The first show we did was presented at International Oriental D
ance Festival in Tallinn November 2013. Our set was very popular and there will be more soon!

But my life is not only bellydance. I am a mother to a 1 year old boy, and I used to go to work from 9-5 (I’m on maternity leave right now). So I really have to make an effort to find time to practice, plan, prepare lessons, see and find new music, and make new dances. It is not easy, but I’m happy with my life.

I love that what tribal fusion bellydance has given me as artistic freedom, to do almost everything on stage, what I like and express myself. It has given me more confidence and lots of new friends over the world
Some samples of Yahna's performances:

Line-up for Saturday Show
“Around the World”:

Kami Liddle (USA)

Alexis Southall (Great Britain)

Violet Scrap (Italy)

Gita Vinlander
(both Sweden)

Amanda Nousiainen
Laura Luna
Anna Afra
(all Finland)

Maiastra Tribe
Silver Rose Dance Company
(both Russia)

Tanja Gruberte (Latvia)

Samai (Lithonia)

Müstika Maagiline Teater
Senjoritas Banditas
LadyD & Karoliine
Yahna & Sõbrad
(all Estonia)

Performers on Friday Show
“Tribal Fusion Delights”

Alli Ruth (USA & Finland)

Anita Blake (Germany)

Laura Zaray
Tribal Tanssikeskus
Amanda Nousiainen
Anna Afra
Kaira Tribe
(all Finland)

Natalia Angelfish
Katerina Shuraeva
Elena Stankevica
(all Latvia)

Anna Donchak (Russia)

Müstika Maagiline Teater
Arrakis Tantsustuudio
Mari Ääremets
Anna Sizova
Kati Elvelt

(all Estonia)

Homepage Yahna:
Infusion Tallinn on facebook
Alli Ruth
Anita Blake "Hagallady"
Amanda Nousiainen
Anna Afra
Katerina Shuraeva
Laura Luna
Yahna and Friends
Müstika Maagiline Teater
Kaira Tribe
Graphics/WebDesign: Konstanze Winkler
Photos: Publication with kindly permission of Yahna Hansman