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Budapest: The 8th Competition
„Daughters of the Moonlight …”

by Romy Mimus
(translated into English by Marcel Bieger)

I always wanted to be a lady so when I was offered to become a “Hagallady” I couldn’t resist. And as a “Hagallady” I was to be a jury judge, a performer, and a workshop teacher at the competition “Daughters of the Moonlight for Duets and Groups”, which was held for the eighth time in Budapest, Hungary.

When they asked me my first question was “where do I have to sign?” Although Valentine’s Day I left my dearest behind at the railway station and off I went to Hungary. They say, a train ride is fun and they are right. When we arrived I was welcomed very warm by the organiser of the competition, the wonderful Mahasti.

After a relaxing evening at the hotel I started Saturday morning with my “Oriental Swing” workshop, which is always great fun. And if you have to do it in English language, it is “double fun”. Good thing most people understand the international hands-and-feet-language.

First hurdle taken successfully and now was the best opportunity to take a stroll through Budapest and to get an impression of this majestic city. Mahasti had charming guides for me: Adrienn Csuka, an ex-student of hers, and her student Aletta. In the most beautiful sunshine we were on our way through Budapest. The “Heroes’ square”, the „Fischer Bastei“. „St. Matthew’s Church“, a view on the Parliament at the banks of the river Danube, a most exiting trip. Just like the original Hungarian Gulasch, we had afterwards.
Sunday, February 16th, the Competition

A day packed with action awaited me. For the eighth time in a row the competition „Daughters of the Moonlight“ took place. Now this is a distinctive competition, as it was invented for duets and groups. Mahasti had organised everything smooth and thorough. When I arrived in the morning I was amazed about the beautiful location, which Mahasti had chosen: A wonderful big stage in a charming theatre audience. A little bazaar in the foyer and in the breaks you could marvel at the photos and videos from the performances that had been done just minutes before.
Another great pro of this event is the jury, which is always very big and well staffed. Although this year only “manned” with 14 judges, it was the biggest jury I ever saw. What a great idea! To everyone his own taste and the dancing styles of the contestants differ so much from each other that it never ceases to be somehow problematic to find the very best performance. But with so many professional minds as in Mahasti’s jury the contestants have a big chance to present themselves, to see, where they are ranking, and to get an thorough feedback.

The jury this year consisted mainly from established artists and studio owners from Hungary, who have a keen eye and the right know how for such an event. Compliments for Mahasti that so many of them come year for year.
While the last arrangements were made and most of the groups were backstage to prepare themselves for their performance, the judges were led to their table and got the chance to make themselves known to each other, to sort the scorecards (5 to 20 points for the open awarding of each group), to take a last look at the prizes, and to sign the certificates. When having to write your name more than 40 times, doubts start plaguing you, whether you spelled your name right.
Since I don’t speak any Hungarian (unfortunately) I got help from all sides (in German and English) about how to cope with the schedule. There is the first category for “Juniors” off all kinds and after that all categories are divided into different levels. You have “Beginners“, „Pre-Advanced“ and „Advanced“. This way the dancers, who have no professional stage experience, also find their options to show, what they have learned, and compare themselves with others
Also this contest distinguishes between small (from duets up to four dancers) and big groups (five and more dancers). There is no selection between styles, but this is okay. Everybody in this community knows that you can’t dance a Saidi to a classic routine (and vice versa) and that you have to choose a fitting costume for your style is also self evident. On the other side proper judging criteria like synchronicity, technique, stage presence, performance, coherence or choreography enable you very well to compare different styles. And believe me the time went by like a flash.
Mahasti moderated the contest in her very special way and although she had to organise a myriad of things she stayed relaxed and charming. The contestants of a category appeared in a steady flow one after the other on stage. The judges took their notes of every performance. When a category was done all its contestants were called back on the stage and the judges announced their points respectively.
Thanks to this open rating all groups got the chance to ask the judges individually and receive professional feedback. Where else do you receive that much advice?
Category Juniors:

3rd Place: "Farafir Group“: They presented a charming Saidi-performance. Everybody could see, how much fun the four young ladies had on stage; and they knew, how to handle their cane.

2nd Place: "Naga Tribe“: These four teenagers had composed a very challenging choreography, which they transported very well on stage.

1st Place: "Farafir Group“:  Children dancing a Nubian dance and doing it brillant – this can only be 1st place! Together with a young gentleman and a perfect choreography they danced themselves right into the hearts of the audience.

"May I have your attention, please?"

People streamed into the audience, the house lights were dimmed, and the curtain was drawn back for the Eighth Competition „Daughters of the Moonlight“ for duets and groups. And here are the winners:

Category Beginners:

3rd Place: „Kelet Lànyai Hastánc Group“: Five young ladies in purple costumes and with white veils presented a very beautiful raqs sharqi. In my personal opinion they would have deserved an even better place.

2nd Place: „Raqs Fanatiqs“: With modern Oriental tunes and with great costumes this group landed directly on 2nd place.

1st Place: „Ana el Asl“: Definitely eye candy, these four Melaya-Girls. Coquettish and a super choreography from Mahasti – without doubt one of my favourites of this day!

Category „Pre-advanced“ - duets:

3rd Place: „Jácint Duo“: Starting with Isis-Wings and ending the piece with a tabla solo these two showed great harmony amongst them.

2nd Place: „Jácint Duo“: Same duet, but different choreography. This time they opened with fan veils and ended with a even more passionate tabla solo.

1st Place for Viktoria Zafirah Rendes & Zsofia Safiaya Kovacs with drummer Zoltan Bordas:

These two artists danced to live tabla and with their creative interactions they definitely deserve the first place.

Category „Pre-advanced“ – groups:

3rd Place: „Nitah Oriental Dance Group“: Completely dressed in white these dancers treated us with a romantic and emotional performance.

2nd Place: „Vadrózsák“: Another joyful and colourful Melaya and you couldn’t take your eyes from these dancers.

1st Place: „Wardet al Yasmin“: Extravagant dressed in costumes in white and orange this group presented us a soft and tender dance. Some of them should laugh a little bit more, though.

1st Place: „1001Night Bellydance Studio“: So much power, presence and dynamics are ideal for Middle Eastern dance. One of my favourites!

Category „Advanced“ – duets and small groups:

3. Platz „Esha Group“ : This trio showed us a wonderful classical routine. With a little more dynamic they probably would have reached a better place.

2. Platz „Oriental Fantasy Bellydance School“: Great costumes, great choreography, and energy! I would have liked to see them on the first place as well.

1. Platz „Andrea Sipocz & Laszlo Ramasz“:  The only male/female duet of this contest and they gave us an earthy, thrilling Hungarian Saidi. They got all my points!

Category „Advanced“ – formations:

3rd Place: „Caliana“: An imposing Isis-Wings and fan veil performance in exotic peacock costumes.

3rd Place: „Sharyam Group“: Giant formation consisting of 15 dancers alternating skilfully between fan veils and drum solo.

2nd Place: „Shilla’s Dance Company“: With this „Balady Cocktail Mix“  the group got loads of applause.

1st Place: „1001 Night Bellydance Studio“: For the second time we enjoyed this group and again the artists convinced us. Everything was perfect and at the right place.

1st Place: Wardet al Yasmin (Raqs Sharqi)
also 1st Place: 1001Night Bellydance Studio (classical Oriental)
2nd Place (above) Vadrózsák (Melaya), 3rd Place (below) Nitah Oriental Dance Group
1st Place: Viktoria Zafirah Rendes & Zsofia Safiaya Kovacs, drum solo)
2nd Place: Jácint Duo (fan veils)
3rd Place: Jácint Duo (Isis-Wings and drum solo)
2nd Place: Raqs Fanatics (modern Oriental)
3rd Place: Kelet Lànyai Hastánc Group (Raqs Sharqi)
1st Place: Ana El Asl: (Melaya Leff)
1st Place: Naga Tribe (Tribal Style)
3rd Place: Farafir Group (Saidi)
1st Place: Farafir Group (Nubian Dance)
Romy at the "Heroes Square"
Aletta, Romy and Adrienn
Budapest - View on the Danube River and the Parlament
St. Matthew's Church
photos left and below, the jury members
1st Place: Andrea Sipocz & Laszlo Ramasz (Saidi)
2nd Place: Oriental Fantasy Bellydance School (modern Oriental)
3rd Place: Esha Group (classical Oriental)
2nd Place: Shilla’s Dance Company (Balady)
1st Place: 1001 Night Bellydance Studio
3rd Place: Sharyam Group (above) and Caliana (below), both with fan veils
In a nutshell this was one hell of an event and I felt happy to be part of it. The level of the competition contributions was very high, and many of our decisions were very, very close, and I can’t remember one dance, which didn’t belong here. More so several of these small and big groups I would love to see again.

So this was my exiting weekend in Budapest and I left with many new friends and the most wonderful memories.

The jury members (facebook):
Romy Mimus, Szmolinka.mahasti, Éva Jázmin Sárfalvi, Aniko Ancsan Sefirah, Krisztina Amira Nemeth, Garai Csilla, Nagy Dina Jamilah, Shaba Marta Wollner, Bernadett Nemesházi, Báti Anita Nitah, Bogi Gyenis, Bogdán Gizella Cini, Dahhan Mohamed, Péter Bézi

Homepage Romy:
Romy Mimus is based in Nuremberg, Germany and dances since childhood. All her efforts have served her well, since she is the newest member of the world famous “Bellydance Superstars” (since 2013), but still finds time to perform solo or with her mother’s ensemble “Rakas”.

We were very happy and proud, when she agreed to be our reporter at the Mahasti competition “Daughters of Moonlight for Duets and Groups”, to become our “Hagallady”. Here she writes about her adventures in Hungary, check it out:
"9th Daughters of the Moonlight"
Saturday, February 22nd 2015
in Budapest!
The "9th" Daughters of the Moonlight" event on facebook
Photos © Karoly Tihanyi