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Interview with
by Marcel Bieger
You just won 1st place as „Belly Dancer of the World“ in the category „Tribal Fusion“.

I am very, very happy. It came as a surprise. I was hoping for the title, but I didn’t expect it. But you never know. I just went on stage, did my thing, weather the jury liked it or not. Now I am very glad that they liked it. This is the way I do it. I go on stage and do my dance, and the others have to like it or don’t. But the jury liked it and that I’m happy about. It could have been otherwise. The where a lot other very good contestants …

But they weren’t good enough …

(laughs) It’s all a matter of taste.

Today was not your first appearance as contestant.

I’ve been here last year, already, and I won 1st place with Duo Kokoro.

So Duisburg and you are a real success story. Did you make this wonderful choreography especially for this event?

Yes, I had something else which would have been good, but I’m not that kind of person who says to himself, I’ll do that and this is it. When it comes to a competition I don’t take part in it just to win a prize. When I go to a competition I ask more from myself. That’s the most important thing for me to develop as a dancer. That’s the reason why I wrote a new choreography. I wanted to make something more light, not always the dark stuff.

You do dance dark Tribal Fusion sometimes, I think I remember seeing you …

Yes, sure, I don’t like only one style, but several of them. But I feel like I am in a process, I haven’t reached my ultimate style yet, so for me it’s a path I still have to go. There is for instance a metal song I would like to dance to, sometimes later it’s something light and so on.

In your performance today we saw also a little vintage, and a pinch of steampunk was also in it, wasn’t it?

Slowly I’m getting to the peak, I’m creating my own style. Because I like a lot of styles it takes its time to make my own. I just love developing and searching and of course enjoying myself on stage. In this choreography today I especially liked my costume, which I made by my own.

It was my impression that a great lot of Belgian people were here this evening, on stage as well as in the audience and in all categories of the contest. Is this representative for Belgium, do you have so many good dancers?

Yes, you’re right, and it’s true, we have a lot of very good dancers in Belgium. It’s a small country, of course, and the belly dance scene is not very large in numbers, but it’s getting bigger and bigger, and the people get to know this competition here in Duisburg.

Is Leyla’s competition that important for Belgium?

One dancer starts coming here, many people will hear about it, and next year more will come. Duisburg is not far away, a two hours drive from any spot in Belgium, or even nearer, of course. I think it’s a good thing that people from Belgium have a chance to show here at Leyla’s what they have in store.

There are contestants from other smaller countries here. One or two from the Netherlands, one from Switzerland, but a dozen or so from Belgium.

For me that is great! I cheered for so many people, I enjoyed the whole show (laughs). And with so many Belgian dancers I stayed here all afternoon and evening

I talked to Salwa from Brussels a few days ago, and she told me that the Belgian scene is awakening.

Yes, it is, definitely. Thanks to Leyla and others it will blossom.

homepage Amirah:
Amirah can be seen on April 16th when she performs at the “Great Oriental Night” in the Easter Dance week at Leyla Jouvana’s dance studio (
Photos © 1 and 3 André Elbing; 2, 4 and 5 Konstanze Winkler
Graphics & layout: Konstanze Winkler
When we saw Belgian artist Amirah (Tine Verheyen) the first time, she performed with Milka as “Duo Kokoro” at the 3rd Contest of Leyla Jouvana and Roland’s 17th Oriental Festival (2009). The two of them danced a wonderful steampunk piece, which made 1st place. Both of them also did solo pieces and made 2nd and 3rd place, respectively it seemed to be just a question of time till one of them would try again as solo dancer.

And one year later Amirah stepped up in the category "Tribal Fusion Solo" and won the first prize. We caught up with her shortly after the award presentation. Amirah can be seen on April 16th when she performs at the "Great Oriental Night" in the Easter Dance week at Leyla Jouvana's dance studio.