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Mahasti (means “Daughters of the Moon Light”) started dancing when she was only a toddler and today she runs one of the most important dance studios in Hungary. She is a dancer as well as a choreographer and she invented the “Daughters of the Moon Light” competition, which will take place this year in Budapest, Hungary for the seventh year in a row. Two of her students have danced at the competitions of Leyla Jouvana’s and Roland’s OFE festivals and made first or second places. In the interview below Mahasti tells us how this all came into place and if we will see her perform at our festivals in the near future.

Interview with the Hungarian Artist Mahasti

by Marcel Bieger

Please tell us something about how dancing came to you and why you stuck to it? What training do you have and what dance styles do you prefer?
successes at big festivals, famous international competitions abroad (e.g. in Egypt or different Eastern and Western European countries). So students here can choose for themselves from the best dancers, or even world famous teachers in very different dance styles.

There are many festivals, what makes your's special?

In Hungary we have many competitions for solo or for group dancers, for different belly dance styles, and we have big festivals with competition and workshops with teachers from Egypt or European countries and the USA. And we have festivals, gala shows on special themes e.g. tribal style, gothic dance, raqs sharqi, and so on.

During our "Moonlight Daughters" competition we don’t have workshops, traditionally we concentrate only on the competition. (But maybe from next year on we will have even workshops as dancers have been "demanding" them.) Our competition is international so you can nominate from every country. Mostly we have competitors from Hungary and Slovakia.

In the jury we have many judges to ensure the purity of the competition (at least 16 members in every year, sometimes more) and they don’t rotate or have breaks at different times; every one of them works all day. They are all well known Hungarian belly dancers  from different towns and I'm very proud and happy for that they keep coming back year for year and we have so good working connections.
Hier some Video-Clips which might give you an impression:

Drum solo
Dancing with Angels
Habibi Ya Eini
Feminine Games (Raks sharki)
Thirdly, I am not seen on stage, because in the last few years I was "constantly" pregnant  or I paid attention to my babies ... Since my last child was born on February 23rd 2013, it seems that some more time I won't be seen on stage. My energies are going to my children now, to motherhood - this is my way now. But I really hope that in some years I can get back to my career, to my art, I can dance more and more, I can deal more with my dance, my choreographies ...

All the categories are open so groups can devide themselves for every oriental dance style e.g. folk dances, ATS®, modern fusions etc. Our competition is special with the open categories and that makes it more interesting, multicoloured, manifold/ diverse. For example this year in the junior category for children we will see fantasy-fusion dances, tribal fusion, classical raqs sharqi, folk dances (e.g. Nubian), belly rock and so on.
The greatest Hungarian dancers and the biggest schools were present on the show and Leyla and Roland were the guest stars. Everybody loved them for their original dance style, humour, for their nice personality and kindness.

But of course, it’s impossible to come as long as I’m breastfeeding my little baby. Mostly, it depends on my children, and on how soon I can get in shape again and dance again as much as I want, and to deal with my art again. But I hope I can come in two years!
Mahasti (Photo © Péter Tóth)
(Photo © Károly Tihanyi)
Mahasti and her students
Mahasti (Photo © Péter Tóth)
Mahasti's show-group
I’ve been dancing since I was 3 years old. I have tried many dance styles (ballet, jazz-ballet, break dance and others), and other sports such as yoga, thai chi, athletics etc. I’ve always loved to see folk dances and every dance style which is exotic or special for some reasons.

Now my favourite sports are Pilates and different styles of erotic dancing. (I do it just for my sake, not to show it on the stage!). I think my belly dance style is a kind of show or mix in Mahasti’s style. It’s very important for me to be special, to be different from other dancers, to have an unmistakeable style. I like to fusion different styles but I never copy other dancers, and I hate to be "trendy" or "fashionable". But I’m proud when I am copied.

In connection with dance styles I can say I prefer drum solos and oriental dance theatre pieces with spiritual contents. Mostly I make group choreographies. I hardly ever make solo choreographies - mostly because of lack of time and because group choreographies are more interesting for me. It’s not only a good challenge but I love that I can create all the parts of the dance especially for the personality and individuality of the particular/given dancer. So this is what I try to teach to my students: to be themselves all the time (not only in dance) and never to be little copies of me or a great dancer or anybody.
How is the dance situation in Hungary today?

I think Hungarian bellydance has reached a very high level. Our dancers have fantastic
Our competition is only for duos or small or big groups in the categories junior, beginners, pre-advanced and advanced.
Are you planning to come to Germany someday? In the near future?

Yes, of course, I want to come to Leyla’s Festival as soon as possible. She’s been to Hungary at my invitation with great success (for workshops and shows) and I also want to visit her at her Festival. When I invited her the last time I organized for her some workshops, and organized a great show called "Hungarian All Stars Super Gala".
Your student Eszter  has won "bellydancer of the world" 2010 and 2012 at the festival of Leyla Jouvana in Duisburg, Germany, your student Gyiongyi made second place in 2012 and won the prize of going to a festival in Florida, USA. (I hope I didn't forget anybody). These are big successes for you and your studio, but why do we never see you performing?
First of all because I”m not the performer or competitor type. I rather love to teach than to perform. And when I perform, it’s mostly not at festivals, but at business meetings or smaller events. I love when I see that I make people happy and they smile when I dance - and there we are close enough to see each other.

I think that my life lesson is not to be a diva and to shine on the stage, But to make people happy in a narrow scope, in an intimate atmosphere, and to help women to live a more happy life, to be more satisfied in life. It’s very important for me to see the happy faces – and I can see it on my classes, when my students dance or talk about life, and on the business meetings or private parties, where I dance. It makes me very happy. I’m rather a standoffish than an exhibitionistic person. Rather I desire to be with my family and to go on the spiritual path (for what I need to be alone or quiet). Of course, this does not preclude the stage dancing, but it just turned out this way.

Second, on the big events, competitions in Hungary mostly I sit in the jury and don’t participate in competitions, only my students dance. And I’m sooooo nervous when I see them dancing that I feel it’s too much for me, for my soul, for my nerves ... But being a judge is not tiring at all for me – I can sit whole days watching belly dance and beautiful girls dancing. I like being a judge because then I feel that I can help the dancers to improve their dance, to unfold themselves more and more in their dance. In Hungary after the competitions (or even during the competitions) the participants can ask the members of the jury about their dance. And by telling them my opinion, my perceptions I feel that I can help them not only to improve technically but to be themselves or feel more themselves in their own dances. I'm happy when I feel that the dancer can give herself on the stage - and what more could she give to her audience?