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Tribal Idol Feature 2009

by Salome

In 2009 BellyDanceForums.net sponsored a contest wherein the public nominated their favorite dancers in novice, enthusiast and professional categories for Tribal Belly dance. In contrast to traditional competition, judging criteria was not imposed. Instead the friendly contest was driven by people's choice. "Belly dance Idol" and "Tribal Idol" had nearly 19,000 collective views and nominees from around the world.

Congratulations to the winners:

Isidora Bushkovski of Pueblo, Colorado, USA
Tribal Idol - Professional Category

"Isidora Bushkovski has been a dancer all her life and fell in love with belly dance in 1992. Her degrees through the University of Minnesota are in History and Dance, and she has studied various traditions of movement from around the world including stage and folk dances of the Middle East and North Africa, flamenco, Mexican folklorico, dance theater and martial arts. Rather than devote herself to one specific tradition, she prefers to blend these diverse forms into her unique style called Tejedora which means "weaver" in Spanish. She has been a premier dancer in Greek and Moroccan restaurants, and now performs predominantly on stage. In a given night, you may see her span from sweeping to serene, from playful to powerful, and anything in between. But no matter the style, she always strives to tell a story and to touch hearts.

Izzy's classes are a combination of her humor, passion and extensive training with a focus on comradeship, technique and love of the dance. She teaches regularly in her hometown of Pueblo, CO and in Colorado Springs. She also teaches and performs around the country and internationally, has danced for the International Academy of Middle Eastern Dance, and is one of the stars of Temptation of Belly Dance and Fantasy Belly Dance, both cutting-edge DVDs designed to raise the level of belly dance to a high art of theater and film. She has several other large projects brewing in her brain, if only she can figure out how to clone herself and become a millionaire.

After being hit by a drunk driver in 2000, she slowly began teaching again, sharing with her students the many things she learned in recovery, such as body alignment, natural movement and soul searching. The dance drills that she created during physical therapy have become the foundation of her teaching regimen, and she is ever searching for new ways to integrate the spirit of inspiration into her whip-cracking technique. Over the past years, she has once again begun to perform regularly, dedicating her life to The Dance and to sharing it with others. It is her profession, her principle, and her pastime, but most of all, it is her passion.

Surprised and delighted with the results of this contest, Izzy would like to thank everyone who voted for her, and sends out many Kimmies! (Kisses & Shimmies.)"

Ela Rogers of USA
Tribal Idol - Experienced Category

A devoted participant of theater, dance, and the performing arts for all her life, Tribal Bellydance soloist, Ela Rogers has become known for her unique, dramatic musical interpretations, experimental fusion, her graceful and powerful technique, and her talents in fine arts and costume design.

In 2004, Ela began her journey into the art of Middle Eastern Bellydance, under the direction of Elena El Amar of Massachusetts, and was a member of the Egyptian performance group, Zariifa Bellydance Troupe. A year later, Ela was introduced, and fell in love with Tribal Style Bellydance, becoming spellbound by its earthy, serpentine nature. Not having the resources of any Tribal Bellydance instructors in her area, Ela became determined to learn, and she developed a daily home practice with the accompaniment of the Fat Chance Belly Dance instructional videos, along with a dedicated Yoga and Pilates routine, to aid her in her self-training. With patience, observation, and persistence, she has grown into a seasoned performer, and an inspiring teacher, always poking fun at herself as being a life-long student. The quote from Claude Monet says it best..."It's on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way. So we must dig and delve unceasingly."

Ela continuously uses elements in her dance from her strong backgrounds in the Martial Arts, classical ballet, jazz, and contemporary dance, as well as the "dark horse styles" of Hip Hop and street dance to create unique movements and eclectic interpretations, fused with a dance that is ancient and treasured. She looks forward to the future of the beautiful metamorphosis of Bellydance, and being endlessly inspired by those who become enriched from its journey. She currently performs and teaches on the East Coast."

Katrina of Oregon, USA
Tribal Idol - Novice Category

"Why I Love Belly Dance. My first love is the community. I love that no matter what I look like, I will be accepted. Through this I have learned to embrace my 'flaws'. I have learned to shift my focus to changing aspects of me that 'I' want to change, not what 'they' want me to change. I have learned to treat my body with the respect it deserves, and my mind as well. I love that I have found a hobby that is 'easy'. Not in the sense that dancing is 'easy' but that the attitude I have towards it is. It is something that I can do while washing the dishes, something I can do formally in a class or a workshop, and something that I can do to pull me out of a funk. There are stresses when preparing for a performance, etc, but it is a stress that is easy on the soul.

I love that through this dance I have relit the fires of creativity in other aspects of my life. I started dyeing silk, and I started creating clothing again, which is something I so loved to do as a child. Now that I'm back in it, I don't remember why I stopped...

I LOVE THE COSTUMING! I love that each dancer is encouraged to bring their personality to the stage with their costuming. How each piece of the costume has it's own story, it's own flavor, it's own personality. It reminds you when you bought it, who you were with, the mood you were in, and so much more. I started to belly dance because I thought it would be a good way to lift my self-esteem. A good friend put it into words for me: With such a dynamic costume there is really no way to hide in a crowd. You're sort of forced to stand-out, and to own the room."