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Sunday, October 11, 2009


(Pic: Carla Shepperson)

Carla Shepperson from Maya Dance Company wins 2009 title.

Carla Shepperson from Maya Dance Company, in Durban, recently won the title of Miss Belly Dance South Africa 2009.

The first Miss Belly Dance South Africa competition was held in Johannesburg early in September. The prestigious panel of judges included Rania from America, winner of the Miss Belly Dance Universe title, Astrid Lewis and Angela Anzilotti from Johannesburg and Anne Knowles from Pietermaritzburg.

Carla Shepperson had to enter six categories for the title section: Modern Egyptian, Folkloric, Sagat (finger cymbals), Veil, Drum solo and a freestyle section for which she didn't know what music she would be given! Carla had some very tough competition, but even at the young age of 15, she impressed the judges and audience and danced with a maturity far beyond her years.

Carla and her teacher Senta Seele have been preparing for the competition since February and it is due to their many hours of practice and determination that she was such a success in the competition.

Lara Brown from Cape Town came second and Natalie Misplon from Dancing Divinity in Johannesburg came third in the title section.

The other Maya Dance Company dancers also made KZN proud by winning first and second places in all the solo, duo and group categories that they entered! There were over 80 entries into the competition from belly dance studios all over South Africa.

Lucille Kambarran took first place in both the Modern Egyptian solo and Drum solo categories. Ioleen Lazenby came second in the Modern Egyptian solo category. Carla Shepperson came first in the Taksim (sword) solo category. Julie Pretorius and Candice Upfold came second in the Duo category and Maya Dance Company came first in both the Modern Egyptian and Folkloric group categories.

Senta Seele, principal and owner of Maya Dance Company acknowledges her extensive belly dance training in Cairo and with BDASA (the Belly Dancing Association of South Africa), which definitely gave the dancers the base of good technique, performance and choreography skills to build on. She is proud of all the Maya dancers who put in months of hard work and many extra lessons to perfect their dances and definitely flew the KZN flag high in Johannesburg.