March 19, 2013

Through the Hafla Nights... A celebration!!!

 We are on a Hafla high!!!!!!

Just got done with our Hafla, brought together by the Veve Dance family to celebrate Women’s Day and did we have rocking time or what :D

For people coming in late, a "Hafla" is a celebration or a social gathering of sorts hosted by a Belly Dancer or a Belly Dance School. These parties could be as big as a stage show performance starring professional dancers, to a group of people dancing together in a living room.

We at Veve dance mostly have an informal gathering at a popular hangout or at one of our benchmark Branches. There are performances by our Director Veronica Simas de Souza, our Instructors and our students from all our various branches.

Every year our instructors travel to Egypt to take part in the Nile Group Festival. Nile group festival is one of the biggest oriental Dance Festivals in the World and proudly presents many of the most famous dancers and teachers from Egypt and the rest of the World in a lovely mix. Our instructors learn various choreographies of various genres of egyptian Belly dancing from various eminent Belly dancers and teach it to our students back here. In this way, we always keep ourselves updated on what new and happening in the Belly dance community across the world.

After learning them, our students get an opportunity to perform these choreographies at the Haflas. Every time around, we have a new theme for the Hafla with help of which we try to bring out the essence of these choreographies. It’s a wonderful opportunity for all our students to showcase their Belly dancing skills in front of family, friends and acquaintances and spend a fun-filled evening with them.

Last week on the occasion of International Women's Day, on the 8th of March 2013, we at Veve Dance had a Hafla celebration at our Sion Branch at Arts in Motion Studio.
This year’s theme was one very close to our hearts - 

Like a Sparkling Diamond, Rare & Precious...

Women's Day Hafla - March 2013, Sion

Women are Diamonds,

Worthy dynamic and strong;

Capable of conquering all.

Tell everyone where you belong...

Among the heavens

Sparkling like stars

Classy and proud

For a Diamond is a true find...

Desired, loved and prized!!!

And that is you, my dear,

Irreplaceable and wise.

Just like a diamond, rare and precious, a woman’s soul is an embodiment of Love, Light, compassion and sacrifice. Various obstacles in life helps to cut, shape and polish the soul of a woman to bring out the various facets of her personality.

To celebrate this strength and timeless essence of a Woman's soul, we had a sparkling Hafla evening hosted by legendary host and our Director, the ever vivacious Veronica. 

There were performances by all our instructors and students spanning various genres of Egyptian Belly Dance.

The evening started bright with a Modern Balady performance which was lead by Instructor Sama Patkar and her bevy of beauties. It was a performance filled with innovative combinations and impressive techniques along with very effective moves. Loads of layering, shimmies and enjoyment complemented the quirky music very perfectly.

This choreography was learnt by our instructor at the Nile group festival from Master Teacher Kaheena who is one of the most sought after teachers at the Nile festival because of her technique oriented fun and quirky choreographies.

It was followed by an unique Oriental Assaya performance by Instructor Megha Manjunatha and her cane totting group of girls. This saidi choreography had a very unique oriental flavour to it and used the cane as a prop. Classy arabesques mixed with naughty looks raised the tempo of the evening a couple of notches up.

This choreography was learnt by our instructor at the Nile group festival from Master Teacher Ahmed Refaat, who is a world renowned dancer and choreographer of Egyptian Folklore.

Next in line were the cheeky girls of Cheeky Baladi lead by the cheekiest of them all, Instructor Nirali Shah. They gave the audience a taste of the local native dance form of Egypt with earthy and fresh moves combined with a flirtatious attitude. The lady in the song tells the guy to hurry because she has no time!

This choreography was learnt by our instructor at the Nile group festival from Master Teacher Sameh El Dessouki, who is a folklore dancer and travels to many different countries for workshops and festivals.

The evening took a saucy turn with the Shaabi Cabaret number. It was a delightful choreography with sassy moves and loads of shimmies and tantrums by Instructor Sara Bade and her bunch of hotties. What fun... when the woman say 'not now'!

This choreography was learnt by our instructor at the Nile group festival from Master Teacher Lubna Emam, who travels are around the world teaching classical oriental dance.

Then came in the girls in red with Instructor Aakriti Prasad with their Folk Shaabi performance straight from the interiors of Egypt. It was a choreography with purposeful movements straight from the heart brought on by loads of attitude and charm.

This choreography was learnt by our instructor at the Nile group festival from Master Teacher Tito Seif, who for the last 10 years has been working as an oriental and folklore dancer and has his own folklore group that he is training, Tito Oriental Show which is working together with him all over Egypt.

Setting off all the fluorescent alarms in the vicinity, Instructor Namrata Randhawa with her Pop Shaabi girls gave a very dynamic and vigorous performance. Shaabi has taken a turn into the pop, in the urban neighborhoods of Egypt and in the Cairo Clubs.

This choreography was learnt by our instructor at the Nile group festival from Master Teacher Ousama Emam, who is the teacher director of Kaoumeya Troupe for egyptian folklore dance and he is representing Egypt in many international dance festivals.

Lead by Instructor, Dipika Vijay, came in the elegant girls of the Oum Khatum choreography. A performance full of intricate shimmies, layers and techniques. It was brisk, alert and nimble all at the same time! The song expressed a delicate and engaging yearning to be with ones love and was very beautifully expressed by the performers.

This choreography was learnt by our instructor at the Nile group festival from Master Teacher Hatem Hamdi, who has been dancing since the age of 10 years old and has been a teacher at the Nile group since 2011.

The performance of Drum Solo complete with sharp and crisp isolated movements to the heady music full of drum beats was lead full on with high energy by Instructor Sanjana Muthreja and the zeal with which she and her gang of girls performed, took this spirited choreography to a totally new level!

Inspired by the egyptian masters, this dance number was choreographed by our senior instructor Sanjana Muthreja. 

Our Director Veronica Simas de Souza took over the floor with a solo rendition of Taqsim. Her soulful and graceful moves mixed with ever so precise shimmies left her audience spell bound.  

The Finale of the evening was an oriental pop performance lead by our Director Veronica with her graceful gang of girls. It was an absolutely delightful and fun choreography with the use of veil as a prop with loads of entertainment, hair tossing and masti.. la Veve style!

This choreography was learnt by our instructor at the Nile group festival from Master Teachers Marwa & Tuna, two Egyptian sisters whose high octane hair tossing choreographies are world renowned.

The evening ended on a very high note with a flash mob performance, where all the students of Veve Dance got up and started dancing to the beats of this hot oriental pop number.

A special treat awaited the lovely ladies, with booths for Tarot readings and sinful choco-chip cookie indulgences making the evening even more special.

Colors of a Woman

Women's Day Hafla - March 2012, Sion

Soon it got dusk; a rosy dusk, a purple dusk...
Over tangerine grooves and lush green fields;
The Sun the color of pressed grapes, slashed with burgundy red
The meadows the color of love,
And the sky a bluish haze filled with eastern mysteries

The 2012 Hafla celebrating Women’s Day tried to capture the essence of all these colors and more in a Woman's life. On the day after the full moon in early March, we welcomed the new season of spring associated with love and exhilarating joy. The Hafla Night brought the festival of colors - Holi and Women’s Day under one roof. It was a great excuse for all women to shed their inhibitions and differences for a day of spring fever and fun through dance. We had a variety of performances by the Instructors and students across all branches.

- Color me Pink -
The color of a sunset on a cold winter's day,
the smell of the rose after the heady rains,
the color of the lace on a soft pillow
the color of the flower sheltered by the willow.

- Color me White -
White as a Swan sailing in the lake
White as a Dove flying in the sky
White as the Snow melting as Summer nears
White as the shimmering ocean in the moonlight

- Color me Yellow -
Yellow are the mustard fields
the butterflies and the bumblebees
juicy lemons and sunflowers
ray of light in the morning hour

- Color me Transparent -
Become so transparent, see thought floating in brain
Bubbles without surface, permeating everything
Waves of indefinable amplitude, wash soul and cleanses core
Ready for future happiness, in and outside virtual doors

A special performance of Contemprary and Jazz by International artist and a very close friend of our Director Veronica, Malou Meyenhofer. A dancer and choreographer of Contemporary and Jazz, Malou had performed in Europe, Asia and the US. Musicality and the search for beauty in all moments defines her choreography and the passion to share it. Her breath-taking performance where she floated across the room form one subtle movement to another was a sight to behold.

- Color me Red -
Red is the color of fire going higher
Red is the glint on the ruby stone
Red is the sound of a Dragon
Red is the castings of a master magician's spell

- Color me colorful -
What is red? a poppy's red... In its barley bed
What is blue? the sky is blue... Where the clouds float thru
What is black? her hair is black... As it flies in the wind
What is orange? A sunset orange... Staining the evening sky.

They say a picture is worth a 1001 words. The after-party was as rocking as the Hafla, if not more. The celebration which shifted from Sion studio to Hard Rock Cafe was hopping all the way. Our instructors were seen dancing and enjoying themselves on the wall, the honor of dancing on which is reserved only for the Service staff at HRC.

Moods of a Woman

Women's Day Hafla - March 2011, Sion

Every woman is unique in her own different ways 
Unique likes… Unique dislikes… 
Yet there is something very common in each and every woman
It is her multi – faceted personality
She is as warm as the Sun
As calm as the moon
As delightful as the rain
As unpredictable as the wind
She is as delicate as the petals of an Orchid
And at the same time as strong as the roots of a Banyan tree.

During the 2011 Women’s Day Hafla, for the first time ever, we put forth performances which utilized the use of various props of Belly Dancing like the Sword, Diyas, Veil, Assaya or the Cane and Hand held feathered Fans.

The theme of the Hafla being – Moods of a Woman, with the help of these various props, we tried to portray the multiple embodiment of a Woman's personality.

The Veil to portray the quintessence of a woman's sensuality.
The Feathered fans to portray her vivacious side.
The Cane or the Assaya to portray the quirky aspect of her personality
The Sword to portray her inner strength and steely reserve.
The Diyas or the hand held lamps to portray the complete peace and Harmony of the inner Goddess within every woman.

Mystic Hafla

Women's Day Hafla - March 2010, Sion

Shimmering Veils, Swaying Skirts
Tattoo Ankles, Silver Hoops
Sinuous Arms, Alluring Hips
Personal Musings, Psychic Insights
Indian Mysticism, Egyptian Magic
And we have a heady Potion ready
For the Belle and her Soul

Our Director Veronica's aim is quite simple. All she wants is for you to feel like a goddess, like the most beautiful woman out there and how can one achieve that kind of self-esteem, or rather, self-realization on the eve of Woman's Day? By switching ones Blackberry off and driving away all thoughts of impending deadlines, to step into a zone that is simply about the Hafla, or the celebration. Exactly what are we celebrating here?

"Womanhood", replies Veronica, "and that all of us are Goddesses, that we are all divine at heart. It is about the joy that comes with discovering ourselves, coupled with the thought that we are so very beautiful."

There were performances by Instructors and Students of Veve Dance. The theme was being mystic. So the performers let their eyes do all the speaking through mysterious veils and their subtle yet sexy movements.

Towards the end of the celebrations, to help the ladies in attendance shed their inhibitions and become comfortable with their own self and being, Veronica took a workshop where she taught a couple of sensuous Belly dancing moves and everyone let their hair down and danced to some seductive numbers.

A tarot card reader added to the mystical and magical mood.

Secrets In Lace: The Burlesque Night

Hafla Night at ZENZI - December 2009

Girls Aloud!
Bringing back the glamour... A raucous evening
Of high-kicking legs and tassels twirling
Ladies in the club
It is show-time!

Burlesque style is all about sexy sophistication. It is about tease and seduction. To dress burlesque is to dress like a lady - a lady with a naughty side! Burlesque is about stockings, corsets, high heels, feather boas, satin gloves, vintage clothes and old fashioned glamour.

The evening of 8th December 2009 had a vivacious and bawdy milieu to it, all the way from the suburbs to the up-town at Todi Mills, Lower Parel. The theme of the evening being - "Secret in Lace: The Burlesque Night", it was an uproarious celebration through and through, with bodacious beauties and sultry songs taking center stage. Set to swingin’ music, the show featured performances by Veronica, the Instructors and students of Veve Dance, with special guest appearances by other Zenzi favorites, Anoushka on the vocals/guitar/harmonica and a Lady Resident DJ on the Turntables. ‘Secret in Lace’ was a throwback to the boozy speak-easy nights of vaudeville, while at the same time, paid homage to the magic and roots of the kind of cabaret found only in Helen's movies.

There was also an Exhibition area with Lingerie, Bijouterie, Make up & Nail Bar.

In The Darkness: The Gothic Interval

Hafla Night at ZENZI - Oct 2009

In the Darkness of the Night,
The stars shine bright
Revealing the haunted masks
Of the dead souls taking flight

Oh, beyond your smile
Oh, sleep tonight
Oh, the haunted mile
Oh, the love filled tile

The darkness unveils
Your perfect face
Behind the skin p...ale
Is a heart that beats

The spirits disappear
As I kiss your wine red lips
Happiness devours me
As time strips

I just wish the night would never die
Forever you and me
Take me with you everywhere
Even into death for I’m in love with thee"

The theme of the evening being - In the Darkness: The Gothic Interval, our instructors and students dressed up as various creatures of the dark, presented a series of performances paying homage to the darker side of life. Veronica performed a special Gothic-Belly fusion on the chart-buster song "Bring me to life" by Evanescence. 

The Hafla also saw a competition for the “Best Dressed” for which the audience had turned up in full force in their Gothic best.

Zenzi where the Hafla was held, had turned into an underworld meeting place of sorts for the Belly Dancing souls.

Egyptian nights : Nefertiti Resurrected

Hafla Night at ZENZI - July 2009

Bathed in the gossamer Moonlight, under the canopy of the Stars,
Blows the gusty easterly winds making the sand dunes rise and fall.

The Eyes perceives a desert Nymph who you wonder may a Mirage be
Her Aura like a thousand suns… a silhouette against the darkened Night.

She raises her hands to the heavens above and brings them slowly down,
She begins her mesmeric ethereal dance, her eyes smoldering like coals.

She shimmies and undulates in tandem with the heavenly beats….
Then a veil descends upon her and nothing more can you see.

A sudden change you feel in the surrounding air, the magic’s upon you,
She rises like the Sylph and swirls around the sand creating a desert gale.

The souls of the various Kings and Queens of Egypt all through the ages had descended upon Zenzi to witness this beautiful evening. It was a night to celebrate the culture and traditions of the land of Pharaohs and Pyramids.

The theme of the evening was - Egyptian Nights: Nefertiti Resurrected. Nefertiti was the only Pharaohess of the ancient Egypt and hence is respected and worshiped all over the world. The word Nerfertiti means "the beautiful one has arrived."

All the students and instructors along with Veronica were dressed up in their regal Egyptian finery and performed on famous Egyptian songs taking their audience with them on a journey through the land of the river Nile.

Gypsy Caravan with Queen Harish

Hafla Night at ZENZI - Feb 2009

Proud to be a Gypsy traveler on the road
With all the tales of the Gypsy life that was told
Of the proud caravan that cherished every day
Who rode upon gods highway and cast their cares away

The folks they all gathered to eat upon the green
Where the oak dale trees were stout and the roads were in between
The wheels shared with the road a tale or two
As they chatted there so freely… Oh what a right thing to do!!!

They talked of Gypsies from long long ago
How they traveled on the road, summers rain and winters snow
Oh the highways they were wide then with their twisting lanes a few
When the dew was on the ground and the road was their true

Proud to be a Gypsy traveler on the road
With dress the brightest of red, green and yellow
Her heart was rich not cold
And her smile only widened, each day forth.

The theme of the Hafla being Gypsy Caravan, off we went to the land of gypsies, with flying skirts, colorful turbans, henna and lots more. 

A small Mela set-up was arranged for, where one could buy bangles, get henna applied or painted on ones’ body and also find out what ones' cards said from the Tarot reader. 

The highlight of the evening was performances by our special guest for the evening, Mumbai’s sensational, Jaisalmer born and raised, International Performer, and a close friend of our Director Veronica - Queen Harish, who was the cynosure of every eyes that attended the Hafla. Jaisalmer, the first city on the desert road to Egypt, made entirely of stones; reflects a golden pattern in the middle of Rajasthan, country of the Kings and Queen Harish is the dancing whirling queen of the desert of India.

Queen Harish who performed on many famous Hindi numbers including “Dil Cheez kya hai” from Umrao Jaan to “Nachle le” made famous by Madhuri Dixit, exuded charm and grace. With his signature moves and nakhras, he received a standing ovation and a reverberating request for an encore.

The Grand performance of the evening was a jugalbandi between Veronica and Queen Harish. The stunning performance by these two very accomplished performers left all those in attendance slack-jawed.

The evening also saw a belly dance workshop, along with breathtaking performances by Instructors and Students of Veve dance. 

Princess Perfume Hafla

Hafla Night at ZENZI - Nov 2008

The inspiration for this Hafla came after Veronica’s first trip to Istanbul. She had spent a very long time in the old district of Sultanahmet visiting the Old Palace and the harem quarters. The whole city had an atmosphere of royal secretiveness and alluring seduction that could only be experienced by the Princess Perfume and this atmosphere was carried by Veronica all the way from the cobbled streets of Istanbul to the crazy streets of Mumbai.

There was a Solo performance by Veronica as the Princess Perfume of Istanbul

Senior students of Veve Dance presenting a beautiful piece in honor of the Princess

A unique Sword Dance - "Guards of the Princess" was presented by the Senior students of Veve Dance.

A free Belly dance workshop by Veronica, where she taught all those present some special turkish belly dance moves.

The evening also saw a Solo performance by Veronica on her favourite Asena Classical Turkish selection.

The night ended on a high note with everyone dancing together on the floor with Tarkan favorite Istanbul bar remixes and Turkish delight songs.

The night also included Tea, dry fruits, baklava and luxurious princess massage by Shakti.

Hafla Night with Mathias Duplessy

ZENZI - May 2008


French composer of film soundtracks, music for theater plays and contemporary dance shows and a very close friend of our Director Veronica, Mathias Duplessy of 'Peepli Live' and 'Delhi in a day' fame, is a travelling artist who performs at different international venues. 

In India for a special performance, it was a true honor for Veve Dance, to have him perform at the Hafla. Creating a unique atmosphere of his own, he did a rendition of mongolian throat singing whilst playing the Morin Khuur which a typically mongolian two-stringed instrument and has a sound similar to a violin or a cello.

The highlight of the evening was his jugalbandi with Veronica whose dancing flowed through harmoniously with the Live music and gave rise to two very unique and spell-binding performances.

In the first performance, Veronica danced to Mr. Mathias' Live singing of a traditional mongolian song.

In the second performance, Veronica danced to Mr. Mathias' playing of the Flamenco Guitar.

Veronica was later heard saying, "It was the first time i had ever danced on a live Mongolian rendition and it was other worldly." 

The Hafla also saw performances by Senior students of Veve Dance. Towards the end of the evening, Veronica conducted a free Belly Dance workshop and at the end of it there was live DJ and everyone present were invited onto the dance floor to dance through the rest of the evening.

Hafla Night with Anupam Shobharkar

ZENZI - April 2008

This was the very FIRST TIME where LIVE music was introduced into the Hafla atmosphere by Veve Dance.

Anupam Shobhakar, is a highly talented award winning Indian musician, composer, instrumentalist, record producer, and classically trained Sarodist with an extensive experience in performing live around the world at various venues and for various charitable causes. He has released three World Fusion albums, and one classical Indian music album. Shobhakar's track "Water" was nominated for the first round of Grammy awards. He has also been a member of the Pangean orchestra comprising of 50 of Arizona’s most diverse musicians. 

It was a with great happiness that Veve Dance received such an esteemed guest at our Hafla. Such powerful was the rendition of the Sarod by Mr. Anupam, that all the audience were transported to another time and space through his performance.

Veronica performed a very beautiful Solo piece to the live music of Sarod by Mr. Anupam. The sublime poetry of this great jugalbandi had the audience spell bound.

Veronica also presented a unique Sword dance with senior students of Veve Dance

Veronica and students presenting a beautiful dance piece using the Veil as the prop

Hafla Night at Quay Lounge - September 2007


After a long break from 9th June 2006, the Hafla nights were back with a hugeee bang from September 2007. For the first time, Veve Dance had the opportunity to host its Hafla Night at Quay Lounge at Chowpatty. This Hafla saw a lot many 'firsts' in the history of Veve Dance Haflas.

The evening began with a talk on - 'Essential Oils through Time'. It discussed the rejuvenating and therapeutic properties of Aromatherapy oils of Jasmine, Rose and Cinnamon.

For the first time in a Hafla, there was a Live singing performance by Singer Raageshwari Loomba. Raageshwari is an Indian pop singer, actress, model, television anchor, former MTV and Channel V VJ, a yoga expert and a motivational speaker. She is lovingly called 'Positive Raaga and the messenger of peace'.

For the first time, a very special performance by a visiting International Belly Dancer.

The evening also saw various group performances by students of Veve Dance.

A special solo performance by student of Veve Dance, Parinaz 

A solo dance performance by Director Veronica.

The evening ended with a free Belly Dance Workshop conducted by Veronica

The Hafla Lounge 

FIRST EVER Hafla Night at ZENZI - 9th June, 2006

The opening of "The Hafla Lounge" happened on the 9th of June, 2006 with celebrities, expats and the sexiest Bandraites women. This was the FIRST HAFLA event in INDIA which was only for women.

The Hafla began with a small talk about the origins, history and new trends in Belly Dancing or Raqs Sharqi. There was also a Q & A session where the frequently asked questions on Belly Dance were answered.

Veronica then proceeded to explain the Fundamentals of Belly dancing like the right posture, balance, isolation of body, rhythm and musical interpretation.

Guests also enjoyed the various types of Sweets, fruits and Tea that was served.

Veronica presented a two piece performance.

1st piece was an "Inta Omri" composition made popular by Oum Kalthum who was an Egyptian singer and musician. One of the best known and most beloved of all singers in the Arab World.

2nd piece was a unique performance on Egyptian and Brazilian Percussion solo on the song Hip on the Beat.

The evening ended with a Free Belly dance workshop conducted by Veronica.


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