Belynda Azhaar

Welcome to the official website of professional Middle Eastern and World dance instructor, choreographer, and performer, Belynda Azhaar.


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Past International
Performances & Workshops

2016/06 - Adelaide, AUSTRALIA
2015/07 - Ulaanbaatar, MONGOLIA
2014/05 - Brisbane, AUSTRALIA
2014/05 - Ho Chi Minh City, VIETNAM
2012/07 - Cairo, EGYPT
2012/06 - Fukuoka, Japan
2012/03 - Bali, INDONESIA
2012/02 - Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA
2012/02 - Linköping, SWEDEN
2012/02 - Rome, ITALY
2012/01 - Malta & Gozo, MALTA
2010/12 - Cairo, EGYPT
2010/11 - Istanbul, TURKEY
2010/09 - Hong Kong, HONG KONG
2010/09 - Taipei & Tainan, TAIWAN
2010/07 - Osaka, JAPAN
2010/07 - Rockhampton, AUSTRALIA
2010/07 - Brisbane, AUSTRALIA
2010/06 - Port Macquarie, AUSTRALIA
2010/06 - Melbourne, AUSTRALIA
2010/06 - Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA
2010/06 - Manila, PHILIPPINES
2010/04 - Hong Kong, HONG KONG
2010/02 - Hsinchu & Taipei, TAIWAN
2009/11 - Taipei & Tainan, TAIWAN
2009/08 - Hanoi, VIETNAM
2009/05 - Taipei, TAIWAN
2008/10 - Beijing, CHINA
2008/09 - Deyang & Changde, CHINA
2008/08 - Beijing, CHINA
2008/07 - Osaka, JAPAN
2008/03 - Osaka, JAPAN
2007/09 - Kobe & Osaka, JAPAN
2007/06 - Osaka, JAPAN
2007/03 - Taipei, TAIWAN

  Career Highlights  

Workshops & Performances
• International tours in Australia, China, Egypt, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Malta, Mongolia, Philippines, South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan, Turkey, and Vietnam.
• Special guest workshop teacher and performer at the following festivals:
      - Lelah Masriya (Cairo, EGYPT)
      - Bellyfest (Manila, PHILIPPINES)
      - Club Rakkasah (Melbourne, AUSTRALIA)
      - Summer Festival (Osaka, JAPAN)
      - Oriental Dance Festival (Beijing, CHINA)
• Performed at the Sphinx Festival, Egypt, in front of special guests Farida Fahmy & Mahmoud Reda.
• Performed at the Nile Group Festival, Egypt.
• Performed with Chinese celebrities at "快乐蜂人志愿团", a charity event for victims of the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake held in Deyang China.

Productions & Event Organisation
MECDACK (Middle Eastern Culture, Dance & Art Club in Korea)
RAK 2012, RAK 2011, and RAK 2010 World Bellydance Day Fundraisers (Seoul, Korea) - More than US$6,500 has been raised for Korean charities.
Aid Gaza Benefit Night (Seoul, Korea) - Around US$3,000 was raised for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency Special Gaza Appeal.
2009 World Bellydance Day (Seoul, Korea)

Competition Adjudication
• Korea Bellydancer "Top 10" Contest (2011, Korea)
• Asia-Pacific Open Oriental Competition (2009, Taiwan)
• Taiwan Open Bellydance Competition (2009, Taiwan)
• 3rd Asia Bellydance Championship (2008, China)

Awards
• 2013 Innostar 33 Award - Promotion of Middle Eastern Culture in Korea
• 2012 Ambassador of Middle Eastern Dance in Korea
• 2010 Bellydance Evolution Asia BDE - "People's Choice"
• 2008 Oriental Dance Festival (China) - "Best Acting"

Belynda Azhaar can travel internationally to participate in festivals, teach workshops, perform, and judge competitions.

Interested in hosting Belynda Azhaar in your city?

Click here to contact Belynda Azhaar about your upcoming event.

Workshops in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam with Belynda Azhaar - 2014 Lelah Masriya Festval, Cairo, Egypt ~ July 1-7, 2012 Workshops and show in Fukuoka, Japan with Belynda Azhaar - 2012 Workshops and hafla in Bali, Indonesia with Belynda Azhaar - 2012 Workshops in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with Belynda Azhaar - 2012 Belynda Azhaar in Italy - 2012 Workshops and show in Malta with Belynda Azhaar - 2012

  MECDACK  
(Middle Eastern Culture, Dance & Art Club in Korea)

MECDACK, was founded in 2008 by Belynda Azhaar and Ji-yoon Kim. It is an educational social club and information source for people living in Korea who are interested in the music, dance, arts, language, food, culture, and current affairs of the Middle East.

MECDACK is dedicated to:
• Helping connect people in Korea who share an interest in the Middle East and its arts;
• Educating people in Korea about the Middle East and its arts;
• Providing information about Middle Eastern cultural events (especially music and dance events) happening in Korea.

MECDACK meets monthly in Seoul. These gatherings, known as haflas, give people of all backgrounds a chance to get together and enjoy Middle Eastern food, music, and dance in a casual and supportive environment. Haflas generally involve dinner and social dancing at a Middle Eastern restaurant in Seoul, with the occasional free belly dance lesson and guest performance. These educational events are family-friendly and mostly alcohol-free, since the majority of Middle Eastern restaurants are halal.

Impartial hafla reviews: July 2011, November 2008.

MECDACK also has a serious side, and actively follows the current affairs of the Arab world. Many members of MECDACK were key contributors to the Aid Gaza Benefit Night held in Seoul February 2009. This fundraiser raised awareness for Palestine and US$3,000 for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Special Gaza Appeal. MECDACK members also participate as volunteers in the annual World Belly Dance Day fundraisers which, to date, have raised more than US$7,500 for Korean charities.

MECDACK은 중동의 문화, 예술, 언어, 음악, 춤에 관심이 있는 사람들의 모임입니다. 한국에 거주하면서 이 문화에 관심이 있는 사람들이 모여 서로 정보도 나누고 친목을 도모하고 있습니다. MECDACK은 벨린다 아자에 의해 만들어진 모임입니다.

MECDACK 이 노력하고 있는 것은
• 중동에 대한 관심과 예술을 공유할 수 있도록 연결하는 역할을 합니다.
• 중동 지역과 예술에 대해 교육하는 역할도 합니다.
• 한국에서 열리는 중동 문화 이벤트 ( 음악과 댄스 ) 에 대한 정보를 제공합니다.

MECDACK은 매월 “haflas" 라고 하는모임을 서울에서 합니다. 이 모임에서는 사람들이 함께 어울리고 중동 음식, 음악, 춤을 편안한 분위기에서 즐길 수 있게 도와줍니다. 보통 저녁식사와 함께 댄스파티가 진행되며 서울에 있는 중동 레스토랑에서 모임을 하고 있습니다. 때로는 모임중 무료 벨리 댄스 레슨을 하기도 하고 깜짝 게스트의 공연을 하기도 합니다.

리뷰 (영어): 2011년7월, 2008년11월.

  RAK 2012 - World Bellydance Day 2012  

Organised by Belynda Azhaar, RAK 2012 (Raising Awareness in Korea) was a World Belly Dance Day fundraiser event held at Oriental House Theater in Seoul on May 12-13. The festival involved around 100 dancers and volunteers from 15 dance academies in Korea, as well as visiting dancers from France, Germany, and Vietnam/USA. Two shows were held Saturday May 12; five workshops, on a range of Middle Eastern music and dance topics, were offered the following day. The weekend event raised awareness and around 2.5 million Korean won (US$2,200) for the Korean Women's Association United (KWAU - 한국여성단체연합) which has played a key role in establishing women’s human rights laws in Korea.

RAK 2012은 벨린다 아즈하르에 의해 조직되었고, 한국에 100명의 댄서들과 15개 벨리댄스 학교들이 참여한 세계 벨리댄스 모금마련 이벤트였습니다. 이 행사에서는 2가지의 쇼와 5개의 워크샵으로 구성되었으며, 이 행사를 통해 지역 여성 단체에 대한 관심을 불러일으켰고 모금된 약 250만원을 한국여성단체연합에 기부하였습니다. 참여해 주신 여러분들의 관심과 지지에 감사드립니다.

Photographs by Scorpio Studio and Belynda Azhaar. Special thanks to event venue Oriental House.


For information about other World Bellydance Day events around the world visit: http://www.worldbellydanceday.com

  RAK 2011 - World Bellydance Day 2011  

RAK 2011 (Raising Awareness in Korea), organised by Belynda Azhaar, was a landmark World Belly Dance Day fundraiser event involving around 100 dancers from 17 bellydance schools in Korea. The weekend festival, comprised of two shows and 7 workshops, raised awareness and around 4 million Korean won (US$3,500) for two local women's charities Korean Women's Association United (KWAU - 한국여성단체연합), and Korea Sexual Violence Relief Center (KSVRC - 한국성폭력상담소). This is the first time such an event involving multiple schools has been held in Korea, and we are delighted that so many dancers donated their time and talent for such a worthy cause. Thank you to everyone involved for your support and generosity.

RAK 2011은 벨린다 아즈하르에 의해 조직되었고, 한국에 100명의 댄서들과 17개 벨리댄스 학교들이 참여한 세계 벨리댄스 모금마련 이벤트였습니다. 이 행사에서는 2가지의 쇼와 7개의 워크샵으로 구성되었으며, 이 행사를 통해 지역 여성 단체에 대한 관심을 불러일으켰고 모금된 약 400만원을 두 여성 단체에 기부하였습니다.- ( 한국여성단체연합과 한국성폭력상담소) 이번 행사는 한국의 여러 학교 들이 연합하여 이루어진 최초의 이벤트로서 많은 벨리댄스 공연자들의 시간과 재능을 이러한 가치 있는 일로 함께 할 수 있었다는 것을 기쁘게 생각합니다. 참여해 주신 여러분들의 관심과 지지에 감사드립니다.

Photographs by Bellysesang, Belynda Azhaar, Chris Backe, Dennis Kim, and Shelton Bumgarner.
Special thanks goes to event sponsors Oriental House, Petra Restaurant, and SeoulStyle.

   


For information about other World Bellydance Day events around the world visit: http://www.worldbellydanceday.com

  RAK 2010 - World Bellydance Day 2010  

Organised by Belynda Azhaar, RAK 2010 (Raising Awareness in Korea) was a 2010 World Belly Dance Day fundraiser event held in Seoul, Korea. More than 70 artists and volunteers donated their time and talents for the event which raised awareness and 1 million won for two local charities: DasiHamkke Center and Bear Necessity Korea. Thank you to everyone involved for your support, and generosity.

Thank you to Chris Backe, Michele Farley, and Chris Sanders for the above photos; special thanks to event sponsors SeoulStyle, Groove Korea Magazine, and Club Ta.


Seoul Supports Korea's Moonbears through the arts!

Swizzling hips, razor sharp wit, enigmatic movement and hypnotic beats were all part of the mix for the 2010 RAK World Bellydance Celebration at Hongdae's Club Ta, as spectators and performers alike celebrated the evening's themes of 'Rescue, Renew, Recover and Rejoice' and kicked off this year's World DJ festival with a shake and shimmy.

Thanks to event founder and belly dancing guru Belynda Azhaar, the house was jam packed with enthusiastic spectators, who spent their time clapping to tunes which included lively jigs, middle Eastern beats, Tango, classical music, and Reggae. The host for the evening was suave Seoulite Albert Escabedo, whose antics landed him a spot on Seoulstyle's 'must see' list last January. Diversity was impressive as the audience enjoyed a moving performance by The Seoul Players and numerous spoken word artists, making RAK 2010 a night for every taste, and one which easily renewed my faith in the artistic talents of the community in Korea .

The evening began with the sound of the angelic vocals of Raggle Taggle Gypsies, who transitioned from lingering notes to an enthusiastic jig. They were followed by dance acts which included Paula Wilson who later joined partner Giovanni Garcia for a stunning tango, belly dancers Zahira Sujong, Moniqa Paullet, Ashley Elgatian, 'Raks Azhaar', the highly creative and charismatic 'Grace'; whose rubber chicken routine had the crowd roaring as they marveled over her outstanding interpretation of improvisational contemporary dance, Latin Dance Team 'KIZOMBA', the shimmying Goddesses known as 'Blueberry' and the beautifully tattooed crowd pleaser 'Aly'. Other vocal performances included the powerhouse range of Classical singer Ryan Goessl, whose baritone voice rivals none. Spoken word was performed by Moniqa Paullet and Seoulstyle favorite Carys Jones.

Shortly after the stroke of midnight the 2 charities, Dasi Hamkke, a human trafficking support group and Bear Necessity Korea, an animal welfare organisation, gave short talks on the missions of their groups and expressed gratitude for the generosity of all. Undoubtedly, RAK 2010 was an event driven by the love of art and social good.

Seoulstyle's 'must-see' list includes the captivating modern dance talents of performance artist and choreographer Paula Wilson, whose precision and finesse sent shiver down my spine, the 'ever-pleasing musical funk' of The Willman Band, well known funny man Brian Aylward, slam poet Lauren Bedard and the finale dance performance of the lady of the night, Ms Belynda Azhaar, who brought the crowd to their feet with a superb Egyptian style routine.

Source: Bear Necessity Korea




CLICK HERE for another review (with photos) on SeoulStyle.

For information about other World Bellydance Day events around the world visit: http://www.worldbellydanceday.com

  World Bellydance Day 2009  

To celebrate World Belly Dance Day, Belynda Azhaar and Ji-yoon Kim held an afternoon of free music and dance at the Han River park in conjuction with the 2009 Seoul World DJ Festival. Not only did the event raise awareness for Oriental dance in Korea, but was even reported in the Egyptian newspaper "Al Wafd" and on Egyptian TV!

For information about other World Bellydance Day events around the world visit: http://www.worldbellydanceday.com
Dancer artwork used in the poster courtesy of Dancer Artist: http://www.dancingartist.com

  AGBN - Aid Gaza Benefit Night  

The Aid Gaza Benefit Night, organised by Belynda Azhaar and Ji-yoon Kim, was created to help raise awareness for the humanitarian situation in Gaza, Palestine, as well as raise funds for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Special Gaza Appeal. The joint efforts of more than 25 volunteers and artists raised more than 4 million Korean won (about US$3,000) for the UNRWA Special Gaza Appeal.



Gaza benefit raises over 4m won (Source: Korea Herald)

Belly dancers, hip hop artists and drummers were among those who performed to more than 200 guests at Club 500 in Hongdae, Seoul, on Saturday night to raise funds for civilians in war-torn Gaza. The event and additional donations raised 4.19 million won for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency Special Gaza Appeal. At least 50 percent of the Gazan population rely on UNRWA Food Aid.

Event organizer Belynda Azhaar said that she and co-organizer Ji-yoon Kim decided to hold the benefit to raise awareness about the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

"Like many people, we felt strongly about the images and data coming out of Gaza. We wanted to do something to help. After 10 days of following the recent conflict we thought, 'Enough is enough, we have to do something,'" she said.

A report from the UNRWA stated that between Dec. 27, 2008 and Jan. 13, 2009 an estimated 971 Gazans were killed during the conflict between Israel and Hamas. Approximately $330 million is needed for urgent aid, and Azhaar and Kim hoped that the event would help to make a useful contribution to this.

"One idea led to another and, before we knew it we had a huge performance event on our hands with all sorts of artists involved - spoken word artists, musicians, dancers and comedians," said Azhaar.

A small community of volunteers and artists from Korea, Malaysia, Australia, England, Ireland, America, Canada, Lebanon, Algeria and Jordan worked together to make the night a success. The mud-brick decor of Hongdae's Club 500 gave the event a distinctive Middle Eastern feel.

Special performances of the traditional Levantine dance known as the dabke were among the highlights.

"The dabke is kind of like a family or community dance. It is also said to be a dance of solidarity. I guess you could say this is my way of showing my solidarity with the people of Palestine," said dabke performer Thency.

Kim stressed that she wanted the event to be relevant and informative.

"As with any benefit, it is rather important to take advantage of the opportunity to educate people. We wanted to encourage people to think and participate, despite the fact most people just want to be entertained."

Thency also emphasized that the event was non-political.

"First and foremost, Gaza is in a humanitarian crisis. The people need food, medical aid and shelter. This is what the benefit night is trying to address."

The night provided a wonderful opportunity to showcase the diverse range of performative talents in Seoul. Azhaar hoped that guests at the event were able to appreciate how music and dance can help to bridge differences.

"This event shows that it is possible for people from all cultures to come together for a good cause," Azhaar said.

By Jessica Carter and Kelly Royds

2009.02.10


A Korean review of the event (with photos and video) can be found here.