Teachers & judges 2020

Teachers and judges 2020
These are the following teachers and judges who have been invited for the Danish Open Bellydance festival 2020. Please visit the competition page for further information about who will be judging the competitions and please visit our workshop page for full information on workshops topics and timetable.

20181215-750_8421-EditMercedes Nieto from Hungray will be joining us for the second time at the Danish Open Bellydance festival. We are so delighted to see her again. Mercedes is an internationally acclaimed oriental dance artist from a Hungarian-Spanish family, based in Budapest, Hungary. World famous for her delicate, elegant, yet passionate dance style, which is innovative and unique.

She is a master teacher and regular performer of the Nile Group Festivals in Cairo, Egypt; the artistic director and choreographer of the Nymph Oriental Dance Company (a well-known European professional oriental dance company); the creator and main organizer of one of the biggest annual international oriental dance festivals in Europe, the “CAIRO! Festival Budapest”; producer of new oriental dance music albums „Enti ya Amar” and „Layali el Hob” played by excellent Egyptian musicians in Cairo; meanwhile leading her own dance school in Budapest for over 15 years.

For more information about her work:

1RAO_9589Kathreen Derouet from Czech Republic will be joining us at Danish Open Bellydance for the first time in 2020! Kathreen is one of the most popular oriental dance artists in the Czech Republic and a beloved teacher and choreographer. Her elegant and emotional dance style has fascinated dancers all over the world and she has been travelling the globe for more than 20 years. Her students adore her way of teaching, which is full of important details, expressions, feelings and connections between body and soul.

She has won numerous international competitions and she has been an art director of LET’S DANCE PRAGUE INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL since 2012. She has performed in Jillina’s project BELLYDANCE EVOLUTION and is a (HE)ART BELLYDANCE founder and the author of the unique feature fairy tale performance DREAMS COME TRUE.

Kathreen will be judging competitions and teaching two workshops during the Danish Open Bellydance festival. You can also look forward to enjoying Kathreen on stage in the Gala show on Friday.


image00001Kareem Gad from Egypt/France is an Egyptian international master teacher, co-founder and co-director of Bellmasry dance company based in Paris, France. Since childhood, his curiosity about the art led him to discover and study the art of singing, music, poetry, percussion, acting and dance. Furthermore, Kareem has a BA in the history of the civilizations of the ancient and modern Near East in order to expand his knowledge about the Egyptian folkloric heritage and oriental dance (history, music, dance).

Kareem has worked for several years in Cairo, both as a solo dancer and choreographer for several institutions but also as a teacher at both Ahlan wa Sahlan and Nile Group festivals. Kareem is known for his subtle technique and mesmerizing choreographies in all Egyptian dance styles, from folklore to raqs sharqi.

Kareem will be joining us at Danish Open Bellydance for the first time where he will be teaching three workshops, perform in the gala show and judge the competitions.


1 duże druk CMYKSuraiya Ibrahim from Poland will be with us at Danish Open Bellydance festival for the second time. Suraiya is a famous Polish oriental artist and multi award winner who has enriched the dance community as both an international performer and a teacher for over a decade. Her dedication to the art of oriental dance, knowledge, teaching and performing skills have already been appreciated in over 40 countries on 5 continents!

Suraiya is well known for her technique, stage charisma and artistic interpretations of Oriental dance. Suraiya is also a frequent member of juries at international competitions (juror in 25 countries including World Cup, European Cup and Bellydancer of the World Contest). She owns the Arabic Dance Academy and Artistic Agency “Suraiya” and she is a founder and artistic director of Egyptian Fever Festival and Desert Roses Group. Suraiya is also a show and DVD producer.

Apart of dancing, Suraiya is also a certified fitness and Pilates instructor and Master of International Relations and Diplomacy.

goddes of the sea_anna_barner_foto_mathilde_vesterherupAnna Barner from Denmark – Belly dancer, choreographer, dance teacher, organizer, author and much more… Anna Barner has dedicated her life to Oriental Dance. She works full time as a performer and teacher from her base in Denmark. Her focus is to teach the Scandinavians about Oriental Dance. During the last 25 years, she has taught numerous workshops in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Iceland and performed in countless events, shows and festivals.

Anna’s engagement and rewording teaching is well known and recognized, as well as her extensive knowledge and experience within her field. This has resulted in several publications including two books.

Anna Barner was the first winner of the Raks Sharqi Contest in Berlin in 2004. She is also five-time winner of different Scandinavian Belly Dance contest, last in 2016 at Danish Open Belly Dance Fusion.

Every summer Anna organizes a large training camp in Denmark for belly dancers. Giving an annual opportunity for Scandinavian women to train, learn, network and socialize.


IMG_9074Rachel Reynolds from USA/Italy is both dancer and actress. She has danced professionally in Los Angeles for the past 13 years, including touring with Jillina’s Bellydance Evolution since 2014 in ensemble and solo roles. She was an assistant contributing choreographer to the show “Fantasm” and to the newest production of “The Jungle Book”.

In 2018, she performed with Mario Kirlis’s band in Argentina at the opening gala show of Tucuman Bellydance Festival, and was also invited by Egyptian master teacher Ahmed Refaat to represent Italy at the World Competition “Jin Xiu Cup” in Yinchuan, China.

She has taught workshops in both Europe and USA – her fondest memory was being invited to teach her signature Fan Voi workshop in Costa Rica for Expo Bellydance 2016.

She is an accomplished fusion dancer, winning fusion competitions in Denmark (Danish Open 2019), Poland, Ireland, France, and Germany.

Aside from dance, Rachel is a black belt in Wushu/Kung Fu and has worked as a fight choreographer in movies in Hollywood. She is also a professional figure skater, toured the US with “Holiday Ice Spectacular” and has won the U.S. Adult National Championship in 2017. She holds a Diploma in Flute from the Colburn School of Music of Los Angeles and has recently started studying tabla.

Rachel will be teaching one workshop during Danish Open Bellydance and you can also look forward to enjoying her on stage at the Taste of the Orient show (while we wait for the results) on Sunday.

DSC_5174Marie Møller Jensen from Denmark is a well-known dancer and dance instructor in Denmark and a familiar face at Danish Open Bellydance. She has won our Soloist competition category several times and has also entertained us as our Gala Show hostess on Friday nights for the past couple of years. She also won the live music competition at Camp Negum in Cairo, Egypt (dancing to the wonderful Fer’et Negum band lead by Safaa Farid) in 2019. She is known for her authentic Egyptian expression and soulful style and excels in the baladi in particular.

A frequent traveller to Cairo, Marie loves to soak up Egyptian culture, language and – not least – dance inspiration from the motherland itself; Cairo is, after all, Umm al Dunya: Mother of the World. Her interest in the diverse socio-historical and cultural aspects of the dance and Egyptian music inspires her teaching in which she emphasises these aspects in addition to thorough instruction in the physical movement patterns of the dance.

AE8A1955 - low res_Photo_JesperKoefoedMiss Ann from Denmark is an elegant, extravagant and passionate performer and one of Denmark’s most hard-working choreographers. She has taught burlesque since 2011 and is Denmark’s most experienced burlesque instructor and the developer of the style “Sweet Burlesque”. As a performer, Miss Ann is known for her elaborate technique, captivating stage presence and high energy while among students she is known for her enthusiastic good mood, big smiles and empathy for everyone. She loves to explore and create new, fun routines for her students and as a trained physiotherapist, she uses her knowledge of the body to strengthen her students’ body awareness through dance.

As the owner of Sweet Burlesque, Miss Ann has created a concept for all women who want to feel sexy, have more confidence and just have fun while exercising.

Miss Anne will be teaching a free workshops during the festival – everybody’s welcome to join in! You can also look forward to enjoying Miss Anne and her Sweet Burlesque show team on stage in the Gala show on Friday.

DSC_9399Noura from Denmark is a well-known dancer and teacher in Denmark – a dancer with her own style and a love for live music and improvisation. She has taught students in oriental dance and percussion for over 15 years. She loves the variation which the oriental dance offers and believes she will never stop learning new things about the dance.

We have had the honour of enjoying Noura on the Danish Open Bellydance gala show stage many times both as a soloist, in duets and with troupes. Last year, we could enjoy her Project Baladi with dancers from all over Denmark. This year, she will give a workshop at the festival together with Bilal Irshed. Together with Merrild, Noura has been organizing Danish Open Bellydance since 2012.

Last but not least we have our wonderful musicians at this years festival…. 

37177671_782820968775037_8860053688064933888_nKhader Ahmad from Germany/Lebanon will be joining us at Danish Open Bellydance for the second time and will be playing live music in the competition ‘Tabla Solo Live’. He will give a workshop with Jillina Carlano and you can also look forward to enjoying Khader on stage at the Gala show.

Khader Ahmad was born in Lebanon, but raised in Berlin, Germany. He has worked with many famous oriental dancers and musicians and his clear and brilliant way of playing along with a unique sensibility have made him a highly sought-after percussionist. He has worked with popular Arabic singers and musicians such as Ahmed Adaweya, Mohammed Mounir, Cheb Khaled and the legend Magdy Al Husseini. In 2012, he founded the band “RAQSA”, specializing in Oriental dance music. In 2014, he started a project named “DUM TAK Revolution” with Felix Neumann, which combines traditional Arabic music with modern electronic pop, shaabi and belly dance. The project based in Berlin first released the “DUM TAK Revolution Vol.1” featuring Alla Kushnir and in collaboration with Jillina. Since then, the second album “DUM TAK Revolution Vol.2” has also been released. The third album “DUM TAK Revolution Vol.3” in collaboration with Sadie was released in June 2016. in 2017, Khader started a new music project named “Oriental Beats”.

Bilal Irshed Trio 5Bilal Irshed Trio consists of Bilal Irshed on oud, Rasmus Møldrup on double bass and Yohan Ramon on percussion. The trio has existed since 2011 and has released two albums to date: ‘Compositions’, 2011, and ‘Chronotope’, 2015.

Bilal Irshed is a Palestinian composer and oud virtuoso living in Denmark, where he is widely recognized as one of the finest interpreters of classical Middle Eastern music.

The trio is a tribute to the sound of the oud, whose warm and meditative sound serves to capture the history and the beauty of the Orient. However, by combining this sound with Cuban percussion and the double bass from the Scandinavian jazz tradition, the oud is placed in a new and contemporary context. The trio plays both modern original and traditional music, mainly from the Arab world, skillfully demonstrating the spirit, but also the variety, within Middle Eastern music.

At Danish Open Bellydance, Bilal Irshed Trio will feature the Palestinian – Syrian Saxophone player Mohammed Diab, who in recent years has received great acclaim for his work, both nationally and internationally. Mohammed diab 2_fritlagt

Bilal will teach a workshop and the trio featuring Mohammed Diab will accompany the dancers in the competition Soloists Live!


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