The evening of belly dance at the International Belly Dance Festival would have thrilled the audiences more had it been put together more professionally

For all who hoped the delayed start to an evening of belly dance was worth the wait, it was and it wasn’t. The second day of the International Belly Dance Festival-Hipnosis 2013 put together by Payal Gupta of Payal’s Dance Academy opened with a performance by three little girls. This was followed by the beginner’s performance, put together in 16 hours. The piece, held together better than some of the performances by the intermediate students at the academy, which was interspersed with the professionals.

Leena Vie, of the Red Tent movement, who has trained in contemporary, ballet, Odissi, salsa and contact improvisation, entranced the audience with her slow, deliberate, sensual movements. The two brackets of fire, which she held in her hand heated up proceedings. Leena was followed by Essa Duhaime and troupe, three dancers whose angel wings in shimmering metallic shades grabbed eyeballs. Payal’s performance was next. Payal’s piece, Mukti, combined elements of Bharatnatyam and belly dance (“with due respect to both art forms”, it was announced). Dancing to a sensuous thillana, the piece put together simple Bharatanatyam moves coupled with some generous belly dancing.

The piece de resistance was clearly Meher Malik’s “Pink Panther” themed performance as the India’s Got Talent participant effortlessly combined spunk, drama and some nifty belly dance clearly designed to entertain.

Yagna Chheda’s was a classy, contemporary performance, again with a slow, deep vocabulary that is perhaps inspired by her training in tribal fusion (through it was slightly marred by the confusion with the music line-up, which seemed to happen quite a few times).

Veronica, who is known to have taught Katrina Kaif, Gauri Khan, Nicole Faria and Katie Holland, was clearly a seasoned performer who seemed to be a little too much at ease with what she does. Veronica’s performance was striking as she danced to live music.