This year, the International Belly Dancing Convention took place in Las Vegas, Nevada. Organized by Gold Star International, this event had everything from workshops, shows,concerts, vendors, and competitions. It was quite the event.
There were so many competitions, and everyone who wanted to compete could enter in the different categories. Young ones were able to compete as well. Categories included beginner, intermediate, advanced, professional, troupe, fusion, and tribal.
As for myself, I entered in the solo intermediate category and from start to finish, the staff were very helpful and always available to assist. First, I had to pay a fee to enter the competition. Later, I received e mails giving me specific instructions to follow so that my music and personal information were received in a timely manner.
When all was said and done, I then received an e mail from the organization informing me when I was going to perform. It was then that I realized that twenty six other dancers were in the same category as I.
The entire convention took place at the new South Point Casino on Las Vegas Blvd. However, it was too far from all the other major casinos and I was somewhat disappointed because of the distance. That is because I called the casino and asked how far they were from the major casinos and someone told me "oh just five minutes". It was more like twenty minutes by taxi.
Nevertheless, when I checked into the casino, there were signs everywhere pointing to the convention. I was delighted to see that the casino made the announcements big and flashy.
The casino staff were very helpful in pointing me to the right direction. The workshops were separate from the marketplace and competitions, so of course I needed help.
The marketplace had it all. Decorations, music, clothing, handbags, DVDs, belly dance costumes, instruments, and other accessories. I could go on and on. Meera, Delilah, and Hadia were there. It was so wonderful to see such amazing women in one place!
Meera was at her booth looking like a belly dance doll. I was excited to meet her, and she was very friendly, just smiling while she talked.
I had much time to spare, but I had not signed up for a workshop. Not a problem. The staff allowed me to sign up at the last minute. Luckily, I was able to participate in Hadia's workshop. Words just can not express Hadia's workshop; it was just beyond amazing. She took the time to really explain everything. Two hours was not enough, and at the end of the workshop, she stayed to talk about her programs and upcoming seminars.
The competition was a challenge. I was nervous and did not have the opportunity to practice on the stage. Just a suggestion, I feel that dancers should be allowed to feel the stage before the performance.
All the participants were just lovely. Like a breath of fresh air, it was nice being around my other sisters in dance. All of us sharing the same passion of belly dance. Backstage, everyone was supportive. What more could I ask for!
There were three winners. The first place winner won a trip to Egypt and a thousand dollars. Second and third place received cash awards.
Delilah was among the several judges who sat for hours watching all the amazing dancers. They kept their energy and spirits up until all was over.
Next year, I plan to attend the convention again. Keep your eyes open to for the upcoming announcements in the future.