Bellydancer of the Universe
is kind of a small island, not that we’re cut off from the
world or anything, but we don’t have huge hafflas or competitions
here. In fact, after about two years of classes and training
we have to travel outside our country to keep up with the whirlwind
of innovation that is bellydance.
blessed enough to attend some of the best workshops ever
given in the U.S. and in Canada and, through these, I became
with the competition arena. Andrea Farese,
a very good friend of mine, spoke to me about some of them
of the Universe seemed possible once I calculated
the amount of time it would take to prepare for such a huge
I applied for two categories: Egyptian and Universal. From
the get go I knew Egyptian was a long shot because in Puerto
Rico there really isn’t anyone that teaches any “pure” style
and, true to my education, I was unable to place in the finals.
Thank goodness the Universal category was a different story;
I was in my element.
in the waiting room I noticed I was the youngest in there
with the least amount of experience. Although I felt confident
in my abilities, it was nerve wrecking and just as I was
about to walk down the hall towards the competitor’s entrance,
I realized I had never in my life found myself happier.
I didn’t win I was going to cherish this experience for the
rest of my life. After the first-round performances, I was
able to place in the finals. Now, the finals really got to
me; I was so excited when I heard my name called as one of
the finalists and I nearly freaked out when I was in the waiting
room ready to compete. I had come to the competition with my
little brother, AlHassan, and was exhausted
from having to make him practice, practicing myself, and having
already in Egyptian and Universal preliminaries, so I was worried
about my performance in the universal finals. I took it in
stride and as I was on-stage my second wind kicked in and I
danced all the dance I had left in me to share with the world.
I literally gave it all I had. I was once told by a teacher
that my lack of technique was refreshing, and apparently the
winners were being announced later that evening I held my breath
as the third and second runner up were called. There were only
two of us left now, and the first runner up was called…….”Oh
my GOSH!!!! That wasn’t my name, I won!” Finally, my name was
called as the winner of the category and I was Bellydancer
of the Universe 2008.
felt like crying, which is totally cliché, but I was just
so happy my hard work paid off. I was honored and relieved
and amazed, well, I was euphoric!
It was truly
a blessing to have received such a prize at my age and to be
representing Puerto Rico. It was a fantastic experience and
I hope to do it again very soon. Every bellydancer should go
through something similar and be proud of the fact that unlike
other sports, in bellydancing there is a true sisterhood that
allows us to grow in the dance and heal the world one shimmy
at a time.
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other possible viewpoints!
Raqs LA Photos, Best from the Stage on the Lower Level, Photos
by Carl Sermon text by Carl Sermon, Ma*Shuqa and Marta Schill
May 17-18, 2008 Glendale Civic Auditorium, California, produced
by Miles Copeland and organized by Marta Schill
Universal Categories of The Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition,
report by Amy Bonham
February 19-20, 2005 in Long Beach, California, photos by GS
Wasn’t About the Trophy: The North Valley Belly Dance
Competition in Oroville, Ca. 2006 by Salima
I have done many things in my life and by forcing myself
to have other performers judge my performance, I have motivated
myself to step up to the plate and accomplish what I had set in
my mind to do.
in Germany, The Summer Festival and the International Raks
Sharqi Contest 2006 by Dondi S. Dahlin.
photos by Klaus Rabien, Berlin, Germany. "It is
also an easy out for judges who need to find a reason to drop
a dancer’s score…especially if the competition is
our listing on our "Mining for Gold" page
and Pageants, right column
other recent contest winners on our Community Kaleidoscope
You Want to Dance in Cairo? by Leila
dancers who negotiate their own auditions with hotel managers usually
find themselves seated at his private table in the nightclub month
after month while he promises that next week he will make her an
orchestra and give her an audition.
Fashion, American Style: The 2nd Annual Decotach Fashion
Show Report by Tanna Valentine photos by Brian
this year’s fashion event, Ms. Lambru chose to display
her costumes in the context of a Berber wedding.
Faruk Tekbilek demonstrates the Ney video by Lynette
Also incuded are short performance clips of Omar with the instruments and band
members as well as his wife, Susie, performing a few Turkish style dance gestures
of the Muse: Finding and Using “Dance Energy” by
concept of “Dance Energy”carries with it a power
that appears to compel the dancer to move without conscious thought
or excessive effort.