The Gilded Serpent
Luna, 2nd Runner-up
Category added to Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition
On February 15, 2003, I competed in the 13th Annual Bellydancer
of the Universe contest in Long Beach California, produced by Tonya and Atlantis.
year was a "Fusion" category, created to recognize dancers
who innovate by combining styles.
When I arrived at
the venue, I felt a little nervous walking into a whole new scene of
dancers, but almost immediately I recognized Linda Kitiara,
another Roma (Gypsy) fusion dancer. We had never met, so I introduced
myself and I can say that Linda is as gracious as her dancing is beautiful.
After talking with her, I felt much more at ease. Actually, all of the
contestents were supportive and sharing, cheering each other on as we
each walked out the door to perform. Most were from Southern California,
but a few were from Northern California and one woman made the journey
Linda remarked to
me, "You know, we're really making history here, as the first ever
fusion dancers to compete at this event." She had a good point.
Although we all had thoughts of taking home a trophy, I soon realized
that just being a part of this historic competition and meeting the other
dancers was worth the journey.
that it was encouraging--the event producers and judges were acknowledging
the innovations of fusion dancers and our contributions to bellydance.
Ten dancers competed
in the Fusion category. As far as I could tell, there were four "gypsy"
dancers (including me), one "tribal" style dancer and the rest
were more "cabaret" fusion dancers. I was inspired and pleased
to see so many dancers creating their own unique fusion styles using a
myriad of influences, from ethnic dance to modern, even using gymnastics.
Since I was the sixth
dancer to compete (we drew numbers to determine our order), I was only
able to see a handful of the competitors (the rules prohibit you from
watching the dancers in your category until you are finished dancing).
But I did see most of the dancers running through their routines in our
huge dressing room during the long hours we had to wait to compete. Apparently
the competition took much longer than anticipated. The fusion dancers
were scheduled to begin competing at 9:30pm, but I didn't compete until
well after 11:00. This was not a good situation for many of the dancers.
Since we had to check-in at 6pm, by the time we had to dance we were
hungry and tired (my husband and I had driven hours that day) but at
least we were all in the same boat.
As I said, I'm not
really the best person to review the other dancers since I was competing
myself (I suggest you purchase the video when it comes out at www.tonyaandatlantis.com),
but I can tell you a little about the winners:
The photo of the winners, from left to right:
Luna, 2nd Runner-up, Linda Kitiara, congeniality and Jayna,
Prince Andrew - yes, it should be encouraging to all the male
bellydancers out there that first place went to a man! He was very dynamic--his
persona radiated from the stage. His costume consisted of a vest, pantaloons
and hip belt and he also used a sword and did impressive floor work
and isolations. The last part of his performance was the most "fusion"
in that he combined Indian hand mudhras and foot work to his bellyance
moves. Definitely a crowd favorite, Prince Andrew also tied with Jayna
for the People's Choice Award.
Jayna was dressed in a cabaret style bra and belt, but wearing
stretch pants instead of a skirt. During her warm up she included gymnastics
in her routine including walkovers and splits.
Luna! My costume consisted of pantaloons, gypsy skirt, under
the bust vest and top. I danced with a fan and a shawl, did skirt work
and danced balancing on three overturned wine glasses.
Not surprisingly, Linda
Kitiara won the award for congeniality in the fusion category.
It was a pleasure
to compete with so many talented and gracious artists. Thanks to Tonya and Atlantis for
creating the opportunity for fusion dancers to express their art.
a comment? Send us a letter!
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for other possible viewpoints!
Dancer of the Universe Competition 2003 Photo Report by
Sponsored by Tonya & Atlantis and held in Long Beach, California.
Finalists are expected to be able to improvise spontanious choreography!
Festival West Photos - Friday by Susie
Leila Haddad, Ultra Gypsy, FatChanceBellyDance and more...
Travel Journal Continues--Hamam III by Kayla Summers
that point the steward says "now" and you jump off.
with the Dance: a Performance Critique of Aziza by Shelley Muzzy/Yasmela
There are several dancers on the scene that I admire and enjoy
watching again and again, but I just saw one that made me stop in my tracks,
sit right down on the floor, and pay attention.