Post-Tsunami BDSS Tour
by Miles Copeland
posted July 21, 2011
In early April, it looked like our Bellydance Superstars’ second Japanese Tour that had been set for May 18 -25 was in serious jeopardy. The venue booked in Tokyo was damaged and closed for repairs ’til I don’t know when and our dancers were hearing all sorts of stories that scared them to the point of thinking we were crazy to go until next year. I was fully expecting the promoters to cancel. Because of that, we thought they might want to cancel the US West Coast dates we had organized in conjunction with the Japanese tour (as they would not be affordable without the Japan tour combination). The situation worsened when several of our dancers made it clear that because of what they had heard, they definitely could not go at this time.
After many e-mails and phone conversations trying to get the promoters to move the dates, along with a great deal of study of the actual situation in Japan, we were faced with the facts that our promoters did not want to cancel after all since they had found a replacement venue in Tokyo.
The dates were nearly sold out already; the dangers had been grossly exaggerated.
Our reputation in Japan would be damaged should we not go and, of course, the promoters would loose a lot of money for what appeared a dubious reason: great exaggeration by the Western press. Meanwhile, I had half of the troupe stressing about going; they were so stressed it became doubtful that we could actually present a show anything like what had been advertised in Japan. It was a unique predicament and put a real strain on the "show must go on" tradition of the entertainment business!
Once my staff and I had fully ascertained that the dangers were so minimal that we could not in good conscience let our promoters nor our Japanese fans down at a tough time for them, we decided (as a company) to go–no matter how many dancers dropped out and we would pull it off somehow. In the end, we lost four of our dancers plus Kami (who now had a conflict as the tour was extended into other bookings to which she had committed, making 5 out of the 14 member show). We were lucky to find a great Indian dancer in Canada, Shivani, to take Meera‘s place and enable us to pull off the Indian elements of the show with little change. Another lucky break came from our auditions at Raqs LA this past April where we found three great dancers who we already were hoping could join the troupe at some point. Well, that point came quicker than anyone thought; Inka, Victoria and Edenia turned to be every bit as good as we had hoped!
As we had anticipated, we found no problems in Japan, and it was not long before everyone was feeling glad that we had gone. We stayed in 5 star hotels, danced in nice venues, with sold out shows. We took two days off to go site seeing and shopping in the Harajuku hip fashion district made for a highly successful tour.
To top it off, the major national TV station of Japan, NHK, filmed the final two shows in Tokyo for national broadcast in January. That will be the first Belly dance show be broadcast nationally in Japan on a major network–meaning we have a potential audience of 190 million!
So at the end of the day, the ladies of the BDSS (and our new members) rose to the occasion with great aplomb; none of them is glowing in the dark and the show did go on! We look forward to returning to Japan next year.
Click for enlargement. Names would be nice to add here!
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