The Belly Dancer of the Universe
Fusion & The Divine Categories
February 19-20, 2005
Long Beach, California
report by Amy
photos by GS staff
categories covered so far-
5-9 years, Junior-ages
Yet to come- Universal
Dorit wins the Fusion Category!
Choice, and Congeniality
Mira Murjan-Northern California
Market at the Casbah in Fullerton) or Zafire?
Kamar of Southern California
"Divine" category requires that entrants have
at least 20 years of dance experience. I wasn't
planning on reporting on this division so I was
able to sit back and root for our homie Zelina.
My heart sank a bit when one of the contestants
before her started using the same music, "Shik,
Shak, Shok". I've seen this happen before (remember
when it seemed like EVERYONE was using "El Mashal?")
and it must be unnerving for the one that has
to dance on the "rerun". They must be wondering
if the judges are comparing the different interpretations
of the same song or are just tired of hearing
it again. Luckily, the dancer used just a snippet
of the song. Zelina looked sexy and well, DIVINE
up there in her spaghetti fringe costume. I want
to be just like her when I grow up.
Vichelle is the president of
the Desert Communities chapter of MECDA (Middle
Eastern Culture and Dance Association). She looked
amazingly calm for someone who runs an active
troupe of girls (ages 8-15 years).
Atlantis said "I would hate to have to be a judge
in this category." There was a lot of creativity
and strong technique in the fusion division, making
the decision difficult.
started the fusion category of this competition
two years ago. Luna wrote an
article for the Gilded Serpent about her participation
in the contest that year. I speculate that they
originally introduced it to allow American tribal
and pseudo-Rom style dancers an opportunity to participate
and be judged against dancers of their own style.
But this year, it was more of a showcase for inventive
and fun character dancing. Dancers are cross-training
in ballet, modern, jazz, and other forms of ethnic
dance and they are fusing them in interesting ways
was a pop princess in holographic lamé pants.
She took us on a trip to the disco. Very
precise, with clean little locks in her
choreography. I think when dancers do small
clean movements, it makes people LOOK harder
and pay attention.
wore a richly detailed red and black costume.
She worked with a dramatic "tent" of red
and black bat wings. Goth dancers take note:
picture available yet!
costume made her look like a delicate
Chinese doll. The character she portrayed
had that feeling too, with artful little
glances and coquetry. I assume she made
that wonderful elaborate costume, since
she is a costume designer.
picture available yet!
Texas First runner-up
came out in a simple pale galabiya-like
dress and did a lyrical and fluid veil
bit. She then tied the veil around her
hips for the faster portion. She did a
bit of zar and her hair seemed like a
second veil at times. I would call her
piece a modern dance that referenced Middle
Eastern motifs and movements. It takes
skill and know-how to do that well and
this dancer had both.
Rico, RICO! Take one of those big nipple
rings out RIGHT NOW and use it to securely
fasten your belt onto the rest of your
costume. Do it NOW.
Like Janet Jackson, Ricodancer
had a wardrobe malfunction. As in Janet's
case, it wasn't clear to some in the audience
whether it was an accident-on-purpose
or not. Janet's nipple jewelry was the
surprise ending. In this dancer's case,
the nipple rings were in full view at
the start under a see-through red mesh
top. When his belt went south, the situation
was made even more unnerving by lacy black
tights underneath. Once something like
that happens, it is very difficult to
recover the momentum of the performance.
Also his music was very fast and driving
and he seemed to tire before the ending.
Points to Ricodancer for calmly kicking
the belt out of the way when it slipped
and continuing. Points also for being
the lone brave male among all the contestants.
character was a playful wood nymph or
forest fairy. The costume, in rich, earthy
golds and greens, included tiny
horns on the dreaded hair-do and magical
face paint. She really invoked her
namesake from A Midsummer Night's Dream.
The choreography included little hops
and rolling on the floor. With sweeping,
welcoming arm movements she invited us
into her forest glade so she could work
her techno spell on us.
New York, Champion
was the winner of the Jewel of the Nile Pageant
2004 on the East Coast.
This contest cross-markets with the Belly
Dancer of the Universe Pageant and they
sponsor their winner in this event. There
is something of a tradition of excelling
in both events. In 2003, Azhia,
the Jewel of the Nile winner, took home
the Belly Dancer of the Universe Universal
category trophy that year as well.
wore dramatic tomato red and black adorned
with cowrie shells. Her black sheer fingerless
gloves/sleeves highlighted her sinuous
arms and contrasted with her pale skin
and jet black hair. She used that dramatic
familiar song from "Songs from the Victorious
City". When she segued to "Rock the Casbah"
by the Clash, the audience really responded
to her high energy. Her routine included
graceful jumps and a dramatic back drop
as a finale
California, People's Choice
strutted her stuff to "The Stripper",
using giant ostrich feather fans as
props alá Sally
Rand. The shouts hit the fans as
the girls from her Troupe, Ooh-la-la,
sitting behind us in their matching
black Shabnam T-shirts, yelled their
support. Dressed in a nude-colored costume
with rhinestones on the straight skirt
and simple bra, and with her Betty Page
bangs, she nailed her character using
locks, bumps and grinds, and extended
freezes. She tossed her long hair free
from its prim topknot during the drum
solo and teased the audience by stripping
off her gloves and throwing them out
into the crowd. I was sort of hoping
she would take off more it was so much
fun but maybe she was following the
script from Gypsy, the 1962 film
with Natalie Wood. In it, Wood, as neophyte
stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, drives the
audience wild but only takes off one
sultry Spanish maja in black and
maroon, with a dark rose in her hair,
Shoshanna used a fan as a prop. She handled
it as delicately as a feather. The latter
part of the routine was a driving guitar
song that invited us to get up and "baila"
with her. That part included fast spins
and the de rigueur skirt-flapping that
is used in the "Sparabic" style.
worked with a silk veil and sword. She
extended the traditional sword dance repertoire
and brandished her sword with martial
arty flair. Unfortunately her music was
Southern California, Congeniality
was a crowd favorite. A stunning Glamazon
with a rainbow veil, she wore a calypso-influenced
costume consisting of a red velvet jumpsuit
with rainbow flares and armband. She used
the "contraction and release" moves often
associated with African dance, did some
flirtatious floor work and also used a
fan as a prop. When she did some fast
pelvic locks the audience went berserk.
It was almost as though the stage was
too small for her, her energy was that
raw and powerful.
Tamia came out with a goldfish in a bowl
balanced on her head and a Catwoman mask
over her face. She was wearing a black
pleather bra with glitter on her abdomen
and pants with an unusual chiffon drape.
Black gloves with "kitty claws" and cat
foot covers added to the feline mystique.
She did a slow dramatic back bend and
used rock and roll music. She was sinuous
and feline and projected "catitude" with
tiny movements and poses.
So sorry the pictures we obtained are not turning out very well!
We will continue to show you what we have, but your
photos are welcome and appreciated, especially as we try
to fill out the categories below. Thanks!
BDOU 2005 Category Photos yet to come-
year's event has been upgraded!
16th Annual Belly Dancer of the Universe Competitions
and International Dance Festival
February 18 and 19, 2006,
Saturday and Sunday of President's Day Weekend
New Location- Long Beach Convention
and Entertainment Center
300 East Ocean Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90802,
Vendors both days- 2 shows - 11
Competitions- 16 Workshops
a comment? Send us
Check the "Letters to the Editor"
for other possible viewpoints!
The Egyptian Category 2005 of The Belly
Dancer of the Universe Competition, report by Amy
The Junior Division of the The Belly
Dancer of the Universe Competition photos by Lynette
Power Failure Halts Troupes &
Finals Categories, The Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition,
report by Amy Bonham, photos by GS staff
Fusion Category added
to Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition by Luna
"You know, we're really making history here..."
Belly Dancer of the Universe
Competition 2003 Photo Report by Lynette
Sponsored by Tonya & Atlantis and held in Long Beach, California.
Finalists are expected to be able to improvise spontanious choreography!
with Mahmoud Reda Part 3: Film & Future by Morocco
you know about photography, then it will help performing for the
movies or for television because usually the choreographer stands
beside the director of the movie.
How MECDA Began by Feiruz
(Middle Eastern Culture and Dance Association) is a nationwide
organization which began in 1977 for the purpose of organizing
working dancers, sharing information between teachers...