Friday, June 27, 2008

The East Coast Competition experience

This blog is about my first experience entering a bellydance competition and winning...

At the beginning of the new year, I finally made the conscious decision of competing. I decided to join the East Coast Classics competition because it was the closest one to New York City. After sending my registration form I knew that the thought was finally reality, I was really going to compete and not just think about it anymore.

Well, I did second guess the idea... a lot.

I waited literally the last 3 days before the competition to buy traveling tickets. And because of this I was stuck buying bus tickets. The rates to take a plane were off the wall and a even a train ride was out of the question.

The road trip was brutal. Me and Sahazha left Friday night to take an overnight bus ride to Virginia. Sleeping in a bus is truly ridiculous but there we were. Cramped up in our seats, with soar necks and chairs that barely lean back. I'm not even sure how we managed but we did. Since we were both small we fit in our chairs very well, I was able to curl up my legs on the seat and sleep like a ball. Still it was the most uncomfortable experience I could have imagined.

We talked a lot throughout and tried our best to sleep every so often. By the time we woke up we looked completely discombobulated. It was 6:30am in the morning. We were beyond loped sided, we as if someone beat us up and left us totally out of it. Since we had time to kill (the doors at the competition tacitly weren't to open until 9am) we decided to dine at a local restaurant. We found a cab at the bus driver who drove us to a local diner so we could have some breakfast.

The diner was a little place located new a few churches about 4 blocks from the place we were to be at 9am. Me & Sahazha could get over how many churches were in Virginia, I mean the temples were literally next door to each other. We had a couple of laughs over eggs, bacon, toast and ham about our morning trip. We had fun watching the local Virginia people around us talk and move about. Their natural was very calm and collective, they never seemed rushed or overwhelmed. It felt like we were living a cartoon episode of "King of the Hill". Sahazha and I totally stood out as two foreign city girls. It was so weird Virginia isn't that from from New York, yet the vibe is so extremely different.

Oh and this is two pictures of Sahazha sitting around waiting for a cab and holding a can a maze. There were two strange men trying to follow us that day but that's a whole other story.
Anyhow, we left the diner around 8:30am and got to the place we were heading by 8:45am. We were officially the earliest competitors to arrive. I looked as if I rolled out of bed and so naturally I wanted to do my hair and makeup asap. LOL
I got comfortable (as best as I could) in the dressing room, put a bit of makeup on, fluffed my hair and introduced my self to all the dancers I came across. Me and Sahazha killed a hour or two looking at costumes the vendors were selling before the competitions actually started.

The competitions started two hours later. I sat with Sahazha in the middle of the auditorium and watched the first category of dancers. This first line up was the Rising Star division (beginner dancers with experience)
We really enjoyed watching rising stars shake their stuff here are a few of my personal favorite:
To be honest, I enjoyed everyone who performed. The one who caught my eye the most was Claire from California. She was absolutely adorable and beyond talented. She seriously rocked the house!

Next came the Troupe competition. There was really interesting line up of dance groups, everything from the strange to the exotic to the glamours and beyond.

There was an hour break after the Troupe competition. I went to get ready backstage and go over my dance routine in my head. Here's me putting on makeup... well pretending to for the camera...LOL
Anyhow, when the time came to line up to go on, I was more than ready. I was excited and not all nervous. I kept convincing myself this was just like any other gig and so my prime focus was to have fun and entertain. The last thing I wanted was to feel nervous because that does nothing but distract you from your main focus.

I was the third dancer to go on. I watched the other two dancers before me perform from back stage. Seeing them dance out there on the stage dancing with the lights, and the crowd of people make me really excited. I had so much energy I couldn't help but dance around, I couldn't wait to go on.
Then my turn came. My music went on I took a breathe and became "Elektra on Stage". Seeing all faces within the crowd, lights beaming on me and cameras everywhere made my adrenaline rush. I felt like a kid in candy land, oh yeah I had fun dancing.

I caught a glimpse of the judges staring at me from all the way in the back, they had concentrated looks on their faces as if they were studying a math problem. Automatically my intuition kicked into full gear and I said to myself, oh no I'm going to make they smile at me;) And for the next few moments I projected my energy far across the room looked directly at them and smiled and what do you know... they smiled back (;-D) That's when I knew... Hmm they like me!

When my song ended I still felt fully charged with excitment. I watched the other competitors from behind stage and chatted with the dancers around me.

Later when it was time for the award ceremony, I was then really nervous. Sahazha was convinced I won but I didn't take her word for it because many other dancers were great.

And when they annouced the Headliner of the year award and called my name, I totally lost it. My face turned red as tomato, I was so embaressed. I didn't even know how to accept the award. I still can't get over it whenever I think about it because OMG I won. WOW!

This blog can go on and on and on and on, but I had to shorten it because I think I can write a book about the competition day. This was a shorten version of a very long blog...LOL