Last weekend I had the incredible pleasure of attending the East Coast Classic belly dance convention in Hampton, VA. Despite crazy weather that alternated between heavy snow and torrential rain, the convention was an absolute blast and went off smoothly thanks to the amazing organizers. I attended fabulous workshops by Karolina Lux and Katayoun, enjoyed wonderful performances by a variety of incredibly talented dancers, and threw my hat in the ring as a competitor in the Semi Pro Cabaret category.
My decision to enter the competition was not an easy one. I am not a competitive person, nor am I a seeker of fame. As a performer, my primary goal is to inspire emotion in my audience and as long as I can keep my audience engaged, I am content. That said, I felt that preparing for and entering the competition would be a good practice in self-improvement as I continue to rebuild after time away from dance; I also looked forward to constructive critique from the judges since my teacher recently moved out of the area and I have been studying on my own.
The other ladies in my category danced beautifully, and it felt wonderful to be back stage surrounded by so many wonderful artists. The experience of preparing for the event and then communing with so many like-minded people was worth the trip alone.
And then they announced the winners and I found myself accepting a tiara and sash as the 1st place winner of the Semi Professional Cabaret category.
I am so immensely appreciative of the judges for this acknowledgement of the research, practice and emotion that I put into those short four minutes that I was on the stage. I am thankful for every kind word and every constructive criticism offered, because these things give me motivation to push harder and grow stronger in the dance.
I don’t know if I’ll ever enter another competition, but I certainly look forward to returning to ECC next year for even more workshops and FUN!