Sunday, March 8, 2009


This year is already flying by, and the past month in particular, my calendar has been loaded with amazing dance events.

In addition to my up-coming dates in Scotland and England starting this week, (March 13-22, 2009—please check for dates, workshop and show info) I recently performed at Gothla USA and I taught, performed and judged competitions at The Belly Dancer of The Universe. I always love that event; it was one of the first events I ever attended as a “baby belly dancer”. Tonya and Atlantis always deliver- and this year were no exception. Judging the categories was VERY difficult, because there were so many amazing dancers from all over the globe- Russia, Korea, The Czech Republic, Puerto Rico, and all across the mainland US. The bar has really been raised- some of the contestants were so breathtaking that we judges were just stunned.

It was particularly tough to judge the kids! In “Little” category (the age five-to-twelve competition) not only were the small fry uniformly great technicians and performers, how the hell do you judge a category where some of the participants have had dance training longer than others have been alive? It was mind-blowing.

Exactly a week ago, I participated in Cheeky Girls Productions “By Dancers For Dancers” live show and DVD shoot. The weekend was intense- Cheeky Gal In Chief Michelle Joyce is not only a terrific dancer who teaches and performs world-wide (and a helluva gal off-stage) she is a visionary entrepreneur, event producer and DVD producer, with an extensive line of high-quality instructional and performance DVD’s. Her concept is full on DIY- tired of waiting to “be discovered” she took matters into her own hands and began both the “By Dancers For Dancers” performance series, as well as the line of instructional discs from the ground up.

Michelle attended to every minute detail of the entire weekend without once losing her cool. In fact, most of the time she was laughing and smiling-cool as a cucumber, that one. Last weekend she reserved Saturday for shooting the instructional DVD’s “Combination Nation Vol. 1 & 2” which will be out respectively in summer and fall of 2009. Sunday, we did a show at the Live Oak Theater in Berkeley, which will be released as “By Dancers For Dancers Vol. 4 ” probably later this spring.

The talent involved in both of the shoots was beyond impressive: world class dancers came from all over America to participate, including Aradia from Las Vegas, Lotus Niraja from Baltimore, Oreet from New York, Shoshanna from NoCal, Kristina Canizares, Sandra, Adriana, Nana and Zari from the Bay Area, and Bahaia from Texas, with make-up artist extraordinaire Jacknife Ruby in tow…. I know I’m forgetting some dancers, sorry!

It was exciting watching everyone teach and perform, all the gals’ individual styles are so diverse, and everyone is so talented…not to mention the fact that in spite of a super-intense schedule (and jet-lag for some of the East Coasters) everyone looked peachy keen and gorgeous. Onstage, Michelle was a vision in a hot Turkish costume of olive green and burgundy--which she'd better leave to me in her will if she wants to get to heaven; Lotus Niraja’s honey-kissed skin was complimented by a soignée pink Pucci print bedlah (made by her mom!) and thanks to Jacknife Ruby, Aradia looked like a belly dancing 1940’s era Veronica Lake, with a huge cluster of Daffodils in her hair. Photographer extraordinaire Michael Baxter was on hand to snap live pix, and the performances included raqs sharqi, Lebanese, Turkish and Egyptian style; Zafira’s sassy balady, sizzling drum solos, and Las Vegas –based blonde bombshell Tonya’s incredible fan dance.

There wasn’t much downtime, but since the hotel room shared by Bahaia, Jacknife Ruby and myself was functioning as the beauty parlor, I got to socialize from the comfort of my bed while dancers got their hair and make-up done! And, we discovered the best restaurant sign ever- “King Dong”…too bad it wasn’t open, that was a HUGE, so to speak, disappointment!

For more info on Michelle, By Dancers For Dancers, and the entire line of DVD’s, make sure to visit
Pix: Combination Nation DVD, Michelle "Champagne" Joyce, KING DONG! Bahaia and me backstage, "plearning"!

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