USA Belly Dance Queen 2010
Review by Carrie Konyha ©
Sept 18th 2010 commemorated the first ever “USA Belly Dance Queen” competition. This competition held at Wild Horse Pass Casino in Phoenix AZ, produced by the Arab American Association & rooted in a UNIQUE concept that is the first of its kind in USA.
As stated from the website, www.usabellydance.com “The Arab American Association is proud to bring such an amazing event to the USA. The art of belly dancing is a part of the tradition and culture of the Middle East & the Arab World. The USA Belly Dance Queen™ Competition is meant to honor that culture and educate the USA on its importance. We recruited some of the best Arab judges for the event as the goal of our competition is to establish standards for judging professional belly dancing techniques”.
Top dancers from all over the county showed up to compete. Among the competitors was a Turkish American, a Lebanese American, dancers whose Moms were pro dancers so they grew up with it & even a Russian Ballerina who was trained in mid-eastern dance in Cairo Egypt. As a contestant myself, I can say from experience that this competition was especially unique & challenging in that is the ONLY officially certified NATIONAL competition produced & by Arab Americans, Judged exclusively by Arab dance experts of Middle Eastern ethnicity (many of which were actually flown in from the Middle East to judge the competition) including special guest expert judge, the first lady of bellydance herself, Helena Vlahos.
To ad the challenge even more, the focus of the competition was exclusively on traditional/classical middle-eastern dance (no fusion styles allowed). Contestants were given strict guidelines to adhere to regarding music, dance style & costume selection. Each contestant was required to state the style of music they were performing to & were expected to dance & dress appropriately for that style. Inability to appropriately portray your said dance style was grounds for disqualification.
As if these challenges were not enough, another unique quality of this competition was that all first round finalists were required to then perform additional solos that were completely improvised in the moment based on music selected on the spot!! For the first improvisational round, each dancer had to choose (in front of judges) an unlabeled CD with one song on it & perform to it on the spot without even hearing it first. Then, Finalists of that round had to do the same thing again but this time with all 3 finalists dancing on stage at once with unknown music selected in the moment by the judges.
There were many Amazing dancers competing & the competition all and all was a huge challenge so anyone who ‘placed’ in this competition of such high status should be very proud. In my opinion, to be considered among the best classical/traditional style mid-east dancers in the USA according the Arab American Association is a HUGE Honor.
Congratulations to the 2010 USA Belly Dance Queen competition winners;
Intermediate Category: Champion: Lara Grewe, 1st runnerup: Elisa Armetta , 2nd runnerup: Venusahara,
Pro Soloist: Champion: Makara, 1st runnerup: Carrie Konyha, 2nd runnerup: Inna Kuznetsova