by Lisa Castaneda
I was blessed with the opportunity to attend the Austin Belly Dance Convention this past Summer thanks to Lorrie Pierce and TCBBA. I didn’t know what to expect as this was my first time attending an event like this, but I can say now, that it won’t be my last. It was an amazing experience.
First, let me tell you a little bit about my belly dancing background – 0 experience, nada, nothing, other than the Zumba belly dancing routines that I had taught to my students. But, if you’ve ever taken a Zumba class, and are an experienced belly dancer, you know it’s completely different as I later found out.
I met Rachel Morris who invited me to TCBBA’s membership enrollment/workshop in January. I accepted her invitation and joined. That day was my first real experience with any kind of belly dancing.
I decided to apply for a scholarship and was awarded a portion. I was so excited. Rachel invited me to travel with her and split room costs. I gladly accepted. The only thing left to figure out was how to best use the scholarship funds and register for the workshops that would benefit me as a beginner. I decided to go big and purchase the entire package which included 7 workshops and the evening shows. This was the most expensive option, but I wanted to take it all in and experience as much as I could.
Day one of the convention registration started at 12:00 p.m. and my first class was scheduled for 1:30 p.m. I registered and once again looked over my schedule to ensure I had the correct wrist bracelets that matched each of the workshops I had signed up for. My workshops for the entire weekend included:
1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. – Dalida: Drum Solo
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. – Edenia Archuleta: Body Waves
9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. – Sara – Gooey Goodness
12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Georgia Michelle – Ultimate Breakdown
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. – Stacey Lizette – Arm Work
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Georgia Michelle – Belly Samba Fusion
12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. – Karma Karmelita – Alien Belly
So, as I said, hardly any rest time. But I was excited about my first class. I had time to kill, so what was the next best thing to do? Go shopping!
I fell in love with the merchandise offered by the vendors. My favorite table was a vendor who sold costumes that she had purchased in Egypt: Beautiful beaded bras, skirts, hip wraps, and dresses in beautiful vibrant colors and textures. (Pictures attached) These costumes were $500 plus. Most of the bras and matching skirts looked to be extra small to small. I did purchase a hip wrap from her though. She had so many pretty things.
I ended up purchasing hip wrap a few T-shirts and finally purchased a complete outfit from another vendor: black pants, off the shoulder top with coins sewed into the entire top/bottom hems, and an overskirt wrap. Word to the wise, ABDC can get very expensive. But it was my first time and temptation got the best of me.
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