Monday, July 28, 2008

Amateur Competition in Costa Mesa

Dance showcases have been sprouting up across the area, and now Orange County has it's own competition, too. The Amateur Dance Competition will be held at Orchid Persian Cuisine restaurant in Costa Mesa on July 31. In addition to dancers competing in two categories, the event will feature dance lessons by event founder Farah and Perizad; performances by Farah, Perizad and Shya; live music from Turkish drummer Gorkem Somer; music by DJ Mike Soltani; henna artists; and a hookah lounge on the restaurant's patio.

Farah also was kind enough to answer some questions about the competition.

What was the inspiration behind this event?
I was eating the delicious food at Orchid Persian Cuisine, and I was inspired by the stage. There are few restaurants that actually have a stage. I sat there thinking to myself: Wow, this place is beautiful -- especially since they redecorated and have a full bar. Why don't we plan a belly dance event that will inspire new dancers to perform?

Who is helping you organize it?
I chose Perizad because I went to her [O.C. Bellydance Connection] meetup at Sophia's restaurant in Placentia and thought it was really fun. She is so sweet and I love to watch her dance. I would especially like to see her perform on a beautiful stage.

What are the categories for the competition and who are the judges?
Level 1 will be entered by dancers who have been practicing or taking lessons less than six months. The dancers will be judged by the audience, who will have ballots that will be counted by me before awarding the prize. The DJ will pick the music and the contestants will each dance one song. The prize for this level is a beautiful hip scarf and matching top, plus one month of unlimited exotic dance lessons -- including Hoop, Belly and Pole at Fit For You Studio, next to Orchid. This prize is valued at $265. This level will be won by the boldest diva who is not afraid to risk everything in order to have a good time.

Level 2 gets more serious. It is open to participants who have belly danced anywhere from 7 months to 5 years. No instructors please! We need to keep this amateur. All choreography must be original. You can bring your own song if you want. Every dancer will dance one song. The prize includes a month of unlimited exotic dance lessons (pole, hoop and belly dance) at Fit For You Studio, plus a cash prize of $100. The total value of this prize is valued at $335. The contestants will be judged by professional performers: me, Perizad and Shya.

1.Costume 5 pts
2. Appearance, hair makeup, etc. 5 pts
3. Stage presence (examples: facial expression, posture, eye contact, attitude, interaction with audience) 10 pts
4. Props (cymbals, cane or veil) 5pt.
5. Use of space 10 pts
6.Rhythm (ability to follow music and make transitions gracefully) 10pts
7. Arms and hand position 5pts
Total 50 pts

Do you have plans to make this an annual event?
My plan is to make it a monthly event where students can come and compete. The goal is to keep the students practicing and give them a place to perform that is beautiful and with a full stage so they can really show off their talent.

What's your dance background?
I have 23 years experience performing. I consider Angelika to be my major influence. I have danced everywhere from here to Istanbul. My style is Turkish/Egyptian.

Where can people go for more information?

Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Some people are complaining about the price, well they should realize that great quality DJs cost $600. I hired the best. I am also paying professional dancers and a live drummer. I am offering prize money and all-you-can-eat buffet, plus henna artists and hooka lounge. Trust me, I am not making a penny. In fact, I may have to cancel the event if I don’t get a few more people to come. I really thought everyone would be more excited about this event.

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