Friday, June 19, 2009

Cairo Caravan 2009

Cairo Caravan -- formerly known as Cairo Carnival -- made its debut at the Queen Mary in Long Beach this weekend after spending the past few years at the Santa Anita Racetrack (and before that at the Glendale Civic Auditorium, and before that at Rio Hondo College in Whittier... which to me is still the best venue ever). It's the biggest and best-known local belly dance festival, and this is the first time in years I've missed it. Having a newborn at home took precedence, though (BTW, Chloe turns 1 month old today! Yay!)

Anyway, I was disappointed to miss the event, but I received this great photo from my friend, the fabulous dancer Marlena Shaw, who performed a duet with Taji, another fabulous dancer, on Sunday just before 1 p.m. on the Luxor stage.

I asked her to share her thoughts on the new venue:

Well, the positive comments I have is that because it was on three levels, you weren't so tired at the end of the day from walking. However, it seemed like the vendors on the top floor got the most business. The bottom floor did great too - possibly because these floors had a stage. The middle floor didn't have a stage and it seemed not too many people were walking about that level. The stages were nice, the MCs were great. The dancing was great, good variety of styles.

The price to get in for non-members was too high. I think it was $18 as opposed to $5 for MECDA members. The food was bad, really bad. Sandwiches and salads. The dressing rooms were okay except the carpet was so gross your feet stuck to the floor - ugh! We just kept our sandals on until just before our time to dance. Also, the escalators were down and people who had any physical limitations were have difficulty.

I guess on a scale of 1 to 10, I would give it a 6 or 7.

I've heard from a couple of other people who attended that they thought the price was a bit high, too, considering people had to pony up something like $8 to park in addition to the entry fee. But everyone said they were impressed with the stages and general set-up. All in all, it sounds like it was mostly a success for its first time in the new location -- with maybe some room for improvement if MECDA decides to stay there next year.

And I'll be there next year no matter what. (Maybe Chloe will even be able to shimmy by then!)

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