Hey there my Beloved Beauties,
Previously, in Chapter Five of My Journey…
I couldn’t replicate myself so I created a VHS of the workout for my students. I saw the marketing potential and hired a PR company to promote SharQui on TV and publications. I was super busy. Although I felt like a celeb, I felt lonely too. Wasn’t feeling the love from my bellydance community and some thought I was making bellydance inauthentic. I wanted to earn credibility in the bellydance scene.
If you missed Chapter One of My Journey read it HERE, Chapter Two is HERE. Chapter Three is HERE. Chapter Four is HERE. Chapter Five is HERE.
Here is Chapter Six…
GO BIG OR GO HOME
When I got wind of what a few bellydance peeps felt about me, it made me sad and second guess myself. Who knows, it may have been fake gossip or even my own insecurity. Either way, it was hard not to get caught up in other people’s opinions – especially when you’re alone in this whole entrepreneur thing.
I felt determined to succeed; determined to prove all the naysayers wrong. And more than anything, I was determined to prove to myself that I could really do it – which is to be credible in both worlds. So, I thought… what better way to show my bellydance cred than winning a bellydance competition!
Now at that time there were very few competitions (not like today) – some big, some small, and all on the west coast. But if I was REALLY gonna do this, I needed to go for the gold, baby! So, in 2004, I decided to enter the biggest and the most prestigious competition in California at the time. Bellydancer of the Year!
I began my prep! I bought VHS tapes of past competitions (yep, I invested time and money on this) and studied past contestants. I assessed what worked and what didn’t, the qualities the winner had that set her apart, and what I can do to stand out even more. West coast contestants had a certain style that was different from mine. My east coast style was more athletic, and I wondered if the judges would even like me. Well, they’d either love me or hate me, and the only way to know IS GO.
It was finally the day of the competition and there were 20 competitors. The first round happened and I made it to the finals! Yes! But I couldn’t help but feel deja vu coming upon me (remember Stomp?). I brushed it off and waited for my turn to perform again that evening.
It was time. I did my thing and waited for the award ceremony and…
I didn’t even place.
One judge left a comment on my score sheet that I’ll always remember… she stated, “Your drum solo was so frantic that it reminded me of Haitian Voodoo.”
It absolutely crushed me! I mean she could’ve stopped at frantic. Why the friggin’ voodoo part?! God damn, gimme something constructive at least.
I was crushed yet again. Ugh.
I went to a wine bar that night and got blitzed. My hubby asked, “Ya think you’ll try again?” And I said, “F*ck yeah. I’m pissed!”
Stay tuned for the next chapter of my journey coming tomorrow… including more bellydance competitions and one piece of advice that changed my dancing forever.