Friday, July 29, 2011

Wiggles of the West 2011

What an awesome trip filled with blood, sweat and tears! :-)

Four of us left on Wednesday morning in our RV for 6 days of vending, teaching, competing and having fun.  For Rebecca and Rachel this was there first time to Wiggles, Debbie had been before but this was her first year to compete.  I've been lots of times actually competing in the very first Wiggles of the West in Sparks, Nevada just outside Reno.  This was the 15th and last Wiggles of the West so I needed to compete one last time.

Thank goodness our trip there and back was uneventful.  The last 3 years when John and I went the RV would always blow a tire; not this year!!!!  You have no idea how happy I am that the RV didn't break down; no idea :0)

It took us about 6 hours to get to Vegas stopping along the way to eat, gas up the RV and such.  It was really nice not having to go through Laughlin, the bridge was open over the dam and it was so much faster going this way.  Since 9/11 large vehicles could not cross over the dam and had to go through Bullhead City and Laughlin to get to Las Vegas and added an hour onto our travel; not any more; yeah!

We arrived at Sam's Town where Wiggles was held and the girls were off with their luggage to go check into the hotel.  I stayed in the RV at Sam's Town RV park and was so proud of myself for getting everything hooked up since I've never taken the RV out on my own.  My hubby and puppies stayed home this trip; I sure missed them. 

We all met for dinner that night at one of the restaurants at Sam's Town and then off to Wal-Mart to purchase food for our stay.  So much cheaper than eating out all the time.

Thursday morning it was time to work!  Gail brought her truck over so I could load up all the inventory I brought with and we drove over to the parking garage to unload and start setting up for 4 days of vending.  We had to wait until after the workshops started at 8:30 before we could go in and start setting up.  I had so many wonderful helpers this year!  Debbie, Esther Alice, Gail, Kelley, Rachel and Rebecca were there to help with set up, sales and tear down; thanks ladies!!!! 

We were set up and organized in no time and I was off to teach a cane workshop that afternoon.  I had 6 cane students twirling not one but two canes.  We had a blast with not too many injuries :-)  A few canes went flying and a few legs and arms were smacked with canes and just a little blood was shed!  I taught moves, group moves, hitting canes, twirling and a choreographed routine.  I forgot my camera so I didn't get a photo of everyone :-(

After my workshop it was back to the booth for finishing touches and selling.  Thursdays are usually our best days of sales and this year was no different.  Thursday night there is a meet and greet or hafla and this years show theme was Old Vegas.  It's a dinner buffet and this year the event was packed!  What a great show and it was so nice to see Gaylene perform I've never seen her dance before.  The Old Vegas theme was perfect!  The music was wonderful, a great combination of the old classic belly dance music and songs that you would have heard performed in Las Vegas from Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, etc.  Great show ladies!!!

Friday morning we started at 8 a.m. and I taught a fan veil workshop from 8:30 to 10:30.  This time I remembered the camera and took a couple of photos of the class in action and a group shot.  Another fun class; thanks ladies you were awesome.

I was competing in the Headliner category that started at 2 p.m. that day so around noon Gail and I went upstairs to get ready.  Rachel thank you so much for doing my hair and makeup you rock!  A huge thanks to Kelley and Esther Alice for holding down the booth Friday!  Gail and I both competed in Headliner and wasn't at the booth much on Friday.

Both Gail and I were towards the end of the category and there were 6 of us from Arizona competing in this group; 18 competitors in all.  I was very relaxed for some strange reason and once I started onto the stage with the wrong foot it didn't get to me.  One judge, Tanya Popovitch, was really getting into my music with a huge smile on her face and dancing in her seat she made me feel relaxed and I went for it!  The veil got hung up in my flowers once other than that it was smooth sailing.  I wasn't going to do the drum solo I picked since it was 2 minutes long but I'm so glad I did a perfect ending to my routine.  The roar of the crowd when I exited the stage was deafening and what a feeling that gives you that the audience loved your performance.

After the Headliner was the Alternative Ensemble.  A new category this year; dancing to non-belly dance music and creating a theme.  Just before the competition began there was a mob flash!  Zaina Hart set this up via email and YouTube.  What a blast!!!  The song was Foot Loose and several dancers in the mob changed into period costumes from the decade.  I was still in my costume since I didn't have a chance to change yet; great fun.

Lucci never winning.  I've taken 2nd & 3rd so many times.  Janie and Chris started to name 3rd place and it wasn't me and I went okay, than they said 2nd place and it wasn't me and I thought oh well I didn't place this year but I had a great time and gave it my best shot.  I haven't competed in years and there were so many great dancers in this category several of them having won titles in other competitions I was happy with what I did.  Than Janie said she wanted to pause for a moment before reading the winners name and I was in shock, could I have finally done it?????  Then she said my name and I just stood there and screamed I couldn't believe it!  The entire corner by my Shimmy Bliss booth exploded with screaming and jumping and hugging I couldn't get to the front to get my trophy.  We had our own seating and cheering section in from of my booth; needless to say the AZ group was very loud and rowdy.  Thank you Kristen for pulling me out of the mob and pushing me up front.  Chris thought I had fainted on the floor since they couldn't see me within the mob of people.  I was crying my eyes out, I'm still in shock even after being home for 4 days.  Gail called John my hubby so he could experience the tears and joy; love her!  I tell you if it hadn't been for Gail's beautiful costume she made me at the last minute and Rachel doing my hair and make up I don't think I would have won.  The criteria is not just your dance but hair, make up and costuming play a big part in your scores and that's were I was always lacking.  Thanks ladies!!!

After the evening festivities we all went to TGIF for dinner and we were going to go see Harry Potter but dinner took so long we decided to call it a night.  I went back to the RV worked a little bit on running charge cards from the days sales, talked with John several times and tried to unwind but still so excited from the day I couldn't.  I think I got around 3 hours of sleep before I had to get up and start the day at 8 a.m.

Saturday was going to be a long day with vending during the workshops in the morning and the Ensemble and Entertainer categories starting at 2 p.m.   There were 17 Arizonians that entered several of the categories this year a great showing for AZ.  In the Entertainer group there were 6 with Ekaja last years winner of Rising Star taking 2nd Place!!!  Ekaja (aka Erin) has been dancing for only 2 years under the direction of Rajani both residing in Safford, AZ.  Ekaja was fantastic that day, she looked marvelous in her costume and danced sublime.  Congrats Erin!!  I think we finished up around 9 p.m. and I kicked everyone out of the booth and I closed up shop and headed back to the RV.  I think I got 4 hours of sleep that night!

Sunday was the last day of Wiggles.  We started at 8 a.m. with a breakfast buffet and show something new this year.  The show was great and the breakfast was pretty good.  After the show was a new category, Critique.  There were 4 dancers that performed for the judges feedback; there were no prizes since it wasn't a competition.  Great idea.  The competition started at 11 a.m. with Rising Star and than the Alternative Wiggles category.  I entered the Alternative category and was the very last dancer.  Not only the last dancer in this group but the very last dancer ever to perform at Wiggles of the West; no pressure at all :0)

In my mine I wasn't competing in this category I was performing in a show doing a veil piece that I love dancing to.  The original song is by Metallica, "Nothing Else Matters".  It is performed by Apocalyptica a 4 piece cello group from Norway.  The first time I heard this song it gave me goose bumps; thanks Kim for turning me on to this group!  Again I wasn't really nervous since I told myself it's a show go out there and entertain the crowd.  I must have done well since there were tears flowing it's such a moving piece.  I was really shocked when Janie read my name for 3rd place!!! There were 23 entries in this group and so many fantastic performances a very difficult category to judge every performance is so different.   Belly dancing needs to be 50% of your performance with something else fused in and dancing to non belly dance music.

After the awards we packed up the booth in no time; love my helpers!!!!  Gail drove me over to the RV and we loaded it up and it was off to the buffet for dinner and a movie; finally.  Since Harry Potter wasn't playing at Sam's Town Cinema we went and saw Captain America; it was better than what I thought it was going to be.

Sunday it was unplug everything on the RV and go pick up my RV mates.  We hit the road around 9 a.m. and it was smooth sailing home.  I'm very happy with my RV at the moment it was a very good vehicle this trip!

Below are photos from the trip; what a trip it was!!!!

A quick shot before we hit the road

Rachel and I at Love's Truck Stop outside of Kingman

Rachel taking high score at Love's

Wednesday night dinner with Rachel, Kyla and me

Shimmy Bliss booth!  Have no idea how we get so much in a small space

Fan veil class in action

Fan veil class; what a great pose

Me in costume after competing

Gail (Rukshana) in costume after competing

Gail and I

Me after winning Headliner with my trophy and tiara

Dinner Friday night at TGIF

Rachel and Kyla

Kyla and I messing around

Kyle modeling Kyla's wears

Kyle and Kyla

Kristen and John

My straight hair for Alternative category

Janie, me and Chris

Thank you Janie and Chris for 15 years of great memories and wonderful friendship!  Wiggles will be missed but I'm sure you will be doing something special in the future :-)

Below is my winning Headliner performance.
video

Here is my 3rd place Alternative performance