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On Sunday, 11 November 2018 in HCMC, the 5th Vietnam Belly Dance Festival ended with the last activities of its 4 day program organized by Saigon Dance Center. Its Competition on the same day’s morning on the stage of District 10’s Children House was the most expected event of all with many competition categories and many prizes that have been awarded. The 5th festival has ended in with a lot of joy not only for the winners but also for all participants, judges, organizers and other competing dancers because of the values they have received from this event. That is the event’s greatest success and is also its most important meaning that the organizers wanted to share with all those who are already interested in belly dancing and those who will be interested in that as well.

The most’s

In comparison to the previous festivals’ competitions, this year’s competition had the most candidates.

It had the biggest number of contestant performances (more than 60 performances)

It had the most contest categories, consisting of Junior, Senior, Amateur and Professional, including Solo and Group competitions in each of those categories. In addition to that, only the Professional was divided into 3 smaller categories that were Folk, Classical Oriental and Contemporary.

It had the most prizes to be awarded with almost 40 prizes.

This event also had the biggest number of foreign participants, and the most nationalities including Brazil, Egypt, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines and Ukraine.

The successes

Those above “the most’s” are to prove that more people are aware of and fond of belly dancing, that is also the first goal which this festival has achieved. The audience crowd was mostly families and friends of the contestants, judges and other participants gathering in the competition, including those who watched belly dancing performances for the first time. One of Saigon Dance’s students of classes other than belly dance, after watching those competing performances, has said that “I have heard about belly dancing in Saigon Dance, but could not imagine that belly dancing performed on stage in reality could be this beautifully amazing!” Another audience has had a comment on facebook that “Watching these passionate dancers performing on stage is really making me want to dance like that too, full of passion and enthusiasm!” Indeed, although they are from different countries, they speak the same language of passion for belly dancing.

In addition to cash prize, certificates and shopping vouchers, a few winners of championship were awarded with full workshops provided by this event sponsors who are trusted organizers of other events in Vietnam and nearby countries such as Phi Yen from Ha Noi, Maggie Jerome from Hongkong, Alisa Tu and Wendy Chiu from Taiwan and Jeehyun Kee in Thailand.

“All are the winners”. This is the significant meaning that Vietnam Belly Dance Festival has always wanted to convey. In addition to their proud to have their abilities acknowledged, all participants won either any prize or none, have always achieved something in return. That is the pride of showcasing their passion. That is the joy to have competing with others. That is the proud of representing a larger organization in this competition. That is the fun of learning new skills and performing styles, and the fun of meeting new people of the same interest and making new friends.

The shortcoming 

There were some unexpected incidents where the Competition time needed to be changed due to the stage provider’s fault, resulting in shortened time for preparation. Nevertheless, that could not bother those enthusiastic participants and contestants. After the event, the organizers have received a lot of great appreciation from the audience and other event organizers from within Vietnam as well as other countries. Moreover, many dancers have expressed their urge to want to participate in upcoming belly dancing festivals of Saigon Dance.

Four days of the 5th Vietnam Belly Dance Festival has ended, but the joy it has brought to all the people participating is still lingering and is still ‘contagious’ to others in many days coming after. People are still posting and sharing clips, pictures, comments about the show, the participants, the competitions, the prizes and even about the after event’s hangouts, gatherings of their new friends who just met during the festivals. “Joy creates more joy” is what art in life truly is, and that is also the meaning of Vietnam Belly Dance Festival is to the public in general.  Vietnam Belly Dance Festival looks forward to welcoming them all again in the future.

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