HERNANDEZ, 02/17/02: "The Bellydancer of the UniverseŽ Competition (BDUC)
was held on February 16-17, 2002 at the Grand Willow Center in Long Beach, California.
As the husband of one of the contestants, I had an opportunity to be both a member
of the audience and someone with a 'backstage' perspective. Here are some of my
thoughts regarding the event:
First and foremost, I found Tonya and Atlantis
to be enthusiastic, kind, supportive, active, professional, and friendly. If you
have ever tried to run a major event, you know how difficult it is to find that
kind of balance while trying to give everyone your attention and smiling (sincerely)
all the way.
They seemed to know what was going on in every part of the event,
all at once. They were attentive and caring, while maintaining control as they
guided the weekend to a tremendous success.
Having attended belly dance events
and showcases previously, I still found myself unprepared for the amazing amount
of talent that contestants and guest dancers shared as they performed over the
It went far beyond competition between peers - this was truly the
outward expression of inner power and beauty. This was creativity, style and technique
taken to the highest levels. Each dancer was sharing a deep, personal part of
themselves, while at the same time willing to be judged by a panel of the industry's
That is the give that each dancer gave to those who watched
them - they gave themselves, wholeheartedly. To each other, they gave support
If you did not attend this year's event, I encourage you
to make it a priority in 2003. You may find it to be an uplifting and life-changing
event. I did."