Based in Long Beach, CALIFORNIA
Regionals held in

June, Los Angeles, CA, SoCal
September, Las Vegas, Nevada 
November, San Francisco, CA, NoCal
Global Event in February in Anaheim
Presented by Tonya and Atlantis
and Produced by Bellydancer of the Universe®, ©2017

28th Bellydancer of the Universe® Competition
FEBRUARY 17 & 18, 2018
at the Business Expo Center
1960 So Anaheim Way, Anaheim, CA 92805

The 2004 Bellydancer of the UniverseŽ Competition

Views and Reviews of the 2004 BDUC


BDUC Reaches the Speed of Light

by Marta Schill

Einstein's theory was proven once again at the Bellydancer of the UniverseŽ Competition on February 15, 2004 in Long Beach, California. That's right - time IS relative, and Tonya and Atlantis magically condensed their two-day festival into one speed-of-light incredibly streamlined fourteen hours!

All important competition categories were still presented, and the superb instruction of Angelika Nemeth was warmly received by eager students in a sold-out morning class.

From the Junior to the Divine, every competition category had a full roster of entrants, with some even on waiting lists. Contestants came from the entire United States as well as other countries, and the level of performance quality was the highest ever, effectively illustrating the exciting evolution of Mid-Eastern Dance Arts in America.

The Competition began with performances by young women who represented the future of Bellydance. The Juniors showed skill and artistry well beyond their years - an inspiration to all. Champion, Viridiana; First Runner-up, Tiger Lily.

Another spectrum of talent was displayed in the Divine category. Beautiful women presented the huge horizon of excellence and ingenuity that only twenty years of experience can bestow. Champion, Arianna; First runner-up, Azar; Second, Jheri St. James and Najma (tied!). The Halame Congeniality Award, Avianna; and Peoples' Choice, Jheri St. James.

The most exciting and innovative event of the BDUC afternoon was the relatively new Fusion category. The audience delighted in performances influenced by Flamenco, Punk rock, bondage queens and ravers (to name a few!) - all loosely connected by the thread of Bellydance. Champion, Habib; First Runner-Up, Diosa; Second, Mayumi; Congeniality, Jenna; Peoples' Choice, Habib.

Magic Lamp Awards were given to Jeanie Cafferty, Beatriz Martinez and Anne Missbrenner. Publisher's Awards went to Jennifer James Long and Sharina. The coveted Lifetime Achievement Award was bestowed upon Anisa.

The evening gala opened with the Group category. It was a new pleasure for the audience to experience all the contenders; previously, only the Champions performed. This year, the Champions were: Midnight Mirage; First Runner-up, Troupe Ooh La La; Second, Devadasi; Congeniality and the Peoples' Choice went to IO, from Southern California.

One stunning highlight of the evening show was Atlantis - performing with a renewed grace, elegance and power. Each year, Atlantis shows us the true essence of the Bellydancer of the Universe qualities; this year she transcended all expectations.

The Egyptian final was a long anticipated moment: this category had so many excellent individuals from whom to choose, yet finally, the winners were: Champion, Ava Fleming; First Runner-up, Sa'diyya, Second, Zephyra, Third, Elisheva. Peoples' Choice and Congeniality awards went to Ava Fleming.

Veils and Incense and Essence of Veils gave a performance to remember. Their joy of dance was beautifully directed by their leader, Tonya Chianis, and the melding of experience and youthful energy created dynamics that left the audience wanting more.

The high point of this extraordinary day came with the finals for the Universal Category. The Legacy Ensemble - a band featuring Viken Najarian, Carlos Devecioglu and Andreas Tsianis, played for each dancer, challenging their ability to recognize, improvise, and successfully interpret music they had not heard before. The Champion was Jamileh from Utah! First Runner-up, Sa'diyya from Texas; Second, Jasmina from Southern California; Third, as well as Peoples' Choice was Habib from Arizona, with the Congeniality award going to Mimi. This year was an excellent example of the superior level of talent in Bellydance nationwide.

To paraphrase our old friend Einstein, "Try not to be a dancer of success - try instead to be a dancer of value." Each contestant at this 2004 BDUC proved definitely to be a dancer of value.

The Champions and the Peoples' Choice awardees will be invited to Tonya and Atlantis' Mega-Stars gala show in the Autumn - watch for it! Additionally, visit for news about the availability of the 2004 BDUC videos. This event will be bringing everyone together again on President's Day weekend in 2005!

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