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Bellydance Superstars
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There are now few in the world of Bellydance who have not been affected by the advent of the Bellydance Superstars and the first concerted effort to take this ancient art form into the mainstream of international entertainment up there along with ballet and shows like Riverdance. It has been a rocky road in many respects and many disbelievers had to be converted both in the established world of bellydance as well as the mainstream dance arts. By 2009 the BDSS, had performed concerts in 20 countries to well over a million people in over 600 shows including the biggest shows ever in the history of bellydance anywhere. Meanwhile when not touring BDSS stars have taught workshops in the four corners of the globe adding many more countries to the BDSS list.

In 2009, PBS (American public television) TV stations began airing the “Live in Paris” show filmed several years ago at the famed Folies Bergere and stations are currently setting airdates for the rest of the year which we are informed will include at least 50% of all U.S. PBS stations. Meanwhile the Documentary Channel began regularly airing the first documentary, “American Bellydancer” on their network and Direct TV Latin scored high viewership with both shows in January throughout Latin America.

This rocky road had so many unlikely turns it is sometimes baffling to believe the troupe and show has come so far. Performing to huge audiences there to see rock and roll bands at the 2003 Lollapalooza tour, then in small rock clubs where glass had to be dug out of the stage carpet to keep the dancers from carving up their feet but the audience were there to see bellydance - to now perform in symphony halls, opera houses, performing arts centres, major Casinos and the like to audiences clamouring for autographs is almost mind blowing. Throughout the process the dancers honed their art and the production grew and grew with success to deliver the best we can to continue to see the appreciation for bellydance grow worldwide.

2009 launched with an entirely new show titled the “Art of Bellydance” which received acclaim across the US during Feb-March. In May this year the BDSS performed the first shows in Japan selling out 4 of the 5 shows to an attendance exceeding 8,000 people. We took the opportunity to film the first Japanese show which was a special “Babelesque” performance especially put on to film for DVD and TV release later this year. The last half of the year will add Peru and China concerts to the list as well as a third tour of Taiwan, and a second tour of Morocco taking in Marrakesh, Casablanca and Rabat.

The BDSS organization continues to build relationships within the bellydance community itself through such projects as our Raqs events as we feel there should be a symbiotic relationship of inclusion as much as possible if we are all to see bellydance achieve the status it deserves and create ever more opportunities for dancers to dedicate their passion to this art. Our second Raqs L.A. in April was a great success as was Tribal London. Raqs Britannia in June enters its 4th year and Raqs America its second. At all these events we regularly hold auditions and can safely say that the quality of the dancers who attend continues to rise which is very gratifying to see – but then again so do the requirements of the BDSS troupe.

For the company this is often a high pressure business but for our dancers it is a great love and passion which in turn inspires the company to deliver ever more opportunities. Without the inspiration and talent of our dancers, we could never have achieved what we have. Meanwhile for so many others bellydance is a great pleasure to experience as a participant or simply as a spectator. We hope the BDSS will always be here to add to that pleasure and be a source of inspiration to dancers everywhere as we know our dancers constantly find inspiration from other dedicated dancers not only in bellydance but in all the dance arts.

Bellydance Superstars
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