Belly dancing in several locations internationally the last few months have been such a wonderful learning experience. Most recently I went to Germany to compete and perform at Belly Dancer of the World. As a Belly Dancer, here are a few random things to know when Belly Dancing in Germany…
1. Train is the best and cheapest way to get to the festival location. You only need to walk 2 blocks from the station and you will be there. They come around every 15-20 minutes so make sure to ask for times in advance.
2. Leyla helps however she can, and one very beautiful thing she does is allow dancers from afar to stay at her studio for a VERY affordable rate. There is a shower, bathrooms, and you make friends with girls you live in the studio with.
3. Try the German food after the competition lol! I have a sensitive stomach and well…better to stick to your regular food on the day of the competition.
4. Do not ask for takeout boxes. Kind of odd sounding to an American but asking for a box for your food is not their way and often you might be looked at oddly if you ask for one so just a random fact.
5. Know 5 words
a) Danke= Thank you
b) Vasser= Water
c) Gleten= Straighten hair
d) Choos= Bye
e) Wie viel= How much?
6. There is no wi-fi at the studio, but thankfully Leyla’s studio is right next to a busy mall with a Starbucks, so there is no excuse not to get work done or make phone calls via Viber (this app is a must for the traveling belly dancer).
7. Duisberg Germany is home to a nice population of Turks, people of Asian descent and other cultures, so expect to see all types of cuisines and people.
8. The floor of the stage in the theater is quite slippery so I highly recommend you bring the appropriate foot attire to give you enough traction. Several girls have fallen due to not testing the floor prior to performing.
9. ITS COLD!!! Well at least for Floridians jajaja. Get a good coat, be ready for lots of hot chocolate and hot wine and don’t skimp on winter attire.
10. If you register to compete, do so AHEAD of time with time to spare everyone. The music you use must first undergo approval, money and forms must be mailed in advance so that any issue or error due to possible translation issues is handled. 3 Weeks before the event you will begin to receive emails with specifics and the lineup so be sure to READ them fully and make any requests much in advance such as moving your number back because you might not have enough time to change into next costume..
11. The vast majority of people in Europe speak 3+ languages with English being language everyone teaches in/communicates with for workshops.
12. If you do not know German, be open minded to learning basics of language, and do not become frustrated! Always be cute when trying to communicate something in this new language and use a lot of gestures as you learn lol!
Hope these help some of you planning to go to Europe to belly dance and compete at this festival or use some of these concepts when traveling there. Belly Dancing in Germany was an absolute joy! Enjoy and hugs from Bellydance By Jennifer Inc.!