Professional photos coming soon, for now you have to settle for my pre-show selfie.
I am back from Vegas and hopefully back to a normal blogging schedule! I'll be writing about the Las Vegas Bellydance Intensive in a couple of places, so to save myself from repeating myself too much, here on my personal blog I'll share some helpful tips for surviving in Vegas, some LVBDI-specific and some not:
1. Don't drive up to Vegas on the same day that you are performing. I was stiff and sore and it took a lot of makeup to cover up the marks that my sunglasses left on my nose. Plus I was stressed about getting checked in and touched up and changed into my costume on time!
2. Hotels in Vegas are huge mazes, as are their parking garages. Leave yourself plenty of time to get to wherever you are going.
3. If at all possible, go off the Strip to eat. The food will be more affordable, tastier, and you will have a shorter wait time and better service.
4. If you have to go someplace off the Strip (for instance, over to Target to buy some things you forgot to pack), go as early in the day as you can, because there will be almost no traffic and you'll find a better parking spot in the Flamingo's garage when you come back.
5. If you're a tea addict, pack your own electric kettle, tea and mug. You'll save a ton of time and money by not having to get your fix from the coffee shop in the hotel. Bonus tip: You can also bring Cup o Noodle or some other "just add hot water" soup options for quick lunches. Hey, it's important to save money to shop, gamble, or go to an expensive buffet.
6. Go to the evening pro shows at LVBDI! Yeah, the tickets were $30 each this year and I'm guessing they'll be around the same next year, but the shows feature a lot of top-notch talent and are held in a beautiful theater with great sound and lighting and stadium seating so everyone gets a good view. And where is this theater? IN THE LIBRARY! Way to go Vegas, putting your tax money to good use!
7. Can't afford those show tickets, or the workshops you want to take? Volunteer! I did a volunteer shift at the merchandise booth on Saturday afternoon. It was really easy! I sold things to people, but mostly I told people where the bathroom was, or sent them down to Information or Registration if they wanted to swap workshops or buy tickets or register for 2014 or whatever. You can also volunteer to be a workshop helper and check people in and help the instructor with the sound system and whatever else they need, and you get to be in that workshop for FREE. Plus volunteering is a nice way to meet people.
8. If you can wake up early in the morning, it's totally worth it to take a workshop at 8:30 on Sunday morning. I found I was waking up early, so I signed up for one while I was there, and since I was the first person to show up, I was able to actually sit and chat with the instructor (Paige Lawrence) for a few minutes. Then we had a small group, which made for a really intimate experience where everyone got to interact, ask any questions they had, and discuss the exercises we were doing.
9. Vegas apparently exists in some sort of timewarp to the 1960s where men think it is OK to call a woman "baby" and "hun" and waiters think it is ok to snuggle up to you when taking your order. And that's not even getting into the bro-dudes. Make sure you have someone you can vent to when you get hit by a wave of sexism.
10. Don't over-indulge! Be mindful of any morning workshops or performance slots you have, and act accordingly. It's tempting to stay out late drinking and partying, but then you miss out on the LVBDI experience because you got caught up in the standard Vegas experience!