I love it when a plan comes together…

Jan 24 poster version2January 24th 2014, the Open Belly/Bollywood Dance Night took place at the Mercury Lounge in the Byward Market.
2 weeks earlier I had begun the process of making it happen.
And with the support of about 40 of my best dance friends and 20 new dance friends, it was a great night out!

In a previous post, I talked about how we need to “stir things up” in the Ottawa  area and get Bellydance back into people’s vision. Since I am also into Bollywood, and teach a fusion class of the two dance forms, we also benefit from people seeing what can come from joining classes and playing!

How things fell into place…

In late November, we were in chat mode with Kuljit Sodhi to join Galitcha

Screen Shot 2014-01-26 at 9.10.59 AM

for a Bollywood evening at the Mercury Lounge, with even more involvement than we had contributed in July 2013. We were all set and excitedly booked the evening of Jan 24.
Then life happened and that event had to be postponed- we are looking at April now, so keep an eye out!

But it still felt like I should do something fun to end my birthday week.

In early January I realized, maybe, if  the members of BFF were up to helping me with it- awesome ladies I play with they are!!-, we could base an evening on both dance styles and do it like an open mic night.

I’ve never actually done an open mic night so I just did what I always do: Make it happen and they will come.

And they did – I decided to let people sign themselves up via a google drive document, and that may have deterred some folk, it was the easiest way to let folk have control over their time- to a degree.

But I am jumping ahead!

Screen Shot 2014-01-26 at 9.16.05 AMI contacted the Mercury Lounge via email, two different Facebook routes and even tried calling- those who know me these days know I prefer email:-).

It did take 2 days to hear back and the first bit of news was that the “Merc space” was already booked. The price of the lower club was better suited to this first try and the capacity was smaller but as I thought about it, I figured, go with it and see what happens.

A quick meeting was held at the club and the basement was not ideal- very black. We chatted in the middle level, The Collection,  and I asked if it was available. After a few moments and a computer check, I was told yes- same price, same capacity – so I said, “Book it, please!!”

Next step- publicity….

  • I designed 2 posters and got some feedback from some of the BFF gang, and started getting it online,
  • BFF website event page created (I wanted to generate more traffic to our BFF site),
  • a post written to encourage people to come out,
  • Facebook event created with links to the webpage ( where the tickets were),
  • post created on our BFF Facebook page,
  • post created on my Halyma Facebook page,
  • post created on my Bellywood FB page,
  • tweets from @bwff and @halyma,
  • Posting made for the Dancers’ News,
  • Email sent directly to Ottawa-Gatineau teachers,
  • listing on Dance-Ottawa,
  • Event created on my Google+ Halyma page,
  • Event listing created on my own primary website

Then completing the infrastructure:

  • Testing the paypal ticket button and fixing that,
  • Translating the event page with the help of Google translate but really, Suhani!
  • Setting up the Google Drive sign up sheet
  • Getting our ticket information sheet set up to keep the paperwork clear for myself and BFFBorrowing Siddiqah's favourite cartoonist

Sunday the 12th, it all hit the internet.
And I had some very quick responses, and the ticket sales and sign ups began.
Slowly, but steady, things filled up, not completely in the dance roster but a wonderful mix of dancers had claimed a time to dance.

IN the meantime, the BFF dancers and I were planning our segments of the show, as well as connecting with our various extracurricular groups to get their involvement all squared away.

Thanks to Farasha for being our liaison with Kuljit and the Bollywood Heat as well as Deepali for bringing her Live2Dance Crew!

I made the executive decision to make it an All Ages show with  kids 12 and under coming in for free.  With my OCCP, where it’s reserved seating, it has been important to keep an accurate head count and everyone pays, but for this event, it felt more important for those parents and families to just come and have fun!

Artwork by Kalyani at a previous eventAnd I put out the request on our planning sheet { another google drive document} if one of our dancers who draws beautifully and has done quick mehndi before, if she would be open to offering this service at the show. Both Kalyani and Suhani added some pretties that night with some awesome results!

Back to the planning stages…


By Wednesday the 22nd in the morning, we had reached the club’s capacity of 60 in advance contributions/tickets, and so I was scurrying about to update all of the pages to indicate we were sold out.

…Or was it?

While I was out teaching Wednesday evening, the email came through saying there was a booking error! The space I had booked was not actually available! BUT… I could still have the black basement or the “Merc space”, which had become available in the meantime.

Once again, I used my phone as a phone and spoke with Kate, our awesome booking contact, and she assured me that since it was their mistake, for this time, I would pay the same fee for the larger space. YAY!!


And back onto the internet to update everything and post and post and post!

Borrowing Siddiqah's favourite cartoonistThen suddenly, where are the advance dancers going?

Thursday afternoon, new challenges arose as 3 of the dancers who had reserved times in advance, contacted me with the sad news they would not be able to come out.
3 out of 9 advanced spots now empty meant either having a very sparse roster or more juggling was needed.

I can be chill, I swear, and then ideas pop into my head and I have to run with them…

Emails start to fly:
1 – Gothic Muses is comprised of two dancers who were already in attendance as part of Corazon, so I sent a quick email asking if they would be open to dancing twice– they said yes!
2- Ameenah had already been warned that I wanted her to drum while I danced my solo, and so I sent her an email ( it’s now Friday- day of!) asking if she would be okay to do some live drumming! – she said yes!!
3– less than 2 hours before the show, Jehane posts on FB how she’s waffling between 2 songs- I jump on it and ask if she would like to dance twice? And BOOM- she said yes!!

Okay, are you with me still?

Gifts bestowed through the generous hands of helpful people:

  • I now have the space I originally wanted at the price I originally had hoped to pay.
  • I have a base roster of AWESOMENESS with flex room for last minute sign ups or shifts as needed { there were some of those}
  • Our costs are cored with a small cushion…

Crap…food? do I get food??

To have the event catered would have cost more than we could cover with the contributions made by the attendees, and I believe that events need to pay for themselves.

But I always feed my dancers! It’s tradition!

I made another decision to pick up some “sushi” and a veggie tray for our dancers.  Now that we had the upstairs space for the dancers to change and prep, having some food and water there for them to snack on was ideal.

At this location, I think this food idea will be the norm, which is why I look forward to the events that other teachers and pros have in the works where other systems will be in place and we kept highs interesting!

I think I’ll stop here for now.  I’ll write more about the actual event later!

This brings you up to speed on my pre-event journey, travelling with me through many of the ups and sideways and curves to get to the point where I have arrived and met up with the BFF Crew to set up in the Mercury Lounge – with a bit of foreshadowing:

Halyma and Ameenah!–click the photo to head over to the video–

Screen Shot 2014-01-26 at 9.25.13 AM


IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THE EVENING, Please take a moment and click here, fill out your responses in the Contact box, and you could win a $25 gift certificate towards TAV Creations or Halyma’s Belly dance products and services.

2 thoughts on “I love it when a plan comes together…

  1. The event was fantastic, and how could we say no to such a wonderful time?!? Thank you for putting in all the work to organize an event!

Comments are closed.