Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
Date: every year in Late February, early March.
Las Vegas is a great place to go if you want to catch up with the world belly dance community. In addition to Las Vegas Bellydance Intensive festival, another big festival held in Las Vegas is the Tribal Massive. This festival has been held for over 10 years and it takes place around February/March every year for two weeks and it brings together tribal and tribal/fusion style belly dancers from all over the world. The teachers are well known worldwide in the tribal belly dance community and include Rachel Brice and Sharon Kihara from the Bellydance Superstars, among many. Even though I do not practice tribal, I went to one of Sharon Kihara’s workshop in the UK a couple of years ago and I can say that she is an excellent teacher, enthusiastic and eager to help.
As the name of the festival suggests, this is a tribal style festival and it also includes tribal fusion. I am not into tribal style myself, but if you are interested in tribal, there is not a better place to be than the USA, where this dance style was invented. I also find that Las Vegas is perfect as a venue for dance conventions because the city provides the perfect location for combining sightseeing, entertainment and high quality accommodation quite inexpensively. There is also a lot going on entertainment wise around the city, with a number of shows taking place daily in the casinos/hotels and themed hotels, plenty of places for shopping and some wonderful local attractions such as the Grand Canyon and the desert around Las Vegas area. I have tried all of these and enjoyed them immensely.
The Tribal Massive and The Massive Spectacular are internationally recognized for excellence and organised by Tori Halfon. Every year they feature famous tribal belly dancers such as Rachel Brice, Zoe Jakes, Mardi Love, Kami Liddle, Heather Stants, Mira Betz, The Lady Fred, Amy Sigil, Sharon Kihara, and Jill Parker in boutique sized workshops where the teachers are challenged to create new and exciting materials not featured at other events.
The Tribal Massive was the first tribal event geared towards advanced level dancers, and really paved the way for intermediate to professional dancers and teachers to have a platform for learning, that was properly leveled and enabled them to grow and develop their skills. It has been hailed internationally as the best value for your money, and the place where pro dancers go to learn. Zoe Jakes, Kami Liddle, Deb Rubin, and Ashley Lopez are among just a few of the professionals that have attended this weeklong program as students. The Tribal Massive has been held for more than 10 years and has grown from a long weekend retreat into a 15 day immersive Bellydance College with 3 tracks of classes for each type of dance enthusiast from Intermediate to Professional!
The Massive Spectacular! is held at the Railhead inside Boulder Station Hotel and Casino on the Boulder Hwy strip. The venue is amazing, and many big rock and roll bands have played their stage, but when the bellydancers come through, the Railhead has to turn away all the staff that volunteer to work the show, it is their favorite event of the year! Each year the proceeds of the show are donated to government recognized 501c3 charity; some of the charities have included the Red Cross Haiti relief, Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation, and Nevada Wilderness Project.
Tori has created a sight and sound experience in The Massive Spectacular! and it leaves the audience mesmerized. Featuring various types of bellydance and performance art, The Massive Spectacular! is a show not soon forgotten, and one that really envelops you into each unique performance. The production is filmed each year in Hi-Def, and all the footage is shared for free on Tori’s website as well as on her youtube channel. http://www.youtube.com/user/DaughtersofDurga?feature=guide
It is so important that the art form is featured in this type of high caliber production so it gains worldwide respect from mainstream audiences, and Tori has done just that in this Epic Stage Production! There is also one yearly event organised internationally for those dancers who cannot make it to Vegas, branded under either The Tribal Massive or The Mini Massive depending on the length of the programming.
One of the performances at the festival:
The recommended hotels, to be booked separately from the festivals, are:
Boulder Station Hotel Casino – This is the hotel where the shows for the festival usually take place and it is also near the dance studio where workshops are held. So, it is the best choice if you do not want to have to travel far. This is a 3 star hotel with free parking, free WiFi, pool and fitness centre.
Sam’s Town Hotel – This is another 3 star hotel near the venues, also recommended by the organisers, and it includes free parking and a seasonal pool. At the time of writing, free WiFi is not included but you have to pay extra for it.
Eastside Cannery – This hotel is also on Boulder Strip, near the venues of the festival, and it is a bit more luxurious than the previous two as it is a 4 star hotel. It has free WiFi and parking and two swimming pools.
A couple of tours that I have done when I was in Vegas and I can recommend are:
The Grand Canyon helicopter tour: This is really a great experience and the views of the canyon from the helicopter are amazing.
Death Valley tour: this is really a unique landscape, worth seeing. Tours for the Death Valley do not run in the summer as it is too hot. However, if you go at the end of February, end of March, when the tribal festival is, the tour should be running.