Gilded Serpent presents...
Communication + Cooperation =
A Problem Solved
By Janie "Jenee" Midgley

Once upon a time, two events were created in two different states. The events became very popular and continued to draw larger and larger crowds of Belly Dancers. They lived happily ever after? Well, yes & no.

Chris Proebstel and Janie Midgley, also known as The Two Old Bags, had been putting on workshops in Reno, Nevada for several years when they decided Mother's Day weekend really wasn't working for them. So, when they decided to go from one day workshops to two day workshops, they picked the third weekend in May. It was well away from the chance of snow and did not compete with Belly Dancer of the Year Pageant. They hired Morocco for a second visit, and it worked like a charm, so they decided to keep that weekend and even get the workshop weekend a name. The name Spring Festival was way too boring, so they settled on High Desert Hip Fest. It grew and became very successful.

Along about the same time, Ellen Cruz and Kajira Djoumahna decided to have a weekend in May centered on American Tribal Style dancing, which became Tribal Fest. They had been very successful with Festival Fantasia in the fall and figured a spring event would be a nice addition. Tribal Fest grew and became very successful.

There was no rivalry involved at all. Neither set of sponsors was trying to put the other out of business.

No one ever expected an event in Reno, Nevada and an event in Sebastopol, California, to "conflict" after all there are 232.6 miles (about 4 hours driving) between them. We had talked about it a little, but just never figured it would be a problem.

Well, dancers started complaining to the Two Old Bags that they had to choose which one of the events they wanted to go to and how they wished they could go to both. Even vendors were saying they wanted to do both events and wished they didn't have to choose. So, at this year's Rakkasah West Festival, I cornered Ellen before the day began and we talked. It turned out that Ellen and Kajira were getting similar complaints. We also determined that Tribal Fest was stuck on that date, due to lack of adequate places in Sonoma County and, especially, Sebastopol, to hold an event of that size.

So I said that we would look into what we could do for 2004, 2003 being already set in stone. When the Bags got back to Reno, we contacted Boomtown and they were able to move us to the first weekend in May. When I contacted Ellen and Kajira with the news, they were both thrilled and thankful.

Problem solved! Because both sets of sponsors were friendly and willing to communicate, we discovered that we could solve our mutual problem rather easily. We cooperated with each other. Everyone is happy, dancers and sponsors alike. Now High Desert Hip Fest and Tribal Fest have room to keep on growing. Both communities still have their events, and the larger Belly Dance community can attend both if they would like. We hope you will all do just that!

One of the most wonderful things about our dance community today is the plethora of events dancers can attend. It is up to the sponsors to act professionally and not book a conflicting event in their area, if at all possible. When a conflict arises, sometimes all it takes to resolve the problem is friendly communication

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