Leuven - Dance competition and sightseeing in Belgium

A little trip to Belgium in the middle of December 2009? Why not!
Especially when I was invited to be a judge at an Oriental dance contest and to teach some workshops.

And the people there are so friendly, they even make special vending machines to welcome you at the airport :-)
The event was happening in Leuven, a town close to Brussels and easy to reach. Here's a view from my hotel room, not far from the train station.

I had arrived in the afternoon and my first dance workshop was at 18:30, so I had plenty of time to walk around and get a first look at the Christmas decorations.
My impression of this street was that people in Leuven sure all must have great hair because there were so many hair dressers!
A view on the train station, the building on the left was my hotel.
 No self-respecting town would leave out the opportunity to have a Christmas market!
 Interesting hat...
 So many goodies!

 St. Peter's Church with lovely illuminated windows.

 See the glitter!
 Inside the church - a palm tree?!

 I even had enough time for a pedicure...
 But then in was time to work - in this case to teach a workshop for Lebanese dance style.

And we continued right away on Saturday morning with a Bollywood dance choreography.
I also took the opportunity to not only teach but also learn. Charlotte Desorgher's class for stage presence was very informative.
 Two more hours of teaching veil dance concluded the "work" part of the day.

In the evening we went to have dinner: Artemisia, the organizer of the event as well as the other two judges Charlotte and Rachid Alexander.

On Sunday we had some free time in the morning which I used for another walk around town.
 The typical architecture of Leuven
 Pretty details 

 I hope she's not freezing in the winter cold... 
 I have a thing for turbans, so this example of a European turban had to be documented.
 The church in the daylight

 Het Moorinneken - not very politically correct name for a building...

 Back at the market

After lunch: The judges getting ready for work! Me, Rachid (NL) and Charlotte (UK). We were specifically chosen because as foreigners we would be neutral and couldn't be accused of preferring our own students. 
The competition was for dance students of different levels. There was a Hobby category and a Rising Stars category.
Judging is quite hard work - you have to be very concentrated and make sure that you get all the different aspects of a performance like musicality, technique, costume, expression etc.
But I also enjoyed watching most of the dancers. There was one who did a cane dance that I was actually really envious of!

Here are some of the contestants / winners:
 The work is done! 
 I always enjoy traveling to meet other dancers and their communities and this was a lovely trip!