The Austin Belly Dance Convention (the ABDC) began in 1996 when Bahaia founded Heart of Texas Seminars. The inaugural event was "Athens Meets Austin" featuring Rhea of Athens, Greece. From then on, Bahaia held annual events, which included dance workshops with top industry names, lectures, professional and amateur shows, competitions, live music, and vendors. As the seminars expanded, a new name became necessary. In 2007, the Austin Belly Dance Convention became the official name and has become the premier event for the central Texas Middle Eastern dance community.
In 2009, Bahaia passed the ABDC to Stacey Lizette, who subsequently expanded the convention into greater Austin’s awareness. She implemented a marketing plan that incorporated creating a website, printing an event program with sponsor ads, advertising in local businesses with posters and postcards, and sending out press releases. Additionally, in order to accommodate the increasing number of instructors, participants, and vendors, Stacey moved the convention from Round Rock into its current Austin location at the Holiday Inn - Midtown.
By the end of 2014, Amara and Tatianna became the new co-producers of the ABDC. Adding their own mark on the convention, Amara and Tatianna widened its scope to include participants from any field that intersects with Middle Eastern dance, including dancers, musicians, costumers, vendors, artists, scholars, educators, photographers, and videographers from amateur to professionals. They focused on supporting local artists by creating opportunities to be in seen in local and national markets. Amara and Tatianna worked to create more recognition in Austin, as well as nationally by advertising in national belly dance magazines, expanding their social media footprint, and redesigning the website and marketing materials. They restructured the convention through enhanced administrative functions, such as improved contracts for venders and artists, and more efficient production schedule.
Amara and Tatianna took over the ABDC in order to continue its longstanding tradition and understood the impact it has on the Austin and Texas Middle Eastern dance communities. The Middle Eastern community in Austin is small and diverse minority, which includes but not limited to Iraqis, Iranians, Lebanese, Egyptians, Moroccans, and Israelis. The ABDC serves this community by promoting and supporting the culture in positive and creative ways. The ABDC also offers opportunities for all dancers and audiences to experience a cultural heritage of a growing minority. The ABDC is a unique and artistic experience that draws in locals and international travelers alike to Austin. The event nurtures Austin’s community dance education and growth, provides a performance platform, brings in an infusion of new and out of area talent, and offers a social aspect for networking and relationship building. Additionally, the ABDC gives credibility and honor to a dance that is still striving to be accepted as a valid art form.