Bhuz.com is no longer

bhuz 2001I mentioned Bhuz.com before, the online bellydance forum that was one of my favorite sites for over a decade. When I started bellydancing in 1999 Bhuz was the go-to resource for bellydancers from all over the world. It had a yellow background and a gold scarab as a logo. Unfortunately I don’t have a screencap from 2001, but this is the next best thing, with courtesy of http://www.waybackmachine.org.

The site changed owners a couple of years ago and Rosey, the mother of Hannan Sultan, took it upon her to modernize the website and give it a whole new look, add new features like blog and video downloads and added paid adds to cover the cost of maintenance and development. The below screencap is from 2008 and shows the added features and design elements. Unfortunatly the background wasn’t saved on the wayback machine, but it was the same sand tone as the boxes below. The lights in the banner were floating and moving around.

bhuz 2008

In the past years, attendance dwindled as Facebook got more popular. The forum still attracted regular visitors, mainly dancers who were used to visiting a couple a times a day and hitting refresh to see if there were new topics and posts. But new dancers rarely came to bhuz, asking questions in Facebook groups instead. Still, Rosey continued working on the website, developing a whole new look, adding Panjo to the market place and working on new content. In 2015, the website looked like this.

bhuz 2015

But it seems that the curtain is finally closing on Bhuz.com, with this recent announcement:


Regarding the Bhuz forums: After several years of declining participation (and two years of ad revenue that fell way short of covering surprisingly large expenses) my mom, Rosey, the owner of Bhuz.com, decided to step away from the site.

Thanks for being a part of Bhuz. Personally, it was an amazing retirement job for my mom. She learned to code, she indulged her love of sparkly shiny things, and she developed relationships with many of you. She wants you to know that she is now happily raising ducklings, listening to opera, and enjoying her grandchildren.

The site has been saved to a hard drive for archival purposes. I am working on a new (much less elaborate) iteration of Bhuz, but since Facebook has made forums obsolete, it will be more of a reference site than anything else.

Panjo, the sales app, will still maintain the swap meet (http://www.panjo.com/p/bhuz)

Please stay in touch with your Bhuz friends on this Facebook page if you haven’t already.

Wishing you happy dancing,
Jessica Hannan Sultan

 

My best memories of Bhuz are being a baby dancer and asking my very first question, and getting all excited when a Big Name Dancer replied to my question. Or buying a second hand costume from a dancer in America that fitted like a glove and realizing we were ‘body doubles’. Or that time when we discussed body measurements and how famous bellydancers never mention size, measurements or age, and a Big Name Dancer chimed in to post her measurements and age.

For the costuming addicts, there was a monthly thread called ‘What are you working on?’. Costumers from all over the world posted about recent projects, beginners and professionals alike. We shared our costuming tips and tricks and drooled over the projects of others. Some dancers still remember me from the year when I worked on the Pink Turkish costume (2011) and posted updates every couple of days. Some of my current online friends I met through Bhuz, I even ended up going on a dance holiday with a dancer I had never met in real life but we got to know each other through Bhuz and Livejournal.

Did you know that the author of Snakehips also referenced to activities on an ‘Online bellydance forum’ and she was probably talking about Bhuz? Bhuz was one of the main sources of information for bellydancers for over two decades ant it will be missed. Lucky for us, Hannan Sultan is working on a reference site based on Bhuz which is awesome. Every time I searched for something for my classes, google pointed me towards a bhuz thread. I for one can’t wait to see what Hannan Sultan is putting back online. For now, the domain name bhuz.com redirects towards her own website.

If you want to share your memories of Bhuz, go to Lauren Zehara’s blog and add your reply. I have to confess that I haven’t visited or posted much on bhuz in the last couple of years. This was partly due to life changes, like working more at my day job and having less time on my hands to spend online. The second reason is that with the declining rate of posts, I felt less compelled to go to Bhuz and read. I will miss Bhuz but I am also part of it’s decline.

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