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Dances exude elegance, passion

Local professional belly-dancer and dance teacher Amaya will perform on Tuesday at Club Bellydance. (Courtesy of Carl sermon)
Local professional belly-dancer and dance teacher Amaya will perform on Tuesday at Club Bellydance. (Courtesy of Carl sermon)
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From a classic shimmy to the staccato steps of hip-hop, performers of Club Bellydance will stage old and new styles of the ancient art form at the African American Performing Arts Center on Tuesday.

Amaya, who has been performing for 39 years, will dance in the first half of the performance as will other local professional belly-dancers, while the Bellydance Superstars, a professional national touring group will take the stage for the second act.

“It’s a mosaic of bellydance from traditional Egyptian cabaret to tribal, flamenco, gothic and industrial,” says Amaya, who is the local sponsor for the show. “The uninitiated may think of ‘I Dream of Jeannie,’ but bellydance is so much more than that.”

If you go
WHAT: Club Bellydance
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22
WHERE: African American Performing Arts Center, 310 San Pedro NE
HOW MUCH: $20, tickets available through Amaya, other professional local dancers: Myra Krien, Kareesha Willow, Michelle Al Farfesha, Eric Salazar, Rozana Al Jinan, Teri Brian Pacheco, Ashley & Adriana and Frank Farinaro or at White Horse Store, 3420 Lomas NE, 255-5217, or Farfesha Studios, 9577 Osuna NE, 797-8116. $25 at the door. For more details visit Amaya’s website www.wisewomandancer.com

Amaya’s own style, Danza Mora, is a fusion of flamenco and bellydance performed to the music of the Gipsy Kings or similar sounds, she says.

“It incorporates the element of passion,” she explains. “The torso is lifted; the elbows are higher than the wrists. Flamenco is more of the elements of fire and earth, while with bellydance we think more of water elements.”

More than the expected bespangled bra and sheer harem pants, Amaya incorporates the elegance of Spanish dancers into her costume, usually a tunic and flowing pants.

“I try to be a role model for mature women dancers,” she says.

The ancient form of bellydance has many interpretations and styles as it has been adapted throughout the world: “As a dancer, I use elements of my background, my culture to interpret this dance, not copy someone else’s idea or someone else’s culture. I always encourage my students to find their own expression in the dance,” Amaya says.

Another style in the show, tribal fusion bellydance, which originated in the Bay Area, is popular because it allows a company of dancers on stage instead of the traditional single performer, she says. “It’s a mostly American invention. It looks improvised. It looks like they are making it up on the spot, but everyone is following a lead dancer. It’s mesmerizing to watch. I’m sure people will be fascinated.”

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