Belly dance event benefits Haven

NANAIMO – Multiple dance styles on display.

Cathy Stoyko

Cathy Stoyko

Residents of the Harbour City will have an opportunity to learn some new dance moves and hear world music next weekend.

On Sept. 13 the Haven Society will be hosting a showcase and bazaar at Wellington Community Hall. The event is a fundraiser for the Haven Society.

Co-organizer Lynette Harper said there will be seven dance workshops run by a number of dance teachers and musicians, who all have a wealth of experience.

“It is a great opportunity for people here in Nanaimo to see the breadth of possibilities for dance in our community,” Harper said. “Dancers here have studied so many different styles of dance, from the Middle East to India to Turkey to Persia and they are sharing those ideas through short 20-minute workshops.”

The event will feature family-oriented workshops run by Nanaimo performers Ramona and Genya and Vancouver Island dancers Cathy Stoyko and Elaine de Rooy and lead drummer, Burt Levy of the California ensemble, Eastwind Bellydance.

“We’ve never done this before and we may never do this again if it doesn’t go well… [We want] people of any age to try some of these dances,” Harper said. “We’re hoping that people will discover how simple the movements are and how inspiring the music is and open up their minds as to how much fun it is.”

Harper explained that belly dancing is often falsely stigmatized as being a mainly sexualized dance form.

“It’s been painted with that brush for a great many years,” Harper explained. “What’s wonderful with bellydancing around the Island and around the world is it has much more to do with community and female strengths and relationships with people.”

The event will take place from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Admission is $5 by donation. For more information, please call 250-739-0589.

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