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  Photo by Bruce Meyer. Belly dance goes back 6,000 years to ancient Mesopotamia, but in 2003, the Bellydance Superstars emerged and took the art form to a whole new level. They are back in Milwaukee this week with a new show called “Bombay Bellywood,” mixing traditional Arabic styles with Indian Banghara beats. “When you […]

 
Photo by Bruce Meyer.

Belly dance goes back 6,000 years to ancient Mesopotamia, but in 2003, the Bellydance Superstars emerged and took the art form to a whole new level. They are back in Milwaukee this week with a new show called “Bombay Bellywood,” mixing traditional Arabic styles with Indian Banghara beats. “When you mix things up, it revitalizes the art, and you appreciate it all the more,” producer Miles Copeland says.

To say the Bellydance Superstars are an international sensation is an understatement – they have performed 800 shows in 22 countries. It’s like the Middle Eastern version of Riverdance, but a bit more exotic.

There are 14 dancers and, ironically, none of them are of Middle Eastern descent. However, Issam Houshan is Syrian and known as the top Arabic drummer in the world. For “Bombay Bellywood,” the Bellydance Superstars will feature its first male dancer, Arthur Gulkarov, who was a principle in the Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil production of “O.”

Copeland is widely recognized as adding professionalism to belly dance while propelling it into the mainstream and out of the restaurant scene, where for many years, it was just a side attraction. He’s also known for his work with The Police, you know, that band with Sting from the ’80s.

“It’s really become a Western phenomena – there are more belly dancers in America than in the rest of the world put together,” Copeland says. “As a dance form, it’s much more disciplined here, and there are more resources.”

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Copeland took an interest in Arabic music while living in the Middle East with his CIA-officer father and later as producer on Sting’s single “Desert Rose.” “Once I realized the dancing was as interesting as the music, I knew I had to do something with it,” Copeland says.

Copeland and the Bellydance Superstars are busy trying to change perception with productions he calls “beautiful in a wholesome, genuine way without having to thrust sex in your face.” He continues, “People come up to me at shows and say ‘Thank you!’”

“I say, ‘Why thank you?’ Men say ‘Because it’s just beautiful!’ and women say it because they see these women who are strong and proud of their bodies being sensual and feminine without being smutty.”

The new show “Bombay Bellywood” shimmies in to the Marcus Center’s Vogel Hall Thursday, Nov. 11, at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $32-40 and can be purchased online or by calling 414-273-7206. The performance is indeed family friendly.


One more to not miss: MIAD student/alumni art sale Fri. and Sat. Nov. 12-13.

Friday night from 5 -10 p.m., there’s Preview Party ($20 admission), and Saturday, the event will be free and open to the public from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.

Find everything from photography and paintings to sculpture, furniture and jewelry for sale. For more info, click here.

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