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“Dance, like words, is a form of expression, a way of explaining who we are,” says Adelaide of the Shimmy Sisters, a belly-dancing duo she formed in 2006 with her sister Leilainia. “A dance can tell stories in a language that is sensory and more abstract than the human brain can break down.… Through the dance, one can speak and say things that may be too personal, deep, or [too] buried to make out in words.”

The Shimmy Sisters perform monthly at Portugalia in O.B., with the Middle Eastern—flavored band Danyavaad backing them up with electric sitar and tribal drumbeats. Performances include swordplay, glowing hula hoops, stilt walkers, yoga contortionists, live snakes, “fire fingers” (flaming fingernails, essentially), and occasional live psychic readings.

“Originally,” says Adelaide, “as a rite of passage, mothers taught this dance to their daughters, a gift of the heart. Furthermore, dance feels good; we love and enjoy it as a gift to others and ourselves. Opening and dancing from the heart helps posture, self-confidence, and our capacity to love.…”

Danyavaad is completing a ten-song CD package that will include an instructional DVD with belly dance and sitar lessons.

– Jay Allen Sanford

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