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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Belly dancing troupe brings the fire


    Courtesy of Ashley Grove
    Belly dancers dance at the Tucson Festival of Books on the UA Campus in March. The Fire & Gold Belly Dance troupe performs at venues throughout the Southern Arizona area.

    Complete with shimmies and hip circle eights, the Fire & Gold Belly Dance troupe will be putting on a free show at Sky Bar on Thursday at 7 p.m.

    The belly dancing troupe is a collective team that performs Tribal Fusion belly dancing. Its performances mix Egyptian, Arabic and tribal belly dancing styles along with bits of cabaret dance. It began under the direction of Jolie Roberson, a Tucson belly dancing teacher. However, now each member contributes to the troupe’s choreography.

    “It’s fun, and it’s really different,” said Ashley Grove, a member of the Fire & Gold Belly Dance troupe. “There’s no age limit. There’s no body discrimination. You can be a guy belly dancer. It’s a really cool style of dance.”

    The Fire & Gold Belly Dance troupe is made up of five female members of different ages. Together, they choose which gigs they take and their dances, and they work together to create new material for their performances. They also create their own costumes.

    “We sew [our costumes],” Grove said. “There is usually a bra and belt set that coordinates. We’ve used materials like velvet to make skirts. We also made a costume from an Indian sari before.”
    It was actually the costumes that lured one member of the troupe to belly dancing.

    “They had such beautiful costumes,” troupe member AJ Reardon said. “I thought, ‘I have to do this just so I can wear those costumes.’”
    Reardon, who dances under the stage name Sophia Ravenna, was at first hesitant to begin dancing. She said she came up with several excuses and waited eight years until she finally pursued belly dancing. However, now she said that dancing is a gratifying experience for her.

    “My favorite performance was dancing for the oncology ward at the [University of Arizona Medical Center],” Reardon said. “It’s a wonderful experience to bring dance to those who are struggling with their health, or even in recovery.”

    The Fire & Gold Belly Dance troupe’s performance on Thursday night will, of course, have a quite different feel, but Reardon said that she loves the atmosphere there as well. She added that it’s a great space for the troupe members to practice new material they have been working on.

    The stage on Thursday night is open to anyone who wants to perform.
    “Thursday night is our monthly open stage at Sky Bar,” Grove said. “Basically, it’s like open mic night but for belly dancers. But if people want to come and do a lyrical piece, like modern or any other kind of dance, they can submit music and sign up for a performance spot.”

    Grove said that the open stage is a great opportunity for dancers who don’t perform often, because it can be practice for larger shows or a place for beginners to experience the feeling of being onstage.

    The Fire & Gold Belly Dance troupe, however, has plenty of practice being onstage. It has recently had a string of performances, including one at the Tucson Festival of Books in March and four at the Pima County Fair last week. It will also be performing this weekend with BreakOut Studios Youth Dance Company in Flowing Wells High School’s auditorium on Saturday at 7 p.m.


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