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Stunning dance skills were exhibited by 15 belly dance performances on Sunday night. Dancers in gorgeous and very colorful outfits took the stage and delighted a full house at the Fair Oaks Community Clubhouse.

The Sacramento Raks! Belly Dance Gala Show returned to the Clubhouse for a delightful evening of alluring dance performances. Live, authentic Middle Eastern music was provided by Flowers of the Nile. Middle Eastern cuisine was also available for guests to purchase during the show.

Dancers Ayre Briar and J.R. performed an inaugural performance as Shupa Da. The music of Pink Floyd’s “Goodbye Blue Sky” accompanied their first dance. The Shupa Da dancers wore similar outfits and a purple veil covered their face. Their rhythmic dance was captivating from the start. As they finished the first part of their dance, they removed their veils and started to dance to the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” and received loud applause.

Shupa Da

Shupa Da’s choreography was created by Briar. Their fusion belly dance performance mixed elements of modern and belly dance along with vintage flair that gave elegance to their act.

Shupa Da

Once the dancing started one belly dance troupe after another took their place on stage. Tasha from El Dorado Hills was the second dancer to display her marvelous dancing skills.
 

Tasha

Tasha danced to a song that told the story of two lovers who are sad and lost without each other. Wearing all white, Tasha’s flair and dance allowed her to use the whole stage as she performed.

Tatheer was the third performer of the evening. The Auburn based dancer performed two pieces. The first performance was done to the Bollywood dance, “Jai Ho,” from the “Slumdog Millionaire” soundtrack. Tatheer’s second performance encompassed Rachel Brice choreography.

Tatheer

Ayre Briar also came back to the stage to perform a solo act. Briar’s performance was inspired by 1960’s belly dance as portrayed in popular cinema. Briar, dressed in gold attire, performed fluid movements to songs that were reminiscent of James Bond movies of the same era. Indeed it incorporated some music from “Goldfinger” and “You Only Live Twice.”

Ayre Briar

Sacramento based Badia performed next. Dressed in all black, Badia took the stage. She came to centerstage wearing a black veil covering her face. The only part of her face that could be seen behind her costume was her alluring eyes.

Badia

Captivated by her dark mysterious eyes, Badia hypnotized the audience as she began to dance. As she danced, she reminded me of a cobra moving out of a basket, and as she moved around the stage she reminded me of a twister moving in the sands of the Sahara.

Kaira Haneem is from nearby Chico. As she came on stage it was announced that she would perform to an Arabic pop song and then a drum solo that utilized her ballet and jazz influenced style of American cabaret belly dance.

Kaira Haneem

Wearing a red outfit that almost matched her hair, Haneem’s performance was well-received. As with the dancers before her, the audience was able to participate by rhythmically clapping along with the music.

The special guest star of the evening was Aubre Hill, who hails from Los Angeles. Hill has performed internationally and is a much sought after master teacher and choreographer. She has a background in ballet, dance, hip hop, musical theatre, folk dance and other dance styles. Hill has also won several international awards and has hosted her own belly dance fitness show on Fit TV.

Aubre Hill

Hill is currently the Artistic Director of the Lumina Bellydance Company. Her extensive background was brought to the stage as Koop’s “Strange Love” played. Hill’s exquisite movements were fine tuned to the drums of “Strange Love,” and allowed her to show her unique style.

The Henna and Kohl Bellydance Company of Sacramento performed next. The Sacramento based dance troupe is directed by Adriane and they performed a debut dance.

Henna and Kohl Bellydance Company

As the company came on stage they each came up with a tray of lit candles atop of their head. The maneuvers for this dance were deliberate and at times exotic as they danced. They were able to maneuver themselves into sitting and lying down positions on stage while the trays remained on their heads restricting their movements. This allowed them to show their balance and dance skills.

The Henna and Kohl Bellydance performance was divided into two or three different dances and as the first set ended, the audience once again clapped in rhythm as the dancers sped up the tempo of music and dance.

Henna and Kohl Bellydance Company

Intermission gave the audience time to stretch and get something to eat or drink from the food court in the back of the community clubhouse. The Flowers of the Nile musicians set up their instruments on stage and from this point forward, live music would accompany the dancers.

Flowers of the Nile

Several of the dancers during the second half of the Gala Show returned from last year’s Sacramento Raks event. First to perform after intermission was Edemia from Sacramento, who interacted with the musicians on stage. The addition of Flowers of the Nile on stage, in my opinion, was a welcome addition.

Edemia

Sacramento’s Janene followed, performing a traditional Egyptian style dance to a traditional Egyptian love song. Besides Janene’s fluid dancing, the audience was able to enjoy Philip Gabriel’s voice as Flowers of the Nile played on.

Janene

Another Sacramento native now residing in the Chico area, Mychelle Crown combined her love of Egyptian cabaret belly dance with her American jazz and ballet background to create her unique representation of this art. Sunday night she performed to a classic Egyptian song.

Mychelle Crown

Davis’ Nyla Crystal, who was also at last year’s Sacramento Raks event, brought her precision Egyptian style dance to the stage. Her long red hair waved as she danced wearing a red outfit. To top it off, she used a long red veil to accompany her movements. Her fiery performance was well choreographed and executed.

Nyla Crystal

Crystal will be conducting a workshop on April 29 at the Brazilian Center of Sacramento. The workshop is called Beauty and the Sword, and Crystal will cover balancing techniques and sword choreography.

The next performer was Maria, who hails from Santa Clara. Maria wore a lovely white outfit adorned with colorful flower patterns. The flow of the outfit during her alluring dance moves created the illusion of ballroom dancing. Maria’s exotic moves and choreography, along with the live music, once again had the audience clapping as she performed certain moves.

Maria

Maria will also be conducting a workshop on April 29, where participants will learn a solo fun drum choreographed dance as well as little tricks to keep the audience surprised and engaged.

Adriane, producer of the Sacramento Raks Belly Dance Gala Show, took the stage for a solo performance. As soon as Flowers of the Nile began playing, the audience clapped to the rhythm of the percussion and Adriane used the whole stage to dance and charm the audience.

Adriane

Adriane’s fluid dance movements generated audience participation during several parts of her performance. Her charismatic enthusiasm for dance, performance and teaching are evident on stage and off. Adriane’s performance was quite entertaining from beginning to end.

Hill was the last performer of the evening. The special guest did not disappoint and brought the end to a wonderful evening of belly dancing.

Aubre Hill

The audience that gathered for this Gala Show seemed to have enjoyed it quite a bit. The show brought beautiful music, dance and culture to Sacramento, allowing people of many ethnicities to enjoy an entertaining evening.

One member of the audience, Edwin Hakimi, summed up the evening saying, “I heard about this event a few months ago from one of my friends who was here in May at the last performance. He’s been talking about this for a long time and everything he said was true. There was great food, great dancers and very beautiful, I have to say. I loved it, I will bring my whole family next time; it brings back memories of home.”

Beautiful costumes, choreography and music made this a very enjoyable show. The producers of the show are to be commended for their hard work and wonderful lineup of entertainers.
 

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