Acclaimed belly-dancer Michelle Sorensen makes her Pennsylvania debut | Dance | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Acclaimed belly-dancer Michelle Sorensen makes her Pennsylvania debut 

“The solo is heavily influenced by horror films, theater, and contemporary and classical Indian dance movements.”

If your image of belly-dance comes from old Hollywood movies, it’s time to update it. As with other dance forms, contemporary belly-dance is fusing tradition with modernity. Professional belly-dancers have added theatricality to their performances, mixing dance styles and performing to current music. For those familiar with Pittsburgh’s rich belly-dance scene, this is old news. For the uninitiated, however, An Evening of Bellydance With Michelle Sorensen, on Sat., July 1, at Carnegie Stage, may just be the ticket to get you up to speed.

Hosted by Pittsburgh Golden Gun Fusion Bellydance duo Liz Hays and Erin Rosenberg, the 90-minute program set to an eclectic mix of recorded music will consist of 15 works utilizing several different belly-dance styles, from traditional and Latin fusion to cabaret and tribal fusion. 

Headlined by the Utah-based Sorensen, who is making her Pennsylvania debut, the program also features an all-star line-up of local professionals, including former Zafira Dance Company dancer Maria Hamer; Colleen Wilde, of Bellydance Evolution’s national touring show Fantasam; male belly-dancer Hakan; Joanna Abel and her Carnegie-based 3rd Street Bellydance; and Youngstown, Ohio’s Tribe of EOS.

Sorensen, a sought-after, award-winning national and international performer, is the owner/operator of The Velveteen Serpent Movement Studio and Boutique in Salt Lake City, and a member of Portland, Ore.’s electro-vaudeville outfit Sepiatonic. She describes her dancing as a fusion of Middle Eastern belly-dance movements mixed with other styles. For this production, she will be joining several other performers in a high-energy “hot-pot improvisation tribal-style” segment, as well as performing a solo work set to Belgian singer Tsar B’s song “Escalate.” 

“The solo is heavily influenced by horror films, theater, and contemporary and classical Indian dance movements,” says Sorensen. “The costuming is inspired by a mythical creature called a ‘selkie,’ who lives as a seal in the sea but sheds its skin to become human on land.”

Sorensen’s visit will also include several technique workshops on July 1 and 2, at Sterling Yoga and Wellness Center, in Dormont. Visit for details. 



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