Get a peek into the Pittsburgh belly dance scene this weekend at The Rex | Features | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Get a peek into the Pittsburgh belly dance scene this weekend at The Rex

click to enlarge Zoe Jakes - PHOTO: CHRISTINA MOLCILLO
Photo: Christina Molcillo
Zoe Jakes
Unbeknownst to most, Pittsburgh has a vibrant belly dancing community. But this  Saturday, those who are unfamiliar can immerse themselves in the fun with Luna Noche at the Rex Theater, a show featuring prominent belly dancer Zoe Jakes and belly dancers and performers from in and around Pittsburgh.

“If you’re not a part of the scene and haven’t seen belly dance live before, it’s pretty amazing,” says Christine Andrews, organizer of the event and a local belly dance teacher. “It’s not something you see every day, especially in Pittsburgh.”

Andrews, who started belly dancing in 1988 and now helps her husband run The Culture Shop store in the South Side, is hoping to show multiple aspects of belly dance with the upcoming show.


“Many people picture American Cabaret-style dancing — a sparkly bra, satin flowy skirt,” says Andrews. "But we will tend more towards Tribal Belly Dancing.”

Typically fitted with earthy colors, Tribal Belly Dancing — of which Tribal Fusion is a sub-genre — is more archetypal, interpretive, and grounded in fantasy elements. It’s a style that Jakes is known for, in addition to being a founding member of Beats Antique, an American experimental world fusion and electronic music group.

Along with a headlining dance performance by Jakes, taking the stage will be contortionist Camille Zamboni, NY-based belly dancer Leslie Inman, a student dance troupe from Maria Hamer’s Evil Eye Troupe, and music from New Jersey-based live musical ensemble Rodyna and local act Phatmandee. See the full list of performers here.

“There will also be sword dancers, and we’ll be balancing pots and candelabras on our heads,” says Andrews. “There’s a whole thing in belly dance in the balancing and showing of isolated movement.”



If that sounds intriguing, Jakes is hosting workshops Friday and Saturday at Dance America in Bellvue, for those who would like to learn and experience belly dance beyond watching the Saturday performance. This weekend's show at the Rex is also the first time Jakes will be performing a public belly dancing since giving birth to a baby girl.

"If you’ve never seen anything like this, it is something really unique," says Andrews.
Luna Noche: featuring Zoe Jakes. Sat., Jan. 25. 8 p.m. The Rex Theater, 1602 E Carson St., South Side. $15-$22. rextheater.net

First time visiting The Rex Theater? Check out our venue guide beforehand.

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