Belly Dance Extravaganza makes a stop in El Paso

Jesus Lopez, Staff reporter

Fans of belly dancing will now have a chance to attend the Belly Dace Extravaganza Saturday at Chamizal National Memorial.

Kareesha Willow, a popular belly dancer in El Paso, who has been performing since the age of six, will be featured at the event. Her experience as a teacher and choreographer of many styles gives her a unique energy that shines during all of her performances.

She will also have a dance workshop at the event, 2 to 3:30 p.m. for those interested in learning how to belly dance.

Lorraine Portillo, who’s been the director and producer of the Belly Dance Extravaganza for more than 20 years, said some of the best dancers locally and regionally will be performing to recorded music by Doug Adamz & Light Rain. He is the first American to produce music for belly dancing. Dancers will also be dancing to music by Sadaqah Jitano & The Desert Prophets.

“Blossoming from its roots in the Middle East, belly dancing is a type of dance in which a performer centers the focus of their movements towards mainly their torso and hips, enthralling the spectators’ attention in an almost mystifying manner,” Portillo said.

Bellydancers.org said that since the turn of the 21st century, belly dancing has grown in popularity across the western nations.

The website said belly dancing festivals and classes are common in the U.S., attracting interested dancers and large audiences to the many shows. Helping the trend are popular modern belly dancers, such as Amar Gamal and Shakira.

There are different types of music in today’s world, and a creative turn has guided an experimentation of the various arts. There are new styles of belly dancing developing, which is creating a different experience for both the dancers of this exotic art and their spectators.

“Belly dancing is about sensuality and rhythm, and getting each movement precisely—from each delicate shiver to the sharp hip motions, the dancer flows easily along with the music,” Portillo said. “No matter the personalized technique used or the type of music the performer dances along to, belly dancing is all about showing passion and having interpretative freedom.”

Tickets for the workshop are $20 and $10 for the performance. They will be sold at the door or in advance at Dance Alive, located at 2120 Montana Ave.

For more information about the event, contact Lorraine at (915) 566 -1742 or (915) 544-0364.

Jesus Lopez may be reached at [email protected]