Review: Shimmy for HOPE Showcase @ Sheffield University Union

By May 8, 2016

Music. Sheffield.

 That night, (24th April 2016) the Foundry was transformed into a magical environment: scented with Turkish coffee and sweets, filled with the chatter of many dance fans, and a stage space ready for glittering performances from Bellydance Society members, classes and visiting guests.

This showcase was raising money for HOPE, a local organisation (to read about their valuable work, see their Facebook page).

shimmy2Cindy Cosset, an immensely talented dancer and choreographer, and the outgoing Society president said,

“We chose HOPE as our adopted charity as HOPE Sheffield aims to empower survivors of human trafficking and vulnerable women. This is in line with how bellydance empowers women (or men) by enabling them to accomplish a skill using their bodies, giving people a sense of community and learning to accept your body.

“Furthermore, bellydance has been described as having similar spiritual and healing aspects to that found in the practice of yoga. HOPE Sheffield works towards not only offering safety but empowering them to develop new skills to gain income and independence.”

The performances were spectacular; the society’s groups and the guest performances all contained an amazingly rich array of styles. As well as cabaret, Oriental and other styles of bellydance, the individual spots included twists such as: bellydance fused with hip hop/street, ballet (to a Marilyn Manson soundtrack!), Moroccan, Shaabi, and (for me the most visually stunning of the whole night) flamenco. Yes, flamenco bellydance exists – and it is awesome. Visiting performance groups Ashay and Surayi also showcased a medley of Tunisian, saidi, and khaleeji, and the first half was even finished off with a dramatic display of tango.

shimmy3This truly international and amazing showcase was a testament to the talent of these dancers. Bellydance is big in Sheffield, so if you’re thinking about trying it for yourself you’ll have a wealth of classes to choose from. Events like these showcases, or haflas, are a great way to see lots of different styles and see what appeals to you. And even as a non-dancer, they’re a wonderful treat to watch! Look out for more similar events from the Bellydance Society and classes with the superb chorographer and teacher Nisha Lall, at Sheffield University. All are welcome – you don’t have to be a student to join!