Great dancing, a great restaurant, and lots of truly friendly faces – that about sums up the OC Bellydance Connection Showcase at Sophia’s Greek restaurant in Placentia on Tuesday night.
After showcase hostess Rachel welcomed everyone, she introduced local belly dance teacher and longtime performer Marlena Shaw, who made her entrance in dramatic Egyptian cabaret fashion with a lovely silk veil trailing behind her that nicely complemented her dazzling daisy yellow costume. She danced part of her number on the restaurant’s diminutive dance floor and then came into the audience and danced with the crowd, pulling willing participants into the aisle to dance along with her. The audience loved it, as you can tell from the pictures.
Then it was Rachel’s turn on the dance floor, and she charmed the crowd with a lively number set to a “Leila,” by popular Arabic singer Hakim joined by R&B legend James Brown. The upbeat music and the surprising mix of Hakim’s and Brown’s styles had everyone’s toes tapping and hands clapping.
The evening’s final performer was Deborah, who performed two numbers, including a graceful veil choreography set to one my favorite songs “Layali al Sharq.” As I watched and admired her, it occurred to me that I’d been attending her annual Market at the Casbah event in Fullerton for years and I’d never once seen her dance -- until now. Let me just say, wow, this lady can dance.
As usual, I took lots of pictures and only a few of them came out. You can head over here, though, to see a bunch more.