Dig Baton Rouge

Belly Dance and Cake Balls

By Tara Bennett


Get ready for an evening of shimmies, arabesques, sinuous snake-like motions, staccato hip movements, and lots of colorful outfits at the “Belly Dance and Cake Balls” hafla presented by Valkyrie Rouge Tribal Belly Dance.

Bambi Pizzolato, who serves as the director of Valkyrie Rouge, is organizing the evening’s entertainment at local coffee shop and bakery Brew Ha-Ha, which will be held on Saturday, March 28. Since 2013, Valkyrie Rouge has put on the event every few months as a desire to gather the belly dance communities in the southern Louisiana area together, and share dance with each other and the public.

“We wanted to host a show in an informal setting where even students could feel comfortable performing,” Pizzolato. “There was also a desire to build community with all of the different belly dance groups in the wider area. Also it allows us to expose a wider audience to belly dance.”

The term hafla means “party” when translated in Arabic. A hafla usually consists of Middle Eastern music, dancers taking turns performing for each other, and open-floor dancing for everyone to get up and enjoy the music. The idea for the name “Belly Dance and Cake Balls” was conceived at the location for the future hafla.

“The name came as a result of the joke while having coffee with friends at Brew Ha-Ha that I loved belly dance and cake balls,” said Pizzolato. “That led to the planning of the first event.”

There is no admission to attend the event, though it is suggested that attendees support Brew Ha-Ha by purchasing beverages or cake balls.

“Brew Ha-Ha is known for their cake balls so we wanted to express the two great things people can expect,” said Pizzolato. “Gabby, the owner, is a huge supporter of local artists and small businesses. Her baristas always express how much they enjoy the event.”

For this hafla, Pizzolato has lined up dancers who specialize in American Tribal Style, tribal fusion, improvisational tribal style, and Polynesian dance. The hafla will start at 6:30 p.m. beginning with time for socialization and to allow for getting refreshments. Performances start at 7 p.m. Following the performances, there will be some free dancing, and dancers will be available to teach a few moves to those new to belly dance.

“Belly Dance and Cake Balls offers an opportunity to see belly dancing to those that may not otherwise have a chance to see it,” said Pizzolato.

If you cannot attend this coming “Belly Dance and Cake Balls,” there two upcoming haflas scheduled for May 16 and June 27. Dancers who are interested in performing can contact Pizzolato at valkyrie.rouge.tribal@gmail.com. More information about these and other events can be found at valkyrierougetribal.com or at facebook.com/valkyrierouge.

“We want everyone to come out and learn more about belly dance,” said Pizzolato. “Belly dance can be a fun artistic expression and fun exercise. You can also get information on classes that are taught in the area at the event.”


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