Krystal Marie has been belly dancing for six years and says that it is an art form that is beautiful but also misunderstood at times.
“I think that sometimes a lot of people kind of think it’s dancing around in a costume of bronze belts and kind of just shaking around, but there’s actually a lot of technique to it and a lot of background, culture wise, attached to it,” said Marie, who pointed that raqs sharki, the formal name of the classic dance, is only known in the U.S. as belly dancing.
So when the time comes for the Garden Nile Belly Dancers to share their art form with others, Marie, an instructor and dancer with the group, said she enjoys sharing her knowledge with others.
“For me, I love to entertain, I love the feeling that I get on (the stage) and becoming the music,” Marie explained. “I just love to, basically, with my body, visually show you what you’re hearing in the music. That’s the high that I get when I’m on stage.”
It is something that Marie said she hopes will be showcased tonight when the Garden Nile Belly Dancers, along with two visiting experts, hold a Kauai Raqs belly dancing show at JJ’s Broiler in Nawiliwili.
“I love putting on these events because I feel that we definitely give the true essence of what belly dancing means to us,” Marie said. “I know that, here, there’s a lot of stereotypes attached to it, but I’m very happy when we get to put on these events so that people can really see what it’s all about. We study and travel a lot to educate ourselves so that we can, in turn, share our knowledge here on the island.”
The two visiting belly dancers will be Khalida, a multi-award winning, Belgian-born dancer who now lives in Germany, and Oahu native Kalae Kaina.
Though both women are experts in belly dancing, what sets them apart is their unique dance styles, Marie said.
Khalida dances in a European cabaret style, which infuses styles from Egypt and America, while Kalae takes a tribal fusion approach, a style that Marie describes as being “a lot more earthy, gothic and very rounded.”
“You’ll definitely be able to see the difference right away,” Marie said. “You’ll see the difference before the music even starts just in their appearance and the way they are dressed.”
During her first visit last year to Kauai, Marie said Khalida was received well when she and Garden Nile Belly Dancers held a sold-out performance at the Church of the Pacific in Princeville. It was, Marie recalled, one of the “most well attended shows we’ve ever had.”
“We dance in the same style as Khalida, so we love that style very much,” Marie said. “But the reason why we like Kalae, with her tribal fusion style, is because it is something so different that is just inspiring and unique, so we want to share that with the island and have both. I definitely think that, as a dancer, you should be a little cultured in all different styles under belly dancing, because it is sort of an umbrella for so many different styles.”
The evening event will also feature tarot card readings, henna art from Catana of Henna Kauai and the musical talents of DJ Jus J.
“It’s a night just to have fun, either with your girlfriends or a couple, and truly be entertained by different styles — we definitely try to give a variety throughout the show without making it too long,” Marie said. “There’s not going to be that many numbers, so we’re going to open up the dance floor afterwards so everyone can enjoy themselves.”
Tickets cost $15 before the event or $20 at the door. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and the show will begin at 7 p.m.
For more information, visit the Garden Nile Belly Dancers website at: www.gardennilebellydancers.com or call 639-9980.