Arabian Exchange

A music maverick takes belly dancing into the mainstream

After learning of the Desert Roses project from Ark 21, Tamalyn Dallal suggested they use the Orientalia event as a venue for the talent search. "I was actually a little bit pushy about it," Dallal says; she promised the label, "I can make sure you see a lot of people." Although she did not "audition" girls for the show, Dallal remains confident that the right faces will be seen. "I didn't advertise per se," she says, "but the word is out there."

Even though there are a lot of belly dancers "gigging" out there, the Orientalia main stage will be reserved for the most qualified. However, there will still be some variation in expertise at the show. What some lack in experience or authenticity, they might make up in novelty by using props, gimmicks, or dramatic license. Dallal says, "I want to accommodate anyone who approaches me with qualifications. I would make room for [them] in Orientalia no matter what."

Forget Shakira, here’s the real thing: Ansuya (left) and Tamalyn Dallal
Steve Satterwhite
Forget Shakira, here’s the real thing: Ansuya (left) and Tamalyn Dallal


A belly-dance instructor who will be performing in Orientalia. The event takes place at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, February 13, Call 305-538-1608.
The Bandshell at Euclid Avenue and Lincoln Road, Miami Beach.

The significance of a festival like Orientalia has a broader scope than just sequins and shimmies. It can offer a positive view of a culture that often provokes Americans into a fear of the unknown. With the threat of war lurking, this performance could be an opportunity to broaden the scope of human understanding. "It is so easy to develop a one-sided view of another culture," concludes Copeland. For him, an empowering act like belly dancing "comes out of the same culture that veils and silences women. It's the exact opposite, and that juxtaposition is very interesting."

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