Dance with a cause

Tara Bradbury
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Bellydancers presenting Dance on the Edge 6 at Holy Heart this weekend

Moving to St. John’s in 2003, bellydancer Andrea Kitta just wanted to dance with somebody.
While there were a few local bellydancers, there was no official group, so Kitta took it upon herself to establish one, forming the Neighbourhood Strays. The dancers’ first performance was at a fundraiser for MUN’s Folklore Society, and over the past 10 years — though Kitta has since moved on — they’ve taken their charity work seriously, making it a part of their mandate to support local charities.

The performers of Dance on the Edge 5 at Holy Heart in St. John's in 2013. — Photo submitted by The Neighbourhood Strays

On Saturday, the Strays will present Dance on the Edge 6 at Holy Heart Theatre, with proceeds going to local women’s charities. The annual event was designed by the dancers to bring together the diverse groups performing various bellydance styles from across the province, and this year’s show will feature a number of groups, including Seraka, Wild Lily Performance Group, Company of Gypsies, Obsidian Bellydance Collective, special guests Stephanie Moyst and Lisa Manouchehri and more.

The Strays — Amy Clark, TerriLynn Colford, Caitlyn Hill, Karen Humby, Diana Leadbeater, Michelle Oliver, Kerri Piercey, Elizabeth Pitt, Rebecca Ralph and Leona Raymond — perform eastern European gypsy-style bellydance, and say they like the message of empowerment that comes with being a bellydancer.

“I feel so blessed to be a part of a group of powerful women whose mission is to encourage that empowermnet wherever we perform,” Humby said.

Equally important for the group, Humby explained, is the promotion of bellydance, and dance in general as an art form and creative outlet.

“We, as dancers, give everyone who is willing to join us the confidence to grow and excel on many levels,” she said. “You’ll never know true joy until you’ve let go and dance.”

Tickets for Dance on the Edge 6 are $20 ($15 for seniors and students) and are available at the Holy Heart box office and Doors open Saturday at 7:30pm, and showtime is 8 p.m.

Twitter: @tara_bradbury

Organizations: Edge 6, Holy Heart Theatre, Wild Lily Performance Group, Company of Gypsies

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