Beauty of the belly


POSTED: Monday, April 06, 2009

Rachel Brice became enamored with belly dance the first time she saw a performance, at the Northern California Renaissance Faire during the late '80s. “;I started crying. ... I was so moved by how beautiful it was,”; she said. “;It was one of those moments that you never forget.”;

Brice started taking classes the next day. Just a few years later, she was traveling, performing, teaching and touring. Brice is artistic director and choreographer for the Indigo Belly Dance Company, a San Francisco-based company that she founded six years ago. The troupe makes an appearance at Pipeline Cafe on Sunday, and Brice — along with Mardi Love and Zoe Jakes — will teach classes over a three-day span leading up to the performance.

Brice is grateful that she was able to turn her passion into a career, never imagining when she started out that belly dance would become a means to earn a living. “;I figured I'd teach dance at a college level. I never thought belly dance would afford me this kind of lifestyle.”;

Her group has traveled to England, Holland, Spain, France, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Prague, Slovenia, Korea, Taiwan and Japan. “;We haven't been to Africa, South America or Antarctica, yet,”; Brice said. Indigo also performs at home in San Francisco.

The audience can expect a colorful and lively performance this weekend — a fusion of genres. “;We add a little bit of acting, a little comedy and some cornball antics. We also try to incorporate different facets of belly dance. We have some slow and serious dances and fast and upbeat ones. We try to run the gamut of the different expressions of belly dance.”;

Beats Antique will accompany the troupe, providing electro-acoustic music. The band's sound blends exotic Middle Eastern music with underground hip-hop, break-beat brass band, down-tempo, glitch and dub-step.

Haunani Ramil, a local belly dancer with Shakti Dance Movement, says the local community is excited by the opportunity to host Brice's group.

“;Dancers islandwide and even dancers on the mainland are traveling here to take their workshops and see them perform,”; Ramil said. “;They are truly belly-dance superstars.”;


Indigo Belly Dance Company

With music by Beats Antique:

» On stage: 8 p.m. Sunday
» Place: Pipeline Cafe
» Tickets: $15 advance, $18 at the door, $10 University of Hawaii students (at UH box office). VIP tickets are $35 at the door.
» Learn to dance: Thursday through Saturday at Kokokahi YWCA.