The women performed in several styles, some from the heritage of the Middle East; others like tribal fusion, an American spin on the dance form.
The founder and director of the school, Soraya Al Musri, has operated belly dance studios for 30 years. Aalim was opened as a nonprofit in Oklahoma City in 1997, Musri said. Her performers have been an annual fixture at the festival for a decade.
Belly dancing has been handed down for generations, Musri said. Its rich rhythms and ancient roots make it an especially beautiful art form, she said.
“It's all about the music,” she said.
And how about the costumes?
Belly-baring is not the tradition of the Middle East, according to Musri.
“But because we are working and entertaining American audiences, we do bare our stomachs in cabaret costumes,” she said.
“These ladies get into it and they enjoy it so much.”
IF YOU GO
Sunday is the final day to catch Festival of the Arts.