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Belly dancers perform for Festival of the Arts crowd in Oklahoma City

A troupe from the Aalim Dance Academy of Oklahoma performed Saturday at the Festival of the Arts in Oklahoma City.
by Juliana Keeping Published: April 29, 2012

The clink of cymbals and staccato hip stabs, graceful arm movements and undulating bellies.

It's belly dancing, and for some Festival of the Arts performers Saturday with the Aalim Dance Academy of Oklahoma, it's more than just a dance.

It's a passion, an ancient art form with long-term personal appeal, performers said.

Kathleen Redwine, a professor who teaches dance and dance history at the University of Oklahoma, goes by the stage name Najma when performing with her belly dance troupe. She began belly dancing about eight years ago.

“My husband gave me belly dance classes for Valentine's Day,” Redwine said. “I fell in love with this dance form. It's a passion for me, it's a great exercise.”

For Heide Brandes, whose stage name is Aini Amar, it's a dance made for women. Fourteen years ago, she was drawn into the dance form as an audience member. She doubted she could dance the way the performers she saw did.

“It was one of the most gorgeous dances I've ever seen,” said Brandes, who works in public relations and journalism.

A friend took lessons and got her into it. She's been belly dancing ever since.

“I love it,” she said. “It's such a woman's way of dancing. If you're a woman, you can belly dance. It was created for women, and that's what I like best about it.”

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by Juliana Keeping
Enterprise Reporter
Juliana Keeping is on the enterprise reporting team for The Oklahoman and Keeping joined the staff of The Oklahoman in 2012. Prior to that time, she worked in the Chicago media at the SouthtownStar, winning a Peter Lisagor Award...
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Sunday is the final day to catch Festival of the Arts.

Cafe Stage

11 a.m. A Mirage Dancing Company

Noon Mariachi Lopez

1 p.m. Edgar Cruz — classical guitar

2 p.m. The Talk of the Town Orchestra — instrumental

3 p.m. Highland East JH — choral

4 p.m. Charlie Hill — acoustic

5 p.m. Shortt Dogg — variety

Great Lawn Stage

11 a. m. Range of Motion — dance

Noon Gravity Dance

1 p.m. Sugar Free AllStars — variety

2 p.m. Metropolitan School of Dance

3 p.m. Oklahoma Children's Acting Guild — variety

4 p.m. Velocity Dance Center

5 p.m. OKC Symphonic Band — instrumental

Water Stage

11 a. m. Random Order — rock

Noon ONG — rock

1 p.m. Gotcha Covered — variety

2 p.m. At Long Last — rock/pop

3 p.m. Eden — indie/folk

4 p.m. The Refreshing — pop

5 p.m. Howard Brady Band — rock

Art Moves Stage

11 a.m. Multiple artists — jewelry-making demonstration

Noon Hartel Dance Group — modern dance

1 p.m. Albert Gray Eagle — ceramic flute-making demonstration

4 p.m. Mariachi Orgullo de America — mariachi


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