A zaghareet is a chirp-like, noisy, and loud ululation performed to honor someone. The word zaghareet was generated in the Middle East and is commonly related to forms of Arabic belly dancing. The sounds of many high-pitched zaghareet calls of celebration, Middle Eastern folk music, and loud cheering will be bellowing out of the Carousel Hotel in Ocean City this weekend. The 2nd Annual Art of the Belly festival is set to take place at the oceanfront hotel on 117th Street.
From March 23rd – 25th, hundreds of belly dancers will be celebrating the art of dance, performing practiced routines, attending workshops, and meeting other talented performers. Some of the country's most talented and most sought after instructors will be participating in the 3-day event.
Jessa Satterfield, a Salisbury, MD local, will be performing for Art of the Belly guests at 1:26 pm on Sunday. She says, “I have a second life as a Middle Eastern, Belly Dance, Artist named Luna Scura.” It is recommended that those who wish to watch select performances arrive at least one hour prior to the dance show time.
Photo of Luna Scura by Gary McCready.
Under the name of Luna Scura, Satterfield will be showcasing her belly dance abilities in front of hundreds of dancers and guests from Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and beyond this weekend. She hopes to share the love of an art form and educate people about a form of dance that is highly misunderstood by the general public.
About the event, Luna said, “If you’ve seen Belly Dance before, I think you’ll be delighted by the variety of styles that you’ll see at Art of the Belly. If you haven’t seen Belly Dance before, this will be a great opportunity for you learn about another culture and art form. “
Luna Scura specializes in Egyptian Raqs Sharqi (Oriental Dance) and American Cabaret-style belly dance. Since 2007, she has performed across Delmarva as both a soloist and a member of Arabian Lights Dance Company. Luna has served as President and Artistic Director of the dance company since 2009.
“Arabian Lights is a non-profit dance company that is dedicated to introducing new people to Middle Eastern Dance,” said Luna, “Most people don’t even know that belly dancing originated in the Middle East. We educate people about the art while entertaining them by dancing.”
Beginner Belly Dance classes, taught by Luna, are offered at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center in Salisbury. The 8-week classes are an alternative to traditional gym work-out plans. Luna is hoping that come summer, drop-in classes will be arranged.
Belly dancing offers fun, aerobic, low impact physical activities that result in strengthened muscle groups. Belly dancing may be one form of a workout that results in increased body awareness, self-confidence, and self-expression.
“The only reason I started belly dancing was because I needed some exercise and dislike going to the gym. Belly dance proved to be a creative and expressive exercised based on a historical art form,” said Luna.
More than 100 confident performers will be taking center stage at Art of the Belly. Single performers and belly dance troupes will perform creative choreographed routines, teaching their audience about Middle Eastern Dance, and offering an array of music.
Photo of Luna Scura performing by Janet Haney Beyer.
Art of the Belly is more than just dancing, too. Running in conjunction with the 100 live performances, the Carousel ballroom will also be filled with artist meet-and-greets, workshops, history lessons, and merchandise booths. A Belly Rock band from Pittsburgh, Ishtar, will be performing periodically throughout the event. The 5-piece band – that contains a clarinet, electric bass, dar buka, riq, and electric guitar – specializes in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean folk melodies that are reminiscent of surf rock style.
If you plan to attend Art of the Belly, Luna recommends watching Shiraz, a belly dance instructor from Newark, DE, or Morocco, a master belly dancer from New York, perform. Shiraz is scheduled to dance at 9:47 pm on Friday and Morocco will perform at 10:05 on Saturday night. Be sure to show your appreciation to all dancers with a loud zaghareet!
Tickets are available at the door and prices are as follows:
• Friday, March 23rd – 7 pm – 10 pm – $12
• Saturday, March 24th – 12 pm – 10:15 pm – $15
• Sunday, March 25th – 12 pm – 5 pm – $15
• Seniors and Children (10 & under) are ½ price
For more information about Art of the Belly, Luna Scura, or Arabian Lights Dance Company, visit the links below:
*Featured photograph by Gary McCready.