"Belly dancing is finally taking off," says dancer, teacher and writer Nicole English. Having inherited the dance gene from her mother, Gloria English (a former dancer with the KC Civic Ballet), she grew up watching modern and contemporary dance and picking up Middle Eastern moves. In fusing those influences, she has created a genre that she calls "American-style belly dance." See her at 7:30 p.m. when she and the rest of the performers of Belly Dance United present Evolve at Off Center Theatre in Crown Center (2450 Grand, 816-842-9999). Tickets cost $15. The Pitch spoke with English about her dance odyssey.
The Pitch: How has belly dancing changed over time?
English: Authenticity was an issue when I first started. I learned all the authentic moves from Middle Eastern people themselves, but I also added high kicks, back bends and splits. In the early days, I was criticized for that, and I fell out of favor because I was too innovative. Belly dance flatlined for a while, and then all of a sudden, there was a rebirth. Our own American style has taken root now. We still refer to it as belly dance, but now it may be time for it to establish itself as a legitimate genre. It needs to be taught within the confines of classical dance and get recognition as a complex dance form.
What should people expect from Evolve?
The concept is about transition. ... "Culture Clash" is about different forms of dance integrated into belly dance: Irish, flamenco, jazz, hip-hop. For "War to Peace," I will be a warrior dancing with real swords.