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October 6, 2011 | 12:00 a.m. CST
In the days of Buffalo Bill and Wyatt Earp, in the desert town of Tombstone, Ariz., the first American belly dancer, “Little Egypt,” swiveled to the enchanting rhythm of an exotic Egyptian dance at the infamous Bird Cage Theatre.Related Articles
Now, far away in both space and time, Kandice Grossman, 35, owner of Moon Belly Dance Studio in Columbia, Mo., is trying to revive the atmosphere of Little Egypt’s dancing stage and recapture the dance that began 200 years ago.
On Artrageous Friday this week, Grossman and her troupe of belly dancers will be offering a performance of this Egyptian tradition in the role of Little Egypt.
“It is basically a beautiful art form and expressive dancing from the Middle East and North Africa that dates back thousands of years,” Grossman said.
The characteristics that set Egyptian dancing apart are its use of finger cymbals and the intricate footsteps, Grossman said, and the sound of the finger cymbals reminds the audience of ancient times.
“Most likely, Little Egypt would have played them,” Grossman said.
Grossman pointed out that although she has no way of knowing Little Egypt’s exact choreography, she tries to recreate it in ways that are uniquely American.
“As American belly dancers, we borrow various footsteps from around the world,” she said.
The show begins 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7 at the Moon Belly Dance Studio on 300 Saint James St., Suite 101 in the North Village Arts District of Columbia, Mo.