25 August

Maria And The Beledi Belly Dancers Are A Hit At The Bennington Art Museum

by Jon Katz

Maria and her belly dancers performed two sets at the Bennington Art Museum yesterday evening; I was in charge of taking videos of the performance. It was a beautiful, remarkable performance for Maria and her fellow dancers.

You can see three of the videos from the performance here, YouTube is not letting me post them here, and I’m too tired to deal with it tonight. You can see the videos here on my channel.

Maria joined the group five years ago, surprising both of us.

She has loved every minute of it, gone to meetings and rehearsals every week, and enjoyed every one of them. The dancers are close; they are generous and kind to each other.

Maria loves dressing up for the dances – her creativity comes into play – and I’ve rarely seen anyone work so hard to learn something utterly foreign to her.  She says there’s a Drag Queen somewhere inside of her.

This was the last thing I would ever have imagined her doing when we first met, and it turned out to be one of the best things she has done in my life with her. The women in the group are extraordinary people, and the best of the women divine.

The dancers are in sync, supportive of each other, and generous. The dancing was surprisingly touching, graceful, and quite beautiful. I was deeply impressed. Good for them. Good for her.

The audience loved the dancing. The group danced twice – an hour between performances – and nobody left until the second set was over.

The dancers are strong and loyal; they look like a school of fish or a flock of birds moving together. To them,  belly dancing is about much more than dancing.

I felt sweaty and weak towards the end, but I had no trouble spending the afternoon at the dances.

Maria was heroic in performing so soon after being sick. Her teacher Julz Irons, an excellent teacher, and leader, told me she could hardly believe how well Maria had done in the group starting from scratch.

Jules is a successful businesswoman,  chef, and good blogger; her compelling and unique blog is Julzie Style.

You can see the dancing videos on my channel here.



I wish I could write more tonight, but I’m going to bed. I wasn’t sure if I could get through it, but I am very glad I did. I was fine.

I wouldn’t have missed it for the world, and no illness named Covid was going to stop me.

I’ll post more photos and hopefully a video tomorrow. I took portrait photos of each of the dancers and will post them in the morning.


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