Belly dancing event to help humane society

Belly dancing event to help humane society

URBANA — A local troupe of belly dancers will host a fundraising event for the Champaign County Humane Society from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at The Iron Post, 120 S. Race St.

The Gypsy Hips Belly Dance Troupe and other dancers will present an afternoon of belly dance, billing it as "Shake your tail to save a puppy." The Gypsy Hips are grounded in Middle Eastern styles of dance but are inspired by other cultural dance forms as well.

"We tend to be creative and perform belly dance fusion pieces that combine the style and techniques of belly dance with other dance forms," said member Ellen Kirsanoff, development manager at the Urbana Park District. "For example, at Bellies for Life, which was just two weeks ago, we did a flamenco dance. As Oksana Whitsitt likes to say, 'With the Gypsy Hips you never know what to expect.'"

The Gypsy Hips, who practice weekly at Whitsitt's home, perform as soloists and ensembles, incorporating veils, swords, Isis wings and fans. The troupe calls its performances "family rated entertainment with plenty of audience participation."

The troupe performs at events such as parties, weddings, concert venues, nightclubs, restaurants, corporate events, fundraisers and festivals.