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Wednesday, May 16, 2001

HIGH NOTES

Belly up to the dance floor


While many hip urban types still seem to view belly-dancing as kitsch, they've probably never been lucky enough to experience the real thing. At its best, Oriental dance is a sublime fusion of body and rhythm, where the dancers allow the sound to ripple through their limbs with mesmerizing grace.

Mishaal

It's possible to see solo dancers perform perfunctorily in many local Turkish eateries, but this Sunday sees a belly-dance extravaganza at Roppongi's Oasis, with a bevy of Tokyo's best dancers (and a few from overseas) slated to perform to live music by Sevda, played on oud, saz, darbukka and frame drums.

The event is organized by Mishaal, a lithe dancer with 15 years' experience, who is regularly booked all over the globe, including Istanbul's top nightclubs. She notes that "the whole idea of this event is to raise the standard of what belly-dancing is, to highlight its elegant, artistic side. A stage doesn't show the beauty of the dance, but this venue is intimate enough that you can see the subtle beauty of the dancers."

Highlights will include Miho, a dancer known for her appearances with the band Tribal Circus, and Shala & Lale, a duo whose twinned movements exhibit a surreal beauty. Belly dance is experiencing a surge of popularity among young women in Tokyo, so tickets are going fast; reservations are recommended. The dance floor will be open to all between acts, so make sure your hips are loose.

Tickets: 5,000 yen, including meze, a buffet of Middle Eastern dips and appetizers. For reservations and event information, call Oasis at (03) 5411-2419. For bookings and lessons, e-mail Mishaal at mishaal@hpo.net


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