Ohio & Michigan's Oldest and Largest Latino Newspaper

Since 1989




    media kit    ad specs    classified ad rates    about us    contact us


La Prensa Home

Upcoming Events

La Prensa Photos

La Prensa Links

LatinoMix Radio

La Prensa Scholarships

Directory of Latino Businesses and Services

La Prensa Obituaries

La Prensa Classifieds

Past La Prensa Stories

Submit a Letter to the Editor

La Liga de Las Americas

Bellydance Superstars dazzle Cleveland

By Arooj Ashraf, La Prensa Correspondent


“This is not a hoochie couchie dance,” said Jillina, the chorographer and director of Bellydance Superstars as she described the delicate, sensual movements she had been performing minutes earlier. Standing on a small tabla drum she rendered the crowd breathless with her phenomenal control and exhibition of abdominal muscles.


The Bellydance Superstars performed at the Allen Theatre in Playhouse Square on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2007. The large crowed of more than 500 absorbed the show and energetically stormed merchandise bazaar to buy jewelry, hip scarves, and belts.


A team of 11 gorgeous women, the Bellydance Superstars, hail from different ethnic backgrounds brought together by the love of dancing. Since forming in 2003 the group has performed 500 concerts in 18 countries, more than 60 television shows to over 100 million viewers, and their popularity is soaring. For good reason too.

Sonia, Zoe, Jillina


Their performances are a melting pot of world cultures. It feels like a grand world tour, the music, classical Indian tunes, Balkan to reggae tones, transports you to Arabia, India, Latin America, Hawaii, Barcelona, and numerous other exotic locations in-between.


“We are a very eclectic group,” said Jillina. The exotic costumes, which the dancers create themselves, enhance the cultural elements. The range of belly dancing movements is simply jaw dropping.


The word belly dancing conjures images of shimming, swiveling hips, elegant arms come to mind. Not the five minute spinning Jamilla entertained in. Her lean figure clad in baggy pants transformed into a spinning top. Then there is Zoe so at peace with her tribal fusion style that can be described as an edgy robotic yet still elegant form of belly dancing. Tribal fusion belly dancing is a U.S.-American phenomenon that shows influence of hip hop incorporated with belly dance techniques. The dark almost gothic make up and rugged costumes give an additional mystique to this performance.

“Belly dancing is traditionally a solo performance,” said Jillina, but the Superstars bring their individuality to the group during synchronized segments. Whether it’s balancing a stick on their heads while shimming across the stage or forming a peacock showing of its royal blue feathers their movements are mesmerizing. Solo performances are accompanied by percussionists Issam Houshan on the tabla and have the crowd craving for more.


Sonia, especially, has an enchanting quality that keeps your eyes fixed on her as she glides smoothly from routine to routine. “She’s like butter!” exclaimed Jillina in an exaggerated Italian accent while describing her beloved co-stars fluid movements. Sonia’s Mexican ancestry drew her to Mexican folkloric, or classical ballet, modern and jazz dance and later trained in Polynesian styles. “I didn’t really get into dance until I was in college,” she said. The sweet and subtle smile that plays on her lips as she dances draws the audience in and quietly announces her love of this beautiful craft she has mastered. “I can’t pick a favorite,” Sonia said.

Jillina who has traveled extensively throughout Latin America credits the novela El Clón for the infusion of belly dancing into Latin culture. The science fiction soap opera features a Brazilian Muslim visiting Morocco who falls in love with a traveling companion whose twin is tragically killed but preserved and cloned by a mad scientist.


Shakira of Colombia has also added to the belly dancing Latin-infusion with a variety of hits including “Ojos Así” and “Hips Don’t Lie.” Shakira’s father is Lebanese; Shakira’s birth name is Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll.    

Performing in Cleveland’s theatres is a grand experience for Jillina, “I feel like I have arrived,” she said. Jillina said the Bellydance Superstars do more than just entertain, “Our goal is to educate people about this beautiful art form that is very respectable and pleasing,” she said. The dancers have instructional DVD and host workshops all year round.


Cathi Taucher traveled from East Palestine, Ohio to see the Superstars in action. A belly dance instructor herself, Taucher is an avid Jillina fan and studies her instructional DVDs. “I look up to Jillina as an idol,” Taucher said adding that people who couldn’t make it really missed a fabulous show.


For more information on Bellydance Superstars visit: http://bellydancesuperstars.com









Web laprensa





«Tinta con sabor»     Ink with flavor!



Spanglish Weekly/Semanal

Your reliable source for current Latino news and events providing English and Spanish articles


Culturas Publication, Inc. d.b.a. La Prensa Newspaper

© Copyrighted by  Culturas Publication, Inc. 2005