Each year, Olympia belly-dance troupe Mas Uda donates proceeds from a weekend of workshops and a public performance to a worthy cause. After years benefitting cancer research, Mas Uda made Girl Scouts of Western Washington its focus of generosity beginning in 2015. “That money that we raise,” says Cindy Connolly, troupe member and Girl Scout leader, “goes into the fund for financial aid for Girl Scouts, so it pays for girls’ membership and for girls to go to summer camp and to different programs throughout the [region] that normally their families wouldn’t have money for. … I find this particular event one of my favorites to dance in of the year.” She enjoys watching video of the event with her fellow cast members. “We get to sit around and just enjoy how beautifully everybody performed.”
This year’s events, known collectively as “Weekend at the Oasis,” commence at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 6. That’s when Oregonian guest artist Jen Kent will teach slow, improvised belly dancing. At 1:30 p.m., guest Ruby Beh, an internationally lauded solo performer now living in Oregon, leads a workshop about combos of Turkish moves. After Evening at the Oasis comes Beh’s “Vivacious Veil” workshop at 10 a.m. Sunday and “Kashani” Berube’s “The Art of the Waggle Shimmy” at 1 p.m. All events take place in the Eagles Ballroom.
“We teach the girls a couple of dances,” says Connolly, “so [Evening’s] opening number will be Mas Uda and Girl Scouts, [as will] the opening number of the second act.” They’ll be joined by Nani Olymipa Hula and Nalini of Bellevue troupe Jewels of Fire.
“We have always done the benefit for some organization that benefits kids,” says Berube. “My troupe and I feel it is a great opportunity for the girls to learn, not only dance, but how events happen and how to learn and grow in their roles.” Thus, scouts, in the words of the “break-a-leg” blessing particular to belly dancers, shake a shimmy!
Evening at the Oasis
Eagles Ballroom and Conference Center,
805 Fourth Ave. E, Olympia
7 p.m. Saturday, April 6
$10-$15 (workshops extra)