Artist profile: Maggie Rose’s belly dance troupe to perform at Lynden fair

Maggie Roses’ Jewels of the Blue Moon dance Aug. 18 at the Northwest Washington Fair.
Maggie Roses’ Jewels of the Blue Moon dance Aug. 18 at the Northwest Washington Fair. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Maggie Rose discovered her love for belly dancing by what she says was a “happy accident.”

She formed her performance troupe, The Jewels of the Blue Moon, in 2014. It’s a group of intermediate and advanced students whose repertoire ranges from many countries and areas, including Egypt, India, North Africa and Turkey.

Her troupe performs at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 18, at the Northwest Washington Fair’s Charter College Festival Stage in Lynden. More about her: bellinghambellydance.com.

Question: How did you became interested in belly dance?

Answer: In 1997 I went to Pacific Danceworks to enroll in a modern dance class, only to discover a belly dance class in its place. I’d seen belly dancers before, but I had no idea you could take classes. I started taking classes from Shelley Muzzy at Pacific Danceworks and Jennifer McIntyre at All This Jazz dance studio and haven’t stopped since.

Q: Do you do other types of dance, either as a performer or just for fun?

A: Over the years I’ve taken ballet, jazz, hip hop, modern, tap, West African, swing and hula, all of which I loved, but definitely my dance energy has been focused on belly dance, which encompasses a rich diversity of dances from the Middle East and North Africa. Besides belly dancing in my own troupe and in Bastet Baladi, I’m also a member of Portico Dance Company, which performs Bollywood and bhangra dances.

Q: Where have you performed?

A: I’ve performed throughout Washington, Oregon and California. Venues run the gamut from taverns to retirement centers, Downtown Sounds in Bellingham to Northwest Folklife in Seattle, and all points in between, and, of course, my personal favorite, the Northwest Washington Fair.

Q: What are the reactions of the audiences?

A: Belly dancing is mesmerizing and magical, so reactions are usually big smiles of delight sprinkled with wide-eyed expressions of surprise. People who are familiar with belly dancing are ready with cheers and zaghareets (a high-pitched trilling sound). It’s fun!

Q: What will you perform at the fair?

A: This is the fifth year at the fair for The Jewels of the Blue Moon, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. We’ll be serving up a fun, family-friendly performance of swirling veils, scintillating swords, chiming cymbals, and a dash of audience participation, with special guests Anyelle, Lillia and Cara Cressell.

Q: Is the belly-dance community in Bellingham active?

A: We have a thriving belly-dance scene here. You could take a belly dance class nearly every night of the week.

Sonja Hinz, who owns La Vida Dance Studioo, teaches Persian and Tajik on Sundays. Cara Cressell teaches American tribal style Mondays at La Vida. Anyelle teaches Turkish Oriental Tuesdays at Bell Tower Studios. Alyssa Springs teaches fitness-style belly dance Tuesdays at Flow Motion in Ferndale. Dar Whitworth teaches fitness-style belly dance Wednesdays at Love to Move. Katy Houseman teaches tribal fusion Thursdays at La Vida; and I teach American classic, Egyptian raqs sharqi, and various folkloric styles Thursdays at Bellingham Dance Company and La Vida.

Reach Margaret Bikman at 360-715-2273 or margaret.bikman@bellinghamherald.com. Read her columns at bellinghamherald.com/behind-the-scenes.

Maggie Rose and Jewels of the Blue Moon

When: 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug 18.

Where: Northwest Washington Fair, Charter College Festival Stage, just inside gate 1 off of Front Street, Lynden.

Cost: Free, after admission.

Details: http://nwwafair.com, 360-354-4111.