Of Bellydancing and Adventure

I leaned against the wall of a small teahouse on the outskirts of Marrakech, taking in the exotic locale, the musicians and bellydancers…

Well, sort of. The location was actually a vegetarian cafe – Zenith – on Pittsburgh’s Southside.  The musicians and dancers were very real, though.


My wife and I, neither of whom bellydance (Yes, men do it too!) or play instruments, really enjoyed it.  The occasion was Jalsah Pittsburgh.  What’s that, you ask?

“The Jalsah is a Middle Eastern music event that invites all musicians (regardless of instrument) and drummers to sit in and play Middle Eastern music for open floor dancing all night. This is a participatory community event designed to bring together dancers and musicians inspired by Middle Eastern music. Experienced….inexperienced…all are welcome! For those folks who wish to sit and listen, chairs will be provided.”

My son even got into the act, and the dancers were gracious enough to teach him:


One of the organizers was the writer of “Your Inner Vagabond” (check out the blog, now!) and his wife.  They also provided the excellent coffee.  The cafe au lait was awesome! Snacks were provided by Zenith.  Zenith is an amazing place.  It has an eclectic decor with stuff from just about everywhere.

We met a lot of neat people, and I know I’m going to miss some, but here’s a few:

AJ and Andrew of Your Inner Vagabond

Claire and Berna of Khafif

Sterling of Yoga and Bellydance


Sue, Becky, and Dur

The musicians of Ishtar 

And I believe I saw Olivia of Zafira as well.

Guests included Kristina Melike, Carmine Guida, and Umut Yasmut.

Good stuff!  The event is held every few months or so here in Pittsburgh, and each of the artists has their own schedule.  I also would put in a plug for the Globalista Jam being held May 18, which will feature artists from all kinds of traditions, such as Irish dance and of course, bellydance.

Pittsburgh has definitely got a thriving art scene.  Get some culture and try something new!


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