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art, history, culture, belly dance

Tamarind Tribal Belly Dance (900 S. Fifth St., Suite 203) is a performance unit and studio that has provided entertainment, cultural education and training in the dance arts of Asia and the Middle East for nearly 15 years.

As we gear up for Tamarindo’s next public event, founder Super Beth reflects on her contribution to Milwaukee’s dance scene and how her classes help her students self-image.

How does a Midwesterner like you get into belly dancing and turn your passion for the arts into a business? How long have you been in business in Tamarindo?

When I moved to Milwaukee, I took up belly dancing on a whim, looking for an opportunity to meet new people.

How is what you offer at Tamarind different from what other bellydance studios publish?

There are very few belly dance studios these days. If you can find one, they tend to specialize in a single style of bellydance.

What is Tamarind’s layout and floor plan like and how many students can it accommodate at one time?

The studio is 1200 square feet with a small kitchen and changing room and can accommodate approximately 20 students per class. Our shows in the studio usually consist of an audience of about 30 people.


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How is belly dancing generally integrated into Milwaukee’s arts and cultural scene?

The tamarind belly dance has been a local staple since its inception. He has performed at several local events including Bastille Days, Wisconsin State Fair, Summerfest and South Shore Farmers Market, just to name a few. Tamarind events strive to educate about the art form, history and cultural context of belly dancing.

What are some common misconceptions about belly dancing you may have come across?

The biggest question we face is whether we are cultural appropriators or appreciators. I acknowledge our cultural and historical roots through education.

What changes might you have made since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States, and how close are Tamarind’s operations to pre-pandemic normalcy today?

returned to normal. Teachers can impose their own restrictions. In my class, I have no requirements. People can choose to do what they feel comfortable with.

Want to explain what Hafla is and what’s going on in your studio?

Hafla is the Indian word for what Americans call party: dancing, socializing, and having fun.

What is the age range of your students and how do the lessons you offer vary based on the age of a particular dancer?

Students range from 6 to 60 or more. He has one class for toddlers on Saturdays. The rest of the classes are all ages including teens.

What is the most fulfilling aspect of your job?

Watch a person who lacks self-confidence grow in self-acceptance.

What do you think the future holds for you and Tamarind?

I don’t know; the paths are infinite.

Tamarind’s next Hafla will be a zodiac-themed 14th anniversary celebration on Friday, August 12th at 6:30pm. Super Beth and other dancers will be performing. For more information on the event and Tamarind, visit his website at: tamarindbellydance.com.

Jamie Lee Lake

Jamie Lee Rake is a Waupun, Wisconsin-based freelance writer whose extensive hobbies and research into music and food has allowed her to write about exactly those things for Shepherd Express.

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August 10, 2022

10:14 am

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