The Gilded Serpent presents...
Belly Dance in Reno … You Bet!
Janie “Jenee” Midgley

Can you find Belly Dance in Reno, Nevada? YOU BET! You won’t find Middle Eastern restaurants with dancing like they have in many cities, though.  In the past, these restaurants have had a great deal of trouble staying afloat long enough to get a steady clientele. Reno is a melting pot of nationalities, with no large communities of any one group. The population is still very transient, with
summer workers in the casinos and college students in the winter. And of course, any restaurant must always compete with the multitude of casino restaurants.


Belly Dancers in Reno have always had to make our own dance opportunities. The dancers tried to band together in a guild years ago, but most found that far too confining for their entrepreneurial spirits. We work best as friends - each troupe and/or teacher makes their own opportunity and then invites the other dancers to join them. Presently, on the weekends, there is late night dancing at the

Hookah Lounge, which is attached to the Bangkok Cuisine (a Thai food restaurant); Kami and Jalilah Mirella perform there. Every other month, there is an Open Floor at Sticky Fingers Pizza Bar hosted by Chris Proebstel. Sticky Fingers has been our only long-running (nearly 10 years), regular dance spot. The owners have been loyal to us and we are loyal to them. There are sporadic dance opportunities at Waldon’s Coffee Shop, organized by Rabia, and the Mexican Plaza Restaurant, organized by Nahlah, which we are hoping will become permanent. Reno is among the fastest-growing cities and the dancers are always trying to get their foot in the door. Paid gigs and Belly Grams are still few and far between. The dancers who do grams and parties still have to educate their patrons about what Belly Dance is and is not. We perform where ever we can; you might very well see Belly Dancers at an Asian Festival or Cinco de Mayo. Dancers are so much a part of the Virginia City Camel Races that they are part of the advertising, thanks to Yolanda Sultana and the Babylon Babes. It wouldn’t be Earth Day or Reno’s Artown Celebration without the Asha Belly Dancers. And of course, there is the High Desert Hip Fest in May and Wiggles of the West Belly Dance Contest in July, which are both sponsored by the Two Old Bags.

Rabia & Ya Habibi
Nevadans are very tolerant of new people and new things and they always have been. City, county, and state agencies treat us with the same respect they give any business people. No hotels canceled our events after the September 11 tragedy or even considered it — in fact, I have found that they actively court our events. We find this same attitude from Elko to Lake Tahoe to Garnerville. Wherever we dance, the sound of a zaghareet or zills will bring a happy and appreciative crowd.


Nevada Belly Dancers are a very welcoming and friendly group. We love to have visiting dancers at our events and we welcome new dancers and teachers with open arms. Just to confirm this, I recently interviewed our 3 newest teachers: Rabia, Ireena, and Nahlah. They all said the same thing:  “Reno is a very friendly and welcoming community”. They were surprised at just how welcoming. To promote even more communication amongst ourselves and with visitors, we now have a regional web site for Northern Nevada, The need for more communication was a big concern of all the teachers and troupe leaders I interviewed.


You can learn Belly Dance almost anywhere in the greater Reno/Sparks area. Bianca and Nahlah both teach at Reno Parks & Rec, while Saahira teaches at Sparks Parks & Rec. Minya bint Tahari and Rabia teach at Truckee Meadows Community College. Rabia teaches at the Conservatory of Movement. Kami teaches at Fitness Evolution. Saahira teaches at Northern Nevada Training Academy. Nahlah teaches at Dancin’. Carolina teaches at Studio D. Jenee teaches privates & coaches in her studio/shop, Designs By Janie. Ireena and Yasmina la Roche teach privately in their homes. Yolanda Sultana teaches at Brewery Arts and Starr teaches at Positive Energy - both are in Carson City.

You can also shop for Belly Dance items while you are in town!  The Melting Pot on Virginia Street sells many BD items along with an eclectic mix of goodies, while Designs By Janie sells, by appointment, from her shop in Lemmon Valley (a northern suburb).
So you see, there is an active and friendly community of Belly Dancers in Reno. Come join us sometime!

Have a comment? Send us a letter!
Check the "Letters to the Editor" for other possible viewpoints!

Ready for More?
more by Janie
7-12-03 Communication + Cooperation = A Problem Solved By Janie "Jenee" Midgley
Once upon a time, two events were created in two different states.

2-14-03 High Desert Hip Fest in Reno by Janie “Jenee” Midgley
Fahtiem was wonderful and really put the workshop attendees through their paces, but they loved every moment.

6-28-02 Workshops- Pandora Opens the Box! by Janie, Ann, Andrea & Heather
Two differing views of a Las Vegas dance workshop introduced by an author of a book on the subject

3-27-03 Belly Dance in Brazil by Thania
...they are trying to organize a Code of Ethics



 Gilded Serpent
 Cover page, Contents, Calendar Comics Bazaar About Us Letters to the Editor Ad Guidelines Submission Guidelines