Hafla, from the Arabic, means get-together, a party or ceremonial gathering, staged for an intimate number of friends or whole crowd. At 7:30 p.m. Friday, August 28, a hafla is happening at Arts Society in Kingston, one that brings the Ishtar Vintage Bellydance Band to town to perform and accompany exotically costumed dancers. In the Middle East, bellydancing has two distinct social contexts — as a folk or social dance and as a performance art. Both aspects come into play when groups of dancers join in improvisational “tribal style” dancing, an entertainment style gaining in popularity with Hudson Valley bellydancers.
Once voted as Pittsburgh’s Best Underground Band, Ishtar Vintage Bellydance Band turns out its own interpretation of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean folk music, fusing traditional mid-20th century bellydancing songs with elements of surf rock. Thus, BellyRock evolved, and has spread from the east coast to Anchorage, Alaska, being played for world renowned dancers at bellydance performances and festivals everywhere. Comprised of Melissa Murphey on clarinet, Jeff Chmielarski on electric bass, Ian Green on percussion, Amy Green on saxophone, Tom Estlack on guitar, with Julian Broughton on darbuka, and Ayleeza Quatrocchi on riq, the band transports dancers and listeners alike to another place altogether.
Now Ishtar will play at ASK behind some of the best bellydancers in the Hudson Valley — a lineup that includes Angelique, Ayleeza, Alexia, Donna Eileen, Donna Barrett, Reshkiga, Shari, Willow, Francesca Cerame and Andriel Tribal Energies. Audience members can expect to be mesmerized by the beauty and grace of the dance as the band plays the beloved favorites of Turkey, Greece, Egypt, Lebanon and the Balkans. Open floor dance at the end of the evening; don’t miss this rare appearance of Ishtar in Kingston!
Hudson Valley Hafla with Ishtar, Friday, August 28, 7:30 p.m., $15 for adults/$5 for kids under 12 (https://ishtarbellydanceband.ticketleap.com/hudsonvalleyhafla/dates/Aug-28-2015_at_0730PM), Arts Society of Kingston, 97 Broadway, Kingston; 845-338-0331, https://www.askforarts.org.