Dangerous Feats of Flame and Sultry Tribal Dance

Welcome to the online home of Dante’s Gypsy Circus, a collaborative of dancers, artists and entertainers who share a passion for fire, performing dangerous feats with beautiful flare.

Use the tabs at the top of this page to learn about who we are, how to contact us, and more. Scroll down or take a peek to the right to read our blog, and make yourself at home. Dante’s Gypsy Circus was in full force from 2007 until 2013. Members of our ensemble are still available for hire for fire dancing performances or classes.

New Endeavors
Recently, several of our dancers have created a brand new performing arts group called Hathor’s Flame. Catch their next show — stay in-the-know by liking Hathor’s Flame on Facebook! And, another member is in the process of writing a creative fiction novel based on her experience as a fire eater and tribal belly dancer. Follow Cherie Dawn on Twitter and visit her fire arts blog if you love to read about fire, dance, and passion.

Dante's Gypsy Circus at Carnivolution, New Year's Eve | cincinnati entertainmentPhoto courtesy of Matt Sprinsky

Eclectic Vendors at the Accidental Circus Show

We’ve been hard at work preparing for the upcoming Accidental Circus show, to be held May 18 (workshops on the 19th). Before the show, and during intermission we’re proud to share the wares of the following artists and vendors. Click here to find out more details about this event and to reserve your tickets – hurry…they’re selling fast!

May 18 Vendors @ Circus Mojo include:

  • Accidental Circus: All kinds of goodies
  • Chimera Gothic
  • Circus Mojo: T-shirts, spinning plates, and more
  • Dante’s Gypsy Circus: T-shirts, bumper stickers and more
  • Goblin Road: Handcrafted Masks and Dolls
  • Hoop Roots, Inc: Hula Hoops by Terri Burch
  • Lady Creepshow Couture: Custom and handmade hair fascinators, hats, flowers, hair bows, Zombie t-shirts, plugs, mini top hats, necklaces.
  • Margaret May Weierman: Handcrafted macrame hemp & glass beaded jewelry and other handmade glass items
  • Sylvan Creations: Gemstone jewelry inspired by history, fantasy, and imagination!

and more! See you freaks there!

Stage Names for Belly Dancers

Dante's Gypsy Circus, Ladi Blaze, fire fan dancer, stage names for performing artistsA stage name is a fun way to bring out your alter ego and bring pizzazz and a little mystery to your performance. Some stage names are created by the owner and some are given by others. As for me, I’ve been called several names (some I won’t mention) but the one that stuck was Blaze. The name Blaze was given to me by fellow coworkers well before my career in the fire arts. I had a passion for hair color and for several years in my 20s had a hair style that involved sharp shades of red and blond that reminded my friends of an open flame. This nickname followed me for years, so when Lauren and I started the troupe  it seemed only appropriate that Blaze be the name I would use.

We wanted the troupe to have a circus-like feel and felt that nicknames would add to the character of the performance. We sat down one day with Tommy and David (two of Dante’s original members) and picked out the name for the troupe as well as ourselves, so that Lauren could create the website and documents to get us started and make us an official group. I believe that stage names are a fun way to add ambiance to the stage and create a well-rounded fantasy and show for the viewers. Besides that— “Lady Blaze the fire eating belly dancer” has a much better ring than “Andrea the fire eating belly dancer!” ~Ladi Blaze

Dante's Gypsy Circus, Dex, fire poi spinner, stage names for performing artists

Photo courtesy of David Scorcher / MetroMix

There are those who call me…Dex. 😉

I think a stage name allows you to express a part of yourself that may not be seen or shown in day-to-day life and that’s why I use one. It reminds me of actors in the theater: they’re on stage as characters, not themselves.

Speaking of theater, that’s where my stage name came from. In high school, instead of Danielle people would call me D or Lil’ D. In one particular play I had to wear a spandex body suit. My best friend, Eric, thought that was quite comical and started calling me “Spandex” which he shortened to “Dex.”

When it came time to choose my stage name for Dante’s I thought back on those times and it made me smile. Eric passed away several years ago and I chose Dex in homage to him. ~ Dex

Dante's Gypsy Circus, Megan, tribal fusion belly dancer, stage names for performing artists

Photo courtesy Kate Lawniczak

I chose a stage name to create a feeling that my dance persona was exotic and from a far-away place. I found the name Azara (usually pronounced Ashara) on a website listing Arabic, Farsi, and Turkish names and their meanings. Azara means fire in Farsi; I chose this because I wanted to dance with fire. I had also decided to use Azara with the z sound to make it somewhat American since I was performing an American version of a Middle Eastern art. The name never stuck, but years later I have a baby boy and have named him Asher, which is a name that originates in the Middle East and sounds similar to the stage name I choose years ago. ~ Megan

Dante's Gypsy Circus, Cherie Dawn, stage names for performing artistsThis topic came up because a friend of mine recently asked me personally for advice on how to choose a name. Mine was easy, since it’s my birth name; I especially feel close to it because of the reference to our sun, that glorious star of fire.

I asked my friend, Lauren (of Circus Mojo and Nocturnal Arts) what has inspired her to search for a name. “Well, I’ve been considering it for a little while now, not only as a mechanism to stand out that makes me more easily remembered, but also to create more of an alter ego persona that I feel like will help me more easily adapt characteristics of the characters I want to portray when I perform,” Lauren said. “Because although I’m always me, there isn’t a library, doctor’s office or even address with whom I don’t share the exact same name.”

I thank Lauren for inspiring this as a topic of conversation! As you read this, what are your thoughts on having a stage name? Pros? Cons? How did you find yours? Comment away…
Cherie Dawn

Taking the Stage with Tribal Fusion Belly Dance in Dallas

It didn’t take long for our dear Britney to find a group to make her feel at home when she landed in Dallas recently for an internship. We’d like to thank the Circus Freaks for welcoming her, and for inviting her to their Open Stage recently, where she performed tribal fusion belly dance.

tribal fusion belly dance solo during Circus Freaks open stage in Dallas, Texas
Image courtesy of Alicia H

“I applaud the Circus Freaks and Creative Motion for creating something huge here,” said Britney. “They’ve attracted a community of artists, new and experienced alike, to collaborate and improve their skills together. Everyone has something new and different to offer and everyone feels free and encouraged to try new things.

“Just in the past few weeks I’ve been able to discover so much more fun in hooping because of the fellow hoopers here and their encouraging environment. I would love to bring even a small part of this group’s spirit back to Cincinnati to share with everyone.

“I encourage anyone in the Dallas area to visit one of the Circus Freaks’ many events to make new friends and be inspired!”

Click here to watch video of Britney’s performance, along with “moralistic hallucinations” and more entertainment, courtesy of Circus Freaks.

Personally, I’m inspired by Britney’s initiative of showing up in a new city, finding like-minded people, and jumping into the fun. Get inspiration on how and why you should put yourself out there as well! ~Cherie Dawn

Fusion Belly Dancer Ariellah Coming to Cincinnati!

Zahara’s Tangled Web is proud to announce a weekend of workshops with the amazing Ariellah, March 30 through April 1, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio (exact location to be announced).

“Ariellah’s dance training goes beyond belly dance, and her artistry goes beyond the boundaries of any single belly dance style,” said Zahara. ” I love her attention to technical detail and her willingness to push the boundaries of belly dance with her beautifully dark imagery.”

fusion belly dance, Ariellah, Zahara's Tangled Web

Don’t miss this chance to study with one of the best in dark fusion and tribal fusion belly dance! NOTE: the minimum number of participants must be met by February 1 for the event to proceed.

Workshops include: Master Class; Conditioning and Layering; Darker Fusion Belly Dance Combinations and Choreography; Creepy Complex Combos; Drawing Down The Moon: Drawing Inward, Reflecting Outward, Building Expression and Cultivating Creativity.

And, don’t miss the Saturday evening performance: “Gods & Goddesses Showcase” to be held in Cincinnati; exact location to be announced.
8-11 PM, doors open 7 PM
$13 in advance, $18 at the door
Visit www.zaharastangledweb.com for more details and to reserve your show/workshop tickets.

Taking  a workshop? Read about the Benefits of Journaling for Dancers before you go.

The Accidental Circus On East Coast Tour

Press Release from the Accidental Circus:

The Accidental Circus On East Coast Tour in January, 2012

How do you celebrate your engagement and 10th anniversary in one year? If you’re fire eating jester Paolo Garbanzo and torch-singing belly dancer Onça O’Leary, you jump in your vardo with eight international vaudeville stars armed with spankin’ new acts of fame and fortune and bring the party to every town you meet.

Join The Accidental Circus for an evening of Darwinism in Action & Luscious Cabaret. Collaborators since 2002, they are once again on the warpath to hilarity, touring in January of 2012. As ever, this show promises danger and humor, beauty and song, and weird social commentary ~ all in the first act.

Accidental Circus, New Orleans, Mezmer Society


Paolo Garbanzo, Jester of England’s Muncaster Castle.
Mab Just Mab, DC’s Own Sideshow Girl.
The Mezmer Society, Asheville, NC.
Sidetracked Theatre, Philadelphia, PA.
Darbuka Dave, Huntsville, AL.


Ringleader & Juggler extraordinaire Paolo Garbanzo, fresh from filming for his new reality TV series “World Wide Show-off”, is the first & only American to be an official Jester of a European castle. Touring Europe and the US year-round he presents original comedic material in three languages. Historical, hysterical, & interactive, Paulo leads the AC as Benevolent Dictator for Life.

Mab Just Mab, DC’s Sideshow Girl, combines artistry and human endurance. A glasswalker, escape artist, and world record holding blockhead, she is the tenured freak at DC’s notorious sideshow venue & museum, The Palace of Wonders. Mab has been featured in several documentaries and books on the sideshow revival, and is a pillar of the Cheeky Monkey Sideshow.

The Mezmer Society demonstrates to the general public that, after a 60 year hiatus, it is once more permissible to dance to an accordion. Hard-riding highwaymen of mayhem, they missionize the Mezmer gospel throughout the States. Bellydance, torchsongs, & sinister accordionism are blended at high speed into a tall, cool, glass of delicious & intoxicating performance.

Sidetracked’s two-woman bowls the crowd over with high-integrity, rapid-fire, two-person comedic storytelling. They’re rejuvenate the classic Vaudeville genre… with badass sensibility.

Darbuka Dave is the Juggernaut of Comedy, a genetic freak, & a brilliant percussionist who travels the country, teaching & performing to thrilled & nauseated audiences of every caliber.

Bring your loved ones to dazzle them. Bring your enemies because, well, anything is possible when 5 knives are in the air.


Dante’s Gypsy Circus is pleased to announce that we’re hosting the Accidental Circus during their 2012 Tour. Join us Friday, May 18 at Circus Mojo for an evening that is almost more fun than the law allows. Click here for details.

Thank You, WordPress | A Look At Our 2011 Online Statistics

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,400 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 40 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Where We’ve Been | Past Performances

Dante's Gypsy Circus at the Keshvar Project Supah Hafla 2010 | belly dance

Photo courtesy of Eric Greiner

“We here at College Hill Coffee Co. love having Dante’s perform. Our patrons enjoy the dance and the very kind nature of all of the dancers. Their professionalism is noticed and appreciated! The show is always unique and entertaining. Truly an art form that a broad audience can enjoy.” – Tina Stoeberl, Owner
College Hill Coffee Co. And Casual Gourmet

We love to travel, but we also love our Cincinnati! On this page, you can see the variety of venues at which we’ve belly danced/performed. Most are in the Queen City, unless noted otherwise.

  • Accidental Circus, at Circus Mojo
  • Tribal Night at the Leapin’ Lizard Gallery
  • Circus Mojo / Macy’s Arts Sampler
  • Tribal Stomp VI with Mayan Ruins and Zahara at the Cincinnati Yoga School
  • Shiny Old Soul CD Release Party
  • Carnivolution, a New Year’s Eve Party
  • Ludlow Christmas Walk with Circus Mojo
  • TEDx Cincy, an independently organized TED Talks event
  • The Coconut Bangers Ball featuring Crazy Legs w/Perfect Norm, Shiny Old Soul, Dub Locks, Mavis Concave, and Dante’s Gypsy Circus, Covington, KY
  • Private party in Alexandria, KY
  • Zahara’s Carnival Noir and the Bellydance Superstars’ Club Bellydance at the Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center, Covington, KY
  • Cirque du Yelp at the Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center, Covington, KY; Click here to read the raving reviews of this evening.
  • Knights Tournament at the historic Loveland Castle, with Mayan Ruins, Loveland, OH
  • Tribotica / Tribal/Goth Fusion at Darkotica with Mayan Ruins, Zahara, and Loren the Black
  • Feywill Music Festival, Covington, KY
  • Keshvar Project’s Tribal Cafe / Hot Summer Hafla, Newport, KY
  • Midsummer Masquerade, Loveland, OH
  • Highland (Kentucky) Renaissance Festival with Tree of Life World Music, Eminence, KY
  • Northside Fourth of July Rock-n-Roll Carnival. Click here to see pics.
  • Tribal Stomp with Mayan Ruins at the Cincinnati Yoga School
  • Tribal Night at the Leapin’ Lizard, Covington, KY
  • College Hill Coffee Company with Tree of Life World Music, April 2011
  • Private Party / Benefit, April 2011
  • Om Cafe with Mayan Ruins, February 2011

2010 and earlier

  • Grants Lick Elementary School 2010 Cultural Fair in Grants Lick, Kentucky
  • Tribal Belly Dancing with Tree of Life World Music at College Hill Coffee Company and Casual Gourmet
  • Llanfair Retirement Community
  • June 2010 private wedding in Goshen, OH
  • Mayan Ruins and Dante’s Gypsy Circus at Aquarius Star and Om Cafe
  • July 2010 private wedding reception at Pyramid Hill Sculpture Garden
  • Queen City Cabaret: Masked Cabaret at the Historic Loveland Castle Loveland, OH. Click here for pics.
  • July 2010 private party
  • 2010 Light the Night benefit hafla in Newport, KY
  • September 2010 Tribal Night at Leapin’ Lizard in Covington, KY
  • September 2010 Private Party in Newton, OH
  • Kentucky Renaissance Fair 2010, 2011 with Tree of Life World Music in Eminence, KY
  • 2010 Carnival Noir at the Leapin’ Lizard in Covington, KY
  • After-Party Bash at BoMA, Columbus, OH, March 2009
  • Private Party / Benefit in Lexington, KY
  • Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School, July 2009
  • HD Beans and Bottles with Tree of Life World Music
  • Carnivolution 2009 at The Mockbee; and Carnivolution 2010 at MayDay Cafe
  • Pagan Pride Day, August 2009
  • Loveland Concert in the Park with Tree of Life World Music, August 2009
  • Art Academy of Cincinnati Carniball at Game Day Cafe
  • Cincinnati Witches Ball at Southgate House in Newport, KY
  • Ohio Valley Tribal Stomp 2009
  • The Knights Tournament 2009 at the Historic Loveland Castle in Loveland, OH
  • 2009 Covington Pagan Pride Day in Goebels Park, Covington, KY
  • Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School in Covington, KY
  • 2009 Loveland Concert in the Park, Nisbet Park in Loveland, OH
  • Northside Fourth of July Rock & Roll Carnival 2009 at Jacob Hoffner Park
  • Vivid Variety and Burlesque Show, March 2008 and November 2007
  • Hysteria and the Hyperdome in Columbus, OH
  • Cincinnati Reds Opening Day Parade, March 2008
  • Keshvar Project 2008 Supah Hafla
  • Carnivolution 2008 at The Mockbee
  • Celebrate as One, event at Fountain Square, May 2008
  • Enchanted Ball 2008 at Cincinnati Music Hall
  • 2008 Witches Ball at the Southgate House, Newport, KY
  • Funke Fired Arts, part of the 20/20 Arts Festival
  • The Carnival of Evil 2008 – Dreadful Playthings at Leapin Lizard Gallery, Covington, KY
  • Village Market Festival at the Center for World Rhythms and Movement, September 2008
  • Northside Fourth of July Rock ‘n Roll Carnival 2008 at Hoffner Park
  • Final Friday w/ Mayan Ruins at Aquarius Star
  • Scorched Nuts 2008 / Ohio’s Regional Burning Man at Hannon’s Camp America in Oxford, OH
  • Raise the Roof Benefit / Historic Loveland Castle 2008 Fundraiser in Loveland, OH
  • 2008 Multicultural Music Festival at Fountain Square, Downtown Cincinnati, OH
  • 2008 Opening Day Parade With The Queen City Zapatistas
  • Vivid Variety & Burlesque Show at the Yadda Club, Covington, KY
  • 2007 and 2008 Hafla @ The Cincinnati Yoga School
  • 2007 Bondoura Burlesque Bash
  • The Center for World Rhythms and Movement
  • GMG Music Video Shoot (Private Party)
  • RhythmFest 2007 at Terrapin Hill Farm in Harrodsburg, KY
  • World Rhythms 3rd Anniversary at The Center for World Rhythms and Movement
  • The Enchanted Ball 2007 in the Cincinnati Music Hall Ballroom
  • The 8th Annual Cincinnati Witches Ball at the Southgate House, Newport, KY
  • FUNKe FIRED ARTS, part of the 20/20 Arts Festival, 2007
  • 2007 OctOHBurn at Hannon’s Camp America in Oxford, OH
  • Tha Blast – Streetwalk
  • Riverside Coffee Mill with Tree of Life World Music in Batavia, OH
  • Reconfiguration Art Show at Synthetica Gallery
  • Starwood Island Show & Final Fire 2007 at Brushwood Folklore Center in Sherman, NY
  • 2007 Rollerderby Halftime Show at Cincinnati Gardens
  • 2007 Scorched Nuts – Burning Man at Hannon’s Camp America in Oxford, OH
  • Final Friday with Mayan Ruins at Aquarius Star