Category Archives: People

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 for more details and to reserve your show/workshop tickets.

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

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

The 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.

Merci | Danka | Gracias | Thanks

Years ago, Oprah Winfrey (yeah, I’m referencing Oprah here…what? ;)) suggested we can daily list five things that we’re grateful for. “I used to keep a list of my “five things” religiously even if the best thing on it was “my cat didn’t throw up today.” Now more than ever I have so much to be thankful for. For example, Dante’s is finishing up our fifth season and have our foot on the gas as we head into 2012.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I thought it’d be fun to share with you the things that a few of us are individually grateful for.

“I’m thankful for my healthy baby boy and my endlessly supportive, patient husband. I’m also thankful for the friends I have in Dante’s and for the art form that has brought us together.”       ~ Megan


Photo courtesy Kate Lawniczak

“I am grateful for my family, my good health, all of my awesome friends and my partner Matt who makes my world a whole lot brighter.” ~ Britney





“Personally, I’m grateful for my better half, Dwayne, because I couldn’t reach even half of my potential without him supporting me all the way. Also, I’m thankful for my parents, who take wonderful care of our two little guys while we’re out making a raucous; and each of my brothers and sisters in Dante’s and our surrounding community for their endless support in this bohemian ride.” ~ Cherie Dawn

“My wonderful partner and sweet sisters for supporting and pushing me.”
~ Master Pokes

Photo courtesy John Hergenrather




“I’m thankful for my wonderful family and friends teaching me to not sit and let the world go by, for my tribal brothers and sisters being the rhythm in my drum and for my husband whom I love dearly.” ~ Dex


We all sincerely wish you a happy Thanksgiving day, filled with good company and lots of pie. 🙂

Oh, What a Night!

If you felt the earth shake a little this last week, I can guess that it was during Zahara’s Carnival Noir / Club Bellydance at the Carnegie. In addition to Zahara’s Tangled Web and Dante’s Gypsy Circus, Cincinnati performers such as Aloysius Fox, Alhambra, Anaya Gypsy, Matt the Mime and Loren the Black took the stage, opening for the fabulous Bellydance Superstars.

Laura, Cherie Dawn, and Britney played the role of princesses (yes, we wore white and pink!) in Dante’s interpretation of “Sleeping Beauty,” choreographed specifically for this show. Photo by David Scorcher, courtesy

Ladi Blaze played the part of the witch who cast a spell on our trio of princesses. (Aren’t the horns cool? She made those herself!)  Photo by David Scorcher, courtesy

The goddess of dark (Zahara is front, right), taking her final bow with the entire cast of the show. You can see Dex to the far right; she played the role of our goblin, who naughtily woke the princesses before any prince even had a chance. 🙂

After putting on a beautiful show, the Bellydance Superstars hung out with everyone as we shopped, listened to music, and mingled. Here, they posed with Dante’s. 🙂

“Being back on that stage, solo, was a twist of fate, an act of bravery, and an effort to make some Peace with the Universe,” said our dear friend Loren the Black, who stole our hearts during his a capella rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” He’s posing here after the show with Cherie Dawn and Ladi Blaze.



Shout-Out to the Iron Hill Vagabonds, with love

What’s better than getting together with your friends to dance on a random Thursday night?

Having the likes of the Iron Hill Vagabonds stopping by! 🙂 Coming from New York, and heading to the Central Kentucky Celtic Festival & Highland Games, Mark and Ehrich, our favorite vagabonds, hung out with a few of us Dante’s folks and played some tunes. Fortunately, I had my camera handy (bonus – the battery wasn’t dead, and the memory wasn’t full), so I’ll let the pictures do the talking. Enjoy!

Mark and Ehrich Gauvin can be found touring the country, playing and singing at festivals and lucky for us, for friends. 😉 Our paths first crossed in the summer of 2010 during the Kentucky Renaissance Festival.

“Whaaaa? Belly dancers in the house?” Meali, Mark and Ehrich’s dear canine, gratiously took the dog-rubs that we handed out. We only had to slide her out of the way once, when she thumped to the middle of our dance space during a choreo run-through.

Mark chilled out in the hammock while D took in the tunes.

Ehrich played accordian while Britney sat for a brief spell. Even the folks next door came out to their porch to enjoy the music as it fell across the neighborhood.

Master Pokes was busy creating original steampunk jewelry that will be for sale at the Saturday’s Time Traveler’s Ball at the Southgate House, during which Britney will be belly dancing. Feathers, clockwork, beads, and tools spread across the table and came to life before our very eyes.

Me and Laura, chillin’ like Bob Dylan and enjoying this gift of an evening with the Vagabonds, Britney, Pokes, and my own little guy. Oh – and Meali, too. Good dog.

So, that’s it for amateur photojournalism hour. 🙂 Don’t forget, you can see the Iron Hill Vagabonds at the Celtic Festival this weekend, and see the jewelry that’s available from Master Pokes at the Time Traveler’s Ball on Saturday night.

Until next time,
Cherie Dawn