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

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. 🙂

Entertainers Beware – Scam Alert

While scams are often targeted toward folks of an older, retired, generation, thieves will apparently go after any demographic they can conceive of, including entertainers.

I recently saw the following Facebook post in regards to scams, from Paul Garbanzo of the Accidental Circus, and with his permission, am sharing it here as a general public service announcement:

“Hey everyone, especially entertainers! There’s a group out there poaching entertainer lists and pretending to hire them for a gig, they send you a check that is 3 times too much and want you to western union the extra money back to them.. This is a classic scam called a Pigeon Drop. Fortunately, being the kind of guy that I am, I knew what this was when they tried it on me. And these guys are really bad at it too.. they even mentioned orphans… orphans! Seriously??? Anyway, please be aware that there are scammers out there and they are trying to scam anyone and everyone.” ~ Paul Garbonzo

Thank you, Paul, for letting others know about this scam!

Cherie Dawn

Performing with Live and/or Recorded Music

“Live music beats canned music any day of the week, no matter what.” I overheard this comment recently, and have to say that it resonated in my mind. We’ve been honored to work with many musicians, and in several different capacities. It’s the best – the slight unpredictability, the crisp sounds coming from a variety of instruments, and the energy musicians provide is unparalleled. Of course, canned music has its benefits as well (like when you hear a specific song that grabs your pulse, and you absolutely have to dance to it, and only it)…all in all, I think there’s simply a time and a place for both.

Dante's GypsyCircus with Crazy Legs at the Madison Theater

Crazy Legs put on a heck of a show at the Madison; and we loved sharing the stage with them.

This past weekend at the Madison Theater, we had the pleasure of performing to both. We danced our tightly knit choreographies (interspersed with one tribal improvisational number), and were also invited to perform to the live music of Crazy Legs (the headlining band) as well. What a blast! We enjoyed the best of both worlds in one fell swoop.

Dante’s is working on putting together a band specifically for our shows, so stay tuned as we begin this new adventure. And please wish us luck! 🙂 If you’re a Cincinnati musician who’s interested, contact us!

All best,
Cherie Dawn

Belly Dance and Burlesque

When I heard today that a local performance group portrayed a belly dancer in a strip-tease scene, I felt a little sick. I’ve seen a few high-level burlesque performances; they’ve told stories of love, mishap…timeless tales that we can all relate to. They’re entertaining.

But belly dance, to me, is a spiritual, respectful, and sacred form of movement art that unifies women around the globe, celebrates history, and is making history. I, along with many of the belly dancers I know, work hard to maintain a high reputation for it. Yes, it’s sensual; there’s no denying that, but it’s a celebration of the female form in a positive way that honors women.

Onca O’Leary is reviving vaudeville in the eastern United States and beyond. In my humble opinion, she’s a goddess. Check out her shows and workshops whenever possible. (Photo ©Robert Stoutamire, 2010)

Madame Onca of the Mezmer Society, the Accidental Circus, Baraka Mundi, and producer of TribOriginal, knows about belly dance and burlesque (and so much more). She kindly had this light to shed: “I think that burlesque in the sense of the striptease needs to remain a separate animal from stage belly dance. However, burlesque was historically a powerful, multidisciplinary tool for reevaluating and reinventing outdated social mores. Between its inherently radical, feminist roots and as a creative, vibrant, anything-goes-for-entertainment-value art form, belly dance has a lot to learn from the other B word about performance, underlying narrative, and stagecraft.”

Wow – do I agree! As a belly dancer, I find it bothersome that someone would misrepresent this genre. I think it blurs the line between the two separate and honorable dance forms, and could have a negative impact on how the general public perceives us. Even today, in 2011, I see eyebrows raise a bit when someone finds out I belly dance…as in, folks don’t realize that this isn’t just about shaking for the menfolk the gifts our mamas gave us.

If you see that Princess Farhana of Hollywood is teaching in your area – take her class! Yes, she, too is a teaching and performing goddess. 🙂 (Photo by Maharet Bryant)

Princess Farhana of Hollywood is another well-respected and uber-talented woman. Here’s what she had to share: “I believe that belly dance and burlesque are both incredible art forms. Historically in America, they have been presented side by side for at least 100 years in theaters, nightclubs, at fairs, circuses and carnivals, and most visibly, in television and film. This has definitely caused some confusion in the eyes of the general public.

“I perform both types of dance, but contrary to popular belief, do not EVER do a striptease while belly dancing, I keep my burlesque acts as “non-Oriental” as possible.

“There are many dancers who are interested in both styles of dance; hence I have been asked to teach and perform burlesque at belly dance events, and to teach and perform (straight up) belly dancing at burlesque events.

“Like Onca, I believe that practitioners of both styles can learn a lot from each other…and the more this subject is discussed openly, the less taboo it will be, the more we will be able to educate others, and the more the general public will be able to understand the difference between the two genres.” ~ Princess Farhana

What you’re reading here is a conversation-starter about the relationship of burlesque with belly dance. Dante’s has been known to perform in burlesque shows, but the sets weren’t related to belly dance; they had other, unrelated themes.

This topic is worthy of discussion, and I invite your input. All opinions are welcome, but I ask in advance that comments are respectful to all. 😉

Cherie Dawn

Dante’s Gypsy Circus is proud to announce that we’re hosting Onca and the Accidental Circus for a show and workshops in May 2012! Click here for the details; she’ll be teaching a workshop that addresses this very topic of which we speak! 🙂

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 Metromix.com.

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 Metromix.com.

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.



Bellydance Superstars coming to Cincinnati!

Also Featuring
Zahara’s Tangled Web, Dante’s Gypsy Circus,
Anaya Gypsy Dance, and Alhambra
in Carnival Noir

Carnegie Arts Center, 1028 Scott Blvd
Covington, KY 41011

Ticket Prices: $20
Show Time: 7:00 p.m.

“Bellydance Superstars” has announced the launch of their new concept
” This exciting show will feature
Bellydance Superstar dancers Sabah, Moria, Sabrina, Stefanya and Victoria.

This new show will give the BDSS dancers an opportunity to try out new ideas and choreography not possible in the full theatre show while at the same time enabling them to enjoy watching their fellow bellydancers perform across the continent. In each city, the local bellydance community will provide the first half of the show and the BDSS dancers the second half. Workshops will be set up wherever possible and of course the tour will carry the BDSS traveling store with a wide range of bellydance products at great prices. The tour runs from September through October. We look forward to spreading the word on this dance phenomenon across America and beyond!