Bellyography: Kairo – January 2009

Take equal parts energizer bunny, intellectual, stand-up comedienne, community organizer, devoted friend, mother, and wife, and add a huge portion of Middle Eastern dancer, and you will have one, very original member of our community—Kairo. This triple Virgo has traveled a long road to discover exactly where her niche in the belly dance scene resides— Kairo has found her home! Tribal fusion seems to have been created just for her. Today, Kairo is in her element, blending and fusing different styles of dance into lyrical and original dance expressions.

Kairo has lived in Salt Lake City all her life, and from age five on, she has studied ballet, tap, jazz, flamenco, salsa, African and Middle Eastern Dance—including cabaret, folkloric, and tribal.

“When I was little, I would wrap anything I could find around my hips, Kairo explained, “and pretend I was belly dancing. I can’t remember when I didn’t want to be a belly dancer.”

“Courtney (Ana Kitka za Sofja) was one of the first belly dancers I saw. I remember Kitty’s eyes—her eyes when she was dancing. I knew I had to do that. I had to have that feeling.”

A member of several dance troupes in the past, Kairo said, “When I first saw Kashmir perform tribal, I knew that was how I wanted belly dancing to be for me. I never could completely relate to Egyptian Cabaret. It wasn’t a good fit. Whenever I danced a cabaret solo, my preference was for edgy music, and I seemed to choose the ‘wrong’ costumes. Cabaret just wasn’t dark and mysterious enough for me.”

A member of Kashmir Dance Company for the past eight years, Kairo continued, “Kashmir is a deeply spiritual and incredibly intense group of women. Corrie [Walker] is so protective of her troupe—like a mother tiger. We laugh all the time, and the energy is always amped several notches. I feel at home there. I feel safe. I found my place in dance when I started performing ATS and fusion with Kashmir. We really are a tribe.”

Dancing with Kashmir has provided many opportunities and lasting friendships for Kairo. She has been certified in ATS, teaches belly dancing, and is the director of the Rising Phoenix dance company.

In her words, “I just can’t say enough wonderful things about the members of Rising Phoenix. We have been together for eight years—10 ladies and one man and most of our performances are for charity. We do all kinds of fun things together, like going to movies. We all love Harry Potter, hence the name, ‘Rising Phoenix.’ They are just a bunch of truly joyful dancers.”

And Kairo has become a “truly joyful dancer” herself. She has discovered what works for her, and it translates to her audiences when she is onstage.

“I adore dancing solos, “ Kairo said. “It’s never choreographed. It’s just a pure expression of my heart.”

For information on upcoming events for Kairo and Kashmir Dance Company: kashmirdancecompany. com.