Calypso has been one of my favorite Utah dancers since I first saw her perform. She is part of what I call Salt Lake’s “Dynamic Duo” and one of the founders and directors of the Midnight Mirage School and Dance Company.
Quite shy and reticent about her solo performances, I find her to be one of the most accomplished, artistic and engaging dancers in our community. She is also a very compassionate and caring individual. The gentleness of her soul and her passion for dance are always evident in her performances.
Calypso is a native Utahn. She has always loved to dance, studying and jazz and ballet primarily. She was a member of the Utah Stars Drill Team for four years. She turned to belly dancing in 1996 to ease the stress in her life. In 1997, she was asked to join the Kismet Dance Troupe, where she met Jamileh, and, as they say, the rest is history.
“I love the group dynamic on stage, Calypso explained. “I like a dance company that is totally working together. Most nationally acclaimed dancers perform in front of their troupes. I want the troupe to be the star—everyone in sync with each other, and not focused on just one person. That is my vision.”
Calypso brings her vision to reality with the innovative choreography of the Midnight Mirage Dance Company. Jillina and Naima Akef are her favorite dancers, but no one rates higher in her estimation than her partner, Jamileh, who is also her best friend.
“We created Midnight Mirage in order to challenge and motivate ourselves. Together, we inspire each other to continue to learn and be inspired into uncharted territory.”
“Midnight Mirage doesn’t fit into a box of ideas on how belly dancing should be performed. We took our ideas, our experiences and our dreams and with the core technique of belly dancing, created what we wanted to do. Diversity is what makes life, art and dance interesting. Why do we all want to look the same? If we are all doing the same thing, it is boring. We are entertainers, and we are here to entertain.”
Calypso, with her partner, Jamileh, has created fresh, innovative and new dimensions of Middle Eastern Dance. They aren’t afraid to take risks with their dancing, which has earned the company many prestigious awards. Calypso herself was named Entertainer of the Year and Egyptian Dancer of the Universe in 2003.
“As I travel around the country with Midnight Mirage, dancing and teaching workshops, I have become aware of the fabulous dance community we have in Utah. The level of dance here is superb, and we need to be proud of what we have created and promote it in a positive light.”
Catch Calypso at the Moab Arts Festival, Beledi of Boise and the Utah Belly Dance Festival with Midnight Mirage Dance Company along with her solo performances at Cedars of Lebanon.