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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Belly dancers wiggle their way to Met stage

The Bellydance Superstars and the Desert Roses perform a cross-section of tribal, Egyptian and cabaret styles. The troupe hopes to build its show into an attraction that will rival Riverdance in popularity. 
 (Photo courtesy  of John Shearer / The Spokesman-Review)

Some of the best bellies in the world are coming to Spokane.

The Bellydance Superstars and the Desert Roses, made up of top belly dancers from across America and beyond, bring their show to The Met on Sunday night.

Featured are some 17 dancers, many of them professional teachers, who perform a cross-section of tribal, Egyptian and cabaret styles.

They include Bozenka, who was named Miss America of the Belly dance in 2000; Adore, a veteran of many music videos; Ana Saeeda, who starred in the Spanish soap opera “Upa Dance!”; and Dondi, who has danced for such celebrities as Peter Fonda, Angie Dickinson, Jimmy Buffett and Omar Sharif (on his 60th birthday).

Strange as it might sound, the troupe actually has its roots in rock ‘n’ roll.

The Bellydance Superstars are the brainchild of manager Miles Copeland, best known for his work with such rock acts as the Sex Pistols, The Police, Sting and R.E.M.

Copeland’s interest in Middle Eastern music, which led to Sting’s hit “Desert Rose,” steered him toward the world of belly dancing. The Superstars were the result.

Their big break came during 2003’s Lollapalooza concert tour, where they performed for more than 450,000 fans and received praise in the pages of Rolling Stone magazine.

Since then, the troupe has toured the United States and Europe, receiving rave reviews.

“Gorgeous, spiffily dressed, skilled dancers … sheer genius,” wrote New York’s Village Vocie last March.

On their Web site (, Copeland says: “Before the tour started, I was faced with much skepticism from the concert-booking establishment that I have worked with for over 30 years. Most promoters simply could not ‘get it’ and imagine a real two-hour show featuring belly dancers.”

However, he adds, “Experts told me The Police were losers, that punk rock would never happen in America … After selling 200 million albums, selling out stadiums with acts I have represented, I think I can say I can spot a star when I see one.”

Copeland has filmed a documentary about the Superstars, and is working on a concert film that will be funded in part by PBS. He hopes to build the troupe into an attraction that will rival Riverdance in popularity.

“I believe I have chosen well,” he says, “and I mean what I say when I say I am proud to introduce them – as proud as I was introducing the Police or any other star I have worked with.”