The History of Cabaret Beledy
Behind a charming ranch-style house in Van Nuys, California was an exquisite jewel of a small theater. The Nazemi Parsart Center was built by Mr. and Mrs. Nazemi, who decorated with Persian flair and designed for versatility. At this venue, Anaheed and the Perfumes of Araby created a new concept in dance theater entertainment. The event was an ongoing Belly Dance Variety Show in a relaxed atmosphere, featuring an intermission with exceptional refreshments, outstanding belly dance performances, and live music with wonderful local musicians. This was how the show earned it's friendly title - Cafe Beledy.
The first show on May 28, 1998, got off to a good start and sold out the 100-seat theate. Following that date, there were shows approximately every other month and they drew large audiences, often filling the theater to capacity. Cafe Beledy was known as an excellent outlet for our best local dance talent and outstanding musicians.
The stage was pleasing for both performers and audience alike, using glowing background projections, soft colored lights complimented by a follow-spot, and a multi-level design which allowed for additional creativity. The audience sat in an intimate "U" formation where everyone had a "good seat" and was close to the action on stage.
The programs were blessed with many well known, popular artists such as:
- Kamaal, balancing his brass tray
- The graceful Jorjana of "Jorjana's Glitter World"
- Exquisite magic and singing by Marguerite
- Leyla, winner of the 1998 Belly Dancer of the Universe award
- Daveed, doing tahtib and double sword
- Melanie Kareem, now teacher in Topanga
- Marta Inda's smooth water jar dance
- Some wonderful group work by new young dancers Tatiana, Djahari, and Yazreina
- A visit from Jenza and daughter Sa' Elayssa
- And of course, members of the Perfumes of Araby, plus a full cabaret solo by Anaheed.
The Cafe Beledy shows gained a loyal following and created opportunities for belly dancing to be seen in a wonderful theatrical setting. Anaheed will continue to produce similar shows in appropriate local venues, and will strive to further elevate the public's perception of the Art of Belly Dance!