Spring Fest is Utah’s largest event celebrating danse orientale, featuring more than 500 performers from around the region ranging in age and skill, from beginning toddlers to gyrating grandmothers.
According to Thia Kapos (pictured), presenter of the annual festival, now in its 10th incarnation, it’s because of the quality of this event that the bar has been raised for belly dance across the state. “The dancers are more creative, passionate and better rehearsed,” she says. “We have experimented with our sound, lighting and backdrops to authentically create the illusion of a Middle Eastern city right here in Salt Lake City, Utah, and we get better and better at it every year.”
One of the main draws of Spring Fest is a full-fledged Turkish bazaar, complete with vendors plying wares from the Orient, authentic Middle Eastern cuisine and booths offering henna tattoos and tarot readings. Besides shopping and eating, there will also be dance performances covering a broad range of styles, from Egyptian Cabaret, Turkish and Gypsy Rom to American Tribal Style, Folkloric and Gothic.
“Every woman wants to feel beautiful, passionate and alive,” says Kapos, explaining the increasing popularity of the form and festival. “Belly dancing ignites these feelings and creates an opportunity, whether male or female, for dancers to feel special and comfortable in their bodies. This joy and energy ignites the belly-dance community, is very attractive and alluring and builds upon it. … It is epidemic.”