Log In

Reset Password
Performing Arts

Local dancers ready to shimmy for a cause

Durango Shimmy Mob dancers who participate in the international Shimmy Mob event wear the same T-shirts and perform the same dances as their counterparts around the world, creating a worldwide statement against domestic violence. (Kelly MacNiven/Kelly Miranda Photography)
World Belly Dance Day raises awareness of domestic violence

Domestic violence isn’t always black eyes and broken arms.

Sometimes referred to as intimate-partner violence, it is a systematic pattern of power and control exerted by one person over another, according to Alternative Horizons in Durango. It can result in many forms and degrees of intrusiveness and aggression, including emotional, verbal, financial, sexual and physical, as well as stalking behaviors.

To raise awareness of these forms of violence, dancers from around the world on Saturday will perform in the annual international shimmy mob, including in four locations around Durango.

If you go

Durango Shimmy Mob

World Belly Dancing Day performances to benefit Alternative Horizons on Saturday:

10:30 a.m. Durango Farmers Market, TBK Bank parking lot, 259 W. Ninth St.

11:30 a.m. Main Mall, 835 Main Ave.

12:45 p.m. Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Station, 479 Main Ave.

1:45 p.m. Durango Rug Co., 747 Main Ave.

This spring’s auction to benefit Alternative Horizons is online from May 15 to 31 at https://bit.ly/3w3RAOg.

The Alternative Horizons hotline can be reached at 247-9619, while office staff members are available at 247-4374. More information is at alternativehorizons.org.

World Belly Dance Day is the second Saturday in May. In 2011, Francesca Anastasi, a belly dancer in Vancouver, decided to commemorate the day by raising money for shelters for people impacted by domestic violence. That event then grew into an international movement of dancers supporting survivors.

Durango Shimmy Mob dancers started participating seven years ago, said organizer Shelley Millsap.

“We wear the same T-shirt and dance the same dance on that day around the world,” she said of the international event. With dances starting across the International Date Line, pictures from dances in Australia and New Zealand start showing up on social media, then move east across the globe to South and North America, and on to Europe, Africa and Asia.

“It’s just a wonderful, large event,” Millsap said, with 144 teams around the world registered to participate this year, with 1,700 participants, including 60 in Durango, which is the largest number of local dancers joining so far.

In Durango, the dancers support Alternative Horizons because the group is locally based and provides multiple services for people experiencing domestic violence, including legal assistance, counseling and advocacy.

The local performances raise money for Alternative Horizons of Durango. (Courtesy Kelly MacNiven/Kelly Miranda Photography)

“We try to pinpoint prevention and education, with the hope of reducing the statistics of abuse in our community,” Millsap said. “Just wearing the Shimmy Mob T-shirt raises awareness.”

After watching a dance, people will often ask questions about the performance or how to get in touch with Alternative Horizons.

“Alternative Horizons is able to assist survivors of domestic violence due in part to support from local organizations like Shimmy Mob,” Mandy McKinley, the group’s operations director, said in a statement. “We appreciate the work of this group and others like them around the globe.”

On Saturday, Shimmy Mob members will perform at locations around Durango, with baskets for donations at Alternative Horizons at each performance.

In the past, Durango Shimmy Mob also had a fundraising performance and silent auction at the American Legion. This year, the auction has moved online and runs through May 31.

“We are very proud that 100% of the funds raised goes to Alternative Horizons,” Millsap said. The team members do not get paid, and they pay their own registration fees to participate in the international event.

Durango Shimmy Mob will perform Saturday around downtown Durango.(Courtesy Kelly MacNiven/Kelly Miranda Photography)

“It’s wonderful to see it grow to the size it is,” she added, noting that local audiences always appreciate seeing the dancers. “They receive the shimmy mob with such warm and loving hands.”

Businesses and supporters reach out to the group to donate silent auction items, as well.

More information is available at shimmymob.com and alternativehorizons.org.