Dancing veils: Festival's belly dance troupe, Veils of the Nile, is an accepting sisterhood
August 10, 2012 · 10:06 AM
When it is time to transform into her alter ego, Jill Massengill gets her nails done, has a nice breakfast, puts on her flowing, colorful costume and rehearses her dance. Then, she's ready to become Ameeka.
As Ameeka, she spins and shimmies as one of the Veils of the Nile, a belly dancing troupe with a more-than-20-year Valley history.
Massengill, owner of Straight Chiropractic at Park Street Healing Arts, is part of the core of active dancers with the Veils, who perform at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, in Festival Hall.
A troupe and a sisterhood, the Veils are an ever-rotating group with a wider coterie who dance when they get the opportunity.
Longtime troupe leader Carla Orellana, a.k.a. Aleili, recently moved to Hawaii, but troupe member Kathy Stewart continues to teach Carla's basic class, held Thursday evenings at the Si View Community Center.
Massengill got started after taking a belly dancing class years ago.
She'd always been a dancer, and was drawn in by the troupe's sisterhood.
"It's accepting of women in all their shapes and sizes and glory," Massengill said. "I like the fitness of it. It helps me stay connected and fluid."
She also likes the flowing, ornate costmes.
Belly dancers don't always show off their bellies. Massengill dresses appropriately for every engagement—she once danced at a memorial service.
The Veils' style of dancing is classic belly dancing, which has its roots in Near Eastern folk and gypsy dances. Besides Valley happenings, they perform at benefits and other festivals, such as the Mediterranean Fantasy Festival in West Seattle.
The group regularly hosts family-friendly Middle Eastern-dance parties and pot lucks with performances from a wide variety of professional and student dancers and styles.
You can learn more about the Veils of the Nile at http://veilsofthenile.com/.