GREAT CAUSE - Team Delburne presents a cheque for $1,835 to representatives from Delburne SAFE Families in 2017.                                photo submitted

GREAT CAUSE - Team Delburne presents a cheque for $1,835 to representatives from Delburne SAFE Families in 2017. photo submitted

Central Alberta dancers ‘shimmy’ for a great cause

Shimmy Mob will take place in more than 169 locations all over the world

You’ve probably heard of a flash mobs, but have you heard of Shimmy Mob?

It will be taking place on World Belly Dance Day, Saturday, May 12th in more than 169 locations all over the world.

Nearly 2,000 dancers are gearing up to take part as well, organizers say.

Delburne will be one of those locations, with performances, a barbecue and a bake and craft sale at the Delburne Drop-In Centre from 12-1:30 p.m.

“Now in its eighth year, Shimmy Mob is an international event that has raised over $500,000 for victims of domestic violence to date,” said Kathleen Ennis, Delburne team leader.

”Our primary objective is to raise donations and awareness for women and children’s shelters throughout the world. Our secondary purpose is to share the beauty of belly dance in a fun, flash mob-type event on World Belly Dance Day.

“We all wear the same t-shirt, and perform the same choreography.”

Ennis’s team supports Delburne SAFE Families, a local committee that was formed in 2010.

The acronym stands for Stop Abuse for Family Empowerment.

Their mission is to assist women in crisis and educate people of all ages about domestic violence and the many services that are available. All donations are greatly appreciated as they receive very little funding and do some very important work in the local community.

This year marks her sixth year as team leader for Delburne.

“We have a wonderful group of seven dancers this year,” she said. “I have two assistants, Susan and Sonja, who help coordinate the event and lead practices.

“I am proud to say that over the years we have raised almost $11,000 for Delburne SAFE Families. I do hope it continues to grow, and I hope the conversation around the prevention of domestic violence can also continue.”

As to encouraging folks to join in, Ennis said it boils down to supporting a terrific cause plus the event itself is just lots of fun.

“Participating in Shimmy Mob is a great chance for people who haven’t taken belly dancing to give it a try, the choreography is designed with beginners in mind,” she explained.

”Secondly, I think that supporting a group that is working to educate people and help women and children in abusive situations is an important thing to do. Aside from dancing, those wishing to help can participate and contribute through their donations, by coming out to the event and having a barbecue lunch, buying some bake sale or craft items, and generally providing moral support.

“The more we talk about this subject and the more light we can shine on it, the more we can do to stop it and the better the chance that victims of any type of abuse will realize that there is help out there for them,” she added.

“It’s also important for men and young people to join the conversation so we can collectively take a stand and put an end to abuse. Abuse thrives in silence – if we end the silence we may be able to stop the violence.”

Ennis said the event is also important in that it encourages folks to give back to the community.

”New friendships are formed, and there is a real sense of camaraderie that comes from working together toward a common goal,” she said.

“Learning to belly dance is a really great form of exercise, and it gives you a certain strength and confidence when you learn something new. Getting out of our comfort zone creates exciting opportunities in our lives, and for many of us it can be a real possibility for personal growth.”

Ennis has been teaching belly dance basics in Central Alberta since 2003.

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