IF you’re walking along the boardwalk at Bathers Beach in Fremantle and a motley crew of bellydancers jump out the dunes and start gyrating and wiggling – don’t worry, it’s just the Shimmy Mob.
The local bellydancers are part of a global flash mob event to raise awareness about domestic violence and raise funds for local shelters and support services.
Leading the Perth South team is Alura, a professional bellydancer and teacher, who has experienced and witnessed domestic abuse throughout her life.
“Domestic abuse can take many forms and isn’t only (the predominant case of) adult males directing abuse towards adult women,” she says.
“I know many women who have been subject to domestic abuse from fathers, brothers, partners…
“It’s concerning how common domestic violence still is and how this commonality can make people/the community desensitised to it.”
Held since 2011 on World Bellydance Day, the annual event is open to anyone who wants to join a local Shimmy Mob and raise awareness of domestic violence through dance.
All donations at the Bathers Boardwalk event will go to Ruah Community Services, a WA organisation that supports people experiencing family and domestic violence.
The Shimmy Mob was originally started by Francesca Anastasi, who wanted to hold a fundraiser for local women’s shelters in 2011. Over the years it has grown in popularity and is now a global event.
Alura has danced in previous events, but this is the first time she will be a team leader.
“My first Shimmy Mob was as a very new bellydancer outside Fremantle Hall and the latest in a Mandurah Shopping Centre before covid hit,” she says.
“I have 10 Shimmy Mobsters in my Perth South team this year, male and female from all ages, which is more than the teams I have been in before so I am stoked.
“We all invite our friends and family to support us on performance day and even share a cheeky dance with them.”
After going to her first bellydancing class as a “very young, stiff and awkward” 19-year-old, Alura was hooked.
“I was addicted and inspired to be as elegant and poised as my first bellydance teacher Bellyssa. Since then I have explored different classes, teachers and styles of bellydance and was very lucky to visit Egypt in 2019 – a bellydancer’s dream.”
Alura now performs and teaches all over Greater Perth including a regular class at Beeliar on Saturday morning.
“Bellydance comes from women dancing together for each other,” she says. “I have an amazing class of beginner to intermediate belly dancers who create a wonderful atmosphere and make it easy for me to create a safe space in class. I feel very lucky to have these amazing women in my life!”
Right now Alura is busy getting her team of dancers ready for their Shimmy Mob event at 12:30pm on Saturday May 13 at Bathers Boardwalk.
To find out more or take part see ShimmyMob.com or the Perth South team page – facebook.com/events/s/shimmymob-perth-south-at-bathe/942969566819013/
by STEPHEN POLLOCK