El Flujo
By Djinn Shockey

Spreading Holiday Cheer with the 4th Annual Raq'n Around the Christmas Tree

This article will be a preview instead of a review, as December marks the El Flujo column's 1 year anniversary. Since then, I've had the pleasure of watching and writing about some amazing local and international dancers, and some very touching benefit performances. One such benefit show was "Raq'n Around the Christmas Tree," which, ironically, was the subject of this columns first article.

What is Raq'n Around the Christmas Tree? It is a group of caring individuals who play music and dance to benefit less fortunate children and provide them with toys for the holidays. These donations are given to the kids under the guise of Santa, but Mr. Claus is actually Rachel Reich of the Raqia Belly Dance Studio in New Albany. She founded this toy drive back in 2009 but the participation has increased yearly, as have the benefits for the children. In 2011 the toy drive had 180 guests and 623 toys donated for AIM, the AIDS Interfaith Ministries of Kentuckiana.

December 6 will bring about the 4th Annual Raq'n Around the Christmas Tree at the Holiday Inn, 411 West Spring Street, New Albany, Indiana. Admittance is a toy or a $10 donation, with all proceeds benefiting less fortunate children sponsored by AIM.

The evening will start out with a 'Taste of New Albany' from 6 p.m till 7:30, where attendees can eat, drink and be merry. Adding to the serene environment will be the tunes of Il Trobadore and the Indianapolis Premier World Music Ensemble. The ever graceful Isabelle Celester Murray will be the featured dance artist during this portion of the show.

From 7:30 to 9 p.m. the room will come to life with colored veils, tinkling bells and fluid movements as the belly dancers take the stage to headline the evening's entertainment. This year's show will feature Al Hamsa, the Gypsies of the Nile and Raqia's Stars including Raqia. These ladies will dance their hearts out for no other reason but to put a smile on the faces of children again this Christmas. Raq'n Around the Christmas Tree is a reminder of what holiday spirit should be about.

Speaking of holiday spirit… I'd really like to say Happy Holidaze (or Holiday depending on your frame of mind) and a Happy New Year to my gracious LMN readers. Thank you all for sharing and spreading a passion for the art of music and dance. Now as we draw near the end of 2012, I look forward to future shows and tapping away at these keys to continue 'El Flujo' throughout 2013.

http://celestebellydance.com/

http://www.raqiabellydance.com/