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An Idea Born From Class...

Sitara’s classes in Basildon always ended with a few freestyle numbers when the student dancers would dance freely trying out the moves and techniques they had learned during class. The last 10 minutes of the class always marked the 'party time' section when the ladies could relax, enjoy the music, forget their worries and just dance. They had a large space, a large class, and the music was always fantastic. It was a time that the ladies could leave any of their daily concerns far behind them.  Sitara remembers standing back looking at the students thinking 'wow look at this - these ladies seem to be transported to another time, another place – such a wonderful atmosphere, it feels like a night club! It feels like the party is just getting started, it doesn’t feel right to just end this wonderful dancing and go home to bed – an hour is just not long enough to be together!’ That very thought was to be the inspiration from which 'Shimmy-Liciious’ was first born!

As the days went past, Sitara couldn’t help but reflect on that thought.  Imagine this; a place to dance and perform class routines, a place to meet and socialize, a place with beautiful décor, a place that is not short of time – it was so clear that this was exactly what the ladies needed. A special regular club night for all Sitara Dance Students from all the Sitara Dance branches to meet, come together and enjoy. And so the idea of ‘Shimmy-Licious ‘was born.



After much planning and organising, Thursday 28th September 2006 saw the very first Shimmy-Licious Bellydance Club Night finally being launched. It took place at Boots and Laces in Southend’s Eastern Avenue. A small but very lovely venue with a bar and a nice sized dance floor. A mini bus was arranged that would bring the students down from Chelmsford and Basildon classes.  An old garden marquee was turned into a 'Bedouin Tent' with drapes of material, Sitara purchased her first two fire lights, and the scene was set.


Families of the students were welcome to come too, and the evening followed a format of class, followed by performances, followed by a DJ playing Sitara's best chosen class tracks. There was a bongo player to accompany the music, and the atmosphere was electric as the ladies danced the night away. It was a huge success. At this time Shimmy-Licous was a private monthly event that took place on the first Thursday of each month. 


In the months that followed Sitara had the sad news that their beloved venue was closing down. No way was she going to give up on her wonderful Club Night! She searched and searched until a suitable new venue was found.

In October 2007 Shimmy-Licious was relocated to the small function room at the Freight House in Rochford.  They had the freedom to drape their materials and décor over two levels and Sitara went to town with a few extra bits to help set the scene with addition of palm trees, two more fire lights and drapes. The re-launch saw Shimmy-Licious go to a quarterly event four times a year on a Friday night. The original format of class, performances, then club was changed to warm-up consisting of just three tracks, to make way for the many requests for performance slots from both students and additional invited guest groups.



Shimmy-Licious developed a reputation as an unmissable Bellydance event amongst a beautiful setting of pyramids, palm trees, and drapes. Becoming more and more popular as the word spread and the following grew, the event moved to the bigger 'Great Eastern' room at the Freight House. Courtesy of the talented 'Bongo Pete’ came the arrival of two wonderful Shimmy-Licious Camels 'Macaroni & Imperiosa', and the wonderful Chelmsford student art teacher Chris Argent kindly made some palm trees and a very beautiful 3D pyramid which was added to the set. 

More guest performers were added to the shows and Shimmy-Licious became two big events; one mid-Summer Event and a special Christmas Event. There was so much to see, so much to experience - the shows were popular with all; mums, dads, aunts, uncles, grandmas and Grandads, and even children that would come to see the row of 50 soft toy camels that Sitara always received as gifts! Every single show was unique and different - it was an experience like no other… and you could say that the rest is history!  


Due to Sitara’s commitment to her theatre shows, classes, professional troupe, student trips, private tuition, and guest teaching, Shimmy-Licious is now a yearly event held around the Christmas period.

Christmas shows always include a very specially selected star performer, as well as many invited guest groups from the local area and beyond. Some of the big names that have appeared as previous Shimmy-Licious events are:

  • Shafeek Ibrahim (Whirling dervish)

  • Asmahan (Egypt/ London)

  • Khaled Mahoumoud (Male bellydance Star Egypt)

  • Hilde Candoot (Brighton)

  • Ozgen (International male Bellydancer Turkey)

  • Maelle Mayel (Award winnng Bellydance Star France)

  • Darkstar (Gothic Tribal Dancer London)

  • John Sleiman (Tabla & Percussion) 

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