International Belly Dancing Fest Shakes Up Biloxi

The exotic music, the finger cymbals, the flowing costumes.

It's all part of belly dancing, which some say is the closest thing to flying without wings.

"There are no age barriers and no weight limitations. Anybody can belly dance. When this first started, which was many, many years ago, it was an art form that was danced among other women for other women. And it was also a form of dance that was danced during harvesting, during fertility, weddings and even burials," said organizer Myra Cox.

Various styles of belly dancing, along with other international dances, were featured Saturday afternoon at the Biloxi Community Center.

The theme was "Women In Movement", and more than 20 groups took center stage showcasing their personal interpretations of womanhood.

"It's a tribal experience that goes back centuries, and it's something that happens within the tribal area. And when men were at war, the women released themselves as far as the tension and the stress with the dance. And the dance movement is just exquisite to experience," said dance fan Linda Starr.

Not only was it fun to watch.

These dancers were demonstrating their freedom of movement to help those who may not feel their own power.

They danced to raise money for the Women's Center for Nonviolence.

"It's our way of reaching out to those women and giving them a message that they to can break those barriers and to find themselves liberating themselves from the situation that may be difficult for them," said Cox.

Just these dancers way of saying "life is grand being a girl."

With such a great response from the community, organizer Myra Cox plans to expand the festival next year, perhaps making it a two or three day event.