Minnesota Belly Dance History


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Oasis was a main attraction on the Gypsy Stage at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival from 1985 to 1989. 

Formed in 1983 by Rob Pearson (oud), Jim Greeney (doumbek), and Carl Posz (bass guitar), Oasis recorded several cassettes and were known regionally for their musicianship. In 1985, Michael Sullivan (riq/tambourine) and David Stenshoel (violin) joined, and Nas Fellah (vocals) joined in 1986.  

The original dancers were Cindy Kissee (Cynthia), Heidi Pearson (Halima/Khandani) and Carlotta Posz (Karima, now Kerime). Later on, Devorah, Christina Ouma (Shadia), and Rana Haugan joined the dancers. Local soloists Cassandra Shore and Margo Abdo O’Dell would also perform as guest dancers.

Oasis dance performances included group choreographies, duets, and solo work. Each dancer would contribute to the choreography as well as showcasing their own unique dance specialties in solos. These solos would vary, incorporating drum solos, sword, veil, cane and performing with snakes of various sizes

Post 1986, Oasis continued as an acoustic ensemble and continued to perform at various festivals and shows.  Kerime and Devorah continued to perform with Oasis, and Devorah continued to perform with the Electric Arab Orchestra.

By the end of 1989, Oasis was no longer performing, and several of the founding members of Oasis band decided to part ways.  Electric Arab Orchestra continued for several more years before disbanding.  In 1985, Oasis was inducted into the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame, New Ethnic Band.

Many thanks to Carlotta and Carl Posz for their generous input to this article.