The Massive Spectacular, an annual performance featuring some of the world's best belly dancers, always supports a local charity. This year is no different, but the charities that benefited, the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation and The Caring Place, were very personal choices for organizer Tori Halfon.
"Last year, I discovered I had ovarian cancer and went through chemo and everything," Halfon said. "It was just such a shock."
While recovering from the procedure, she discovered The Caring Place.
"Our care is threefold," said Pati Kearns, director of services for The Caring Place. "First, we have 11 support groups facilitated by social workers. Second, we have complimentary individual and group care programs such as massage, reflexology, yoga, tai chi and other movement programs, and finally, we have art programs designed to help people come into a state of relaxed focus or creativity and inspiration."
Halfon found herself falling into the role of cancer educator, explaining the ins and outs of ovarian cancer, one of the less common forms of cancer, to friends and family. She also wrote a few articles for belly dancing publications.
"Belly dance is such a great sport to represent ovarian cancer," Halfon said. "It's almost humorous."
The event has benefited several charities over the years, but Halfon thinks the performance may have a long-term relationship with the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation and The Caring Place.
"They've been tremendous and supportive," Halfon said. "I've had some charities that weren't as helpful and wouldn't even list the event on their website. I had one that didn't even get back to me until seven months after the event, but (the cancer foundation and The Caring Place) have) been great."
The Massive Spectacular is the culmination of the weeklong belly dancing education event The Tribal Massive, with participants from around the world descending on the valley to take part in classes and seminars. The seminars sold out months ago, and Halfon said only a few locals took advantage of it.
With all that talent in one place, bringing some of those dancers together for a show is a no-brainer.
"We have an absolutely amazing lineup of dancers for the show this year," Halfon said. "Pretty much every form of belly dance is represented in the show, from the very traditional Egyptian-style belly dance to American melting pot-style belly dance. You have dancers who have fused belly dance with hip-hop, modern dance, flamenco and other forms of dance."
Halfon also believes that the show promotes positive body image. She bemoans the body images popularized in magazines and mainstream entertainment. She said that belly dancers come in many shapes and sizes.
"We have healthy women of all ages, sizes and ethnicities in our show," Halfon said. "It's a very powerful statement that this is a healthy body weight. This is what real people who are active look like. It's a good reality check so women can come and see that this is what healthy looks like."
The Massive Spectacular is an all-ages show scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at the Railhead inside Boulder Station, 4111 Boulder Highway. Admission is $40 for adults, $30 for students 13 to 24 and $10 for children 12 or younger. Payment must be in cash, as credit cards will not be accepted at the door. For more information, visit themassivespectacular.com.
Contact Sunrise/Whitney View reporter F. Andrew Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 380-4532.