Posted on 12/07/2019 by siteadmin

Giving UK Bellydance a chance to Shine!

We are always delighted when new events appear on the bellydance calendar.  It is a sign that the bellydance community is thriving.  This particular event has been designed and brought to life by JWAADs own Catherine Bartholomew alongside her partner in this venture, Chloe Kenny of Shimmy by the Sea.  I asked them to tell us a bit about how it came about and what people can expect.  Catherine gives us her perspective on how it all came about:

It was an unseasonably cold March evening at a holiday camp just outside Hastings. Tired and aching after an exciting weekend of bellydance at Chloe Kenny’s Shimmy by the Sea, I relaxed in the luxurious hot tub, surrounded by a thin sprinkling of snow and the twinkling of stars. With a glass of wine in my hand and Chloe and her minions for company we talked about how successful the weekend had been and how Chloe had created a friendly and fun atmosphere that dancers of all levels could enjoy. That evening, our idea for a new bellydance day festival was born.

At the heart of the idea is community. We both felt very strongly that we wanted to provide the bellydance community in the South East with a festival that gave all dancers a chance to shine, to be inspired and to find joy and friendship. And so Shimmy & Shine was created!

We wanted it to be a small one day festival that gave students access to fantastic teachers at a really good price. We wanted to make the festival as friendly and inspiring as we could, with smaller workshop sizes so that students can learn in a relaxed way. We wanted a spacious timetable that allowed time to socialise and meet new friends as well as lots of variety in the workshops provided.

The key to allowing this to all happen is our venue. I have often worked with Woodlands Arts Centre in Gillingham for my regular shows and love the space that it offers. It has a beautiful studio theatre for our evening hafla and lots of clean and bright dance studios for all of our workshops. It even has a café for mingling with friends and a big room which Bellydance Boutique can fill with glittering costumes for sale.

Having the perfect venue at our fingertips meant that we could quickly divert our excitement towards deciding which teachers to invite. We talked about teachers that had inspired us, both in their teaching and dance skills but also in their community spirit and attitude to fun! We also both felt very strongly that we wanted to give local teachers the chance to shine and to give up and coming stars a platform to launch their careers from.

As an event organiser it can be easy to get excited about the big names and international stars. Chloe and I are very aware that the uk also has amazing bellydance teachers of its own with a wealth of knowledge & individual style and we felt it was important that home grown talent should be promoted as well.

So we are very excited about our list of wonderful teachers that will be joining us in October 2019. From Belgium we have Queenie, a fabulous dancer full of grace and elegance and already loved in the UK from her visits to JOY, Fantasia and Shimmy by the Sea. From the UK we have Tevec sharing her Turkish styles with us , Candi with her suitcase packed full of dance knowledge, our rising star Safka who has a beautiful Egyptian style, Lea fluttering her wings and Charlotte Wassell who is the Tribal and fusion specialist tutor for JWAAD Bellydance Training courses. Chloe and I will also be joining the fun and teaching workshops.

The first ever Shimmy & Shine festival takes place on Saturday 19thOctober 2019 at Woodlands Arts Centre, Gillingham and costs just £75 for the day, including the early evening Hafla. Visit for more information and online booking.

This is our chance to Shimmy & Shine! 🌟

Written by Catherine Bartholomew (

All the JWAAD community wishes Catherine and Chloe lots of success in their new venture.

If you want to read more about Chloe, she is featuring in the NADA magazine – the UK cover girl!
Pictures of Queenie and Tevec below:

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