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'Shimmy Mob' on Saturday to raise awareness of domestic violence

Cindy Taylor, Lauri Twining and Judie Sarff practice the Shimmy Mob dances in preparation for their performances Saturday, May 11. (Teri Cadeau/News-Chronicle)1 / 3
Luanne Ellingsen practices the dances for the Shimmy Mob performances Saturday, May 11. The mob will raise funds for North Shore Horizons by performing belly dances at various businesses throughout Two Harbors. (Teri Cadeau/News-Chronicle)2 / 3
Two Harbors Shimmy Mob dancers practice their performance Tuesday, May 7, in the cafeteria of Minnehaha Elementary. (Teri Cadeau/News-Chronicle)3 / 3

Residents out and about in Two Harbors between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, May 11, may notice a higher number of people shimmying.

The newly formed Two Harbors Shimmy Mob will take part in the International Shimmy Mob by performing two belly dances at various businesses to raise awareness of domestic violence.

A Shimmy Mob is a flash mob-style event started by a belly dancer in Canada eight years ago. Participants learn the choreography to two or three belly dances, dress in matching T-shirts, black pants and hip scarves and perform in various public locations to draw attention. Dancers also collect donations for domestic abuse shelters and provide pamphlets about the topic to spread awareness.

"This is our first year as the Two Harbors team," leader Judie Sarff said. "We've been dancing with Duluth for several years. We wanted to do it more locally and give back to our own organizations."

The team is raising funds for North Shore Horizons. The team formed from two community education belly dance classes based at Minnehaha Elementary School. Since March, they've been practicing the same choreography that will be performed by Shimmy Mob teams in 44 countries.

"It's kept pretty simple and family-friendly so that everyone can do it," Sarff said. "You don't have to have any previous experience with belly dance to be involved."

Sarff has been involved with the event for a few years and has submitted choreography to the organization for consideration in the past. Last year, her routine to the song "Opa!" was selected as an optional dance for teams to review and consider adding to their performances. The Two Harbors team will perform this dance along with the main dance performed every team.

The team is sponsored by Thrivent Financial and has already been out raising funds for North Shore Horizons. Last weekend, the dancers donned matching shirts and bagged groceries at Super One Foods for a couple of hours and raised $500.

Sarff didn't want to reveal exactly what times Saturday the team will be at businesses because the performances aer supposed to be a surprise. Among businesses they will be performing at include Judy's Cafe, Seagren's True Value, Louise's Place, Cedar Coffee, Anderson's Greenhouse, Betty's Pies, Culver's and Kwik Trip.

"Look for the ladies in matching shirts and hip scarves," Sarff said. "Catch us if you can!"

Teri Cadeau

Teri Cadeau is a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle. 

(218) 834-2141