These women sway and jingle to the upbeat Middle Eastern music for more than a love of dance.
The local Shimmy Mob group took to stages in Langley and Coupeville Saturday to raise awareness and money for victims of abuse.
“We dance for the people who have no voice,” said Tessa Karno, organizer of the Whidbey performances.
Shimmy Mob is an organization that holds belly dance flash mobs at locations worldwide to raise money for local nonprofits that help survivors of abuse.
The participants in Whidbey’s Shimmy Mob paid registration fees, a portion of which went to Citizens Against Domestic & Sexual Abuse.
CADA provides support and services for people who have experienced domestic violence or sexual assault.
Jenny Verduzco, a victim advocate for CADA, heard about the project after May approached the nonprofit and signed up herself and her 15-year-old daughter Elly Verduzco.
“It’s warm and welcoming with warm and welcoming people,” Jenny Verduzco said.
She appreciates that it promotes awareness in such a positive way. At Saturday’s events, dancers provided information about CADA and the services it provides.
Karno said she hopes to use the event to spread information about warning signs and preventative measures.
Many of the women who participated were not experienced dancers, although one of them is a belly-dance teacher.
The dancers hailed from Clinton to Oak Harbor and ranged in age from 15 to 87, Karno said.
Karno has no formal background in dance but calls herself a “belly dance enthusiast.”
She’s also passionate about the cause, especially because many of the people who participate are survivors of abuse, she said.
“It touches a lot of people, women especially,” she said.
She’d been involved in Shimmy Mob before moving the island in 2018. She hopes to improve upon and grow the local event each time. Another performance is planned for September with more dances, she said.
Those that participated practiced mostly individually with video tutorials to learn the dances, but the group managed to gather multiple times before taking to the stage. Even with limited meetings, the dancers bonded, many of them said.
“Getting together and dancing, it feels good,” Karno said. “And it’s for a good cause.”