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Best Belly Dancing 

Aalim Dance Academy at the Venice Café

It's the first Monday of the month, and something strange is happening on the corner of Lemp and Pestalozzi. The bar is packed with models and dancers, all clapping and swiveling to Middle Eastern rhythms. Men and women slip dollar bills into bell-adorned bikinis, but the dancing isn't just a faux come-on. This is folk art performed by some of the best teachers and dancers in town. In its fifteenth year, the Aalim Dance Academy generally makes appearances at weddings, festivals and parties, but its monthly gatherings at the Venice, led by director Lois Marshall (a.k.a. Salwa), offer an intimate and inviting way to appreciate the spirit and sensuality of belly dancing.

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