Zarifa's Touch of Egypt Fifth Anniversary Celebration

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This weekend marks the fifth anniversary of the opening of Zarifa's Touch of Egypt, a small but lively belly dance and Egyptian Decor boutique and dance studio on the south end of Sixth Street in Grants Pass, Oregon. This month's Community Dance, Sunday, April 11, 5PM-7PM at the G Street Bar & Grill in Grants Pass, Oregon, will be the location for a grand celebration of five years of service to the belly dance community.

Zarifa got her start in belly dancing over 20 years ago as a performer in Reno, Nevada. She moved to Grants Pass in 1997 and retired from dance performance, but had always wanted to have her own metaphysical and belly dance boutique. In 2005, she and her husband pooled their resources to give it a go, leasing a small 300 square foot suite at 914 Southwest 6th.

Zarifa's Touch of Egypt was a challenge from the start. Not only is the art of belly dance largely misunderstood, it's not the type of business that has a large local following and is generally a hobbyist specialty. "Everyone thought I was crazy, opening a belly dance and Egyptian decor store in Grants Pass," says Zarifa. "But it's something I love, and it's been a wonderful journey."

Later that year she launched http://www.zarifas.com, her informational and ecommerce web site, offering belly dance supplies and Egyptian decor, which was an immediate success. "I still remember the first order that came from the web site," says Zarifa. "I couldn't believe it!" Her online store grew to support her entire business, generating sales from all parts of the U.S and as far away as Ireland, Switzerland, Canada, and Mexico.

Through the first year of business, many of Zarifa's customers asked if she could share her dance experience with them, and realized this is the direction her business needed to go. In June of 2006, the adjoining business changed locations which presented her with the opportunity to expand into the adjoining suite, which she converted to a small dance studio. Zarifa began offering beginning and intermediate classes in Egyptian Style belly dance, and the response was overwhelming.

Zarifa has always shared her good fortune with the community. For the second anniversary of Zarifa's Touch of Egypt, she held an all day celebration at the store, featuring belly dance star Delilah, live music by Mount Shasta musicians Pangea, and fire dance displays by artist Savannah Fyre.

Shortly thereafter, Zarifa realized that there were now more dancers in the area, but nowhere to perform. In March of 2007, Zarifa organized and hosted the first Zarifa's Community Dance, in cooperation with the G Street Bar and Grill. Zarifa's Community Dance is a free and open venue for all dancers, held on the second Sunday of alternating months between 5pm and 7pm.

In February of 2009, opportunity knocked once again as a second adjoining business changed locations. She moved the store portion of her business into the adjoining suite and removed the wall between the first two suites, opening up a beautiful 600 square foot dance studio. The grand opening of the dance studio was held as a dance benefit from which all proceeds were donated to the Womens' Crisis Center of Grants Pass.

The dance studio is now the heart of local business for Zarifa's with dance classes three nights a week, and is open for public rental on an hourly basis. It has recently become the new home for yoga classes held by the Southern Oregon Yoga Center. "The energy here is just wonderful," says Dina Press, one of the Southern Oregon Yoga instructors.

"It's been a lot of work, and it's never been easy," says Zarifa. "We've made a lot of sacrifices, but at the end of the day, when I see the smiles on the faces of the dancers, or receive a comment from web site customers, it makes it all worth it. I wouldn't change a thing."

For more information, pictures, video of past Community Dances, or to RSVP for this free event, visit the Events page at zarifas.com:

http://www.zarifas.com/events.shtml

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