Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times
                                From left, Shimmy Mob belly dancers Holly Orange, Chandani Teresa Ortego, Tessa May and Badeah Shirazi peform Saturday at Coupeville Town Park. The annual flash mob is held at locations worldwide to promote awareness of abuse.

Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times From left, Shimmy Mob belly dancers Holly Orange, Chandani Teresa Ortego, Tessa May and Badeah Shirazi peform Saturday at Coupeville Town Park. The annual flash mob is held at locations worldwide to promote awareness of abuse.

Flash mob dancers shimmy for a cause

Surprise dances in Langley, Coupeville raise funds for domestic violence prevention agency

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 ofabuse.

“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 nonprofitsthat 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 upherself 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 informationabout 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, shesaid.

“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 eventeach 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 togather 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.”

• More information can be found at www.shimmymob.com or www.CadaCanHelp.org

Photos by Laura Guido/Whidbey News Group
                                Amber Groves performs a solo dance as part of the 2019 Shimmy Mob flash mob.

Photos by Laura Guido/Whidbey News Group Amber Groves performs a solo dance as part of the 2019 Shimmy Mob flash mob.

(Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times)
                                From left, Chandani Teresa Ortego, Tessa May, Badeah Shirazi and Amber Groves perform a belly dance at Coupeville Town Park. The event aims to spread awareness and raise money for victims of abuse.

(Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times) From left, Chandani Teresa Ortego, Tessa May, Badeah Shirazi and Amber Groves perform a belly dance at Coupeville Town Park. The event aims to spread awareness and raise money for victims of abuse.

Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times
                                Belly dance teacher Chandani Teresa Ortego performs a solo dance Saturday at Coupeville Town Park as part of the 2019 Shimmy Mob.

Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times Belly dance teacher Chandani Teresa Ortego performs a solo dance Saturday at Coupeville Town Park as part of the 2019 Shimmy Mob.

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