Shimmying for a Cause

Shimmy MobDancers from Cambridge's Shimmy Mob team practice. Photo courtesy of Seyyide Sultan.

Cambridge’s belly dancers are hitting the streets this weekend to raise money for local domestic violence shelters and to celebrate World Belly Dance Day.

The “Shimmy Mobs”—a play on a typical flash mob—are happening in over 160 cities all over the world on Saturday. The almost 2,000 dancers are expected to break a world record that the event set last year.

Ten belly dancers will perform at the Cambridge Common (noon), Joan Lorentz Park (1 p.m.), Jill Brown-Rhone Park (3 p.m.), and the Prudential Center (5:15 p.m.) to raise money for The Transition House and RESPOND, Inc.

This is the first year that Cambridge has a group participating, according to team leader Seyyide Sultan. Sultan has been a belly dancer for 20 years and is excited to share a style that she loves with the city.

“The dance is so beautiful, I love it so much, and it’s done so much for me, I figure it can do so much for many others if they only know what it is about,” she says, explaining that she find belly dancing empowering and meditation-like.

Dancers around the world registered to participate earlier this spring, and all learned the same routine off an online video. Part of registration fees went to organizations helping domestic violence survivors.

The Shimmy Mob will ask people to donate to the cause the day of the event. People can also donate online. To donate to RESPOND, Inc., visit and include “Shimmy Mob” in the notes section. To donate to The Transition House, visit