Belly dancers perform at 16th annual belly dance festival

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WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah -- Belly dancers from all over the State of Utah and Idaho celebrated the 16th annual belly dance festival "Spring Fest" on Saturday.

Belly dancers danced from the time the festival began at 10 a.m. to when it ended at 8 p.m. at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center on 3100 South and 1355 West.

"This was a dream of mine for many years to have an opportunity to dance on the stage again to bring awareness to art." Thia Kapos, the sponsor of the Utah belly dance fest, said. "It brings entertainment  and art in a communal atmosphere and it brings awareness to other people's culture."

Michelle Merrill, a belly dancer, agrees.

"I feel like this is the most important thing ever, especially what's going in the political environment right now. Having something that comes originally from the Middle East and is just so beautiful and so much fun to be around. I mean, to experience another culture that you wouldn't normally experience," Merrill said.

The dance is based on rolling and undulation and shimmy and soft movements, Kapos said, there's no kicking or jumping or tumbling.