Kami Liddle could not meet with me for this article. Her big-time status precluded her from shaking in front of me. That sounds weird. Let me put it this way. Liddle is a superstar. Now, few can claim to be a superstar of anything. But Liddle can say that without a doubt, she holds a superstar title as a dancer for the Bellydance Superstars, an internationally recognized belly-dancing troupe.
But Liddle, who now lives in the Bay Area, was not always a Superstar. In fact, she lived in Reno for nearly seven years before “hitting it big” in the dance world. She began toiling with the idea of dancing professionally while in Reno. She also took belly-dancing classes at Truckee Meadows Community College, and she met the Reno belly-dancing troupe, Asha World Dancers.
Although she graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a major in art and a minor in dance, the dance eventually took over. She became obsessed with belly dancing and began traveling to the Bay Area and watching videos on belly dancing techniques.
“I just had a connection to the movement,” recalls Liddle. “It felt really organic.”
Mary Crawley of Asha World Dancers vouches for her organic talent from one move.
“This is going to sound really corny,” says Crawley. “The first time I danced with her, we were in class, and she was doing a very specific move, and she and I had to back away from each other. And the way she isolated the move and the way she did, I thought, ‘This chick is a natural. She’s awesome. She just got it.’ I mean, it sounds corny. But she did. She had it.”
In Reno, Liddle performed with the Asha World Bellydance troupe for about two years. On July 30, Liddle will return to Reno for a solo performance at the Laxalt Auditorium from 7 to 10 p.m. She will also host two tribal workshops on July 31 at the Evelyn Mount Community Center. The Asha World Dancers will introduce her solo act with what they say is a top-secret dance. The Asha dancers let it slip that the dance will be a fusion-like style.
At a recent practice performance, the Asha dancers practiced their “scooches” and kick one-two-three in a member’s basement-turned-dance-studio. Liddle, they say, always had the talent and desire to become a more professional dancer. Fittingly, Liddle says that the Asha World Dancers inspired her to take her dancing to the level she has reached today.
In 2005, Liddle joined the Superstars and now holds the title of Director of Tribal Superstars. From her time with the Superstars, she has traveled across the globe to sold-out shows in Peru, London, Japan, Taiwan, Morocco, Africa and the Middle East.
Although I could not see Liddle in person, I managed to become familiar with her dancing through the glory of YouTube. To describe Liddle’s dancing style would almost be like trying to dance the style myself. Liddle laughs when describing her belly-dance style. There’s a bit of folk, some jazz, hip-hop and traditional. That’s just one dance.
Her hips shake up and down with such precision she could serve Moroccan mint tea on them. Liddle passes the belly dancer’s test without blinking. Here, she delicately isolates her hip movements to the lower half of the body. But, if she wanted, she could move her hips 10 degrees lower, then lower, and lower. If you blanketed Liddle’s lower half of her body while she was dancing, you might not know she was dancing, as her upper half remains perfectly still.