Barbara Donahue Shares Her Love of Dance for a Worthy Cause

Barbara Donahue

Barbara Donahue, team leader for Shimmy Mob 2014 (Source: link)

We recently had the opportunity to explore the art of belly dancing (or oriental dance) in our exclusive interview with solo artist Rachid Alexander.  Since that interview, we have been fortunate to hear from a number of dancers who share our appreciation for this exotic dance form.

One such dancer, Barbara Donahue, Director of The Dancing Spirit Studio in Tiverton, Rhode Island, enlightened us about an annual worldwide event that gives belly dance enthusiasts the opportunity to perform for a worthy cause. This one-of-a-kind event is known as Shimmy Mob.


DanseTrack – How were you first exposed to dance? 

Barbara Donahue  – “I saw my first Nutcracker at age 4 and knew I wanted to a dance. My dream was to be a ballerina, but life had other plans…My journey has been from ballet to modern dance to belly dance. I never imagined I would be a belly dancer. I didn’t know what belly dance was until I began to study and then a whole new world opened up.”


DanseTrack – As a testimony to your own style, who are some of the dancers who have most influenced you?

Dancers of The Dancing Spirit Studio in Rhode Island with Barbara Donahue

Dancers of The Dancing Spirit Studio in Rhode Island
(Barbara Donahue standing near center in blue.)

Barbara Donahue – “My childhood muses were Anna Pavlova and Isadora Duncan, and my adored ballet teacher was Natasha Redel who studied with Mikhail Fokine. In college I trained with teachers of the Martha Graham, José Limón, and Merce Cunningham techniques and with Finis Jhung for ballet.”

“As for influential belly dance artists, there are many. To name a few, I’ll have to say: Morocco, Dalia, Blanca, Amani, Delilah, Katia, Anahid, Sema and Ruth St. Denis.”


DanseTrack – Rehearsals are well underway for Shimmy Mob, which takes place on May 10, 2014. What has it been like to participate in the world’s largest, most-connected global flash mob?

Barbara Donahue – “I began as a Shimmy Mob team leader for the first studio in New England to participate in 2011. Each year has been amazing in so many ways. The Shimmy Mob community is very unique because it is global and filled with love of the dance around the world. On May 10th, all of the dancers will be dancing the same steps while wearing the same Shimmy Mob t-shirts. This year will include over 263 cities with more than 2000 dancers performing!

Dancers of The Dancing Spirit Studio

Dancers of The Dancing Spirit Studio


DanseTrack – Why do you think it is important to get involved with Shimmy Mob, and what can those who might be interested do to participate or to support this event?

Barbara Donahue – “To dance with dancers all over the world at the same time is just ONE reason to join.  Another reason is because funds raised by Shimmy Mob dancers help women’s and children’s shelters around the world. To participate or donate go to the shimmy mob website On the site you can see how to help, where to donate, and locate flash mob groups in your own area. Some shows like mine this year are held in dance studios, but most are in public places. Last year, our team performed in 17 different public locations. It’s all amazing.”


DanseTrack – Thank you, Barbara, for talking with us, and we wish you all the best for Shimmy Mob 2014!


Barbara Donahue…

Is a dance artist, instructor and owner of The Dancing Spirit Studio in Tiverton, Rhode Island.  A graduate of SUNY Purchase with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance, Barbara has taught belly dance for beginner to advanced pupils of all ages. This year (2014) will mark her 4th year as a team leader for the international dance event ShimmyMob.  Prior to her involvement with this organization, she has also danced for World Belly Dance, National Dance Week, and World Dance Day.

Show Details: Shimmy Mob to Support Sojourner House of Rhode Island


Shimmy Mob

ShimmyMobShimmy Mob is annual event that raises funds for the support of women’s and children’s shelters worldwide while also bringing the beauty of belly dance to the general public. This year’s Shimmy Mob will take place on May 10, 2014.

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