Belly Dancer, Marrakesh Restaurant

2234 Second Ave, 956-0500.

So how did you come to belly dance at this popular Moroccan restaurant?

I'm actually a violinist. I have my masters in music from Yale, and before I started belly dancing I played in the New Haven Symphony. One evening, I went to a restaurant and I saw a belly dancer and I just thought, "That's what I want to do!" I was attracted to belly dancing because of the freedom of the movements, the impromptu nature of the dance, and how delightfully feminine it is.

What goes through your head when you're dancing?

I'm just fascinated by how my attitude about myself can set the vibe in the room. I really notice the women, and I really want them to enjoy themselves. The dance is just a link to a common femininity. I can also spot a first date from a mile away.

How does the audience usually respond?

Most people want to watch the dancing, but they're not sure whether they should be watching the dancing, and they're not sure whether they're comfortable with the dancer seeing them watching. Dancing with my back to people allows them to watch without there being a spotlight on them, and it lessens everyone's internal conflict about eye contact/no eye contact. You don't want to take people away from the pleasure of their company or their food. But I think the dancer can make everyone's evening.

Do you ever get hungry while rolling your stomach all night long?

Oh yes! All the time. The smell is overwhelming, which is why I literally come to this restaurant more than any other.