Northborough – After some hesitation, the Northborough Board of Selectmen approved a measure that will allow belly dancing at a local restaurant, Zem Han.
The decision to amend the restaurant's entertainment license to allow belly dancing one night on every other weekend, was made during the board's Nov. 5 meeting.
Selectman Aaron Hutchins expressed concern regarding the belly dancing, which he said was based on a website that the board was asked to visit prior to the meeting.
“My concern is that if you want to do this, you certainly have the right, I just would appreciate, as a parent, tighter restrictions in terms of when this is going to go on,” Hutchins said. He requested that the dancing show times be at later hours, when children were less likely to be in the restaurant.
Yuri Krasnov, Zem Han's owner, said he understood that belly dancing can be seen inappropriate by some but stressed that belly dancing is an art form and assured the board that he wants it to appear appropriate in his establishment.
Selectmen Leslie Rutan and Dawn Rand agreed with Hutchins’ suggestion for tighter restrictions. Rutan suggested that the restaurant advertise specific show times directly outside of the restaurant as well as on its website. She also suggested that the host or hostess make customers aware that the belly dancing will be happening.
Selectman Jeff Amberson did not see an issue with the belly dancing.
“It's really going to come down to what a parent thinks is appropriate for their child,” Amberson said.
Hutchins clarified his earlier statement.
“I have no objections to belly dancing, to arts, to cultural entertainment; I’m a huge fan,” he said. ?Hutchins emphasized that his concern was with the costumes that the dancers wore in the video on the website.
Krasnov assured Hutchins that the belly dancers would wear appropriate costumes and if the customers complain, he intends to listen to the feedback in order for the belly dancing to appear appropriate for the establishment.
Following the discussion, the board approved the amended license with the provision that there must be postings at the entrance of the establishment with specified times as to when the belly dancing will commence. In addition, the restaurant must also post the specified times on its website.