By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Region – This unseasonably mild winter was interrupted Jan. 23 with a snowstorm causing the Gypsy Moon Dance Company to reschedule its show. “Gypsy Soul,” an evening of belly and Middle Eastern fusion dance, will be presented Saturday, March 12, at 7:30 p.m., at the Maironis Park Banquet Hall, 52 S. Quinsigamond Ave. in Shrewsbury.
Ranging in age from 20s to 80s, the cast of about 35 dancers are students of Northborough resident Gypsy Phillips. She began studying belly dance at age 36 after the birth of her last child. Now 77, Phillips has no plans to retire from performing or teaching.
“I needed something to get back into exercise,” she explained. “What better way to exercise every part of your body than belly dance? I’ll keep going as long as I can.”
Phillips has been instructing for 43 years at various locations including several senior centers, currently in Northborough, Shrewsbury and West Boylston. She also teaches belly dance at St. Stephen’s Church in Westborough and Assabet After Dark, the continuing education program at Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School in Marlborough.
Performing dance numbers in the upcoming “Gypsy Soul” will be the beginners from Assabet After Dark and the advanced students from St. Stephen’s Church.
“The mainstay of the show will be the Silver Moon Gypsies,” Phillips noted.
Several years ago, Phillips expanded her Gypsy Moon Dance Company by recruiting some of her students from senior centers to form the Silver Moon Gypsies.
“Once they get hooked, they keep coming back and get in better shape,” Phillips said of her students at senior centers. “Learning choreography helps improve their memory because you have to remember what comes next. And I think the sisterhood among us is important, too. We laugh all through the class. Then afterward, we go out to lunch together.”
The Silver Moon Gypsies perform at senior centers, nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. They also appear regularly in the Spirit of Shrewsbury Parade and perform afterward at the festival’s tribute for residents age 90 and over. In addition to Phillips, the troupe currently includes Anna Connors, 62, Shrewsbury; Norma Guimentaro, 83, Shrewsbury; Kathy Hebert, 64, Worcester; Alida Kruman, 77, Southborough; and Elaine Savoy, 72, Millbury.
In “Gypsy Soul,” they’ll perform a fan veil dance as a group. Connors and Savoy will do a duet. Phillips will draw upon her sense of spontaneity as she performs a solo.
“I’ll decide that day what song I’m dancing to for my solo,” she shared. “It’s not choreographed; I just go out there and dance.”
The audience will also be treated to a different dance style. For the past six years, Phillips has attended Sunday evening dances hosted by Dance2Swing Studio with deejay Alan Cormier at the Leominster Lodge of Elks. A number of those swing dancers will entertain during intermission.
“We’ll have some good swing partners there,” Phillips said. “I want to swing dance myself, but that’s when I’ll be changing my outfit.”
For about 15 years, the Gypsy Moon Dance Company has produced shows annually in the spring and winter. Their shows have been rescheduled twice previously due to snow.
“From now on, we’ll try to do our shows in March and November,” Phillips announced. “Wintertime is too iffy.”
Tickets purchased for the postponed show will be honored Saturday, March 12. To reserve discounted tickets in advance for $5, call Gypsy Phillips at 508-393-9371. Tickets will be available at the door for $7. Phillips is sure that the audience will enjoy “Gypsy Soul.”
“They will be pleasantly entertained,” she said.
For more information about the Silver Moon Gypsies, visit silvermoongypsies.weebly.com.