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Shake those 'Hips Against Hunger'

Drumming, tribal beats, belly dancing and classical Indian dancing. Sounds like an exotic affair to take place far, far away, right? Wonder no more; this cultural explosion will be in Madison County.

"Hips Against Hunger," the collaboration of belly dancers and the Shri Mantram Drumming Ensemble will host a cultural presentation in Cazenovia Nov. 7 in efforts to benefit both the Community Action Program for Madison County and the Morrisville Food Pantry.

Attendants will have the opportunity to learn different styles of belly dancing from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Cazenovia Fitness Center and then experience Middles Eastern culture at a reception filled with dancing, music, cocktails and hors d'oeuvres from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Lincklaen House in Cazenovia.

Returning for the second year in a row to organize "Hips Against Hunger," is Cazenovia resident Treva Purcell, 34, a belly dancing instructor who currently teaches classes at the Cazenovia Fitness Center. She has also taught belly dancing at Cazenovia College in the past as a part of the curriculum for some cultural studies courses.

Purcell has been teaching belly dancing for more than 5 years, and has occasionally stepped away from the genre to only find herself joining the hip-shaking once again,

"It's really a passion of mine," Purcell said.

Her passion for belly dancing inspired the annual "Hips Against Hunger" benefit. A few years ago, Purcell said a friend that works at CAP brought up the needs of the program and the local food pantry.

"I thought, I can do something," Purcell said. "I soul searched."

Once she envisioned a cultural festival that featured belly dancing, she asked her husband Tim to help her think of a name for the event. Purcell said her husband is "good with words," and she wasn't surprised to hear him come with the name: "Hips for Hunger."

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