Nerve Centre to Host Night of Culture and Cuisine to Mark International Bellydance Day

Nerve Centre to Host Night of Culture and Cuisine to Mark International Bellydance Day

An evening of dancing, music and food to mark World Bellydance Day is set to take place within the Nerve Centre this Friday, May 12. Hosted by dance artist Audrey Doherty and with catering by the new pop-up Arabic Café, the family-friendly event will provide not only a chance to celebrate the unique art form, but also to help raise money for charity.

All proceeds raised will be pledged to Zaatar, a non-profit organisation which assists refugees in Athens, Greece.

Normally open from 12pm-8pm on Thursdays, Arabic Cafe will throw open its doors for this one-off showcase of cultural traditions and will give flavour to the performances with buffet meals made up of fine international cuisine. These can be booked in advance for £10 per person via WeGotTickets. Tickets on the night are priced £12, or £5 for children.

Doherty trained with London-based instructor Anne White as well as Arab teachers including Amani of Lebanon and Sandra of Nice, and has performed with a number of well-known Arab musicians.

She currently teaches Egyptian and Arabic dance classes at Fireworks DDTA Pennyburn and facilitates and performs in special occasions and cultural and corporate events, nationally and internationally.

‘It’s a little sign from God to have this charity recommended to me by my Athens based friend Hiba Zein,’ she said. ‘I must say a huge thank you to the artists involved who are generously donating their time for this worthwhile cause. Also a thanks for the support of Marty Coyle and Pearse Moore at Nerve Centre and the amazing cooks at the Arabic Cafe. I am overwhelmed by the generosity of spirit of people around me.’

Marty Coyle, who caps off his year as Nerve Centre Musician-in-Residence on June 3 with the launch of the album Basork, is also excited by the opportunities the event could offer.

He commented: ‘It is with a warm heart that I am witnessing the work of Audrey Doherty and Jo Bird in such projects as Arabic Café and World Bellydance Day at the Nerve Centre with our Middle Eastern neighbours, bringing people together through the arts and cuisine.

‘I’m very much looking forward to meeting new friends and potential collaborators through this organisation whose ethos towards human rights and social inclusion are admirable.’

Those in attendance will be able to pick up a free ticket and also purchase the Basork album on vinyl in advance of its launch.

The Arabic Cafe will remain at Nerve Centre until June 1, offering freshly prepared Arabic meals, snacks, desserts and drinks, as well as helping locals integrate with Arabic speaking refugees and migrants through various language workshops and opportunities.

Janda Hasan, who arrived in Derry with other Syrian refugee families a year ago, said: ‘I love working in the Arabic Café. I want to contribute to my city. Everything is different here compared to Syria – the weather, the language and the food. It is good that people here are interested to try Arabic food too, like mint tea, humus and cake.’

Mosad Dandousha recently travelled to the city from Egypt and now also works at the cafe. He added: ‘I feel very welcome in this city. It is my pleasure to share our Arabic food and culture with our new friends and neighbours. We have the best falafel and baklava sweets for 100 miles! Some customers like to talk with me and I like that.’

Speaking about the charity Zaatar, Marina Liaki explained: ‘We have a day centre where 200 refugees a day come for showers, laundry, classes or WiFi. We also offer yoga, psychologist, physiotherapist and languages. We house up to 20 women alone or with kids’.

Tickets are available from or in the Arabic Café. Advance tickets, including a buffet meal, are £10 or £5 for children.

For enquiries or bookings with Audrey tel: 07535350702 or e-mail:

Location map