The event will feature performances from all levels of belly dancers; a variety of vendors, including costumers and a henna artist; a potluck; raffles and live music.
Dancers are asked to sign up to perform at the door on a first-come, first-served basis.
She offers four levels of classes in Laguna Beach and Aliso Viejo, ranging from fundamentals to advanced choreography and improvisation; each set of classes includes a recital and field trip.
In addition to movement, St. James teaches about the uses of finger cymbals and veils, folkloric stylings, prop balancing and costume options.
“I have lots of students in Laguna who have been with me seven or eight years, and they all tell me how much belly dancing has improved their confidence.”
St. James described a volleyball player who took her class. When St. James suggested she wear a pink costume, the athlete blanched.
But she quickly changed her tune.
“Since then, I call her Pinky Girl, because she wears nothing but pink costumes,” she said.
“I watch them all develop their feminine selves, and it’s just so beautiful.”
St. James began wearing one toe ring for every year she has performed at the Sawdust Art Festival, but stopped at 22, her favorite number.
The tiny rings cluster on two of her toes, kept hidden in nude-colored shoes while she dances.
St. James said there are two skills that make belly dancing unique: while performing, dancers play finger cymbals and balance props like swords, baskets or candelabra on their heads.
Movements made from the hips up indicate the sky; movements from the hips down symbolize the earth.
Basic movements include circles, slides, undulations and spatial patterns.
Other names for “La Danse Orientale” include raqs el sharqi, an Arabic term for Eastern dance, and danse du ventre.
St. John teaches the cultural aspects of the thousands-year-old dance as well.
“It does open peoples’ minds a little bit to other cultures,” St. James said.