When Westborough resident and University of New Hampshire student Elizabeth “Lizzi” Marriott was murdered in October, “I knew her family and friends in MA would be most closely affected, but she had friends in UNH, and she died in Portsmouth,” Zehara says.
That sentiment led to “Shimmies for Lizzi,” a benefit in Marriott’s memory.
Featuring 15 belly dancers and two belly dancing troupes, the event is from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26 at St. John's Episcopal Church, 101 Chapel St., Portsmouth, N.H.
Tickets are $10. Raffles and a silent auction will feature items donated by New Hampshire-area vendors, she said.
All the proceeds will go to the Marriott family "to use as they see fit," says Zehara, who organized the event with another belly dancer, Zabel. Both are among the 15 performers.
“I really wanted the event to be a type of memorial service for those who knew her in New Hampshire,” Zehara says.
“The show is a remembrance and celebration of Lizzi's life, but also a start point for the healing process. Dance has been used for thousands of years as means to honor and revere ancestors and those who have died, as well as used for cathartic and ritualistic purposes to help heal the hurting or sick--and belly dance an ancient art form created to celebration life---this show goes in hand in hand, both as a celebration of Lizzi's spirit and a healing for those who are left behind to grieve her passing.”
The event is among two next Saturday to remember Lizzi.
The Westborough Athletic and Social Association will sponsor the event from 7 p.m. to midnight Saturday, Jan. 26 at the Indian Meadows Country Club in Northborough.
Tickets are $25, and are available at Central House, Curry Printing, JP’s Restaurant, Sapporo, Westboro House of Pizza and Love Those Nails. Tickets will also be available at the door. Dance rock band Outta Commission will perform.
All proceeds will benefit the Lizzi Marriott Intrepid Explorer Fund.
Zehara says that “my husband grew up knowing Lizzi's mother and sister and parents, and we are still in close contact with her Aunt Rebecca Tyning as well as her grandmother and an uncle.”
“Her Aunt Becky has been fantastic in helping me bring Lizzi's spirit to the show by supplying candid images to add to the program,” she says.
Zehara said she organized a similar belly dancing event after a friend was murdered in 2005.
“We had 20 dancers perform at the event, as well as had raffle prizes. It was held in Cambridge and went from 2005 to 2008—after which, the fundraiser grew so large that the venue could no longer fit the capacity of the audience,” she says.
Saturday’s individual performances will show “all different styles of belly dance -- from Bhangra, Fusion, American Tribal Style, Tribal Fusion, Turkish, Egyptian and American Cabaret,” Zehara says.
“We will also be ending the show with a healing dance circle in which audience members are welcome to join in and dance with the performers,” she says.