Mardi Gras at Coffee Haven in Long Beach

By Pat Alexander

29 February 2004


For just over a year, the Coffee Haven in Long Beach has been the venue for the Sunday Shimmy showcase, sponsored by Elemental Tribal Dance Company and the owners of Coffee Haven.  On February 22, Katerina and her special guest dancers brought the spectacle and magic of Mardi Gras to this cozy Internet café. Katerina and Saviya opened the program by handing out masks, candy and beads to all the patrons.  Next were solo performances by Sina, Safina and Lorraine, each demonstrating her creativity in a unique application of traditional and not so traditional belly dance movements to music typical of the New Orleans jazz and reggae styles.  



In contrast to the opening festivity, the second act introduced a darker “voodoo” theme as Saviya sprinkled “magic dust” on a black shroud and a mummy wrapped in white cloth came to life; breaking free of her cocoon and dancing with stiff, disjointed movements.  Following this brief “bayou segment,” we were returned to the raucous city with more lively performances by Safina, Lorraine and Katerina.  The audience was so jazzed that they continued to dance themselves after the performers had finished.

Coffee Haven is located at 1708 Broadway in Long Beach (phone:  562-437-3785).  The Sunday Shimmy showcase takes place every Sunday night beginning about 7 pm.  Generally, the performance is over by 8:45—which is great for those of us who have to get up early to go to work the next morning!   In addition to a nice selection of regular and gourmet coffee drinks, they also offer tasty sandwiches and soup and delectable desserts. The women of Elemental Tribal welcome dancers of all types to come perform with them at the Sunday Shimmy Showcase.  For additional information and performance opportunities visit:, or send an email to