Belly dancers ‘Fight For Air’ in Philadelphia

Local dancers shimmied to raise money to fight lung disease this past weekend in Philadelphia.

More than 20 belly dancers took the floor at Club Mousai in the Cibo Ristorante Italiano in Center City for the 5th Annual Belly Dancers Fight For Air. Patrons slipped dollar bills into their costumes, in some cases, “making it rain” over the heads of the performers.

Professional dancer and belly dance event organizer Jaime “Jaeda” Cheng, became involved with the American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb after her father passed away from sinus and lung cancer. Every year since 2008, Cheng and her mother Judy, one of the oldest participants at age 80, climb the 50-flights of stairs.

Cheng has since become an ambassador and recruiter for the stair-climbing event.

“You don’t have to be in great shape, it’s all about the lungs,” she said. “And it makes you appreciate when you have healthy lungs.”

In 2012 to raise even more money, she brought the cause to the Philadelphia dance community and has been humbled by the response.

This past weekend, the crowd whooped and threw money around as the dancers rolled their bellies for a cause, but according to Cheng, it’s also a great way to raise awareness and encourage everyone to get screened.

In addition to cancer research, the ALA also does work surrounding COPD and clean air advocacy.

Cheng hopes to raise even more money at her next event this Saturday at L’etage in South Philadelphia, which will bring together belly dance, burlesque, drag performances, and comedy.

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