STARS OF JERUSALEM GARDEN Appearing Thurs Mar 12 2015 at 7:00pm

$10 in advance
$12 at the door

The Stars of Jerusalem Garden is a live music and bellydance gala performance showcasing twenty of the remarkably talented musicians and dancers who regularly perform weekends at downtown Asheville's iconic Mediterranean restaurant, Jerusalem Garden Cafe. 

Graceful bellydancers with snakes and scarves and swords dance to the music of oud, bazouki, esraj, sitar, cumbus, melodian, def, tar, darbuka, riq and all kinds of other exotic sounding instruments!

 Small plate servings of some of Jerusalem Garden's signature sides such as hummus and mutabal will also be available at the show.

This gala event featuring six incredible bellydancers and over a dozen amazing musicians is spearheaded by Brandi Mizilca Hubiak, who has been practicing bellydance since 1993 and performing on the weekends at Jerusalem Garden Cafe in downtown Asheville since 2001. The show celebrates the community of performers who work together at the Jerusalem Garden and the joy we have in playing and creating together. 
Over the years, the Jerusalem Garden has evolved in numerous ways and the lineup of performers there has as well, with the exception of Brandi Mizilca and Chris Stack, who both harken back to the inception of bellydance and live music at Jerusalem Garden. Each Friday and Saturday night, the restaurant features one bellydancer, one melody player, and one percussionist.

When Brandi Mizilca took over scheduling of the performers for the restaurant in 2007, she decided to try a social experiment with it and shift the lineup from consisting of a few familiar arrangements of artists to being a constant rotation of all three positions of dancer, melody player, and drummer. The people filling those three positions suddenly included a much wider array of the talented artists she knew both in Asheville and beyond to come be part of the exciting experience of creating fully improvised and always unique shows. With such a large pool of talent and a constant rotation of all three parts, and with varying availability among all the artists involved, it might sometimes be months or even a year or more before the exact same combination of performers works together for a night at the garden.

For this to work well, each person has to have finely honed chops in their own component of the show and at least know enough about one another's parts so that they can be ready to improvise with anything that comes their way. It also forces each person to humble themselves to one another in order to learn from each other's repertoires while using their own skill sets towards the goal of listening, responding, accommodating, and ultimately co creating music and dance pieces that express the perfect unity within that moment that will likely never be exactly replicated again, even if the same artists re-converge, because by the time that happens their artistry will each have evolved and it will be an all new experience again. There is something beautiful and intimate to that kind of co­creation. 

Audiences often feel the electricity of the moment unfolding and ask the artists about the process of how they are able to make it all come together so perfectly, how it looks and sounds so choreographed and yet both the music and the dance obviously have to constantly yield and morph to accommodate not just what each other is bringing to the mix, but what every person in the restaurant and their movements, moods, and actions inspire or command.

All of the performers within the lineup perform their art in other venues as well. Most of them are in other bands, dance ensembles, and creative performance projects, some of which consist entirely of individuals within this same specific talent pool and some of which are entirely unrelated and even span into all kinds of other musical genres. 

In this show on March 12, the twenty Jerusalem Garden artists who are participating will get to collaborate in all different combinations with each other, ranging from one dancer and one musician to two dancers and four musicians to six dancers and more than a dozen musicians all together. Some pieces will be rehearsed and choreographed for stage presentations, while some pieces will be improvised on the spot, with one musician conducting the flow of the song, other musicians accompanying, and a dancer interpreting the music as it is being born. The variety of sights and sounds will be dynamically awe inspiring! The performers will also share a bit about the history of the music and the dances and about the rhythms and scales involved. You will surely want to renew your passport after this magic carpet ride across distant lands and swirling dreamscapes! 

To make the show affordable even for whole families, presale tickets for this gala event are only $10. For those who just cannot make it in person for the live experience, the show will also be available to stream on line in real­time at for the same price. In house tickets bought same day as the show will be $12. Jerusalem Garden will also have some of their signature side dishes such as hummus and pita, stuffed grape leaves, and mutabal available for purchase at the show.