Melina's Belly Dance & Circus Arts Private Studio Moody Street Circus in Waltham, MA

Melina's Tips from the Hip (TM) Blog

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Melina of Daughters of Rhea (Melinda Pavlata, PhD)
is a second-generation belly dancer and aerial circus artist, entertainer and teacher.  Melina grew up performing nightly in Greek tavernas under the Acropolis at the shimmying hip of her legendary mother, Rhea of Greece, and danced with her sister Piper (Belly Dancer of the Year 2000) in the hotspot Arabic clubs of Athens in the 80s. Melina is invited to teach and perform Daughters of Rhea style belly dance as well as her "Wild Hips, Gypsy Heart" workshops worldwide: from Singapore to Taiwan, New Zealand to Kripalu Center of Yoga and Health.  Melina has appeared on the hit reality MTV show "Made", been featured on Chronicle TV and the documentary So Much, So Fast, and was hired as an entertainer for an elegant Bridezilla wedding. She is a world-class artist who takes the art of belly dance to new heights of elegance, creativity and entertainment.  Ever engaged in new creative and collaborative ventures, Melina loves to blend 'vintage-oriental' belly dance with European-style circus arts.  Inspired by the "point-to-point" balancing circus acts of Europe, Melina is the only belly dancer in the world to balance a sword on the tip of a dagger clutched in her jaws in while belly dancing and descending into a full split.  She has balanced a tray of lit candles on her head while dancing since the age of seven, and she is always inventing new ways to amaze, delight and - hopefully - inspire her audience.  Melina loves to teach and perform and uses her passion for dance to promote positivity in the universe.

Photos: Melina at Byblos with the Ed Melikian Ensemble! Wonderful photos by Alice Gebura.

As an aerialist and circus performer, Melina has toured in the U.S. and around the globe with The Pickle Family Circus, Circus Flora and The Wallenda Family Circus, and has performed for corporate events and at nightclubs, fairs and festivals with her own  Moody Street Circus show.  Her family circus, co-founded with 5th-generation Czech circus star husband Sacha Pavlata, features European-style circus artistry in an intimate one-ring setting.  Our inspiring, daring and elegant acts include aerial silks, cloud swing, lyra (aerial hoop), unicycle, sword on dagger balance, high wire, trapeze, juggling, clowning, Spanish web and more. Visit Moody Street Circus or call 781 893 2491 for more info or to book our circus show or individual acts.


When she is not on performance tours or traveling to teach for special workshops, Melina regularly takes the stage at the lovely Karoun Restaurant in Newtonville, MA.  Located on the corner of Washington and Walnut Streets, Karoun's features delicious Mediterranean-style dining, live international music on Friday and Saturday nights, and a beautiful large dance floor where you can spin about with your date or shimmy it up on your own!  Call Karoun's for dinner reservations:617 964 3400.  When you call, verify who is on the schedule to dance that evening, and make sure to ask about the Karoun's table minimums or prix fixe requirements for the evening you are planning to attend.  The belly dance show begins at 9:00 p.m. I recommend making dinner reservations for 8 p.m.  I highly recommend Karoun's as a special evening out or for a big family celebration!

Melina in the News!

"The Greatest of Ease" - Boston Globe article by Taryn Plumb: October 16, 2011

"At Moody Street Circus, Kids Learn how to Take a Leap" by Jim Walker: Wicked Local Waltham October 14 2011.


Wayland's 375th Anniversary Gala Show with Moody Street Circus

The Wang Center

Intercontinental Hotel (Wedding Events)

The Taj (Wedding Events)

The Plaza (Wedding Events)

The Four Seasons (Gala Holiday Party and Wedding Events)

Moody Street Circus (studio shows)

Shimmies for a Cure ...

University of Madison, Wisconsin
10th Anniversary of UWisconsin's Belly Dancing Society presented
Melina Workshops and Performance

Gypsy Hearts Melina workshop and Show
at the Courtyard Marriott, 2200 Southwood Drive, in Nashua, New Hampshire on Sunday March 20th, 2011.

Presented by NH NBDA / NH Bellydance - MA Northshore Chapter NBDA & Heather Peckham Emerson

George and Jasmin Present:
Melina belly dance workshops and live show in Athens, Greece

Melina's Cirque Passion European circus tent up in Nyack, NY
Circus and Belly Dance Shows
Circus Extravaganza Collaboration with Amazing Grace Circus!

Pickle Family Circus, S.F. CA
(childhood circus shows with father Phil Marsh and step-mom Cecil MacKinnon)

Circus Flora, St Louis, MO.
(Company Member: Dancer, Choreographer, Juggler, Aerialist)

Wallenda Family Circus, Taiwan
(Aerial Trapeze Duet with Sacha Pavlata)

Cirque Rocks! New Zealand
(Platform Wallenda when the Flying Wallendas performed their high wire 7 person pyramid)

Melina at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health.
Weeklong Workshop "Wild Hips, Gypsy Heart: Belly Dance as Self-Empowerment"
Annual Retreat since 2008

Melina with John de Kadt -- Dance and Rhythm Concert at Omega Institute

Melina, Piper and Rhea at BellyPalooza,
The Daughters of Rhea Belly Dance Festival and Show in Baltimore, MD
Seminars, Shopping and SHOW in Baltimore

TRIBAL PURA Show in Cambridge YMCA Theatre

Private Wedding Performances at the StateRoom, the Four Seasons, The Taj, the Ritz, the Plaza, Red Lion Inn, Hyatt Harborside, the Intercontinental.

Melina performance with HuDost in evening concert at Kripalu

Melina and Sacha present Cirque Passion
Aerial Circus & Belly Dance Show
Featured at Roxy's Anniversary Gala Bash
Providence, R.I.

Seminars and Gala Show with Melina, Rhea of Greece and Sacha Pavlata
Seminars and show at Victoria Theatre, Singapore
Produced and Sponsored by Goddess Motion

Melina in Bellybeat Dance Company Production, "Fantasy" at Green Street Studios

Melina in MassRaqs 2011 Show at Boston University

Saturday May 16th, 2009
Melina's sister Piper Hunt, PhD in Boston area PiperMethod Technique Seminars
Call 508.822.6449 for times and information on how to register
Ancient Art Studios in Berkley, MA

Studio Rhea in Plaka

Melina and her Daughters of Rhea Arabian Nights Ensemble

Melina performs and teaches fun demo belly dance classes at gala events and private functions like weddings, bridal showers, grand openings, batmitzvahs, barmitzvahs, birthday parties etc.  You can book her solo or with her beautiful team of professional Daughters of Rhea dancers. 

Melina's artful and entertaining belly dance show platter includes:

~ World-famous sword and dagger act balancing act
~ Tray of burning candles balancing act
~ Ancient Goddess dance on mobile candle holders
~ Spinning golden Isis wings
 ~Turkish Drop
~ Drum Solo
 ~ Dramatic Taqsim floorwork
~ Turkish Karsilama
~Greek Tsiftetelli
~ Finger Cymbals
~ Veil
~ Tambourine dance


~ Aerial fusion dance on Lyra (suspended aerial hoop)
~ Trapeze Duet with Sacha Pavlata
~ Juggling clown turns into elegant belly dancer act
~ Vaudevillian dance comedy act with Sara Cabral
~ Aerial Silks Dance

  Call 781 588-3628 for rates, booking info and availability.


Photos Below:  MELINA THEN (age 7, belly dancing at the Athens by Night Taverna in Plaka, Athens, Greece) AND NOW (dancing at Karoun)

Melina was the featured belly dancer on the television show Bridezilla as well as MTV's hit show "MADE", and she appeared as herself in the Award-winning documentary So, Much, So Fast. Melina also owns her own European-style family circus Cirque Passion.  Cirque Passion puts up its elegant little tent for circus and dance shows in the context of festivals, museum and theatre shows, circuses, nonprofit & corporate galas, birthday celebrations, weddings, elegant holiday parties, anniversaries and corporate events. 

Melina, Sara and Panayiota

"Melina dances like a Poem"
-Cleopatra of Athens

"Beautiful and entertaining. outrageously so."
-Four Seasons Hotel

Rent Melina's Cirque Passion circus tent or engage her circus aerial show entertainment for upscale & unique elegant weddings and parties.

Melina's tent

View new clips of Melina's World-Class Belly Dancing in Athens on YouTube!  Watch her ONE OF A KIND sword and dagger act!

Melina's Daughters of Rhea Blog

to book her and the Boston Daughters of Rhea dancers for an elegant belly dance or circus arts show. 

Watch Melina's incredible sword balance on dagger act now Via Streaming Video!  Melina's January 2007 TV performance and interview on "To The Pointe" with host Cinda Hill.

 melina dancing at karoun restaurant. photo by roger gordy.



Melina (Melinda Pavlata) and Sacha of Cirque Passion performed their aerial ballet duet at the COCA gala in St. Louis on Friday November 4th 2005. Mikhail Baryshnikov was among many esteemed guests in the audience.

Melina and Sacha of Cirque Passion. Photo by Algerina Perna.

Spring & Summer 2006:

Melina toured as trapeze artist, dancer & juggler (cirque passion) with circus flora's 20th anniversary production of Homage. 

"The sensuous aerial adagio dance of Melinda Heywood and Circus Flora co-founder Alexandre Sacha Pavlata, for example, will entrance the adults (as will Heywood's belly dance number) while the antics of Nino the Clown (the multi-talented Giovanni Zoppe, a Flora regular for many years now) will keep the kids in hysterics." -- Chuck Lavazzi of KDHX.



Cirque Passion
Melina (Melinda Pavlata) is co-creator along with world-renown 5th generation Czech circus artist Alexandre Sacha Pavlata of Cirque Passion, an intimate one-ring cabaret-style circus that features dance, circus arts and aerial acts.  Cirque Passion delighted audiences at the Baltimore Museum of Art with "Reve," a romantic trapeze duet (see photo at right). In addition to regularly touring with Circus Flora, Cirque Passion has performed at the Red Bull Art of the Can Exhibit opening at Boston's Artists for Humanity Epicenter, at the Boston Center for the Arts HUBBUB! gala, throughout Europe including Paris and Athens, Greece, and for the Charleston, S.C. nonprofit organization Darkness to Light.  Cirque Passion recently performed at the St Louis   COCA's gala for Mikhail Baryshnikov and other delighted audience members.  They toured to Auckland, New Zealand with the Flying Wallendas for Dean Lonergan's "McDonald's Cirque Rocks!" stadium extravaganza and will tour to Taiwan and Puerto Rico in late Fall 2006.

Circus Flora

Melina is an aerialist, dancer and theatre choreographer for Circus Flora, a one-ring, European-style circus.  She played the role of Little Egypt for the “Ruvna” Show in St. Louis (1996) & Norfolk, VA (1997), dance as the Allegory Hope for the “Pegasus” show in St. Louis (1998) and Irving, TX (1998), and was the Juggling Dancing Girl who teaches the elephant how to belly dance in “Farewell to Flora” show Phoenix, AZ (2000-1).  Most recently she danced with stallions in the ring as the "Muse of the East" at the Spoleto Arts Festival in South Carolina and in St. Louis, MO. In June 2005 she played the "Silent Daughter" in the production of Tzigan.  She danced in the ring with horses and took to the air with Sacha as they performed their acclaimed aerial ballet on the trapeze (visit for the pictures).


Athens, Greece (Age 7 through present).    Athens by Night Taverna,  Kalokairinos, 1001 Nights, Sahara, Vrahos, Musikes Skies, Axum, Palia Athina, Kritikos, Giovetsakia, Zeus Taverna, 1002 Nights, Axum Restaurant.

Boston, MA  (Wellesley College Days & Present) Karoun’s (1989-present); Layaleena (present) Averof (1989), Middle East Restaurant (1989-90) Shahrazad  Restaurant (’90-‘91).

Philadelphia, PA  (Grad School Years) Middle East Café, Painted Bride Art Center show with ethnic fusion band “Jaffna” .

San Diego, CA (Post-PhD Year  by the Sea 1998-99).  Marrakesh (La Jolla), Greek Village (Carlsbad), Greek Town, Armenian Café, Kebob House, Zorba’s, Greek Palace.

San Francisco Bay Area (From age 2 dancing with costume pinned to diaper to present). Parthenon (Walnut Creek), El Morocco (Pleasant Hill), Zorbas (San Jose).

Recent Festivals & Special Shows (abridged)

Founder & Creative Director of the ALS Therapy Development Foundation’s Belly Dance Fundraising Extravaganza.   Melina & her sister Piper have raised over $300,000 for Lou Gehrig’s Disease Research.

Baltimore BellyPalooza. Co-created by Daughters of Rhea productions, this annual event features seminars with Melina,  Piper, Rhea and guest artist instructors as well as an evening show at the Baltimore Museum of Art.  View a multi-media montage of our 2006 production "Belly Dance Magic," on the Baltimore Sun website.

Rakkasah East 2000, 2001 & 2002 in Somerset, NJ. (

Three Arrows Cooperative Society, Putnam Valley NY (2001).  Danced in collaboration with Phil Marsh, Melina's father and folkster guitarist extraordinaire.

Rhea's Athenian Haflis at Axum, Greece's premier Ethiopian restaurant and venue for Rhea's middle eastern dance happenings.

Mediterranean Night @ Wellington School in Belmont. April 3, 2003.  Performed to the wonderful live music of Karim Nagi Mohammed & Mal Barsemian for elementary school students, their siblings and parents. 

Brownie's Girl Scouts meeting.  Melina brought finger cymbals, sword dancing and a Greek language lesson to the Brownie Scouts in Belmont on Thursday February 26th, 2004.  Brownie Renee Eurdolian insists it was "the best meeting EVER."

On Thursday September 12th, 2002, Melina participated in a one-night-only production of "From the Horse's Mouth" at the Springold Theater Center at Brandeis University.  From the Horse's Mouth, an evening-length theatre/dance piece conceived and created by Tina Croll and Jamie Cunningham, has produced unprecedented and exhilarating results wherever presented.  First done in 1998 at Joyce Soho in NYC with only modern dancers and choreographers, subsequent productions became more diverse by including dancers from other disciplines and styles such as African, Flamenco, East Indian, Japanese, tango, jazz, ballet, belly dance and Broadway.

Saturday October 12th, 2002.  Melina and her Daughters of Rhea Dance Ensemble performed at the Regent Theatre in Arlington, MA before the screening of Tunisian movie SATIN ROUGE.

February 7 & 8, 2003.
Melina debuted her new choreography "Walk Like an Egyptian," a witty take a l'orientale on the 80's pop song  in "East Meets West: Arabia American Style," an ensemble show produced by Johara and Snakedance productions.  

August 2004: HIP, HIP, HOORAY!  Melina, Piper and Rhea perform at the Baltimore Museum of Art in "Belly Dance Magic," a gala show produced by Daughters of Rhea, recently reviewed by Elaine in the gilded serpent. Featured Melina's debut as an aerial circus artist in her romantic trapeze duet "Reve" with Sacha Pavlata of Cirque Passion and Circus Flora. 

February 2005. Melina and Daughters of Rhea dancers Johanna, Panayiota and Sara danced for St. Jude Medical Research Fundraiser at the Wang Center for the Performing Arts.

Pictured Left to Right:  Daughters of Rhea Dancers
Sara, Melina and Soraya Nahzlu.
Photo by Allison Durham.

saturday february 26th
Melina & sacha of cirque passion performed their sensual aerial ballet duet and sacha's cloud swing solo @ red bull art of the can exhibition opening at the Artists for Humanity Epicenter.