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A belly dancer dressed in turquoise-colored attire flutters to the center of the dining room, twirling a flaming sword. The DJ on the podium behind her cranks up the Arabic techno a few more decibels as she spins, drops onto the rug-covered floor, and continues rippling and shimmying while she balances the sword on her head. The flickering fire extinguishes, but she’s still beaming the kind of euphoric smile usually reserved for shampoo commercials. The five-year-old at our table stares mesmerized, his jaw hanging slack. I look over at his father: same expression.

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