‘Hips don’t lie’ for belly dancing club
After dancing ballet, tap and jazz throughout her childhood, Emily Waugh came to college as a speech pathology major, transferring from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
After arriving at Towson in the fall of her junior year, she went to the Involvement Fair and came across the belly dancing club.
Before her arrival, she had only seen belly dancing at festivals.
“It seemed like a lot of fun. I had wanted to do belly dance for a while,” Waugh said.
After attending the first meeting, Waugh said she fell in love with the art form. Bonding with the other members over the costumes, the movements and the culture.
According to Waugh, the members of the group are always respectful of the dance, despite its reputation.
“I didn’t even think about it, really, when I was signing up for it, but there is seriously a reputation of being not promiscuous, but sultry,” Waugh said. “My brothers wouldn’t even come to my performance. They were like, ‘We don’t want to see our sister belly dancing.’ My parents came. My parents are supportive and don’t care and don’t see it that way.”
Unlike the sultry belly dancing portrayed in the media today, Towerlight writer and belly dancing club founder Allison Brickell said that the club concentrates on traditional belly dancing movements.
Isolating specific parts of the body. the hips, chest, stomach, head and moving those parts.
“We learn about the different drum beats and the different styles of dance and the culture of it,” Waugh said. “Certain things that you can and cannot do while in costume and performing. For instance, while you’re in costume the only time the people should see your costume is when you’re on stage or when you’re with your troop or instructor.”
The club’s instructor is Baltimore belly dancing teacher Ouranitsa Abbas. Brickell said the club’s Student Government Association funding pays for Abbas to come teach the club each Monday night.
Among teaching the belly dancing basics, Abbas helped the group choreograph their three performances this semester.
Donning red, tied midriff tops with black camisoles underneath and black yoga pants and red hip scarf’s, the group performed at Residence Tower’s “13 Floors Around the World” event, a Friday Night Live event, and the International Student Showcase.
“That was our big, main event,” Waugh said. “We opened, so that was a lot of fun.”
At the end of the day, Waugh said that belly dancing is nice because she is able to continue her dance background. It also helps keep her healthy and in shape.
“Bellydance is really fun. It’s really good if you have muscle or joint problems like I do, because it stays within the natural range of motion of your body,” Waugh said. “It’s really great exercise.”