All eyes focus on the girl in the front of the room: her long skirt flowing in a mix of green, violet, and navy. The bangles on her wrist jingle as she moves her body in long, fluid movements. The scene could easily be confused for a professional dance performance, but in fact, it’s the first meeting for The College of Charleston Meira Belly Dance Troupe, and the dancer is Dronica Deberry, a senior at the College of Charleston.
Deberry and the other veteran members have prepared a variety of dances in order to demonstrate to newcomers what they can accomplish by becoming a member of the group and sticking with practices.
“We specialize in a type of dancing called Cabaret,” Sara White, a junior at The College and Co-President along with Deberry said. Cabaret is a traditional style of belly dancing, one that has more flamboyant and fluid types of movements.
The troupe, however, also has members who perform tribal dancing, and many of the members specialize in props such as swords, fire, and snakes. While the technique of the troupe members appears to have taken many hard years of training to learn, the majority only started belly dancing once they came to The College.
And for those who are less confident in their body, they emphasize that belly dancing is for every shape and size–even for men. But if new members do struggle the veteran members are always there to help. “We’ve all been there, we all know how difficult it is to move your body certain ways,” White said.
Joining the troupe certainly comes with benefits such as a trip to New York each year. Deberry remembers that the trip last year to Columbia University for the Middle Eastern Dance conference was “the most incredible experience she’s ever had.”
The belly dancers also perform at the Yes Carolina Gala, The Yacht Club, the Christmas parade, the Roller Derby, and the Multicultural concert. The biggest perk, however, is the family you gain by joining. The troupe is a very tight-knit group, and their friendship extends outside of Belly Dancing.
For students looking for a new way to get involved, whether it is an exercise regime, a fun extracurricular activity, or a second family, The College’s Meira Belly Dance Troupe is a good place to start.