The Art of Belly Dancing

belly

The troupe encourages everyone to join, regardless of gender. (Photo Courtesy of Brad Ferguson from the CofC Meira Bellydance Troupe Facebook page)

With the new semester on the horizon, we have already found ourselves no longer interested in the some of the things we felt sure we would remain committed to. Whether it is a club that is not what you expected it to be or an activity that brings too much stress into your life, there are simply some things you do not plan to carry with you into next semester.

If you are looking to replace that old something with a new something: try belly dancing. Often times this club remains hidden beneath the weight of the long list of other sports clubs available. Meetings for this club, which is committed to celebrating and experiencing a unique form of expressive dance, are held in room 201 of the Johnson Center on Mondays at 8 p.m. Beginners are also welcome Thursdays at 7 p.m., and seniors Tuesdays at 7 p.m.

Senior Bree Lewis, Co-President of the belly dancing club, has been involved with the club for all four of her years at the College.

“I went to their informational meeting my freshman year and I fell in love,” Lewis said. “I have been doing it ever since.”

The sports club requires a $25 yearly fee which goes towards renting venues for showcases. But unlike other sports clubs where the atmosphere may be high pressure and competitive, this club strives to be a center of acceptance.

“We try and establish it as a safe place where people can feel comfortable no matter what their race, sexuality or body type,” Lewis said. “We just want it to feel inclusive so that everyone can feel comfortable.”

Growing up, Lewis was a dancer. Through the years she has practiced ballet, jazz, contemporary and tap. However, a past dance history is not a requirement in order to be part of the club.

“We teach on the assumption that you’ve had no dance training, so we start with the very minimum basics and we try to tailor our lessons,” Lewis said. “If we feel like a group is struggling with one move or if they get it faster than we expected them to then we adapt to deal with that.”

The club attracts a unique group of people that together build a strong knit community, all bonding from a similar allure to the art of belly dancing. All are welcome, though many people have a misleading preconception that the club is designed just for girls.

The club will be having their fall showcase Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. in the Sottile Theater. General admission is $5 or free with a College of Charleston student ID.

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