Belly dancing club celebrates Hafla

    Sunday evening the Beledi Club, the College’s belly dancing club, showcased dances they had learned and choreographed during the semester in the group’s annual winter Hafla.

    p. Hafla, Arabic for “party,” usually denotes a large, celebratory gathering of women. The club chose to identify Sunday’s performance as such in order to reflect its goal of celebrating Middle Eastern culture.

    p. “Something a lot of people mistake about belly dancing is that it’s erotic, and it’s not,” Beledi Club President Sarah Watson ’09 said. “Part of the purpose of the club is to show Middle Eastern dance as the art form that it is, to learn about and appreciate it.”
    Through the semester, the club has had weekly lessons with a professional instructor from the International Dance Studio of Hampton, Va.

    p. Members also choreographed some of their own dances and met to practice in preparation for performances at multicultural events, such as Earth Day, the Amnesty International Music and Dance Showcase and Hafla, an event held at the end of each semester.

    p. Belly dancing, which incorporates traditional dances from a variety of countries and cultures including Greek, Egyptian and Hawaiian, is predominantly inspired by Middle Eastern dance.

    p. The Beledi Club, which derived its name from a specific dance move called “beledi,” concentrates predominantly on the tribal dialect, one of nine categories of belly dancing. They mostly perform urban tribal fusion, a subset of the tribal dialect.

    p. “Fusion dance is about fusing belly dance with something not Middle Eastern, for example the cha-cha, or by incorporating atypical music into the routine,” Watson said. “One of our dances is choreographed to ‘Zoot Suit Riot.’ We mix things together to get a different look,” Watson said.

    p. The dancers are costumed in the urban style, which consists of shiny fabrics, bra tops, veils, gold coins, sequins and lots of bright colors. Watson described it as “slightly punk tribal.”

    p. “And glitter, we always wear glitter for everything.”


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