Watching CU Bellydance’s spring show was an exercise in humility.
I had once scoffed every time I heard the term “belly dance,” because I honestly didn’t think belly dancing was a particularly interesting or difficult art form. I thought the dance was mostly midriff-shaking that relied on brightly colored, flowing dresses, big fans that dancers twirl in the air, bright lights, and musicians with huge drums, to distract from its flaws.
But “Hipnotic” proved me wrong. CU Bellydance took the stage Sunday afternoon to a sold-out show, featuring Onyx, Hula Hunnies, CU Bhangra, and Sabor. The show deserved every moment of the raucous and standing ovation that followed. Each dancer’s talent was obvious, and they made belly dance look effortless. With choreography by 12 different students, the show dazzled with dancers of all years and experience levels.
As expected, it featured the typical brightly colored fans and scarves, multiple wardrobe changes, and jiggling tassels. But these accessories were used in a way that they did not distract from the dances as much as they augmented the best parts of the show.
The most noteworthy aspects of the show were the infectious solos, particularly from Maria Lomaka, CC ’13 (to “Jalilah’s Balady”), and Olivia Jaffe, CC ’13 and co-president of CU Bellydance, (to “This Woman’s Work”). I seriously doubted whether Sheila Rae Heath, CC ’13, even had bones in her body in her fluid solo to “Egyptic.” A piece to “Where Did Your Love Go” by Lauren Lewis, GS ’14 and the artistic director of CU Bellydance, became a beautifully tragic story about mourning a lost love.
With the participation of the other dance groups, the mood and tempo of the show often fluctuated. The transition from belly dance to the calm, peaceful Hula Hunnies, an on-campus hula dance group, was surprising—the group seemed like something straight out of a “Lilo and Stitch” dance scene. The hip-hop group Onyx, on the other hand, seemed almost as though it was dancercising at the gym.
There were moments where I was left a little disappointed. The transition between songs during the group dance, “Monarch,” felt a little too abrupt for the viewer to stay fully invested in the dance.
But “Hipnotic” still mesmerized the audience. It changed my previously skeptical perspective of belly dance and I left feeling impressed by the dancers’ talent and their way of using props to enhance, rather than detract from, their show.