Belly dancers shimmy for spring dance

The dancers performed as part of the Union Arts Council spring dance sequence.

Bells tinkled to sultry eastern music Thursday as belly dancers from Moon Belly Dance Studio gyrated and shimmied.

The event was part of the spring dance sequence, sponsored by the Union Arts Council, held in Stotler Lounge in Memorial Union. It featured two troupes of belly dancers, who swung their hips for an audience of students and community members. The dancers ranged from high school age to middle age and were all women from the Moon Belly Dance Studio, which is located in the North Village Arts District on Saint James Street.

“All of our chairs were filled up for the most part and there were lots of people that came in and out in the back and that’s exactly what we want to happen,” UAC President Mary Karl said. “Lot’s of random people came that didn’t necessarily know about it otherwise until they saw it, so I think the venue worked perfect, the event went well.”

The dancers wore sparkly, beaded blue skirts that accentuated their hip movements and the music they were dancing to.

“I thought the use of tempo and synchronization between all of the dancers was really interesting,” freshman audience member Robert Otte said.

The dancers balanced swords on their chins, dropping into the splits, while still supporting the swords, to applause and cheers from the audience. There was also a performance from a smaller group of dancers using finger cymbals to create their own beat over the drum-heavy music.

Moon Belly Dance Studio Director Kandice Grossman, said belly dancing is one of the oldest forms of dance, originating in the Mesopotamian area at the beginning of civilization.

“Gyrating the pelvis and moving the hips is ancient,” Grossman said.

Grossman also said the art form is a great way for women to love themselves and feel empowered.

“I love to see a new student watching themselves in the mirror, because you’ll start to see this thing happen, and it’s almost a sense of amazement as they watch their bodies move in these new beautiful ways,” Grossman said. “It’s just such a sensual, beautiful set of moves and so when women practice them they just start to feel more beautiful and sensual.”

For information about belly dancing and taking classes, visit The first class is free.

"it's a lot of fun to get together on a weekly basis and dance with each other,” Grossman said. “It’s a little bit of everything, I think that’s why I love it so much.”

The point of the event, and of the UAC, is to bring art to the campus and to Columbia.

“I think it’s important to hold Union Arts Council dance sequence events like this, because the community has a lot of art love, but I don’t feel like the university does,” Karl said.

The UAC spring dance sequence will feature two more dance performances this semester, and hopes to increase the number of performances next semester, Karl said. UAC also hopes to expand their programs to promote more art love at MU.

“We have art competitions, we might be doing a fashion show, and maybe a poetry slam," Karl said. "We have a lot going on, lots of possibilities."

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