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Belly dancing brings body positivity

Rachel Boyle
Sports Staff Writer
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The UNC Asheville Belly Dancing Club opened up once again for new members. The club designed itself to demonstrate that dance can be a way to show love to your body.   
Belly dance involves expressive dance which emphasizes complex movements of the torso. The movements in belly dancing emphasize the intimate physical connection between the dancer and their surroundings, according to Co-President junior chemistry and biology student Darcy Davis. This form of dance, originating from the Middle East, focuses on isolating different parts of the human body by moving them independently in sensuous patterns.

UNC Asheville belly dancers help encourage self-positivity through interactive dance. Photo provided by UNCA Belly Dancers

“Dance is an alternate form of communication of talking to people without using your words. You can use your body to express emotions, energy and just make a positive connection with another individual without even speaking or having that dialogue,” Davis said.  
During the performances and private practices, the belly dancers discuss topics about body image and body confidence. They say body image can be considered as how you feel about your body including your height, shape and weight. Belly dancing can be a way someone can accept and embrace that part of themselves, said Lya Crider, a junior psychology student.
“Body image today needs to be less of, ‘You need to look like this’ or ‘You need to look like that,’ it needs to be more of, ‘Here is how I look and that is how I’m going to be,” Crider said. “It’s more of the idea of being happy with what you’ve got and making that work and that is how that dance came to be.”  
Belly dancing at UNCA brings students together and creates a community of self-encouragement and self-positivity. Dancers learn to embrace their bodies and to step out of their comfort zone. The student belly dancers focus more on the movement of their bodies and what they are experiencing internally rather than externally, while being creative in an unfamiliar form of dance.  The dancers also enjoy the club practices because it is a break during the busy school week to express yourself in a safe environment.  
Like self image issues, belly dance includes anyone, any sex and gender. Gabriel Dainotto, a senior psychology student, is the one male belly dancer in the club.
“I enjoy being a part of belly dancing club and I want to continue it because I think that any gender, any person, can enjoy dance and be good at it,” Dainotto said.
The UNCA Belly Dance Club holds weekly practices on Wednesday evenings from 7 to 8 p.m. and Thursday evenings from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Sherrill Center. The weekly practices teach the art of belly dancing as well as new choreography to perform at different events around Asheville and campus every semester. The UNCA Belly Dance Club grows more each year because of its creative style of expression.  

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