While dancing is not unusual hobby, 21-year-old Spanish major Angelina Bolton performs a unique dance: belly dancing.
“I had always been interested in it and wanted to learn to be confident and feel more comfortable in my own skin,” Bolton said.
Bolton was attracted to the art of belly dancing.
The summer after high school, she heard about a local class held beneath the Subway in her hometown of Kodiak, Alaska. She decided she was ready to try belly dancing. Bolton was immediately drawn in by the dance.
The most rewarding part of belly dancing to Bolton is being able to share her knowledge with others. She also loves it when all her hard work pays off.
Her rewards as a belly dancer are the same as her dreams to become a teacher one day after she graduates. She wants to teach in order “to share her knowledge with others and to help people.”
There are a few different styles of belly dancing. Since her lessons started in 2006, Bolton has always practiced and performed the Cabaret style. The movements are controlled, elegant, refined and often include some ballet.
She would like to learn something new though. A style called Tribal Fusion interests her the most right now. This style is more modern taking from a variety of dance forms including Hip Hop, Breakdance, Cabaret belly dance and modern dance.
It also draws on traditional forms such as the Flemenco, Bhangra, and other folkloric dance styles.
Tribal Fusion belly dancing interests Bolton because “I don’t have to smile and I am told by my mother quite frequently that I forget to smile when I dance. Also, it has kind of a dark but spontaneous feel to it and that interests me a bit.”
Though these dances follow certain rules, there is a lot of room for creativity and improvisation. Every dance is distinctive to each dancer and what moves they enjoy doing the most.
The costume most associated with belly dance in the west is called the bedleh. It consists of a fitted top or bra, a fitted hip belt and a skirt or harem pants.
Belly dancing is growing in popularity especially in the past few years as a way for women to exercise their core muscles.
Besides belly dancing, Bolton enjoys spending her free time reading, writing, riding horses and being with her friends.