The dance of confidence


Blacksburg, Va., March 19 – Night of Shimmy: Aspen Brown performing at She-Sha cafe. Photo: Joudi Assaf

by Joudi Assaf–

Women are always trying to find a new way to help them gain confidence but many miss one very simple way, and that’s through dance.

One form of dancing that has grown exceptionally in the past few decades is the art of belly dancing.

Raqs Sharqi (belly dancing) or Raqs baladi (folk dancing) is historically rooted in the Middle Eastern culture. Many Middle Eastern women learn the dance at a young age to help them tone their body and gain a sense of power for their body.

The beauty of belly dancing isn’t simply the movement or the women’s body, it’s the art within it, it’s the way that the body begins to express a one of a kind story.

“I don’t have that great of coordination to do ballet or other forms of dancing, and I thought belly dancing was more unique,” said Aspen Brown the president of Hill and Veil. “Me and my sisters would watch fitness TV and there was a show called Shimmy, and we’ve been interested ever since.”

Hill and Veil a belly dancing club here at Virginia Tech has shown the citizens of Blacksburg just how fun, exotic and confidence boosting this dance is.

“I think performing in front of an audience helps you, knowing that all the attention is on you makes it a bit difficult at first to perform, but then you gain confidence and all you want to do it perform.” Said Brown.

The dance is a great way for individuals to get fit as well as gain poise. The dance focuses on the isolation of movements which helps with flexibility and muscle toning in the body. Many of the dances moves learned are also good for strengthening the spinal cord in a very gentle and balanced way.

“Its also good physically and mentally, it helps you develop muscles that you didn’t know you had, especially if you have the intention of having children one day, and then it’s great for building confidence,” said Allison Hatch, treasure/costume manager and webmaster of the club.

“A regular person isn’t going to be confident shaking in a bra top and a skirt with a slit all the way up in front of an audience, but its something you get used to,” said Hatch. “You think wow my body can do all these things that these people are looking at me and thinking “I can’t do that, I didn’t even know these muscles existed,” which is definitely a confidence booster.”

Not only does belly dancing help boost a women’s confidence it also helps improve posture, core stability, reconnect with the body, eases the struggles of childbirth and helps reduce stress.

The Hill and Veil dancers encourage women and even men to visit a beginners class and get the full experience first hand.