The art of belly dance

Aiyana Jones (left) and Sijui Bartrum (right). Photo by Claire Capuccilli.Aiyana Jones (left) and Sijui Bartrum (right). Photo by Claire Capuccilli.

McDaniel’s Belly Dance Club is greeted to the stage with applauding audience members. Dim lights and traditional music surround the stage as performers take their place.

Sijui Kama Bartrum, now a senior and president of the club, joined Belly Dance Club in the fall semester of 2015 after transferring from Montgomery College. Without knowing anyone on campus, she decided to become a member as a way to make new friends on campus.

“I looked up clubs and activities on campus and belly dance had caught my eye,” she said recently, reflecting back. “I had just left my dance studio at home and I thought it would be a great way to continue dance.”

The McDaniel College Belly Dance Club met in Gill Gym on the evening of September 11 for their first meeting of the semester. The club is currently made up of five female performers, although they hope to see that number rise throughout the semester.

Bartrum wants to emphasize that it is, “not only for females, it is open to anyone who is willing to learn.”

The Belly Dance Club was originally established as a way to bring African and Middle Eastern culture to McDaniel while also serving as a way for students to get exercise while promoting self-confidence and awareness of their body.

Aiyana Jones, sophomore and vice president of the club, said that she joined her freshman year, “as a way to build confidence, I like to dance and I thought it would be a great way to exercise.”

Belly Dance is a social dance that emphasizes movements in the torso area. It originated in the Middle East as a way for women to get together and express themselves. It allowed them to establish a sense community in a gender separated world.

“I originally joined belly dance,” junior, Katie Ogorzalek said, “because I was looking for a group of people that I could be myself around.”

Throughout the fall semester they will be focusing on teaching the basics to the new members while performing at a number of events on campus, such as showcases and multicultural events. In the spring semester, they will be organizing events of their own with choreographed dance.

There are members who are at all different skill levels. As the beginners learn the technique, they slowly begin to lean a choreographed routine that could be performed as a solo, duet, trio or a group performance. Everyone is able to learn at their own speed, which is why the Belly Dance Club has attracted such a wide variety of students.

If you want to learn more about the club, contact Sijui Kama Bartrum at