The Yale Affiliates Belly Dance Society was founded in 2003 with the goal of bringing Middle Eastern dance and culture to Yale. Over the years, the group has evolved into a performance troupe of talented dancers dedicated to promoting belly dance at Yale and in the surrounding community. In addition, we hope to use belly dance as a tool for community service, through our support of the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen, the Yale Hunger and Homelessness Auction, and other service opportunities. Members of the Yale Belly Dance Society rehearse several times a week and perform regularly at a wide variety of events. Auditions for membership in the Yale Belly Dance Society are held annually at the beginning of the fall semester. Membership is open to all members of the Yale community, and our current members include medical students, public health students, graduate students in science and engineering, undergraduate students, faculty/staff, and more. Like us on facebook to keep up with current belly dance events around campus!
What is belly dance? Unlike most Western dance forms, which focus on the legs and arms, most forms of belly dance focus on the core of the body: hips, belly, torso, and shoulders. This style of dance evolved from Middle Eastern folk dances that people would do (and still do) at joyous occasions and parties. The name “belly dance” was actually coined by the American event promoter Sol Bloom, when he was trying to stir up public interest in seeing the Streets Of Cairo exhibit at the Chicago world’s fair in 1893. While modern belly dance mostly evolved in Turkey and Egypt, with heavy influences from the film industry in the 20th century, belly dance took on a life of its own in the United States with the American cabaret, American tribal, tribal fusion, and theatrical styles of belly dance.