Jangling bangles, colorful scarves and ornate skirts brought to life the traditional Middle Eastern music performed in the Encore.
On Friday night, Centertainment Productions hosted An Evening of Belly Dancing accompanied by the musical ensemble, Salaam, in the Dreyfus University Center at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
The ensemble played music from countries throughout the Middle East, such as Morocco, Iraq, Syria and Azerbaijan. Some of the music were medleys of traditional songs while other pieces were original compositions.
“Middle Eastern music takes a lot of instruments to unfold, and it’s fun to play with those sounds,” Dena El Saffar, Salaam ensemble member, said.
Shuvani Tribal Dance and the Belly Dance Club of UWSP represented the dancing component of the event.
While the members of Salaam encouraged dancing during any one of their numbers, some pieces were choreographed in advance with the dancers.
Bridget Pintz, alternative sounds coordinator for Centertainment, organized the event and explained that the dances were choreographed with the use of Salaam’s CD and knowledge of which songs they would be performing at An Evening of Belly Dancing.
A few years ago, Salaam played the same event with entertainment, combining their music with belly dancing.
“I thought it was a great program,” Pintz said. “I went to it when I was a freshman, and now this is my last show as alternative sounds coordinator.”
Pamela Luedtke, dance lecturer, is the director of Shuvani Tribal Dance and the adviser for the Belly Dance Club of UWSP.
“Basically, belly dance is really about creating community,” Luedtke said. “The people who get together don’t know each other at first, but become really good friends.”
Luedtke is hoping to arrange a summer belly dance class at Studio B Pilates and continue with the Belly Dance Club of UWSP in the fall.
The Evening of Belly Dance successfully brought a unique experience to students and awakened awareness of the community that is belly dancing.
“We don’t have a lot of folk or traditional music in central Wisconsin, especially not Middle Eastern,” Pintz said. “I thought it would be fun to bring in a couple belly dancing groups to add to the event. It’s another fun element that people might not have experienced before.”